I like to binge watch TED and TEDx talks when I'm not busy eating, traveling, or reading. So far, I've attended a couple of TEDx conferences and watched over 100 TED/TEDx talks online. Here are my notes for some of my favorites. 



  • Kelly McGonigal on "How to Make Stress Your Friend"
    • Changing how you think about and react to stress can change outcomes (your belief about what stress does to you has more of an effect than stress itself)
    • Studies show that people who believe stress can kill die at a much higher rate, but people who are under more stress, but don’t believe or know about its “negative” effects are healthier and more likely to live long happy lives.
    • "One thing we know for certain is that chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. Go after what it is that creates meaning in your life, and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows."
    • Stress facilitates social connection (through oxytocin)


  • Ruth Chang on "How to Make Hard Choices"
    • Hard choices are not about finding the better option between alternatives. Choices between alternatives in which one alternative is better in some of the relevant respects while the other is better in other relevant respects often make people agonize. It's difficult for people to pick one between the two because there is no "better option."
    • Hard choices require you to define the kind of person you want to be. You have to take a stand for your choice and then find reasons for being the kind of person who makes that kind of choice.
    • In other words, we can choose our own identity in times of hard choices. This is powerful stuff.
    • "Far from being sources of agony and dread, hard choices are precious opportunities for us to celebrate what is special about the human condition, that the reasons that govern our choices as correct or incorrect sometimes run out, and it is here, in the space of hard choices, that we have the power to create reasons for ourselves to become the distinctive people that we are."

Social Psychology

  • Simon Sinek on "Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe"
    • Great leaders foster an environment of trust and cooperation. They do so by putting the lives and safety of those under them above of themselves. Those of follow the great leaders can learn to trust their leader and great things will follow. 
    • Example: Boss refuses to lay off his employees during company downfall. Instead, asks everyone to make a little bit of sacrifice for the greater good. Result: morale increases, sales increase, feelings of trust and cooperation garnered within the company. 
    • "If you get the environment right, every single one of us has the capacity to do these remarkable things,and more importantly, others have that capacity too."
    • "The only variable are the conditions inside the organization, and that's where leadership matters, because it's the leader that sets the tone. When a leader makes the choice to put the safety and lives of the people inside the organization first, to sacrifice their comforts and sacrifice the tangible results, so that the people remain and feel safe and feel like they belong, remarkable things happen."
    • Leadership is not the same as authority. 
    • "Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the senior most levels of organizations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities, and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them. And I know many people who are at the bottoms of organizations who have no authority and they are absolutely leaders, and this is because they have chosen to look after the person to the left of them, and they have chosen to look after the person to the right of them. This is what a leader is."