The TED Talk MBA – Updated July 2017

Mark Horoszowski

Mark is the Co-founder of MovingWorlds.org, a global platform connecting people who want to volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. -Mahatma Gandhi Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. -Mahatma Gandhi

WELCOME TO THE TED TALK MBA

The following curation of TED Talks covers essential theories, skills, and concepts taught at leading MBA programs. It was designed by MovingWorlds.org to help people become more globally and socially conscious leaders.

Before getting started, we’d like to extend an official welcome and thank you. It’s a long program and there is no diploma at the end. This program is for self-starters that care about lifelong learning and realizing their potential – not about a piece of paper. While this program won’t improve the appearance of your resume, we do know that you’ll benefit immensely by listening to thought-leaders from across industries. You’ll especially benefit if you take the time to reflect on how their “ideas worth spreading” apply to your life and work.

As of December 2016, this program is composed of 143 videos and plenty of links to other highly relevant content. Once you combine the 30+ hours of video with additional research and reflection, you’ll need about 50 hours to complete this TED Talk MBA program – roughly the same amount of time required by continuing profession education certifications. This is a notable investment in your personal and professional growth, but we promise it’s worth it.

To get started, we have three welcome address videos:

  1. Inspiring a Life of Immersion by Jaqueline Novogratz
  2. Listen, Learn… Then Lead by Stanley McChrystal
  3. Success is a Continuous Journey by Richard St. John

After watching these videos, it’s time to get started. Scroll down for the full syllabus, as well as a link to spreadsheet with a full list of links to help you track your progress through the program.

Editor’s Note: You’re approximately 175% more likely to complete this program if you undertake it with a partner. Find a colleague, peer, significant other, and/or friend to take this program with you so that you can keep each other accountable and share the things you learn.
Can’t think of a good partner?
Ask your manager to help hold you accountable. We suggest including completion of this program as part of your 2015 development goals.


TED Talk MBA Syllabus

Full list of TED Talk MBA Videos
The TED Talk MBA Complete Video List and Instructions
– Download Here –

To help you track your progress, use our open Google Spreadsheet with the full list of videos by title, author, and link. In addition, it has a column so you can track completion, and also add your notes about each of the videos.

The TED Talk MBA is program into the following sections:

I. Self Readiness
II. Preparing to Listen and Learn
III. Being Successful
IV. Leading Others
V. Building and Managing Teams
VI. Strategy and Holistic Decision Making
VII. Psychology and Understanding Others
VIII. Enhancing Your (and your team’s) Productivity
IX. Being Creative, Innovating, and Operating in Ambiguity
X. Required Creative Arts
XI. Being Globally Aware
XII. The Current and Future State of Business
XIII. Sustainability and Business
XIV. Communication, Selling, and Marketing
XV. Finance and Investment
XVI. Ongoing Learning
XVII. Career Advice
XVIII. Being Healthy
XIX. Unsolicited Relationship Advice
XX. Commencement Speech


I. SELF READINESS & GOAL SETTING

Most MBA programs won’t admit you into their program until you have a clear idea about why you’re pursuing the MBA, and how it will help you reach your personal and professional goals. Here are a few videos to help you center on your own purpose.

  1. What We Think We Know by Jonathan Drori
  2. The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown
  3. Why We Make Bad Decisions by Dan Gilbert
  4. Why We Do What We Do by Tony Robbins
  5. The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers by Adam Grant

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II. PREPARING TO LISTEN AND LEARN


Great leaders are great listeners. Great leaders also have a history of being life-long learners. As you get started, watch these videos to prepare yourself to be a more effective learner. It will help you make the most out of this program, and also help you as a leader in the future.

  1. How to Learn? From Mistakes by Diana Laufenberg
  2. Smash Fear, Learn Anything by Tim Ferriss
  3. How to Learn Anything by Josh Kaufman
  4. The Call To Learn by Clifford Stoll
  5. 5 Ways to Listen Better by Julian Treasure
  6. How to Truly Listen by Evelyn Glennie

 

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III. BEING SUCCESSFUL

We hope that this program will help you be successful in all of your life’s adventures – personal and professional. The best leaders write down goals, and the following videos can help you define success (and be successful).

