The Top 20 TED Talks Videos

8Nearly every college student and professor is familiar with TED Talks and its famous videos and speakers who cover topics ranging including global business, happiness, medicine, technology, joy, workers, innovation, science, biology, psychology, and much more. After all, TED is “dedicated to ideas worth spreading.”

But have you ever wondered which ideas have been spread the most widely from six years of TED Talks online videos? Which videos spark our interest the most?

Here is a list of the top 20 most-watched TED Talks. Go to for the rest of the list and for links to these thought-provoking talks.

  1. Sir Ken Robinson – schools kill creativity.
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor – stoke of insight.
  3. Pranav Mistry – the thrilling potential of Sixth Sense.
  4. David Gallo – underwater astonishments.
  5. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry – demonstrate Sixth Sense.
  6. Tony Robbins – why we do what we do.
  7. Simon Sinek – how great leaders inspire action.
  8. Brene Brown – the power of vulnerability.
  9. Steve Jobs – how to live before you die.
  10. Daniel Pink – the surprising science of motivation.
  11. Hans Rosling – the best stats you’ve ever seen.
  12. Elizabeth Gilbert – nurturing your creative genius.
  13. Arthur Benjamin – does mathemagic.
  14. Mary Roach – 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm.
  15. Dan Gilbert – why are we happy.
  16. Keith Barry – does brain magic.
  17. Stephen Hawking – big questions about the universe.
  18. Johnny Lee – Wii remote hacks for educators.
  19. Jeff Han – demonstrates his breakthrough multi-touchscreen.
  20. Barry Schwartz – explores the paradox of choice.

What TED Talks videos top your list?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Bring up and show a video that appeals to you. Prepare a handout to guide students in the video; include several questions that they can answer in group discussion.
  2. College students love TED Talks. Professors are sometimes surprised at the variety of subjects students seek out on TED. For this activity, divide students into teams and have each team select a topic to search on TED.
  3. Have each team select a video to show the class.
  4. Each team should prepare a sheet with at least five questions. The answers to the question are in the video. As students watch the video, they analyze and prepare answers to the questions for class discussion.
  5. Do this exercise for several weeks, perhaps over the length of the semester. Each week, a new team can present their video.


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