My 10 Must-Watch TED Talks

January 11, 2017

I love learning new things, so it’s no surprise that I am a huge fan of TED talks. Today I’m outlining my 10 must-watch TED talks (in no particular order) that will enlighten and inspire you as you head deeper into this brand new year.

1. Dan Beuttner: How to Live to be 100+

Dan Beuttner’s is a researcher of longevity. He discovered “blue zones” — pockets around the world where people were living to 100 and beyond at rates 10 times higher than the US. This talk outlines his research and he discusses what the secrets of longevity are. (Like Chris Traeger, I am convinced I will live to be over 100, so this was right up my alley.) Dan Beuttner has also written several books, including The Blue Zones.

2. Stella Young: I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much

Stella Young, who died in 2014, was a disability advocate who helped change the way I thought about people with disabilities, and the verbiage I used to talk about them. Let this talk help you confront your ableism.

3. Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

Dr. Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist and the author of The Defining Decade. Her work is all about why our twenties matter as a developmental sweet spot. This talk is a must-watch for anyone who uses the phrase “I don’t want to adult today” or anyone who is 28 and still behaves as if they are in college.

4. Monica Lewinsky: The Price of Shame

This talk will help you see Monica Lewinsky in a new light as she addresses our “culture of humiliation” in the digital age.

5. Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Undoubtedly one of my favorite TED talks by one of my favorite people. I’ve spoken about Brene before (sure, I feel like we are on a first name basis) because she changed my life. I will never forget where I was the first time I heard  this talk. It so eloquently put to words ideas that I had always believed but never known exactly how to vocalize. Her books, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong are also worth your time.

6. Shonda Rhimes: My Year of Saying Yes to Everything

This is a great TED talk for anyone who has a hard time playing, any career-driven people who want to choose work over home. Shonda is a powerhouse. She is the writer, creator, and executive producer of incredibly popular television series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. She also wrote a book centered around the same theme of this talk, Year of Yes.

7. Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit, the Power of Passion and Perseverance

I first heard Angela Duckworth talk about grit on Freakonomics (“How to get more grit in your life” from May 2016), and was instantly drawn to her words. Grit is something we all need more of, especially those of us with a lot on our plate and big dreams. (On a personal note, let me publicly say how proud I am of my husband, Clay, for having passion and perseverance for the long term goal of earning his degree. Being in school and having young children is not for the faint of heart). As seems to be the case of most of these talks, Angela Duckworth also has a New York Times Bestseller with the same title as the talk, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”

8. Pico Iyer: The Art of Stillness

This talk is all about the importance of rest, how reflection on experiences is more important than the experience itself because it brings context. This is also a little clue as to what my second word of 2017 might be…

9. Lidia Yuknavitch: The beauty of being a misfit

Oh, the joy in my heart when I discover a story of positive transformation following brokenness (incidentally, this is the topic of my upcoming podcast)! And Lidia’s TED talk has a good one. If you feel like a misfit, and if that has ever stopped you from pursuing something you desperately wanted, this is for you. I love listening to Lidia recount how her inner dialogue tore her to pieces. My favorite takeaway from this talk is this: “even at the moment of your failure, you are beautiful.”

10. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

I could listen to Liz Gilbert’s voice all day. I am serious–she has the most encouraging and soothing voice. I am not interested in being cliche, but I read Eat Pray Love at an incredibly critical time of my life, and her Magic Lessons podcast has spoken deeply to me over the past few months. I’ve always felt an affinity with her, and so I couldn’t not feature her talk in this post.


What are your favorite TED talks? What inspires you and lifts your spirits, or gives you new and exciting things to think about?

By Kellie