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TED talks worth listening to

June 16, 2019

I was talking to my very dear sister-in-law, the jeweller and goldsmith Vicki Ambery-Smith recently. I don’t recall how it came up, but it turned out that, like me, Vicki likes listening or watching the occasional TED talk.

I am writing this today, Father’s Day, to have some quiet reflective time.


Piece by Vicki Ambery-Smith

Typical Vicki: whereas I listen to talks which align with my interests, Vicki often listens to those which differ from hers, to have fresh insights and be exposed to different interests. (Maybe I am being harsh on myself).

I offered to let Vicki know some of the TED talks which I found interesting or impactful. This blog is the result, and I will add to it from time to time.

I tend to watch TED talks using the TED app on my iPad. If using it, search by the speaker to find this talks.

In no particular order:

His Holiness Pope Francis

When the Pope meets or sees people in straightened or dire circumstances, he thinks “there but by the grace of God he would be”.


Three Questions

I defy anybody not to be moved by this talk. 

And I also think her three questions are really useful, and widely applicable.

What do I want to do? the first question; and now the second question, which is so often not considered

Why do I want to do it? and if the reasoning is worthwhile, and only then, the third question

How will I go about achieving it?



Time management

A very interesting and insightful talk by Laura Venderkam.

Her story about the problem with her house flood must resonate with everyone.


Helping, just by listening

I have learnt a lot over the last five years through my work with St Ann’s Hospice and the hospice movement generally.

And learned about loneliness in older people, too.

Only a week or so after watching this TED talk, I learnt about the financial difficulties that Silverline, the charity Sophie Andrews is CEO of, is facing.

Watch this talk, hear about Sophie’s life, hear about Silverline’s work, and decide for yourself if it is a charity worth supporting.





Well, not useful: but you might find this talk insightful.

Robert Lang is one of my heroes. The level to which he and others have taken origami will surprise you.


Just a fun one. To show what can be found by dipping in at random on TED.


The Language of images

I’ve been advising on tax for over 30 years; I have counselled and mentored dozens and maybe a hundred people. Many joke or smile at my use of drawings to help express what I want to say. (Maybe because they are often scribbled).

One of my longest known, dearest, clients, presently in very poor health, was a trigger. I helped him understand some difficult tax matters relevant to him by a drawing, which I know he has kept for over 15 years. And in 2019, I came up with a new way to talk about what I talk about professionally which involves drawing.

My drawings are kindergarten. Watch, enjoy, and think about this TED talk:


Giver or taker?

A very simple concept, this talk takes it to levels where insights can be drawn.


And finally

I can’t do a posting on “what to watch” without mentioning one of the most meaningful, impact and moving talks I have ever heard. Worth watching and re-watching.

I have guided many friends and colleagues using some of the insights from Randy Pausch’s last lecture. A google search will find various links to it on YouTube and elsewhere. Worth your time, when you can concentrate.



The above are a summary of the TED talks which I remember watching; those I will watch again; those I learnt from, or that moved me. Doubtless I have missed several that I shouldn’t. As I remember these, and as I come across new ones, I will update this posting or add a new one.


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