If you follow my column, you know I'm a huge fan of TED. Billed as the nonprofit organization devoted to "ideas worth spreading," TED's short presentations can teach you a lot about the current state of business and technology and where we're heading as a society. They also inspire continued learning and self-improvement.

Without further ado, here are my picks for the top 10 TED Talks of 2015, separated by category.

Leadership, Management, and Running Your Business


When given a choice between a job applicant with a perfect resume and another with one that raises some questions, whom will you pick for an interview? In this insightful talk, Regina Hartley defends the workers she identifies as "scrappers." 

Give her 10 minutes, and she may change your hiring practices forever.


Serial entrepreneur and incubator founder Bill Gross analyzed 200 companies, half of them wild successes and the other half complete failures. He looked specifically at the criteria of funding, business model, uniqueness of idea, timing of release, and team and execution to see if one factor stood out above the rest.

You might be surprised by what he discovered.


Most organizations are run by placing a high value on high performers. But Margaret Heffernan argues that this doesn't drive most high-achieving teams. What does? Helpfulness.

Does this sound obvious? Won't helpfulness just happen naturally? It doesn't. Watch the talk to find out why, and how to change things for the better.


Yves Morieux has spent years working with hundreds of companies as a consultant with BCG. In doing so, he's identified a major flaw: We are creating organizations that are only preparing to fail.

As business continues to increase in complexity, companies must simplify. In this impassioned presentation, Morieux explains how.


Ricardo Semlar set out to transform the company he inherited from his father into one where employees worked less and played more, set their own salaries, and gave their leaders specific and transparent feedback. He's conducted this experiment for the past 30 years, with great success. Listen to Semlar's (still) innovative philosophy in this engaging 20-minute talk.

(Note: Although originally filmed in 2014, this talk wasn't made available to the public until this year.)

Personal Growth


At work and in life, it's easy to simply get used to something--because that's just "the way it is." But good designers are always looking for ways to make it better.

Can you learn from them? In this great talk, the man behind the iPod shares three tips for thinking differently.


At 12 years of age, Martin Pistorius contracted a brain infection and lost the ability to communicate. His parents were told that, for all intents and purposes, he had become a "vegetable" and was no longer mentally aware. But in reality, Martin's mind had begun to knit itself back together. The problem? No one knew it.

This talk will make you cry, but it will also make you smile. Through it all, you'll learn the value of a simple smile, the remarkable power of the mind, and why it's important to look beyond the first impression.


This title might not speak to an audience of entrepreneurs and business owners. But the insights Catron provides go much further than finding romantic love.

In exploring the differences between falling and staying in love, Catron teaches important lessons about how we get to know others on a deeper level. Even more important, she raises thoughtful questions that get us thinking about how and why we get close to others.

And through it all, she reminds us of what it takes to maintain our most important relationships.


How do you answer the question, "Where are you from?" If you're like Taiye Selasi, you know that can be a challenging question. Selasi was born in England, grew up in the United States, and has lived and felt emotional connections to a number of other places, for various reasons.

In her search for an answer, Selasi challenges us to explore why we ask that question in the first place. In the process, she also helps us to see that we all share more in common than you might think.

The Future


Earlier this month, I wrote about Li-Fi, the breakthrough technology that's (at least) a hundred times faster than Wi-Fi, and could theoretically use already existing infrastructure. (Imagine that every light bulb in the world could be used to transmit data at lightning speed.) Soon after publishing, TED released this second talk by Haas.

What might the future of the internet look like? Just have a look.