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Last Updated on February 3, 2021

20 of the Most Inspiring and Most Popular TED Talks Ever

20 of the Most Inspiring and Most Popular TED Talks Ever

TED talks are amazing resources for anyone looking to further their knowledge and self-education. On TED, you can find talks on anything from strange animals of the ocean to how to boost your creativity to up-and-coming technologies. While there are many high-quality, inspiring TED talks, we’ve collected the most popular TED talks here to get you started.

1. How to live passionately–no matter your age

No. of views: 3,725,288

Isabel Allende, a Chilean author who has written masterpieces such as The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts, gives an incredible perspective on how to live your life in this inspiring TED talk. She argues that, regardless of how old you are, you have the choice to live passionately on your own terms.

2. The danger of a single story

No. of views: 25,879,348

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian novelist, motivates everyone to listen to stories outside of their comfort zone and warns of the dangers of a critical misunderstanding if we hear only a single story about another person or country. In one of the most popular TED talks of all time, Adichie will inspire you to befriend those who are different from you and open your mind to the unfamiliar.

3. The puzzle of motivation

No. of views: 26,784,055

In this insightful TED talk, Dan Pink, a New York Times bestselling author, talks about how incentive design doesn’t spark creativity. Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Watch here to learn about what kind of motivation can be most effective in inspiring change.

4. The power of vulnerability

No. of views: 51,851,713

In one of the most popular TED talks ever, Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, argues that the ability to feel connected is what makes us feel alive. She teaches us that “shame” is the fear of disconnection, which results in our vulnerability and how we must embrace it if we want to live a full life.

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5. How great leaders inspire action

No. of views: 53,434,379

British-American author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek shares how great leaders inspire others to take action through one very simple question: Why?

6. Your body language may shape who you are

No. of views: 60,239,527

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, bestselling author, and award-winning Harvard lecturer, discusses the ways we use body language to change the way our life unfolds. She argues that a “power pose” can boost feelings of confidence despite our self-doubt.

7. Do schools kill creativity?

No. of views: 69,448,842

New York Times bestselling author Sir Ken Robinson discusses how children’s creativity is educated out of them. There needs to be an education system that nurtures rather than undermines creativity, he argues. This is ranked as one of the most popular TED talks not only for the quality of the information but for Robinson’s gift of entertaining while delivering that information.

8. Grit: the power of passion and perseverance

No. of views: 22,563,726

Angela Lee Duckworth, an American academic, shares insight from her research and show how passion and perseverance can outweigh high IQs when it comes to success in this short TED talk. Her experience with this concept came from a job she took teaching math to seventh graders.

9. Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

No. of views: 47,243,889

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In this poignant, funny talk, Tim Urban discusses his habit of procrastination and challenges viewers to reflect on what they’re really procrastinating on before they run out of time to get to what’s really important. The humor and inspiring information Urban offers makes this one of the most popular TED talks ever.

10. What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

No. of views: 36,825,982

In this life-altering TED talk, Robert Waldinger, an American psychologist and professor at Harvard, discusses a 75-year-old study[1] on adult development that revealed some secrets on how to be happy. He offers some practical guidance on how to live a fulfilling life that every viewer will find useful.

11. The art of misdirection

No. of views: 28,923,538

Recognized as the greatest pickpocket in the world, Apollo Robbins uses a hilarious demonstration to show how easy it is to use human perception against individuals. Be careful; he just might swipe something while you’re not looking.

12. The next outbreak? We’re not ready

No. of views: 39,741,403

This TED talk by Bill Gates seems especially insightful against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of what Gates discusses is being lived by people all around the world. This has been one of the most popular TED talks for years, and with good reason, it seems. Gates suggests ways that we can continue to plan for outbreaks and pandemics in this informative, inspiring talk.

13. The happy secret to better work

No. of views: 23,249,641

Shawn Achor, an American author and advocate of positive psychology, gives a hilarious speech on the psychology of positivity and how happiness is what makes us work productively.

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14. How to spot a liar

No. of views: 30,200,822

Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and “hotspots” used by those trained to recognize deception. She argues that honesty is a value worth preserving and recognizing in one of the most popular TED talks of all time.