  1. The Key To Success? Grit! by Angela Duckworth
  2. The Surprising Science of Happiness by Dan Gilbert
  3. 8 Secrets of Success by Richard St. John
  4. A Kindler Gentler Philosophy of Success by Alain de Botton
  5. What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work by Dan Ariely
  6. Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating by Elizabeth Gilbert
  7. The Difference Between Winning and Success by John Wooden
  8. Keep Your Goals to Yourself by Derek Sivers
  9. Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful by David Steindl
  10. Be an Opportunity Maker by Kare Anderson

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IV. LEADING OTHERS

The technical skills you acquire in a MBA program pale in comparison to the leadership skills you pick up. We’re counting on you to be more than a business leader. The following talks will help you grow as a people leader, too.

  1. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek
  2. The Puzzle of Motivation by Dan Pink
  3. Are We In Control of Our Own Decisions by Dan Ariely
  4. The Tribes We Lead by Seth Godin
  5. Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders by Sheryl Sandberg
  6. It’s Time to Get Under the Covers by Christie Smith
  7. What It Take to Be a Great Leader by Roselinde Torres
  8. How to Build a Company with (almost) No Rules by Ricardo Semler

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V. BUILDING AND MANAGING TEAMS

(Wait, why isn’t management with leadership? Here’s why.)

The best leaders create effective teams and manage the people within them effectively. The following talks will help you build better teams, improve the way you develop others, and create effective work environments.

  1. The Worlds Needs All Kinds of Minds by Temple Grandin
  2. Build a Tower by Tom Wujec
  3. Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work by Jason Fried
  4. The Surprising Workforce Crisis of 2030 – and How to Start Solving it Now by Rainier Strack
  5. How Schools Kill Creativity by Sir Ken Robinson
  6. How To Sport a Liar by Pamela Meyer

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VI. STRATEGY AND HOLISTIC DECISION MAKING

As a leader, you’ll be called on to make tough decisions. The following talks share insights, anecdotes and theories to be better at making decisions.

  1. The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen by Hans Rosling
  2. Perspective is Everything by Rory Sutherland
  3. Teach Statistics Before Calculus by Arthur Benjamin
  4. The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
  5. Brain Magic by Keith Barry
  6. How Data Will Transform Business by Philip Evans
  7. Simplifying Complexity by Eric Berlow
  8. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy by Martin Reeves

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VII. PSYCHOLOGY & UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE

Understanding the psychology of people, both your team members and your customers, is essential to being an effective business leader. These videos highlight the psychology that influences people’s decision-making patterns, and how you might be able to influence them.

  1. Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce by Malcom Gladwell
  2. Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer
  3. The Quest to Understand Consciousness by Antonio Damasio
  4. The Fiction of Memory by Elizabeth Loftus
  5. The Art of Misdirection by Apollo Robbins
  6. Our Muggy Moral Code by Dan Ariely
  7. The Psychology of Your Future Self by Dan Gilbert
  8. What Our Language Habits Reveal by Steven Pinker
  9. How to Make Choosing Easier by Sheena Iyengar
  10. 3 Clues to Understanding Your Brain by Vilayanur Ramachandran

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VIII. ENHANCING YOUR (and your team’s) PRODUCTIVITY

Effective team building and management is essential for every leader. These videos provide tips that will be useful for you, and the people around you to work better, both individually and together.

  1. The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Anchor
  2. Four Principles for the Open World by Dan Tapscott
  3. Flow, the Secret to Happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  4. Got a Meeting, Take a Walk by Nilofer Merchant
  5. As Work Get More Complex, 6 Rules to Simplify by Yves Morieux
  6. Dare to Disagree by Margaret Heffernan
  7. 10 Top Time Saving Tech Tips by David Pogue
  8. How to Save The World (or at least yourself) from Bad Meetings by David Grady

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IX. BEING CREATIVE, INNOVATING, AND OPERATING IN AMBIGUITY

The best leaders are innovative problem solvers that are able to do more with less and obsess about their customers and employees problems. Here are talks on creativity to help you be more effective at creating and innovating.

