Friday, December 4, 2009

TED Talks

Open Culture has an article mentioning a few popular Ted Talks.

I watched three of them.  They were all decent, but I didn’t think any of them were extraordinary.  Still, I would recommend them all.

Sir Ken Robinson on “Do Schools Kill Creativity.”  This is the least novel of the three.  As the title reveals, Sir Ken Robinson contends that the structure of modern high schools is not conducive to creativity.  At this point, I think this fact is pretty well-known to everyone.  Sir Robison’s liberal sprinkling of humourous personal anecdotes turns his speech into an indulgent stand-up comedy routine.

Dan Gilbert on “Why are We Happy.”  Dan Gilbert suggests builds his presentation upon the fact that one’s happiness is linked to one’s expectations.  Mr. Gilbert avers that people who convince themselves to be happy are just as happy as people who are “really” happy.  He presents a few experiments to prove his claims.  I am generally sceptical of psychological experiments; nonetheless, this is an Mr. Gilbert’s is an interesting speech.

Barry Schwartz on “Paradox of Choice.”  Mr. Schwartz’s premise is that excessive freedom is harmful.  He provides a number of reasons for this assertion.  I agree with his observation that the rampant consumerism of Western society is detrimental to the lack of choice available in developing countries.  In one country, there are 175 varieties of salad dressing on the grocery shelf; in other country, people don’t have enough to eat.

Did you know that more than 30,000 children starve to death each day?


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