15. Your elusive creative genius

No. of views: 20,003,126

Elizabeth Gilbert, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, believes that instead of being a genius, we each have a creative genius inside of us. Unfortunately, she says, we often get in our own way, blocking our creative genius from showing its true abilities.

16. The surprising science of happiness

No. of views: 19,370,111

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert argues that we can feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned. This is a great talk for anyone facing difficult challenges or hardship in life.

17. My stroke of insight

No. of views: 27,336,874

Jill Bolte Taylor, an American neuroanatomist, got an opportunity many brain scientists never hope to have: she had a massive stroke that allowed her to watch as her brain functions—motion, speech, self-awareness—shut down one by one. In one of the most popular TED talks of all time, Taylor shares deep insights into how our brains work, and just how fragile they really are.

18. Strange answers to the psychopath test

No. of views: 26,742,197

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Jon Ronson, a Welsh-American journalist, author, and filmmaker, dives into what it really means to be crazy and sane and just how thick the line between them really is. This lively and eye-opening talk may have you questioning whether you have a little psychopath in you, too.

19. The power of introverts

No. of views: 27,852,382

In this insightful TED talk, Susan Cain, an American writer and lecturer, argues that introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world that should be celebrated instead of shunned. If you’re an introvert, you’ll come away from this talk feeling deeply understood. If you’re an extrovert, you’ll come away with a newfound appreciation for those who don’t think the same way as you.

20. How to make stress your friend

No. of views: 25,706,979

In this inspiring TED talk, Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, makes the case that we should stop seeing stress as an enemy and instead see it as a positive part of our lives. She argues that reaching out to others can be the best way to deal with stressful situations.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for inspiration, the most popular TED talks of all time can help. Each of these talks will inspire you to think or act differently. If you’re seeking a more open-mind and want to understand humanity a bit more, these speakers will get you there.

More Inspiring TED Talks

Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Harvard Gazette: Good genes are nice, but joy is better

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Published on May 11, 2021

20 Best Books on Personal Development

20 Best Books on Personal Development

Let’s face it—transformation isn’t always easy. Getting from where you are to where you want to be in life requires a lot of personal growth and development. It can require everything from letting go of old beliefs to speaking up for yourself and setting boundaries to even recognizing your own unmet needs. These aren’t exactly skills we’re taught in school, so it can be incredibly overwhelming to even know where to start.

A few decades ago, most personal development information was locked behind thousand-dollar seminars and coaching programs. Fortunately, the industry has absolutely exploded in the last decade, and a large part of that is driven by books. For under $15 or with a library card, we now have access to priceless wisdom from some of the most brilliant minds and best books on personal development.

By reading the words of experts in the field, we literally can think their thoughts and benefit from decades of experience to improve our own lives. So, how do you get started?

Here are the 20 best books on personal development that can completely transform your life.

(Links are listed for accessibility, but remember to check your local library to see if these books are available for free. And don’t forget to support your local bookstore, if possible.)

1. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

    Celebrated by everyone from Martin Scorsese to Elizabeth Gilbert, The Artist’s Way has been one of the most important books for artists and non-artists alike for decades. It guides you through a 12-week process of morning journaling and self-dates to unlock all of your blocks to creativity and intuition and live a life that feels like you.

    Whether you are an artist or not, this is an insightful book that will bring so much clarity to what you really want out of life and why you’ve been holding yourself back.

    Get the book here!

    2. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

      Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown has been a leader in studying vulnerability. In The Gifts of Imperfection, she shares research and encouragement that helps you release the definition of who you think you’re supposed to be to become who you actually already are.

      Brené encourages you to let go of shame, open up to vulnerability, and live a more authentic life. This is an inspiring and important book for anyone struggling with the shame of being radically yourself.

      Get the book here!

      3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

        In Start with Why, author and TED speaker Simon Sinek shares the secret that united Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers—they all started with “why.” They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the “why” behind it.

        While this book is primarily focused on work or business, Start with Why makes a compelling case for the power behind a strong motivation that people can get behind and how it can inspire more innovation and support.

        Get the book here!

        4. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

          For decades, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has famously studied the concept of “flow”—the highly-focused psychological state that Olympic athletes, great artists, and brilliant scientists all find themselves in at moments of groundbreaking success.

