Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Sometimes, they're nuggets of pure joy and mental stimulation.

Then there are those after which you shake your head slowly and wonder what you've just witnessed.

Over the years, though, TED Talks have turned into classy Happy Meals of contemporary thought.

As you prepare yours, perhaps you'd like to know which subjects are the most popular.

Thankfully, the people at trade show and exhibit specialists Exhibit Edge decided to count what people were really watching and, indeed, what they'd watched between 2001 and 2017.

When you look at the subjects, you might see a little glimpse into humanity's greatest concerns.

So what do you think is the most popular subject for a TED Talk?

The Future, perhaps? Spirituality? How To Grow Your Own Highly Organic Broccoli?

Not quite. It's Communication.

More than 223 million people have stared at, one imagines, fine communicators communicating about communication, so that the viewers can learn how to communicate better.

And somewhere, Franz Kafka chuckles uncontrollably.

It's fascinating that we might see this as our greatest human concern, in an era in which communication seems often to consist of hectoring those we don't like on Twitter and friending people whom we don't actually know and sharing our baby pictures with them.

Somewhere inside, it seems, we'd love to communicate better, but all the world's fine self-help books haven't shown us how.

The second most-popular topic is, oh, Technology, with more than 196 million views.

Is this, like communication, something we fear and therefore desperately want to master?

Or are we merely seeking the latest insights and trends, so that we can show off at work?

The third-biggest category is Health.

May I surmise that we know the modern world is doing a good job of beating us into a robotic pulp and we're looking for any and every spiritual, metaphysical, dietary and psychological way out of the problem?

After these three apparent essentials comes Art

Art comes before Happiness, it seems. I know several artists who truly believe that.

And to round out your Top 10 are five subjects, none of which has even broken the 100 million mark: Education, Creativity, Motivation, Design and, oh, Politics.

This is who we are.

We're people who have lost the art of communication, struggle with the onslaught of technology, worry that we're going to be sick all the time and are desperate to find solace in art, so that we can be happy.

We'd also like to become more educated, but preferably in 20-minute bites. We'd love to explore our creative sides, find ways to motivate ourselves to explore our creative sides, wish we understood design better and long for an appreciation of politics.

Does that sound like you? It does, doesn't it?

Published on: Apr 11, 2018