20 Most Viewed TEDTalks (Plus 8 Gems for HR Leaders)

20 Most Viewed TEDTalks (Plus 8 Gems for HR Leaders)

TEDTalks have become a worldwide phenomenon.

The speaking conference attracts some of the world’s leading thinkers from every field and every corner of the globe, providing the opportunity to share their most important ideas in 5 - 18 minute presentations.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) started as a non-profit founded in 1984 as an annual one-off event, which could only been seen by a privileged few. In 2006, the talks were finally offered for free viewing online and its popularity took off.

With the tag “Ideas Worth Spreading,” their talks have reached over one billion views.

Which ideas have been spread most widely?

TED released a list of their 20 most-watched videos:

1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 14,850,200 views 2. Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight (2008): 11,225,783 3. Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 9,897,347 4. David Gallo‘s underwater astonishments (2007): 8,204,051 5. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 7,747,690 6. Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 7,564,235 7. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010): 7,539,516 8. Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability (2010): 5,861,510 9. Steve Jobs on how to live before you die (2005): 5,444,022 10. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 5,534,123 11. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 5,249,928 12. Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your creative genius (2009): 5,020,869 13. Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 4,951,918 14. Mary Roach on 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 4,793,334 15. Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 4,759,217 16. Keith Barry does brain magic (2004): 4,475,303 17. Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 4,470,236 18. Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,997,174 19. Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen (2006): 3,982,775 20. Barry Schwartz explores the paradox of choice (2005): 3,836,350


8 Gems for HR & Business Professionals:

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action Simon Sinek, author of the book "Start With Why," explains how his own struggle to understand personal motivation led him to the fundamental realisation that it all begins with “Why?” The best managers and leaders help people get in touch with their personal “why” and connect it to the “why” of the company or organisation. “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” White

Daniel Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation Former Al Gore speechwriter and career analyst Dan Pink brings a fresh take to the puzzle of motivation with humour and entertaining stories that reveal new ways of approaching the managerial task. “If you want people to perform better, you reward them, right? Bonuses, commissions, their own reality show. Incentivise them. … But that’s not happening here. You’ve got an incentive designed to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, and it does just the opposite. It dulls thinking and blocks creativity.” White

Tom Wujec: Build A Tower, Build A Team As a manager, your job is to build the best possible team and get the most out of them. In this talk, Tom Wujec explores what we can learn about team building and productivity from the “marshmallow problem” — a simple teambuilding exercise to see who can build the tallest tower using dry spaghetti, tape and a marshmallow. What makes for the most successful teams may surprise you. White

Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn't Happen at Work Jason Fried, author of bestselling business book Rework and co-founder of 37-signals, argues that the main barriers to productivity are managers and meetings. According to Fried, one of the most successful startup entrepreneurs, the office is one of the worst places to try and get work done and offers three alternatives to increase your team’s productivity. “[Facebook and Twitter] aren’t the real problems in the office. The real problems are what I like to call the M&Ms, the Managers and the Meetings.” White

Steve Keil: A Manifesto for Play, for Bulgaria and Beyond Entrepreneur Steve Keil fights the "serious meme" that has infected his home of Bulgaria — “The saddest place on earth” — and calls for a return to play to revitalise the economy, education and society. A great talk with a universal message for people everywhere who are reinventing their workplaces in a move towards more productive and engaged teams. White

Rory Sutherland: Life Lessons From an Ad Man “All value is subjective … How many problems in life can actually be solved by tinkering with perception, rather than that tedious, hard-working and messy business of actually trying to change reality?” Ad man and compelling speaker Rory Sutherland gets inside the consumer mind by comparing real with perceived value. This is a talk is by one of TED’s most entertaining business speakers. White

Dan Ariely: Are We in Control of Our Decisions? Dan Ariely, the author of “Predictably Irrational,” shows how people’s choices can be dramatically affected by the arrangement or wording and the number of options when filling out forms. For example, the Netherlands has an organ donation rate of 28%, while Belgium's is nearly 100%. Why? The Netherlands has the following on the form that people fill out when they’re getting their license: “Check the box below if you want to participate in the organ donation program.” Belgium has: “Check the box below if you do NOT want to participate in the organ donation program.” White

Drew Curtis: How I Beat a Patent Troll When Fark.com was sued by a patent troll "...for the creation and distribution of news releases via email" alongside companies such as Yahoo, MSN, Reddit, AOL, and TechCrunch, the eight-person company stood its ground. "I had hoped to team up with some of these larger companies and defend against this lawsuit but one by one they settled out of the case even though not one of these companies infringed on the patent," says Drew Curtis, founder of Fark. The reason? The average troll defense costs $2 million and takes 18 months if you win. He proves that little guys don't have to let themselves get bullied with frivolous lawsuits.


Bonus Clip: TED 2023 (Guy Pearce) Launched as a viral video to promote the movie Prometheus, the character Peter Weyland (played by Guy Pearce), the owner of the ship Prometheus, tells the story of human advancement.

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