          By breaking down decades of research into bite-sized actions, Flow reveals the process to create this state for yourself and get “in the zone” to achieve your optimal potential.

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          Get the book here!

          5. The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence by Doc Lew Childre and Howard Martin

            Touted by Deepak Chopra as the book that “saves you years of therapy,” The HeartMath Solution pulls together decades of Institute of HeartMath research on how to be less stressed and make better decisions, making it one of the best books on personal development.

            This practical, easy read will change the way you view the relationship between your head and heart. The techniques in the book are incredibly simple and can help you calm down from some of the stressful moments in a matter of seconds to tap back into your best decision-making.

            Get the book here!

            6. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

              If you’re overwhelmed by too many things to do and never seem to accomplish the stuff that really matters to you, then this is an invaluable book. The ONE Thing argues that until your most important task is completed, everything else is a distraction that diffuses your energy and makes you frantic.

              This book helps you focus on what you really care about and want to accomplish and then, organize your life around accomplishing the “one thing” before moving on to something else. This is one of the best books for personal development, especially for anyone who’s struggling with overwhelm and productivity.

              Get the book here!

              7. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

                Codependent No More has been an international bestseller for more than 30 years, and the reason is that we all struggle with codependency somewhere in our lives.

                Whether it looks like addiction, people-pleasing, taking care of everyone around you, or just not giving yourself enough self-care, this book unpacks the roots of codependency and helps you break free once-and-for-all.

                This is an important book for anyone having challenges in friendships or relationships or struggling with people-pleasing or addiction.

                Get the book here!

                8. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

                  Presenting ancient Stoic wisdom to a modern audience, The Obstacle Is the Way shows you how to turn your obstacles and challenges into massive opportunities.

                  Ryan Holiday draws from the same ancient philosophy that empowered John D. Rockefeller, Amelia Earhart, and Steve Jobs to succeed and breaks down the essential formula for not running away from obstacles but actually running toward them.

                  This is a really empowering book for anyone struggling with obstacles to get what they want.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement by Ayodeji Awosika

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                    Real Help isn’t your usual self-help book. Wildly popular Medium writer Ayodeji Awosika takes a no-BS, tough-love approach to developing mental toughness, finding clarity, and taking action to transform your life.

                    This is a great book if you’ve read dozens of self-help or personal development books but haven’t taken action to change your life. Real Help gets right to the point and gives you actionable steps to start implementing change right away.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

                      Year of Yes is a deeply personal and honest account of how the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal Shonda Rhimes started saying yes to everything that scared her.

                      This inspiring and raw memoir makes you reflect on what you’ve been avoiding or making excuses for out of fear and what would really happen if you started saying yes to all the stuff that terrifies you. It’s a relatable, casual, easy read, and is great for anyone who needs a little inspiration to start saying yes to life.

                      Get the book here!

                      11. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks

                        Psychologist Gay Hendricks unpacks why we all seem to self-sabotage when we’re so close to success and what it will take to leap to a life where you’re in your “Zone of Genius.”

                        In this highly motivating book on personal development, you’ll walk step by step on how to “go beyond your internal limits, release outdated fears, and learn a whole new set of powerful skills and habits to liberate your authentic greatness.”

                        Get the book here!

                        12. Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior (5.2.1985) by David R. Hawkins

                          Hailed by Mother Teresa, Lee Iacocca, and Sam Walton, Power vs. Force combines spirituality and cutting-edge research to help you understand your emotions and level of consciousness.

                          In this seminal work, David Hawkins explains how to get a yes or no answer to any question you ask and how to understand what you’re feeling and why so that you can begin to change your life and the world around you.

                          While it’s not exactly a light beach read, this book is really eye-opening for those wanting to explore spirituality as part of their personal development.

                          Get the book here!

                          13. What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey

                            Personal development as we know it would not be the same without Oprah Winfrey. For 14 years, Oprah shared her greatest wisdom in a monthly column for O, The Oprah Magazine called “What I Know for Sure.” This book collects all of those essays—a lifetime of Oprah’s greatest experiences and lessons—into a comprehensive work.

