The 12 Most Innovative, Inspiring and UnMissable TED Talks

The 12 Most Innovative, Inspiring and UnMissable TED Talks

“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."

TED "Ideas Worth Spreading"

Pretty Awesome right?

This is why I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE TED talks and believe them to be one of the best sources on the web for learning, leadership, and personal development. Where else do you have access to the worlds most inspiring, informative, ingenious and innovative people talking about how they are going to do to change the world?

Surfing the TED site is a like walking into a giant candy store, where everything looks and tastes delicious! You want to sample everything but know it will be too much all at once. Bite by bite you work your way through the possibilities until you discover the best of the best; the flavors you want to savor and take with you, celebrating the most amazing with all.

So, without farther ado, I share with you my most cherished discoveries. Each and every one of these 12 Most Innovative, Inspiring, and Unmissable Ted Talks promises to tickle your taste buds and leave you with a sweet sense of excitement and possibility.

Enjoy every morsel!

      1.  JR – Use Art To Turn the World Inside Out a semi-anonymous French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out. After enjoying the talk; make sure you check out the
      2. Ben Zander – On Music and Passion  this talk will not only leave you with a new appreciation for classical music; it will renew in you with a beautiful sense of hope and optimism as watch Mr. Zander awakens the possibility in his students with the act of creating ‘shining eyes.’ One of my absolute favorites!
      3. Randy Paush – Really Achieiving Your Childhood Dream Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, delivers a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention to what matters most in lives. He taped this moving talk just months before he passed away from pancreatic cancer. Unmissable indeed!
      4. Jill Bolte Taylor's – Stroke of Insight  In this moving talk, brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor provides a first-person account of her own stroke and the experience of losing control of her bodily functions as well the functions of the left side of her brain. Instead of it being a painful or frightening experience, she said the stroke put her in a intense state of bliss and nirvana. Sharing this experience became her motivation for recovery and our motivation to count our blessings.
      5. Sir Ken Robinson – Bring on the Learning Revolution  Sir Robinson explores what many believe to be true; formal education strangles rather than nurtures our students creative genius and potential.  This is his second TED talk about creativity in education; a follow up from his first TED appearance which has now been seen by over 4 million viewers. It is a must see for anyone who is passionate about changing our education system.
      6.  Tim Brown – On Creativity and Play  as one of founders of the award-winning design firm Ideo, Tim speaks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play. Tim argues that a playful environment which relaxes natural inhibitions is more conducive to creative and useful ideas than the very “serious” environment you find in most companies. He makes the case (and I agree); we must give one another permission to play more often!
      7. Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability  a key component of true intimacy is making yourself vulnerable to another person and letting them really see who you are. In this talk, you’ll learn how the ability to empathize, love, and share your personal vulnerabilities can not only bring you closer to another human but your humanity itself.
      8. Elizabeth Gilbert  author of Eat, Pray, Love, examines the way society looks at artists and the way artists look at themselves in this TED talk. She feels that the creative people should view their work as channeling God's creative gift to them rather than as their own personal creative genius. And she hopes such a shift might prevent some of the madness and self-destruction that occurs in so many of our modern artists. Loved this talk and presentation!
      9. Tony Robbins  Personal development author and speaker Anthony Robbins explains in his TED talk that when people fail to achieve something, the defining factor is a lack of resourcefulness. He adds that if people are resourceful enough–if they’re creative and determined enough–they’ll find a way to achieve what they’re after. A must watch!
      10. Steven Johnson one of my favorite writers delivered this fantastic talk at TED Global, based on his book Where Good Ideas Come From: A Natural History of Innovation, exploring the cross-pollination essential to ideation and creative thinking. The talk was later animated by the RSA for an even more delicious treat.
      11. Chimamanda Adichie – The Danger of a Single Story  Novelist Chimamanda Adichie talks about the danger of only knowing a single story about a particular culture and relates it to events that have happened throughout her life.  Adichie tells the story of going to Mexico while the media was reporting on the immigration crisis and she embarrassed by her cultural bias and at the diversity of Mexican culture she saw. She encourages us all to seek out a variety of stories about cultures and not just adhere to the one definitive story that is often told by the powerful of one's own culture. Wise lessons for all to in this powerful talk.
      12. Dan Gilbert – Happiness Expert psychology professor at Harvard, and author of Stumbling on Happiness. demonstrates with wonderful stories, anecdotes, and research just how poor humans are at predicating and understanding happiness. This talk will surely make you think the next time you say to someone: Don't worry, be happy! Enjoy, Enjoy!
And don't forget to check out the TEDx videos. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." The platform is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.I recently had the privilege of speaking at a TEDx and have loved the local and global impact of the conversations it sparked.

