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8 Great TED Talks from 2016 That Will Inspire You to Dream, Fail and Connect with Others

Written by: Angie Sloan

Angie Sloan

In need of some inspiration? Try these eight great TED Talks. We’ve chosen these recent talks because they dare us to dream while embracing the idea of total failure, make us laugh, spark our imagination, help us connect with people, and fill us with the wonder of natural beauty.

(If a good laugh is what you're after right away, go directly to #7.) 

 
Innovation and Productivity
 
1. The Unexpected Benefit of Celebrating Failure
Astro Teller | 15:32
 
As director of X (formerly Google X) laboratories, Astro Teller leads his team as they seek to solve some of the world's largest problems. Listen as he describes the process for coming up with "audacious ideas" by making failure a key (and much rewarded) part of the process.
 
 
 
2. The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers
Adam Grant | 15:25
 
Organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, outlines three things he's learned about people he calls "originals" and how to be a little bit more like them.  

 
And in case the last talk had you feeling a little too good about being a procrastinator... 
 
3. Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
Tim Urban | 14:03
 
Tim Urban says non-procrastinators around him have always been perplexed by his procrastinator behaviors, so he set out to explain the differences. Get taken on an insightful and humorous ride through the thought processes of a procrastinator. 
 
 
 
4. A Futuristic Vision of the Age of Holograms
Alex Kipman | 19:05
 
Join the exploration of Alex Kipman's virtual 3D holographic universe in this fascinating demo.
 
 
 
Making Connections
 
5. How Airbnb Designs for Trust
Joe Gebbia | 15:51
 
Airbnb's Joe Gebbia discusses how he and his partners built a company based on the premise that people could trust people they don't know enough to stay in each others' homes. Turns out that good design is key in overcoming ingrained stranger-danger bias and, asserts Gebbia, helps build trust and foster feelings of community and connection.  

 
6. 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation
Celeste Headlee | 11:44
 
Celeste Headlee's experience as a radio host has taught her how to connect with all types of people. Check out her top 10 rules for a better conversation. Then, she urges, "Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed."

 
 
Making Connections Part II (And because it's darn funny...)
 
7. This is What Happens When You Reply to Spam Email
James Veitch | 9:48
 
Ever wonder where the conversation would go if you replied to one of the spam emails you receive? James Veitch gets into a weeks-long back and forth with a spammer and the results are quite entertaining.

 
 
The Beauty of Nature
 
8. Dive Into an Ocean Photographer's World
Thomas Peschak | 10:10
 
Conservation photographer Thomas Peschak takes us into "a wild place full of color and life" with stunning images of sea life and hidden ecosystems. The marine biologist-turned-photographer hopes for a future in which we will have a "respectful coexistence with the ocean."
 

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