Our Favorite TED Talks
Well before the age of YouTube and viral videos, the first-ever TED event took place in 1984, introducing an invite-only audience to the compact disk, 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, and the e-book. Several thousand talks later, anyone can access the revolutionary ideas presented on the TED stage on the organization’s beautifully designed website; you can browse, download, and listen to them with greater ease than ever. For better or for worse, the best TED talks aren’t just about the best ideas, they’re about the best stories, the best performances—the best theater. Below, we’ve collected a sampling of our favorites and divided them into categories we think are helpful: mind, body, food, parenting and education, career and growth, and talks from our very own goop contributors.
Parenting & Education
Andrew Solomon: Love, No Matter What
This is a paradigm-shifting talk about how we view “illness” and identity—and what our love for our children can teach us about our culture, and what it means to be human.
Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
In one of the most-watched TED talks of all time, Ken Robinson challenges our most basic assumptions about primary education, and how it affects kids’ learning and development.
Julie Lythcott-Haims: How to Raise Successful Kids — Without Over-Parenting
From the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford, this talk carries a little more weight than it might coming from someone else—what happens when we place too much of a premium on our kids attending a top college?
Laura Schulz: The Surprisingly Logical Minds of Babies
Laura Schultz presents her research about how babies process data—as much as this lecture is about how babies learn, it’s also about what we can learn from them.
Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice
We don’t often stop and think about the astonishing number of choices we have to make in a single day, or the toll it can take—even when those choices approximate our ideas of ultimate freedom.
Dan Gilbert: The Surprising Science of Happiness
Dan Gilbert describes the psychology of “synthetic happiness,” and why it’s so important to be mindful of it.
Eleanor Longden: The Voices in My Head
Through a retelling of her own journey back to mental health after a schizophrenia diagnosis, Eleanor Longden exposes how ill-equipped our biomedical systems are to deal with mental illness.
Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight
Alright, so this is as much about the body as it is the mind, but it’s really about what happens to our minds when our bodies fail us: Brain researcher and neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor takes us through a stunning journey of what she experienced during her own massive stroke.
Mary Roach: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasm
The title pretty much says it all—watch and learn from this highly entertaining talk.
Bonnie Bassler: How Bacteria “Talk”
From 2009, a talk from the woman who discovered how bacteria communicate —if you’re a nerd about gut health and the microbiome, this is an excellent (granular) primer.
Maryn McKenna: What Do We Do When Antibiotics Don’t Work Any More?
At once illuminating and disturbing, this talk on antimicrobial resistance is a call for our medical system to re-think how quick doctors are to prescribe antibiotics—and what we need to do to avoid a post-antibiotic world. (Spoiler alert: It involves not giving antibiotics for farm animals, for one.)
Samuel Cohen: Alzheimer’s Is Not Normal Aging — and We Can Cure It
This isn’t the most theatrical talk of the bunch, but it’s important: Samuel Cohen’s presentation equally addresses both the politics of research funding—and how that drives medical breakthroughs and cures—and the medicine itself.
Career & Growth
Alain De Botton: A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success
Philosopher Alain de Botton gives what is ultimately a soothing, reassuring talk about the fallacy of meritocracy and how we can alleviate our own career anxieties.
Shonda Rhimes: Year of Yes
It comes as no surprise that Shonda Rhimes gives a (really) good speech; Here, you can hear her describe her widely publicized “year of yes” as part of a moving, excellent, and often funny narrative that breathes life into the tired “work/life balance” genre of advice.
Casey Gerald: The Gospel of Doubt
The writer and business leader recalls important lesson he learned as a child—one that taught him the importance of questioning our beliefs and embracing uncertainty.
Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius
Elizabeth Gilbert’s vulnerability, humor, and frankness make her insights here, about creativity and the nature of “genius”, profoundly resonant.
Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce
With his trademark wit, Gladwell uses the food industry’s pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce as a trojan horse for making a compelling argument about the nature of choice and happiness.
Jamie Oliver: Teach Every Child About Food
Contributor and goop favorite Jamie Oliver gave this (very popular) talk back in 2010, where he shares stories from his anti-obesity project in Huntington, West Virginia.
Ron Finley: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA
When Ron Finley gave this talk in 2013, he also brought the idea of a “food desert” to a much broader audience—all while painting the role of a gardener as a renegade.
William Li: Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?
By explaining the body’s process of angiogenesis—and the anti-angiogenic foods that could prevent the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor—William Li explores if it’s possible to have cancer without disease?
From goop Contributors
Adam Grant: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers
Organizational psychologist Adam Grant shares three unexpected habits of the some of the most innovative minds in the business.
Jules Blaine Davis: Nourishing the Deeper Hunger of Our BODY Stories
Jules Blaine Davis, aka The Kitchen Healer, gave this intimate talk at the TEDxOlympicBlvdWomen event, where she brought her signature energy to the stage.
Dr. Habib Sadeghi: How Emotions and Thoughts Affect Our Health
Dr. Sadeghi begins by explaining why The Grapes of Wrath fascinates him, and ultimately gives an illuminating talk on modern healing.
Jessica Shortall: The US Needs Paid Family Leave — for the Sake of Its Future
Jessica Shortall’s talk blew us away—you can read her Q&A with us on the same topic here.
- Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
Amy Cuddy: Body Language
This super-popular, buzzy talk from social psychologist Amy Cuddy explores the astonishing impact of body language, which she delved into more for us here.
Jill Willard: Making Space for Intuition
Expect more than just a lecture from this eight-minute talk, where Willard guides you through a simple, effective meditation.
Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
Nearly 30 million people have watched this TEDx talk from research professor Brené Brown, who shares her enlightening work on vulnerability and human connection with wit and humor. Here, she did a Q&A with us about perfection and the culture of scarcity.