                            What I Know for Sure is honest, thoughtful, and deeply inspiring. This is a powerful book for devout Oprah Winfrey fans and soon-to-be fans alike.

                            Get the book here!

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                            14. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

                              In this memoir, Navy SEAL David Goggins recounts his own life story from poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse to becoming one of the world’s top endurance athletes and military icon through pure will.

                              Can’t Hurt Me will inspire you to stretch and persevere to defy even the most improbably odds and realize that when you think you’re completely tapped out, you’ve only tapped into 40% of your capabilities—and there’s still so much more you can do.

                              It’s an inspiring, tough love book that will motivate you to take action toward your dreams.

                              Get the book here!

                              15. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

                                In The Happiness Project, writer Gretchen Rubin documents her entire year of testing out research, classical philosophy, and common wisdom to find out what makes her truly happy.

                                This casual and accessibly written book inspires you to design your own happiness project to transform each area of your life as you follow Gretchen’s journey and contemplate research on happiness.

                                If you’re looking for an inspiring structure to change every aspect of your life, The Happiness Project is an easy read that can inspire you to experiment with what makes you happy.

                                Get the book here!

                                16. Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement by Tony Robbins

                                  The name Tony Robbins has been synonymous with personal development. In Unlimited Power, he reveals the exact techniques he has used to help Olympic athletes, movie stars, and heads of state to harness their own untapped power.

                                  This book breaks down complicated neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques into simple visualizations that anyone can learn in literally minutes to start to change the way your mind processes information. If you’re looking to change your thinking or step into more confidence, this is an important book to not overlook.

                                  Get the book here!

                                  17. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

                                    In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor flips conventional wisdom on its head. It’s not that we’ll be happy when we’re successful. It’s that we’ll actually be successful when we’re happy.

                                    Shawn presents research that shows us how to rewire our brains for positivity and optimism to be happier in our lives, our careers, and even our health. He also breaks down actionable strategies to retrain our brains, build a solid support network, and spread positive change to the people around us.

                                    If you’re looking to retrain your brain for happiness and success, this is definitely a worthwhile book to consider.

                                    Get the book here!

                                    18. Energy Leadership: Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core by Bruce D. Schneider

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                                      Renowned coach Bruce D. Schneider doesn’t just tell you what energy leadership is—he shows you. In Energy Leadership, Bruce recounts the story of how he helped a client to transform his failing business by systematically changing the energy of the business.

                                      At each new level, there are specific emotions, actions, and predictable arguments. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to identify exactly which level of energy leadership every relationship, job, and friendship in your life is at and how to begin transforming it for the better.

                                      It’s an eye-opening look at why we’re stuck where we are and how we can shift ourselves and those around us to get extraordinary results.

                                      Get the book here!

                                      19. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

                                        Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert digs into her own creative process in Big Magic to unpack the mysterious and spiritual nature of inspiration. She discusses the habits needed to cultivate creativity, go after our deepest desires, and confront our fears.

                                        With a casual, poetic tone and lots of encouragement, Big Magic inspires you to find the magic inside—whether that’s to create art, start a new business, or bring more mindfulness and passion to our everyday lives.

                                        If you’re looking for more inspiration and creativity, this is an important book to reignite that fire within.

                                        Get the book here!

                                        20. Enough Already: Create Success on Your Own Terms by Mike Iamele

                                          I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my own book on this list.

                                          Enough Already is a battle cry for the success seekers who are fed up trying to achieve someone else’s definition of success. Broken up into 12 steps, the book follows a journey through the 12 aspects of creating success on your own terms with homework and challenges at the end of each chapter to implement the work into your life immediately.

                                          By the end of the book, you’ll have a completed strategic plan to step up into the world and go after even some of your biggest dreams knowing that you are enough already.

                                          Get the book here!

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          You only need one good idea to change your life, and there’s so much important wisdom and inspiration in the 20 best books on personal development listed above. You don’t have to read all of them. You just have to start.

                                          Personal development is about taking action to develop yourself personally. So, scan this list, find a book that resonates with you, and then start reading.

                                          You don’t need to measure the magnitude—just the direction. If you take one tiny step toward the life you want, every day for a year, you’ll be 365 times closer to your dreams a year from today. But you just have to start.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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