10 TED Talks by 10 Superstar Intellectuals


There have been countless brilliant minds who have walked the face of the planet. They have created entire worlds of their own, be it Shakespeare in his worldly plays or Einstein in his otherworldly theories. They have taught us something we never thought about, be it Louis Braille in his linguistic struggles or Hawking in his physical ones. But, above all, most noticeably, they have spread ideas worth sharing.

TED.com captures some of them into exquisitely crafterd frames of 18-minute talks.

  1. The mind behind Tesla, SpaceX, Solar City… – Elon Musk

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Experts” the world over, before the 2000s, believed that we wouldn’t have a decent electric car until 2050. One man did it eleven years ago, way back in 2005. The world sees lofty dreams of Earthlings on Mars by the 2040s. One man plans to wave them goodbye by 2025.

Meet Elon Musk. The wildest ideator the world has perhaps ever known. In this delightfully illuminating interview, Musk and Chris Anderson together dissect a Tesla electric-powered automobile, as well as the vision Musk sees for the world’s tomorrow.

  1. Meet the inventor of the electronic spreadsheet – Dan Bricklin

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Dan Bricklin changed the course of history – arguably, the entire world – forever, when he fathered VisiCalc – the forerunner of Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

Bricklin unravels the spreadsheet’s way through homework assignments and youthful exasperations as he recalibrates a wonder spawned from the computer universe – he revisits VisiCalc’s history in this unmissable TED Talk.

  1. Averting the climate crisis – Al Gore

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The Kung Fu Panda-physiqued Nobel Laureate shot to instant, globe-scaled fame with An Inconvenient Truth. The documentary shone out in more than one way – it never sounded like a sappy lecture. Never felt like a stupid “Save the planet; Save yourself” billboard. Add the ingenious moviemaking to Gore’s easy-going, hilarious coversationalism, and you get a long-longed-for breath of fresh air.

Al Gore talks about climate change like you’ve never heard before. He turns the most talked-about of topics into an entire ideology about itself, employing the most candid of tools – including a “warmer” term for global warming.

  1. How to live before you die – Steve Jobs

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“The heaviness of being successful was replaced with the lightness of being a beginner again. It was an awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”

“I took a calligraphy class that probably would have no significance in my own life. But as it turned out, when I was designing the first Macintosh ten years later, that insignificant calligraphy course gave birth to the beautiful typography Mac came with,” Jobs says. “Arguably, no personal computer today would have text options today had I not learnt calligraphy, because, as you all know, Windows only copied the Mac model.”

  1. Where’s Google going next? – Larry Page

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The man who gave us Google, fortunately, gave us a TED Talk as well.

TED2014 saw the most domineering search engine giant till date engage in an interview with Charlie Rose. Then-CEO Larry Page unwraps the roller-coaster ride Google is on its way to. Ever thought that Page dreams of creating an aerial bike? How does an internet balloon work? How could Deep Mind’s startling discoveries change the world as we know it?

In 23-odd minutes Page divulges all.

  1. The art of misdirection – Apollo Robbins

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Given TED’s burgeoning warehouse of talented idea-presenters, it comes as no surprise that world-renowned mentalist Apollo Robbins shares the TED megastage.

In his light-heartedly candid talk, Robbins exposes how sedentary our minds are, and exactly how magicians harness this mental inactivity to carry out the most incredible of acts the world has ever known.

  1. TED’s secret to great public speaking – Chris Anderson

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Who better to talk about TED Talks than the creator of the institution itself? In his straight-from-the-studios talk, Anderson imparts priceless gems of advice on public speaking.

While he admits there is no single secret recipe to an extraordinary TED talk, whatever the idea to be shared, all TED talks do contain a curious commonality. Four edicts of public speaking that work not only on a TED stage, but wherever you go. A must-watch for any public speaker.

  1. Innovating to zero! – Bill Gates

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“We do it the human way. We don’t bomb our way out. We don’t drill our way out. We innovate our way out.”

Microsoft founder, multibillionaire and world-renowned philanthropist Bill Gates deftly deploys his shrewd wording magic to tell us why “miracles” are the need of the hour. “Miracles” that could resuscitate the wounded environment. “Miracles” that could be our only way out.

How is the nuclear reactor he dreams of radically different from the one we all think about? How could we employ all of human intellect across the planet to save it?

How could we innovate our way to zero carbon emissions before it’s too late?

  1. An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi

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The fact that #BlackLivesMatter was one of the top-trending hashtags of the year bears testimony to its skyrocketing popularity – not only in the United States, but rather the world over. Not only as an echo, a reminder of the horrors of racism, but rather, and much more significantly, as an all-encompassing icon of human equality.

The three founders of this massively famous campaign delve into the world of “colour”.

Colour as a spectroscope through which to look at life. Colour as a heartless weapon through which to ruin life.

  1. Why we have too few women leaders – Sheryl Sandberg

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Monetizing and running the world’s best-known website (read: web nation) is not an easy task.

For a woman. Or are we sure enough?

What makes us believe that men make better leaders? What makes us think that women are incapable to lead an organization? The answer lies not in feminine inability, but in something that seems to be hardwired in the human mind. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, probes that something and gives us an answer that truly, unquestionably, deserves the top spot in every TED chart.


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