Top 10 TED Talks for MBA Students

TED talks bring the greatest minds to the stage, from which they can share their experience about just about anything. Here are the top 10 talks about business for MBA students.

#1. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Sinek’s TED talk deserves to be the most-watched. In it, he describes the “Golden Circle” and explains the approach of great leaders. Apple and Martin Luther King, Jr. serve prominently as his examples. Their secret? Don’t start the conversation with how you do what you do, but why you do it.

#2. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Cuddy explores the largely understood significance of non-verbal language. Illustrating its importance with early examples of unrecoited handshake offers, she quickly transitions into what body language can do for you. It turns out that emotion doesn’t just influence our bodies, but our bodies also influence our emotions. The professional
implications are staggering. Landing a job, securing a client and increasing your at-work pleasure can all be done with the right body language!

#3. Tony Robbins: Why We Do What We Do

Robbins is a big man and a quick talker. His talk is a highly condensed version of his typical 50-hour seminars in which he explains his position as a “Why Guy.” After assuring the audience he is not a motivational speaker, he jumps right into discussing the invisible forces that drive us: emotion, state of mind, world view, etc. Also, there’s a weird cameo with Al Gore.

#4. Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation

Pink puts the traditional workforce reward system on blast. The old ways of motivating employees to succeed make sense intuitively, but do they work? A 40-year tradition of motivation misses the mark. As it turns out, the real motivation doesn’t come from things, things, things. It comes from somewhere else.

#5. Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

A bookworm since childhood, Cain still remembers the time her camp counselor made her store her literature under the bed. She’s an introvert, but she’s knows she’s not alone. History’s leaders, she argues, aren’t necessarily best when they’re loud, confident and certain. Sometimes the contemplative introvert has an arsenal all her own and Cain explores it beautifully.

#6. Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

Achor’s very personality screams happiness. He seems like the authority to speak on the subject. As we bud into adulthood, the merit of work is made clear to use. Hard work means success. Success means freedom. Freedom means happiness. The harder we work, it follows, the more we should be happy, right? Achor flips that conventional wisdom on its head and suggests a simple alternative: be happy first.

#7. Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice

Schwartz is smart. You can see it when he takes the stage. A psychologist by profession, it’s no surprise that Schwartz wants to tackle the way that we think. He confidently assesses the surest of human freedoms: the freedom of choice. While our many decisions seem to give us all the opportunity we could want, we’re actually paralyzed. Are you paralyzing your customers?

#8. Richard St. John: 8 Secrets of Success

The shortest of the most popular TED talks, St. John rattles off the top 8 secrets to business success at breakneck speed. The secrets, it turns out, aren’t nearly as secretive as we may have believed. Sometimes, though, even the obvious needs stating. This 3-minute video is jam-packed with useful information. Stop reading. Watch it.

#9. Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking

Palmer is a self-proclaimed freak with an interesting past. A liberal arts education and a 5-year work history as a self-employed street statue gave her a unique perspective. In the wake of her success as a musician, she encourages everyone to use the revolutionary marketing secret she discovered on her path. Don’t charge money for music–just ask for it.

#10. Jamie Oliver: Teach Every Child About Food

Oliver tackles one of the biggest industries the world has ever known. Everybody needs to eat, and so there’s lots of money in it. But is it the right food? Do we know what we’re eating? What we’re learning about food doesn’t come from home any longer. It comes from the businesses that produce it. In a world where the dollar runs everything, are we erroneously letting money influence things where business has no place?