Culture TED Talks

Kelly McGonigal gives the gift of TED

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Great gifts aren’t always tangible. Just think back to the last time someone made your holiday season by gifting you an experience, or by writing you a card that got you just a little choked up. And so we ask: why not give the gift of an idea? This week, we’ve asked some of our favorite speakers of 2013 to gift three people in their lives with a TED Talk that will amuse, amaze or inspire them.

Kelly McGonigal’s talk from TEDGlobal 2013, “How to make stress your friend,” has inspired many people to stop thinking of stress as a terrifying thing — a big gift in itself. Here, the TED Talks she’d like to give for the holiday season.

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Gift #1
The talkElizabeth Pisani: Sex, drugs and HIV — let’s get rational
For: My friend and colleague, Sarah Ramirez, a public health advocate and activist
Why she’ll love it: “Sarah is the most passionate and compassionate advocate for public health I know, and I think she will love Pisani’s spirited talk on politics, policy, and why people do ‘stupid’ things. Seeing things as they are, and meeting people where they are, is a powerful approach to service and activism.”

Gift #2
The Talk: JK Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure
For: My twin sister, Jane McGonigal
Why she’ll love it: “Rowling explains how imagination, including children’s books, can be the basis for compassion. I think my sister will recognize her own work in this argument — that things that might be dismissed as a waste of time can create connection and help us feel our full humanity.”

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Gift #3
The talk: Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave
For: The trainees entering the 2014 Stanford University Compassion Teacher Training program
Why they’ll love it: “Leslie’s talk is a great example of how the willingness to be transparent and vulnerable can give people permission to be honest about their own experiences. There are few more powerful ways to inspire self-compassion and courage in others than to speak openly about your own mistakes and suffering.”

You can give the gift of TED, too! Share a TED Talk with someone you adore via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #giveTED. We’re excited to see which talks you spread.