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The Five Most Popular TED Talks of All Time


I love TED talks. Sometimes I’ll spend an evening binge-watching them. I guess that makes me a bit of a geek, but to be fair I watch a lot of trash too. It’s a deliberate decision to stop myself from getting any smarter… really…

A friend on Facebook just posted an article by Entrepreneur magazine of the five most popular TED talks of all time.

Number one on the list I’ve already seen – a couple of times actually – and I’ve just re-watched it. Ken Robinson on how schools destroy creativity. It’s superb – not only spot on, but wonderfully warm and funny too.

It really is a brilliant talk and chimes with the problems I’ve had with the education system since I was a child myself (ie, too often it’s a one-size-fits-all system and tough for you if you don’t fit in)

Ken makes the very valid point that the people who benefit the most from our current style of education system are those who want to end up back in it teaching.

I’ve nothing against educators of course, it’s a vital role. But I’ve never liked the idea of people who spend their whole life in the system without gaining non-academic experience at some point – certainly not people teaching children (it’s not as big a problem at a higher level of education I’m sure).

An old school girlfriend of mine, who was in my year at school, went to college, went to university, did teacher training, and then went back to teach at the same school we’d left a few years before.

I believe she’s still there now over 25 years after leaving as a pupil. Actually, last I saw there was more than one ex-pupil back there teaching. I’m not questioning her ability as a teacher – she may be superb, I have no idea – but surely it would be better for people like her to gain experience somewhere else, even if only at another school.

It seems a case of exit stage left, walk around the back picking up a few more pages of the script on the way, and re-entering stage right. Then hanging around until the curtain drops. And the focus too often, at least when I was at school, is on pupils who show signs they want to do the same.

Anyway, Ken’s talk is much better than my ramblings and it’s well worth a watch.

Another stand-out video on that list is Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability. I’ve not seen that talk before, but it fits in with how I’ve been trying (not always successfully) to lead my life in recent years.

I’ll leave it to you to watch without going on too much about it but one great take-away is that we numb ourselves to vulnerability (through drink, drugs, food etc) but we can’t selectively numb our emotions. So when we numb our fears, we also numb our capability for love, joy, gratitude and happiness too. And then we become miserable, feel vulnerable again, and numb ourselves further – entering a dangerous cycle.

There’s more to it than that though and, like Ken’s talk, it’s also very funny as well as informative.

The only thing wrong with the Top 5 list is there was no Rory Sutherland! What an omission – his talks are superb. Try Perspective Is Everything as an example.

Now I must go watch the other three videos on the list. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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