One of my favorite web sites in the whole world wide interweb is TED. Back in my college days, I changed majors a lot. Engineering, English, Pre-Law, Psychology, Broadcasting. It’s perhaps telling that my favorite classes back in those days were broad survey courses where I learned big ideas about big subjects. Once it got down to the nitty-gritty details, I lost interest and moved on to something else. Eight years all total and I still ended up a few credit hours short of graduating.
It drove my family crazy back then. My lovely wife even suggested I needed therapy. She was probably right. But looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Even now, if I could just go back and take classes without worrying about grades or graduating, I’d do it. I just love that feeling of sitting in a lecture hall and having a world of new ideas open up before my eyes. That’s where TED comes in. It’s like getting to sit in on lectures from the greatest minds in the world. From the about page:
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
It’s an awesome collection. Here’s one of my favorites from the 2006 conference.
Many more gems at www.ted.com
Somewhat related to this subject is a book I’ve written about in the past: A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.