  1. Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. Tales of Creativity and Play by Tim Brown
  3. The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
  4. Innovating to Zero! by Bill Gates
  5. Let’s Use Video to Reinvest Education by Salman Khan
  6. How I Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
  7. Era of Open Innovation by Charles Leadbetter
  8. Want to Innovate? Become a “Now-ist” by Joi Ito
  9. Creative Problem Solving in the Face of Extreme Limits by Navi Radjou

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X. REQUIRED CREATIVE ARTS

Artistic thinking fuels creativity, and make people more well-rounded and socially conscious. Enjoy these videos, and be sure to reflect on how artistic thinking can complement business thinking.

  1. In the Internet Age, Dance Evolves by LXD
  2. How Painting can Transform Communities by Haas Hahn
  3. The Thrilling Sense of SixthSense Technology by Pranav Mistry
  4. The Performance of “Mathemagic” by Arthur Benjamin
  5. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  6. Questioning the Universe by Stephen Hawking

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XI. BEING GLOBALLY AWARE

There is a massive talent gap facing organizations of all types. More than any challenge, executives have indicated that not enough quality leaders are in their talent pipelines.  Increasingly, executives are looking for leaders with international awareness and experience. These videos will prepare you to lead in a more globally connected world.

  1. The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie
  2. Let my Dataset Change Your Mindset by Hans Rosling
  3. How Cognitive Surplus Will Change the World by Clay Shirky
  4. If You Want to Help, Shut Up and Listen by Ernesto Sirolli
  5. The Power of the Informal Economy by Robert Neuwirth
  6. The Empathic Civilization by Jeremy Rifkin

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XII. THE CURRENT AND FUTURE STATE OF BUSINESS

Businesses, as entities, continues to evolve. More than just existing to maximize profits, businesses have massive potential to create economic, social, and environmental progress (more in this video). Understanding how businesses are evolving, and the forces that are forcing them to evolve, is essential as a leader.

  1. The Future of Business is the Mesh by Lisa Gansky
  2. How Data Will Transform Business by Philip Evans
  3. Launching a New Era of Openness in Business by Charmian Gooch
  4. Want to Help Africa? Do Business Here by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
  5. Lessons in Business… From Prison by Jeff Smith
  6. On Better Business by Jay Coen Gilbert
  7. The Case for Letting Business Solve Social Problems by Michael Porter

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XIII. SUSTAINABILITY AND BUSINESS

The growth and importance of “sustainability” and “social intra/entrepreneurship” is evidenced by the growing number of sustainability reports published by corporations, and the adoption of these topics as major fields of study in leading universities. The following videos explain why sustainability is important, as well as share inspiring examples of profitable sustainability.

  1. How I Fell in Love with a Fish by Dan Barber
  2. The Why and How of Effective Altruism by Peter Singer
  3. Let’s Go All In On Selling Sustainability by Steve Howard
  4. The Business Logic of Sustainability by Ray Anderson
  5. How Big Brands can Save Biodiversity by Jason Clay
  6. The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong by Dan Pallotta
  7. How to Green the World’s Deserts and Reverse Climate Change by Allan Savory
  8. First as Tragedy, Then as Farce by Slavoj Zizek
  9. A Surprising Foie Gras Parable by Dan Barber

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XIV. COMMUNICATION, SELLING, AND MARKETING

No matter your role, “to sell is human”. Whether it is in individual meetings with teammates, mass-market marketing, or person-to-person sales, the following videos will help you stand out and be effective.

  1. How Your Body Languages Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy
  2. How to Get Your Ideas to Spread by Seth Godin
  3. How To Start a Movement by Derek Sivers
  4. 3 Types of Digital Lies by Jeff Hancock
  5. How To Speak So That People Want to Listen by Julian Treasure
  6. The Secret Structure of Great Talks by Nancy Duarte

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XV. FINANCE AND INVESTMENT

Money is the language of business. As our global economy continues to evolve, understanding the history, status, and direction of capital and its markets is vital to any leader.

