Do you know what TED is? TED is a brilliant non-profit, famous for it's conferences, and their entire mission is: Spreading Good Ideas. No, really. They exist to put smart ideas into the world, on every subject imaginable. I got lost on their site for an hour yesterday watching three 20 min videos, but you could certainly get lost for days over there.
I was first turned on to this video thanks to following Bill Gates on Twitter. It was titled "The Wisdom of Whores" so how could I not click on the link? But what followed was a really engaging, witty, LOGICAL talk on how to better use our public dollars to prevent the spread of HIV, and how counter-intuitive measures are often the way to go.
I actually felt such a deep sense of relief watching a talk and a way of thinking that was based on nothing but what clearly works and what doesn't (logic!). I've gone mad with frustration over hearing tv politicians and arm-chair philosophers spout off random, nonsensical shit based on headlines, emotional manipulation, and a what's-convenient-for-me-personally philosophy that I have to just disengage from it all. But watching Elizabeth Pisani was a nice little salve to all of that.
If you want something a little less political, Alain deBotton (author of one of my favorite books, On Love) gave a great talk about what it really means to be successful, how manipulated our personal views of success are, and how we can view the whole subject a little less harshly. He's alarmingly smart and a wonderful philosopher. And most of all, he says outright all of the things we're not supposed to say and not supposed to feel and illuminates the unspoken parts of our psyche - my kind of man.
And for the creative amongst you, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the wildly successful Eat, Pray, Love) gave a talk on the creative process and the idea that "genius" is not something that we are, but (in line with the Ancient Romans) something that we all have.