We’ve found the best and brightest videos for you to enjoy when you need to stretch your mental muscles. These cover a variety of topics, but they’re all guaranteed to make you look at the world around you at least a little bit differently.
Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Though the “Last Lecture” series at Carnegie Mellon University is themed around what the professors’ last lectures would be, for Randy Pausch, who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer, this would literally be his last lecture. But don’t think this video is a downer because Pausch is dying: he’s in good humor and you’re guaranteed to crack a smile while watching his inspirational talk about how to live life to its fullest.
Told through Pausch’s reminiscing, his lecture focuses on achieving one’s childhood dreams and, even better, how to help others achieve their dreams. At over an hour in length, it’s well worth your time.
Steve Jobs: Stanford Commencement Address
Several years before his death, the Apple CEO gave the Commencement Address to the graduates at Stanford University. In it, he talks about his own life: he dropped out of college after six months, unable to see the value in whiling away all of his parents’ savings. He didn’t know how at the time, but he hoped it would all work out — and, if you know anything about the story of his life, it did.
His message of believing in yourself and following your own path is full of humor and insight. It isn’t to be missed and only clocks in at a little more than 15 minutes.
Susan Cain: The power of introverts
We live in a world that doesn’t always cater to the needs of introverts—a personality type that accounts for a third to a half of all people and tends to prefer quiet over loud, isolation over socialization. Cain, an introvert and the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts, offers a thought-provoking argument that suggest introverts have as much to offer the world as their extroverted brethren.
One of the more popular TEDTalks, The Power of Introverts runs just under 20 minutes and may make you see a new side to yourself or those around you.
Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your world-view
You might think that statistics are downright dull, but in this lecture Swedish professor Hans Rosling explains the world in a whole new way through statistics. Using huge, animated diagrams and giving play-by-play commentary like a professional sportscaster, Rosling brings the subject to life and will change the way you see the world and what you thought you knew to be true. Being another TedTalk, it only runs about 20 minutes.
Clifford Stoll: The call to learn
“Once I do something, I want to do something else,” Clifford Stoll explains in this animated lecture. Stoll is an astronomer, but is probably best known for his work tracking down computer hacker Markus Hess in 1986, in one of the earliest examples of digital forensics. During this 18-minuteTED Talk, in which Stoll most closely resembles a mad scientist, he covers his very many interests and makes a round-about case for lifelong learning.
Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”
Don’t know what a filter bubble is? It’s a phenomenon unique to the Internet-era in which our interests and preferences tailor the kinds of content we see on search engines and social channels. And while it can be helpful in directing us to the information most relevant to us, Eli Pariser explains that it can also prevent us from seeing opposing viewpoints in this 9-minute TEDTalk.
Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is well-known as a business leader who’s been outspoken on the subject of women in the workplace. So it’s no surprise that when she spoke at a TED Conference she gave a 15-minute passionate argument for why we need more women leaders in the world. She also focuses on the messages we send women about working and the messages we send our daughters as well.
Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days
Have you ever wanted to try something new… but had trouble sticking to it? Or, worse, had trouble even getting started? Google search guru Matt Cutts encourages you to pick up new habits by trying them for 30 days: you may be amazed at what you can accomplish doing just a little every day! Clocking in at just 3-1/2 minutes, this is one video not to miss.
Adam Savage: My obsession with objects and the stories they tell
The Mythbusters’ Adam Savage takes the stage in this 16-minute lecture where he talks about his fondness for collecting, which we would kindly call obsessive. Through his lengthy explanation of recreating his own Dodo bird skeleton and Maltese Falcon, you learn a lot about Savage’s intense attention to detail and the drive all of us have to collect the things we love.
Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice
This last talk is one of the most powerful. After a struggle with cancer, Roger Ebert lost his jaw and his voice, but he never let it silence him. With the help of a computer and several close friends, Ebert explains how he regained his ability to speak. And while you might think someone else reading for Ebert might make for a dry presentation, his words and expressions make it fascinating. If you only have 20-minutes to watch any of these videos, make it this one.
This article was written by Elizabeth Harper and originally appeared on Techlicious.
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