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Ted Talks Books by Cassie Skobrak, Reference Librarian

Even if you don’t have a computer, and don’t spend your off hours lost in a sea of YouTube videos like some of us, chances are you have heard of the media organization TED, known for their popular Ted Talks and their slogan: Ideas Worth Spreading. TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”, and they have been holding annual conferences since 1990, during which experts in a variety of fields give speeches on often innovative subjects. In 2006 they began making lectures available online, which led to a surge in popularity and accessibility. Today, many of the talks have amassed close to 50 million views online. I’m responsible for a relatively small number of those views.

This year’s conference takes place from April 10th-14th, and the theme is “Age of Amazement”. For those who can’t afford the $5,000 price of admission, fear not! There is plenty of TED material available to us until the speeches make their way online. In addition to videos currently available, many of the popular TED speakers have published books, and – of course – you can get them right here at your local library.

Sir Ken Robinson tops the list of popular TED talks with his speech “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”, in which he questions our educational system, and urges us to make creativity a greater priority in schools.  The speech is both witty and profound, and it’s really no wonder it’s been viewed more than half a billion times online. If you’re interested in more from Robinson, you can check out his new book on the same subject: Creative schools: the grassroots revolution that's transforming education.

Brené Brown has become a popular name over the last decade, and her 2010 TED speech “The Power of Vulnerability” remains one of the top 5 most viewed talks. Since then, Brown has published a number of popular books, including Daring Greatly and Braving the Wilderness. Additionally, Brown wrote the foreword for musician Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking, which expands on her popular TED speech of the same name. 

Tony Robbins is well-known for his self-help books and life-coaching motivational seminars. He’s also known for his 2006 talk, “Why We Do What We Do”, during which he discusses the invisible force that motivates us…and high fives Al Gore. Robbins has published five books to date, the most recent of which is entitled Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook.

Award-winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is renowned for books and collections of short stories, and in 2009 she gave a memorable TED talk called “The Danger of a Single Story”, in which she cautions us against reducing complex, multifaceted individuals (as each and every one of us are) to a single narrative or identity. More recently, Adichie gave another speech at TED, titled “We Should All Be Feminists”. You may be interested in checking out her new book: Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.