TED.com — 5 — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Continuing my tour of TED.com, the amazing resource for those who want to study ideas and the public expression of them, I’m taking on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html) Mihaly is the expert on ‘Flow’, that state of happy absorption into any creative process that he has documented as part of a life-long research project on happiness. […]

TED.com — 4 — Benjamin Zander

Once in a while, I get to see a real pro at work, and it helps makes up for all the painful speeches I’ve had to sit through.  Benjamin Zander’s 20 minutes on TED.com demonstrates how good a public speech can be when you do everything right. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html) Or almost everything.  He does start off […]

TED.com — 3 — Nicholas Negroponte

My tour of TED.com continues with Nicholas Negroponte’s talk on his One Laptop Per Child program. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/nicholas_negroponte_on_one_laptop_per_child_two_years_on.html) It’s a great program and one that deserves wholehearted support from people in developed countries.  My comments focus on the talk and Negroponte’s delivery of it, not on the worth of the program.  In fact, to demonstrate that […]

TED.com — 2 — Jared Diamond

My second pick from the extensive TED.com archives is a talk by the noted scholar Jared Diamond on “Why Societies Collapse.”  It’s a classic instance of brilliant content married to a faulty delivery. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jared_diamond_on_why_societies_collapse.html) Diamond describes five reasons why societies fail.  He uses as an example the European settlement on Greenland, that began in the […]

You should know TED.com

If you don’t know TED, you should get to know it.  TED.com is a repository of hundreds of fascinating short speeches, on every subject under the sun.  It’s a tremendous opportunity for speakers and students of public speaking to study the great and near-great on line in tidy little packages.  What’s fascinating to me is […]

Debate and its discontents

I was recently interviewed by a public speaking magazine on the subject of various kinds of debates – their uses and abuses.  The underlying question was, is debate training a good thing for public speakers or not? The first distinction you have to make is between debating as people practice it in high school and […]