9 of the Best, Most Life-Changing TED Talks—According to Reddit

updated Jul 29, 2019
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Ask any TED Talk devotee and they’ll tell you the same thing: A good TED Talk does more than just inspire you—it changes the way you see the world. So when Reddit user SlingingJeans28 asked for others to share their favorite life-changing TED Talks, we paid extra close attention to the comments section.

Here are nine TED Talks that commenters credited with transforming their lives—from the big existential stuff all the way down to daily minutiae, like to how to use a paper towel properly:

Procrastinators of the world rejoice: the top-voted TED Talk in this thread is all about the joys–and perils–of putting things off until the last minute. Told by self-proclaimed “master procrastinator” Tim Urban, this hilarious talk dives deep into the rabbit hole of wasted time—and more importantly, reminds us that we can’t ever get it back.

This TED Talk came highly recommended by multiple Reddit users. Led by Brené Brown, a researcher who studies human connection, this talk humorously explores our innate ability to empathize, connect, and love each other (and ourselves). In the words of commenter Jeratain: “I cannot recommend this TED Talk enough.”

There are always at least two sides to a story, but what happens when we only hear one? Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie explains how “single storism” can unfairly shape our perceptions of people, places, and cultures, while reminding us that we’re all complex people with overlapping histories, too.

Artist and musician Amanda Palmer knows all about the importance of asking. From her humble beginnings as a street performer asking fans for spare change all the way to her record-breaking Kickstarter campaign—which raised over $1.2 million for her solo album and tour—Palmer explains why asking people to pay for music fares better than making them.

According to community leader and TED Talk host Joe Smith, you’re probably not drying your hands with paper towels correctly. In an attempt to reduce waste and improve viewer’s lives, Smith teaches us how to dry off our hands with just one paper towel —Flick and Fold!—in a way that Reddit user wrludlow says has “stuck with me all these years and is how I dry my hands to this day.”

In a world full of extroverts, being an introvert can be tough. In her 2012 TED talk, writer Susan Cain schools viewers on the ways others often misunderstand introverted people in our outspoken society, and the value of knowing when to keep quiet.

Writer Andrew Soloman knows a thing or two about depression. Along with suffering from depressive disorder, he’s written a bestselling book—”The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression“—about it. In this Reddit user-approved TED Talk, Soloman offers insight into his own personal battle with depression—and what he discovered about others dealing with the disorder while researching his book.

When it comes to life-changing TED Talks, this one from Terry Moore may take the cake. In less than three minutes, Moore blows our minds by showing us a foolproof way to securely tie our shoes with a strong knot—a method that’s likely very different than the way you were taught growing up.

If you thought childhood trauma was “just a natural part of growing up,” you’d be sorely mistaken. In this powerful talk, pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris breaks down the both the mental and physical impact childhood trauma can have on the brain, and the ways it can manifest into serious health issues in later age.