There’s a lesson or two to learn from TEDTalks: brevity, narrative, poignant, genuine. I was probably ten when my father shared with me (in exasperation, no doubt) that no preacher should speak for more than 15-20 minutes. “If he can’t figure out what he wants to say in that amount of time,” I remember him saying, “then he doesn’t have anything to say.” Part of what makes TEDTalks so gripping is that the authors offer only the essence of their genius. They sift through all of the fluff, drill down to the most crucial or intrinsic elements, and word-smith until they hold a finely-crafted work of art. Here are a handful that have shifted my thinking in significant ways.

1. Sugata Mitra: The Child Driven Education

2. Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

3. Clay Shirky: How cognitive surplus will change the world

4. Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

5. Daniel Pink: What Motivates Us (Okay – not a TEDTalk, but in the same spirit)