  1. The Investment Logic for Sustainability by Chris McKnett
  2. Patient Capitalism by Jaqueline Novogratz
  3. The Hidden Force in Global Economies by Dilip Ratha
  4. How to Rob a Bank From the Inside by William Black
  5. The 3 Agencies with the Power To Make or Break Economics by Annette Heuser
  6. What is the Price of Nature? by Pavan Sukhdev
  7. Government – Investor, Risk-taker, Innovator by Mariana Mazzucato
  8. Aid vs. Trade by Ngozi Okonjo
  9. How to Pitch to a VC by David Rose

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XVI. ONGOING LEARNING

To lead is to learn, and to learn is to lead. In fact, the “learning organization” is becoming an increasingly popular concept. In addition, the best of leaders share lifelong learning as a trait.

  1. The State of Psychology by Martin Seligman
  2. To This Day… For the Bullied and Beautiful by Shane Koyczan
  3. The Case for Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman
  4. The Child-driven Education by Sugata Mitra
  5. Bring on the Learning Revolution by Sir Ken Robinson
  6. The Power of Believing That You Can Improve by Carol Dweck

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XVII. CAREER ADVICE

Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive… because what the world needs is for you to come alive. -Howard Thurman

People are notoriously bad at picking their careers. It’s one of the reasons the employee engagement rate at companies and nonprofits is dangerously low and turnover is increase. With your new-found skills and knowledge, we hope you’ll take this career advice to heart and find a career that you love, and that makes the world a better place. For more insight into finding a for-impact career, read our career guide Using Lean Startup Principles to Find – and get – Your Dream Job.

  1. Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career by Larry Smith
  2. The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get by Susan Colantuono
  3. The Power of Time Off by Stefan Sagmeister
  4. Don’t Regret Regret by Kathryn Schulz
  5. Celebrating and Learning From Dirty Jobs by Mike Rowe

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XVIII. BEING HEALTHY

Effective leaders need to be healthy, and inspire others to do the same. Sleeping more, eating healthier, and staying active can help you achieve more, and inspire others to do the same.

  1. All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes by Andy Puddicombe
  2. How to Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal
  3. What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds by Oliver Sacks
  4. Teach Every Child About Food by Jamie Oliver
  5. What the People of the Amazon Know That You Don’t by Mark Plotkin
  6. Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others by Emily Balcetis
  7. Why Dieting Doesn’t Usually Work by Sandra Aamodt
  8. How to Succeed? Get More Sleep by Arianna Huffington
  9. How To Make Work Life Balance Work by Nigel Marsh
  10. How to Live to be 100 by Dan Buettner

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XIX. UNSOLICITED RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

OK, this isn’t traditional content for MBA programs, but it should be. Being happy and healthy at home is important to being happy and health at work. These videos will help you improve your home-life so that you can reach your work-life potential.

  1. The 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasms by Mary Roach
  2. Love – You’re Doing it Wrong by Yann Dall’Aglio
  3. The Brain in Love by Helen Fisher
  4. What You Don’t Know About Marriage by Jenna McCarthy
  5. Why We Love, Why We Cheat by Helen Fisher
  6. Love, No Matter What by Andrew Solomon

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XX. COMMENCEMENT SPEECH

Congratulations on completing this program, and thank you for investing in yourself.

If you’re interested in complimenting your theoretical study with real field experience, we strongly suggest you volunteer your skills. LinkedIn For Good can help you find local, skills-based volunteering opportunities, and MovingWorlds can help you find and plan skills-based volunteering engagements overseas for any length of time. We hope that in volunteering, you’ll find your true passion and calling in life. If you find that your work-life is taking too much time, read this article about how companies are innovating around leadership development to provide opportunities.

As a send-off, we have one final video – a commencement speech from Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die.


This TED Talk MBA was prepared by MovingWorlds.org. We’d love to hear how this program affected you, and any tips you have to improve it. For questions, additions, and comments, email info@movingworlds.org.

  • Katharine Bierce

    This is fantastic. Thank you so much for compiling this.

    • Thanks Katharine – glad to hear it’s useful!

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