Share your favorite TED experience below:

  • Which talks do you savor?
  • Which talks resonated?
  • Which talks MUST be shared?





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  • Janet Barclay

    I didn’t know much about TED until I attended TEDx Waterloo this past March. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go because it didn’t focus on topics I generally follow personally or professionally, but I found it amazing, probably BECAUSE it opened my mind to how much more there is to the world. It inspired me to write a whole series of blog posts featuring some of the speakers and videos I saw there, but the one that impressed me most was Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles.” 

    I look forward to exploring the ones on your list!

  • Brad Patterson

    Oh… nice Angela.  This is a post I can dig.  I’ve only seen three of these.  Weekend watching now planned.  Best to you from Paris, Brad

  • Billy Delaney

    The stuff of the heart, soul and being human. Thanks for these gems.

  • Stan Faryna

    Randy Pausch left us a legacy that stirs us to live more fully. Rest in peace, you Man of Steel. May God watch over your family and buoy their hearts.

    Brené Brown too opened doors to a life lived whole-heartedly. Vulnerability, however, is easier talked about than lived out in our lives.

    And then there is Angela Maiers (you), who told us, You Matter! I understand that humility prevented you from listing yourself and your TED talk, but oh-oh-oh, it surely belongs among the most inspiring and important TED talks that have ever been given.

    Thank you, Angela. Shine on. Rise higher.

    Stan Faryna

    Recently on my blog: I find it difficult to be honest.

  • Maija Haavisto

    Not surprised to see a very ableist talk on the list. Well, TED as a whole is ableist, but still. Bleh.

  • Shelley Lundquist

    I can;t wait to watch them all, thank you!

  • joomla website design

    Really these are some of inspiring, interesting and unmissable ted talks ypou shared here.. Thanks for such a great source..

  • Jen

    I absolutely LOVE the Brene Brown vulnerability talk. I’m sure that I’ve watched it at least 10 times. Truly inspiring and eye-opening. Plus, she’s a great speaker, very personable and someone that I could really relate to.

    And of course the Randy Pausch talk left me welling up with tears.Thanks for reminding me of these great talks, I think I need to give them another listen!

  • AngelaMaiers

    Thanks, Jen! Those are two of my favorite talks as well. Have fun exploring some of the less familiar talks as well. They are all truly inspiring!

  • AngelaMaiers

    Thank you so much, Stan! I’m glad you were inspired by You Matter. These are some of my favorite talks with similar themes. Check out with International You Matter Day if you thought they were interesting. I love the feedback!

  • AngelaMaiers

    Have fun watching, and have fun in Paris! Thanks, Brad!

  • AngelaMaiers

    I’m so glad you found the inspiring world of TED! Keep exploring and see what you can find! Thanks for the feedback!

  • Arina Nikitina

    I just love TED videos. I compiled my own TED favorites at

  • Dr.M

    Thanks for the list. One of my all time favorites which i have watched and could watch over and over again is Sarah Kay. Absolutely lovely…

  • Dan Meyer

    I LOVE your list of great TED Talks!

    I compiled my own list of my TOP 20 Favorite TED Talks here:

    But my favorite TED Talk is the one that got the standing ovation at TEDx Maastricht “Doing the Impossible, Swallowing the Sword, Cutting Through Fear”

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