Our Favorite TED Talks

Our Favorite TED Talks

In order to improve your level of English, it is important to be exposed to the language from as many channels as possible – through reading, speaking, writing and listening – you need to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. As part of the process of exposure to English, here are a variety of recommended links of enriching, inspiring and enjoyable lectures we especially love. We, in TriEnglish, recommend choosing and watching lectures that speak to you (literally) both as a fun means to practice listening comprehension as well as to enrich your vocabulary from a wide range of fields. It is recommended to watch one lecture a day and combine reading articles on the subject and conducting a written and oral dialogue with a teacher/friend/family member. Enjoy!

(1) How to make stress your friend

Stress. It makes your heart pound; your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

(2) How to make work-life balance work

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

(3) Trust, Morality – and Oxytocin?

What drives our desire to behave morally? Neuroeconomist Paul Zak shows why he believes oxytocin (he calls it “the moral molecule”) is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that help build a stable society.

(4) Are we in control of our own decisions?

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we’re not as rational as we think when we make decisions.

(5) Three things I learned while my plane crashed

Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time.

(6) I don’t know

Not knowing what to do can be an incredibly painful place to be, says Peter Bregman, a strategic advisor to CEO and their leadership teams. Bregman recalled a time as course director at Outward Bound when the activities he planned for 150 eighth graders failed miserably. He gathered his team of instructors and told them he didn’t know what to do. The instructors then started coming up with ideas on the fly. “That is the other side of ‘I don’t know,’” Bregman said. “The one side of it is that it’s incredibly scary and vulnerable. The other side of it is that every creative idea comes out of that room of ‘I don’t know.’” Research of one of Bregman’s clients sought to find what separates great leaders from mediocre leaders. The leaders themselves gave answers such as clear vision, ability to influence. The employees unanimously answered, “People who ask for help.”


(7) Do schools kill creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

(8) Your body language shapes who you are

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

(9) East vs. West – the myth that mystifies

Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West — and shows how these two fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.

(10) The truth about dishonesty

Are you more honest than a banker? Under what circumstances would you lie, or cheat, and what effect does your deception have on society at large? Dan Ariely, one of the world’s leading voices on human motivation and behavior is the latest big thinker to get the RSA Animate treatment.

(11) My stroke of insight

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

(12) Ashton Kutcher motivational Speech at the Teen Choice Award 2013

Encouraging words from an unlikely source. Someone in Hollywood is finally telling our kids (and whoever else is listening) 3 keys: building a life rather than living one, find your opportunities, and always be sexy.

(13) This is what happens when you reply to spam email

Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal.


(14) Bring on the female superheroes!

Why is it so hard to find female superhero merchandise? In this passionate, sparkling talk, media studies scholar (and father of a Star Wars-obsessed daughter) Christopher Bell addresses the alarming lack of female superheroes in the toys and products marketed to kids — and what it means for how we teach them about the world.

(15) The power of believing you can improve

Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.


(16) What I learned from Going Blind in Space

There’s an astronaut saying: In space, “there is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.” So how do you deal with the complexity, the sheer pressure, of dealing with dangerous and scary situations? Retired colonel Chris Hadfield paints a vivid portrait of how to be prepared for the worst in space (and life) — and it starts with walking into a spider’s web. Watch for a special space-y performance.

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