TED Talks


Our 6 favourite work-related TED talks

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We all have our favourite content sources when it comes to interesting insights and articles. But it often ends up being very similar content, wherever you look, making it difficult to filter out things you didn’t already know.

TED talks, on the other hand, with their great variety of speakers and topics, can provide us with a fresh outlook on problematics old and new. Experts, scientists, artists, comedians, all have one thing in common: they are passionate about their subject and want you to know more about it in an original, funny, compelling, uplifting or tear-jerking way.

So we have compiled for you a short list of some of our favourite talks, in no particular order. “Ideas Worth Spreading”, related to the world of work.

1. Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?

Taking a behavioural approach to how we perceive our work, economist Dan Ariely invites us to see what really matters by talking about two experiments he conducted. It turns out we do much better when we feel our work is meaningful, and when our efforts are acknowledged. This witty, clever and at times humorous talk will surely make you rethink a few of your views on what it is exactly that motivates us to work.

2. Mellody Hobson: Color blind or color brave?

“It’s time to be comfortable about the uncomfortable conversation about race”, says Mellody Hobson, finance executive. It is time for us to stop tip-toeing around the issue of race and to face it head on, be it in our lives or in our work environment. In this very engaging talk, she argue that speaking openly about race and diversity in hiring makes for a better business, and in turn, a better society.

3. Wingham Rowan: A new kind of job market

More and more people need to be more and more flexible in their working hours, but it’s difficult for those to engage in an efficient and satisfactory way with the employers who can use their services. Wingham Rowan makes the case that we should use the technology that powers financial markets, but also state-controlled facilities in order to create a new and very necessary kind of job market. “Do not underestimate the transformative power of truly modern markets.”

4. Nigel Marsh: 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. How do you balance your family time, personal time and productivity? Nigel Marsh offers a few solutions, tapping in to his own experience and struggle with formerly being a “classic corporate worrier”. Guaranteed to make you laugh and shift your perspective all at once.

5. Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs?

As robots get exponentially better at everything, many jobs will be affected or even disappear in the future. And “we ain’t seen nothing yet”, says Andrew McAfee. Stepping back into history and looking into the future, he comes with a very positive and thrilling view of what will come next, as the droids take all our jobs.

6. Andrew McAfee: What will future jobs look like?

Economist Andrew McAfee says that, as droids are getting more technologically advanced, they will take our job. This new machine age would bring about the age of technical unemployment, and so he wonders… What will future jobs look like? What will we do? And how should we educate coming generations to hold them?


Not strictly speaking related to work, but these will undoubtedly help you, both personally and professionally.

Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better

In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.” In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you.

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Buddhist monk, photographer and author Matthieu Ricard has devoted his life to these questions, and his answer is influenced by his faith as well as by his scientific turn of mind: We can train our minds in habits of happiness. ([With] stunning photographs of the Himalayas and of his spiritual community.)

Which one of these TED talks did you find the most inspiring? Do you have any others to suggest? Tell us about it in the comments.