Twenty Online Talks That Will Change Your Life, Part 1

A little over a week ago, I wrote a post about the 20 biggest questions in science. It turns out, The Guardian must have been on a listicle-kick because they also recently published a list of the 20 online talks that could change your life. Some of these I’ve seen, so I thought I’d go through them in the same way I did for the science questions from last week.

1. How Economic Inequality Harms Societies – Richard Wilkinson

I was so glad to see that they started with this talk. This talk is by a British researcher who has dedicated his life’s work to social inequalities. Along with Kate Pickett, he published a book called The Spirit Level. I remember reading it a few years back. It’s chock-full of resources and citations that formed the basis for the beginning of the recent discussion on inequality. Of course, there are folks who don’t see eye-to-eye with Wilkinson and Pickett.

2. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are – Amy Cuddy

3. Violence Against Women – it’s a Men’s Issue – Jackson Katz

I haven’t seen Cuddy’s talk, but I’ve read a number of her journal article. She certainly knows what she’s talking about and is worth your time. I haven’t seen Katz’s talk either, but it really reminds me of the work of Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In.

4. Depression in the US – Robert Sapolsky

5. Listening to Shame – Brené Brown

6. Why I Am Not a Christian – Bertrand Russell

7. We Need to Talk About an Injustice – Bryan Stevenson

If you haven’t seen Stevenson’s talk, now’s a good time to do it.

8. The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer

Not many TEDTalks have caused such a ruckus so quickly. I remember when this talk first happened earlier this year and was put online. Here were my “quick thoughts” after first watching it:

Amanda Palmer: A big congratulations! This TEDTalk certainly created news yesterday. For some, it’s because she didn’t answer questions that some had asked regarding the Kickstarter funds, for others, because she raised some important ideas about the music business. It’s certainly not easy to challenge mainstream ideas and even harder to do so with so many people who think you’re wrong (and are shouting that at you).

The Art of Asking: For some, there is nothing harder than asking for help. Asking for what you’re worth. People who are just starting their own business often have lots of problems trying to figure out just how much they should charge. Much of this has to do with psychology and our ideas of self-worth, but there’s also the cultural stereotype that it’s not okay to ask. It’s so great that Amanda could demonstrate how asking is not something to be afraid of.

Vulnerability: On the topic of asking… I remember reading about people who pose as beggars — not for the money, but to gain the experience of what it’s like to beg or ask for money. It’s not something that I’ve done, but after watching this TEDTalk, it’s an experience that I think is certainly worth considering. It might shatter stereotypes of what it’s like to ask for help and would certainly foster a greater sense of empathy.

Trust: Without getting too much into a philosophical discussion, it’s great to see a tangible example of someone who “trusts the flow of life,” and is rewarded for it.

As with Stevenson’s, if you have the time, Palmer’s is certainly a talk worth watching.

9. The Myth of the Gay Agenda – LZ Granderson

10. Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city – Kent Larson

After reading the description for Larson’s talk, I couldn’t help but think that the work of Richard Florida, noted urban theorist, is probably mentioned in the talk.

We’ve covered the first ten talks. This seems like a good place to pause and take a break. Check back tomorrow for the rest of the talks.

Published by Jeremiah Stanghini

Jeremiah's primary aim is to provide readers with a new perspective. In the same vein as the "Blind Men and the Elephant," it can be difficult to know when one is looking at the big picture or if one is simply looking at a 'tusk' or a 'leg.' He writes on a variety of topics: psychology, business, science, entertainment, politics, history, etc.

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