20 Powerful TED Talks for Political Minds

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February 10th, 2011

TED offers talks from some of the most impressive minds in our time, and if you're interested in big picture political thinking, TED is the place to go. From using the Internet for good, to changing the world with dance, you'll find serious food for political thought in these TED talks.

  1. Chris Abani Muses on Humanity: Chris Abani reflects humanity in this TED talk. He tells the stories of people standing up for themselves, being compassionate, and more.
  2. Omar Ahmad: Political Change with Pen and Paper: Omar Ahmad explains that a hand written letter is a superior political communication tool. Watch this TED talk to see why old fashioned correspondence can be more effective in politics and beyond.
  3. Gordon Brown: Wiring a Web for Global Good: UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants to use the Internet for global good. His talk discusses how we can use interconnectedness to confront challenges around the world.
  4. Peter Eigen: How to Expose the Corrupt: Peter Eigen, of Transparency International, explains how social problems can be traced to government corruption with global companies. Follow this talk to learn about counter-attacking this corruption.
  5. Mallika Sarabhai: Dance to Change the World: Mallika Sarabhai is a dancer, actor, and politician that believes the arts may be the most powerful way to change the world. In this talk, Sarabhai tells a story in dance.
  6. Fields Wicker-Miurin: Learning from Leadership's "Missing Manual": Unfortunately, there's no official user manual for leadership. However, Fields Wicker-Miurin shares stories of remarkable local leaders that can offer exceptional learning for leaders.
  7. Tony Robbins Asks Why We Do What We Do: Why do we do what we do? Watch this talk from Tony Robbins, with a cameo from Al Gore, to learn about the invisible forces that motivate people.
  8. Patrick Chappatte: The Power of Cartoons: Can a cartoon change the world? Patrick Chappatte's talk discusses how cartoons can illuminate issues and bring people together.
  9. Julian Assange: Why the World Needs WikiLeaks: On the controversial website WikiLeaks, classified documents and video are shared with the world. The website's founder is in trouble with authorities, and he explains why he does it and what he's accomplished.
  10. Michael Sandel: The Lost Art of Democratic Debate: Have you debated lately? Michael Sandel's talk discusses the art of civil debate, and offers a refresher on debate skills.
  11. Joseph Nye on Global Power Shifts: Joseph Nye discusses global power shifts, specifically between China and the US. Nye's talk explains the global implications as power shifts around the world.
  12. Michael Sandel: What's the Right Thing to Do?: Harvard professor Michael Sandel discusses ethics in this talk. Consider the worth of a human life, torture, stealing, and more.
  13. David Cameron: The Next Age of Government: David Cameron, leader of Britain's Conservative Party, explains how people empowered by technology are becoming more powerful than governments. This talk discusses how this phenomenon can be used to create smarter policies.
  14. Noah Feldman Says Politics and Religion are Technologies: In this talk, Noah Feldman discusses why politics and religion are similar technologies. He explains that although they are different, they connect and manage groups of people.
  15. Karen Armstrong: Let's Revive the Golden Rule: Consider religion's role in the 21st century with Karen Armstrong's talk. She discusses whether dogmas divide or unite us for the common good.
  16. Doris Kearns Goodwin on Learning from Past Presidents: We can improve politics today by studying the past. Doris Kearns Goodwin's talk takes a look at important lessons from American presidents.
  17. Jonathan Haidt on the Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives: This talk from psychologist Jonathan Haidt discusses five moral values that form our political choices. You'll see the values that liberals and conservatives typically honor the most.
  18. Barry Schwartz on Our Loss of Wisdom: Barry Schwartz thinks our society has gone mad with bureaucracy. In his talk, he makes a call for "practical wisdom" to help rebuild our world.
  19. Rory Sutherland: Sweat the Small Stuff: Why are we so concerned with big picture solutions to problems? Rory Sutherland's talk explains why we should take a look at better, simpler answers.
  20. Evgeny Morozov: How the Net Aids Dictatorships: Most people believe that the Internet helps spread freedom and democracy. But Evgeny Morozov explains how it also enables oppressive regimes to stifle dissent.

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