We pay a lot of attention to what we can learn from Bill Gates, the legendary Microsoft founder, philanthropist, and humanitarian.
Yes, he's one of the wealthiest men in the world--his net worth changes from day to day, but is currently somewhere north of $109 billion--but Gates also co-chairs the world's largest private charitable foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to save lives and improve global health.
Naturally, there's a lot of knowledge and insight we can gain from Bill Gates. But it's equally as important to recognize that Gates, like the rest of us, never stops learning. When TED asked him to curate a list of his favorite TED Talks, he initially replied, "There are too many to pick, really."
Gates did eventually name his 13 favorites. Here are five particularly thought-provoking ones from his list:
1. The Danger of Science Denial -- Michael Specter
With vaccine-autism claims and "Frankenfood" bans in the news, the public's fear of science and reason is growing. Michael Spector, New Yorker staff writer and author, discusses why the fear of scientific advancement will impede human progress.
2. The Power of Introverts -- Susan Cain
How often do you wish you were more social and more extroverted? Susan Cain makes a case for the introverts, those who bring big ideas to the table even if they don't speak the most or the loudest. As Cain underlines, looking inward is not a problem, it's a virtue.
3. How I Held My Breath for 17 Minutes -- David Blaine
The famous magician and stuntman gives a highly personal talk about how he held his breath underwater for 17 minutes, a world record. Blaine talks more about the importance of his death-defying work in his life.
4. Could This Laser Zap Malaria? -- Nathan Myhrvold
The inventions of Myhrvold and his team are brilliant, bold, and a big reminder of our need for rule-breaking creativity to tackle world problems like malaria. Watch to see a live demo of the laser invented to zap mosquitoes.
5. Let's Put Birth Control Back on the Agenda -- Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, believes the social change issues we see in the world are heavily dependent on women being able to control how often they have children. This 2012 talk, presented to a local audience at TEDxChange, has Gates reexamining an issue that still makes the news headlines today.