On Friday nights, my wife and I often watch a movie at home. A couple of weeks ago, I picked out 5 possibilities from the public library. At home, we “looked under the hood” for these titles on the Web, and none seemed too exciting, so I suggested that we look at some TED videos online instead. And that turned out to be just the thing for an enjoyable evening.

Part of the reason I had TED on my mind that evening is that I was in the middle of working on the Controlled Serendipity & Storytelling series of articles I was writing, based on the work of Maria Popova, who coined the term “controlled serendipity.” Noting that two of Popova’s strong interests are TED and storytelling, it occurred to me that that’s what’s so appealing about TED — It’s storytelling at its best — Good talkers sharing their passions — “Riveting talks by remarkable people” (See below for more about the stories on TED, and the stories my wife and I especially enjoyed …)


I think TED is often thought of as being rather geekish, but it has a wide variety of compelling topics and presenters. Keep in mind what TED stands for — Technology, Entertainment, Design. My wife is far from being a geek, and she has plenty to choose from. Here are the talks we liked from the Best of TED talks

Did the TED storytelling spirit come from India and Pakistan? I was sensitized to the centrality of storytelling – Age-old & modern – in South Asian cultures when I wrote about my idea that master-storyteller Salman Rushdie envisioned the Web. So, seeing that TED developer Chris Anderson “was born in a remote village in Pakistan, and spent his early years in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan” certainly makes me wonder — Did he learn to love story telling from that experience?

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumseytemp AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumseytemp

3 thoughts on “TED is About Storytelling

  1. Pingback: Seeing the picture » Blog Archive » Storytelling + TED + Librarians

  2. Definitely! The best of TED is the story, told by the person who lived it, in the service of describing a consuming passion.

    Not everything on TED is story – nor does it need to be. But my favorite TED presentations rely on story to portray experience, whether it be a starting point, and ending point, or a process of transformation.

  3. Pingback: too many choices?

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