Over the years, the best TED Talks have inspired and empowered many people to live much better lives. Here are 19 of the best TED Talks that can do the same for you in areas that really matter.
In this article:
- Best TED Talks of All Time: Personal Growth and Development
- Best TED Talks of All Time: Personal Finance
- Best TED Talks of All Time: Health
- Best TED Talks of All Time: Technology
- Best TED Talks of All Time: Career Development
- Best TED Talks of All Time: Relationships
Best TED Talks: 19 Talks That Can Change Your Life for the Better
Best TED Talks of All Time: Personal Growth and Development
1. Choose Yourself – James Altucher
In Choose Yourself, bestselling author James Altucher sprinkles his talk with the right balance of humor and brutal honesty.
Altucher shares his experiences with failure and how he was able to turn his life around. In this talk, he shared some key principles he used to rise from his life’s proverbial ashes, including:
- Emotional Health
- Physical Health
- Spiritual Health
2. How to Make a Work-Life Balance, Work – Nigel Marshall in TEDxSydney
One of the most important aspects of a person’s growth and development is work-life balance. In How to Make a Work-Life Balance, Work, Marshall doesn’t just explain why we should take control over this but also gives an example to guide us in achieving this balance.
3. How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over – Mel Robbins
Mel Robbins, of the “5-Second Rule” fame, shares a very simple yet profound way to become much happier in How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over. It’s about overcoming procrastination, which is the single biggest factor that keeps people from successfully making changes in their lives.
Using a good balance of humor and provocation, Robbins shares the keys to success and a rewarding life, such as turning off our mental autopilot and destroying comfort zones.
Best TED Talks of All Time: Personal Finance
4. One Life-Changing Class You Never Took – Alexa Von Tobel
In One Life-Changing Class You Never Took, Von Tobel made a strong case for schools to include personal finance in their curriculums. She did it by telling the story of a typical American adult who’s already buried in debt even before graduating.
More importantly, she pointed out what could’ve saved that person – and millions of other Americans – from huge debts. And that savior could’ve been financial literacy at the school level.
5. Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow – Shlomo Benartzi
Shlomo Benartzi, who is a behavioral economist, talks about behavioral finance in Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow. In particular, he talked about how instant gratification prevents people from saving money for their future.
And in this talk, Benartzi doesn’t just explain why many people don’t save money for their future. He gives important advice on how to overcome instant gratification and start saving money for the future.
6. 3 Psychological Tricks to Help You Save Money – Wendy Dela Rosa
In 3 Psychological Tricks to Help You Save Money, Dela Rosa explains why people who commit to saving money for the future end up defaulting on such commitments. More importantly, she gives her audience tips for discovering and overcoming their bad financial habits, such as their saving habits.
Best TED Talks of All Time: Health
7. There’s No Shame In Taking Care of Your Mental Health – Sangu Delle
In There’s No Shame in Taking Care of Your Mental Health, which was held in Lagos, Nigeria, businessman turned mental health advocate Sangu Delle shares his experience with mental health.
At first, he rejected his own doctor’s suggestion to see a mental health professional for his anxiety. However, his view on mental health made a 180-degree turn when people started ostracizing his best friend for his schizophrenia.
8. All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes – Andy Puddicombe
Many people don’t take meditation seriously for various reasons, with the leading being misinformed beliefs about the practice. In All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes, the cofounder of popular meditation app Headspace makes a strong case for developing a daily meditation habit, especially for good mental and physical health.
9. How to Live to be 100+ – Dan Buettner
His worldwide quest to discover the secrets to longevity led Dan Buettner to four places where people lived the longest. In How to Live to be 100+, he shares the longevity and vitality secrets he learned in those four places.
Best TED Talks of All Time: Technology
10. The Accelerating Power of Technology – Ray Kurzweil
Renowned futurist and tech thinker Ray Kurzweil talks about how technology is evolving and how it can change the way we live in The Accelerating Power of Technology. In particular, he talks about how today’s technological advances are becoming more and more integrated, such as with singularity.
11. 10 Top Time-Saving Tech Tips – David Pogue
Popular technology columnist David Pogue shares 10 clever and simple tips that can help people use their gadgets better and faster in his TED talk, 10 Top Time-Saving Tech Tips. While some of the ideas he shares may sound familiar, you’ll probably still be able to pick up a new and useful tip or two.
12. Big Data is Better Data – Kenneth Cukier
Similar to climate change, Big Data is another very controversial topic that strikes fear in the hearts of many. But in his stimulating talk, Big Data is Better Data, Kenneth Cukier allays Big Data fears many people have about it by presenting how it can help us live much better lives.
Best TED Talks of All Time: Career Development
13. How Great Leaders Inspire Action – Simon Sinek
Having a clear “why” or purpose is crucial for setting and accomplishing the right goals for career success. And while Sinek uses a corporate or business perspective when talking about “why”, the principles he shares in How Great Leaders Inspire Action applies to employees, too.
14. Smash Fear, Learn Anything – Tim Ferris
When we look back on our lives, many of its best results come from doing the things we fear doing the most. For this reason, Ferris encourages his audience to embrace fear as a friend and just go after things they need to succeed in Smash Fear, Learn Anything.
15. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are – Amy Cuddy
According to experts, effective communication is mostly about non-verbal communication. Think about why you don’t trust politicians with noble promises – it’s the non-verbals that make you doubt what they say.
In Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, Amy Cuddy explains the importance of body language. And more importantly, she explains how your body language can impact the persona you project to others, which is important for career success, too.
Best TED Talks of All Time: Relationships
16. Three Ways to Build a Happy Marriage and Avoid Divorce – George Blair-West
As more and more married couples head towards splitsville, more people are becoming skeptical of happy and enduring marriages. George Blair-West gives us hope that a happy and enduring marriage is still very much possible these days in Three Ways to Build a Happy Marriage and Avoid Divorce.
In this very practical and enlightening talk, the renowned psychiatrist shares three important things couples can do to avoid divorce. He specifically talks about how couples can spot potential marriage problems even prior to marriage.
17. The Power of Vulnerability – Brené Brown
In her poignantly funny and share-worthy talk, The Power of Vulnerability, Brené Brown shares a powerful relationship-changing insight on vulnerability. This insight, a product of her research, also drove her to know herself and others even more.
18. Dare to Disagree – Margaret Heffernan
Most people prefer to stay clear of conflicts, thinking they’re bad for personal relationships. As a result, Margaret Heffernan makes a strong case for how healthy relationships require a healthy dose of disagreements, too, in Dare to Disagree.
Here, she shows how even the best friends and lovers aren’t just mere sounding boards that don’t react or disagree. In this talk, she also shows how the best personal and working relationships tend to be those that allow disagreements to happen.
19. On Being Wrong – Kathryn Schulz
In On Being Wrong, Schulz says that everybody goes through life within a bubble of infallibility. In other words, we go through moments in life when we feel we’re correct about everything.
However, just think about how much personal and professional conflicts we can avoid in life if we acknowledge our mistakes.
Schulz enlightens her audience why it’s hard to acknowledge mistakes and the costs of not doing so in this talk. More importantly, she shares ideas for overcoming this proud tendency of ours.
When it comes to life-improving knowledge and inspiration, TED Talks like these are some of the best sources. Therefore, watching TED Talks regularly is one of the best habits a person can develop for a better life.
Do you have other TED Talks you’d like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments section below.