The Ted Talk archive with conversations dating as far back as 1984 is a mind orgasm worth several hours of escape. In other words, settle under a blanket on a Saturday evening of your choosing, put the play button on auto and ready yourself for huge doses of delight.
Most of my favourite TED Talks are by women. Some are funny. Others are provacative. All make me see the world differently. Best of all, they are free to watch though sometimes we forget and that for all the incredible insights and inspiration TED talks have provided the masses over the years, it is expensive to actually attend one of the official main conferences
The “Age of Amazement” in Vancouver where more than 100 activists, scientists, adventurers and change-makers gathered this past April was a cool $10,000. In Tanzania the year before, it would have cost you a cool $6,000 to attend and no, that does not include flights etc.
Luckily, that’s where your remote and blanket comes in. Here are my top five outstanding talks by women. Save them for your Saturday evening snuggle down and don’t forget to share some of your own favourites in the comment box below.
Author Isabella Allende
This actually was the first TED Talk I ever watched and I go to it again and again because it serves as a reminder that living passionately is not just for the young. In Allende’s personal stories you’ll find plenty nuggets of wisdom that you can immediately put to use.
Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Everyone has read, heard or seen Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s classic talk, The Danger of a Single Story. It’s a classic and one of the most popular talks delivered by any speaker on the Ted stage. But this riveting chat by Adichie on feminism will speak to your heart for this line and plenty more like it:
“ We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much … to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men.”
Adichie questions how we can begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.
Finance Executive Melody Hobson
This talk is engaging and persuasive with direct call to actions. The subject of race relations is so explosive now and it almost seems that Hobson’s presentation on how to be colour brave was better fitted for a time when we felt more optimistic.
But that’s exactly why I’ve included it in my top 5 TED Talk list by women. Hobson’s story about how her mother teachings made her want to excel is also a plea to be less colour blind, to look past differences and stop “otherising” those who appear and speak differently. Her case for diversity, particularly increasing black hiring and how it makes for better business and a better society is especially relevant given her new appointment as the Vice Chair of Starbucks.
Writer Roxanne Gay
Roxanne Gay is the latest addition to my top Ted talk female speakers. If you ever follow this self-proclaimed bad feminist, (the title of one of her books) on Twitter you’d know that she handles the trolls who shame her size, politics and writing with the finesse of a sous chef in possession of a very sharp blade.
That why her TED Talk on feminism is so good. In it, she is vulnerable but she is also funny, sharp-witted. In short, everything her legions of fans love about her.
Gay argues that being brave enough to build inclusive environments has the power to “trickle upward to the people in power — editors, movie and music producers, CEOs, lawmakers — the people who can make bigger, braver choices to create lasting, meaningful change.”
CEO Arianna Huffington
When Huffington Post and Thrive founder Arianna Huffington said that all women should sleep their way to the top, we stopped and took notice. Her talk was particularly interesting and life-changing for me because when it was released in 2010, I was going through one of my worst sleep deprived periods. Her viewpoints helped. Backed by science, research and lots of interviews, Huffington believes that sleep deprivation is a global crisis and it is robbing smart people of their best ideas.
In this TED Talk, Huffington says that by getting more sleep, people can live a more productive, inspired and joyful life. Seven years onward, I agree.