Posted: Apr 19, 2013 9:00 AM
Everyone seems to be talking about TED Talks, but what are they? Touching on a wide range of topics, TED Talks are a great way to expand your knowledge — and come away with some interesting fuel for actual adult conversations.

What if there was a place where you could hear amazing speakers on almost any topic imaginable, anytime you wanted? We found it, and you are going to be amazed. TED is the place where interesting people with incredible ideas are mingling and just waiting to share with you.

What is TED?

First started in 1984, TED was originally presented as a conference that gathered people from three worlds — technology, entertainment and design (TED). The scope has since widened, and the nonprofit now not only holds two annual conferences (the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh each summer) but also includes: the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows, TEDx programs and the annual TED Prize.

Speakers are challenged to give "the talk of their lives" in 18 minutes or less.

The whole concept is devoted to sharing ideas — Ideas Worth Spreading, which is their tagline. Speakers are challenged to give "the talk of their lives" in 18 minutes or less. The result is a whole lot of valuable and innovative discussion you won't find anywhere else. There are more than 1,400 TED Talks now available, and they add more each week. Since the videos are released under a Creative Commons license, you are welcome to share and repost them.

Where do I start?

The amazing thing about TED Talks is the variety of speakers and the wide range of topics they cover. From education to the arts, from brain research to clean energy — there is always something of interest.

For beginners, there is a playlist of 11 great talks to get you started. From there, TED has created a section on their site with playlists, or collections of some of the more popular talks, grouped into loose categories like "Work smarter" and "Re-imagining school" to name a few. There are even playlists created by people like Bill Gates, Bono and Isaac Mizrahi.

Stretch your mind

TED Talks are short, thought-provoking and easy to squeeze in when you have 20 minutes to spare.

Admit it — you're too busy to spend hours reading the latest journals, keeping tabs on science innovations or some days even thinking a coherent adult thought. One of the hardest things about being a mother with little ones is that feeling of brain drain. TED Talks are short, thought-provoking and easy to squeeze in when you have 20 minutes to spare. The next time you are out with friends, at a cocktail party or just having a quiet adults-only dinner you will have something interesting to chat about that doesn't involve Dora the Explorer.

Our favorite

We have to admit we have a bit of a girl-crush on research professor Dr. Brené Brown, whose study of vulnerability, courage and authenticity speaks volumes to all of us, no matter what point we are in life. She is not only a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, but the author of several books. Her most recent book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead has turned many more readers into adoring followers. Her TED Talk, The power of vulnerability has logged almost 8-1/2 million views on the site.

Ready to hear some new ideas, expand your way of thinking and escape your world for a few minutes? Give TED Talks a try.

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