TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson, curator of TED


As someone who has a passion for TED talks and have been following TED since 2009, this book is more than just a guide, it a bible to speaking. If you are fascinated and follow TED Talks, this book shows how TED talks are produced.

Do you remember that professor at university who knew his subject matter very well but was unable to convey his knowledge to his learners or that supervisor at work who is brilliant at executing but is unable to convey her instructions with clarity to his subordinates? This book is about talks, but most importantly about transferring ideas from yourself to your audience.

Chris Anderson, the boss of TED takes you through his experience of what TED talks TED Talks.

TED is about ideas worth sharing. It more than a speaker’s platform or an idea’s platform, it is a movement. Those who don’t know TED, they ask who is TED? but those who know it, they love it.

It is through TED talks that we had the following inspiring, thought-provoking and mind changing quotes such as:

“Creativity is as important as literacy” ― Ken Robinson

“I hope you remember that if you encounter an obstacle on the road, don’t think of it as an obstacle at all… think of it as a challenge to find a new path on the road less traveled.”  ― Hyeonseo Lee

“The secret of happiness: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it.” ― Daniel C. Dennett

“Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert 

In this book Chris takes you through amongst others the following:

  • How to build and package your idea; TED is about ideas, so it is important to be able to package your in way that is easier for your audience to receive;
  • Common traps: Four talk styles to avoid. Here is looks at talks that fail and should be avoided
  • Throughline: What is your point
  • Connection: The importance of connecting and getting personal with your audience
  • Visuals: How to use visuals in your presentation
  • Scripting: How to remember your talk, do you memories it or do you use bullet points or both
  • Wardrobe: What should you wear on the day
  • Mental Prep: How to control and calm your nerves

I learned so much from this book. Once you read this book, you will never look at talks the same. I have to revisit how I give my talks.

As a curator for TEDxGaborone and volunteer for TEDxJohannesburg, I will use this book as a guide to prepare speakers to give their amazing talks and spreading amazing ideas.

This book explains how the miracle of powerful public speaking is achieved, and equips you to give it your best shot. There is no set formula; no two talks should be the same. The goal is for you to give the talk that only you can give. But don’t be intimidated. You may find it more natural than you think.



This is an important book. It is well written, well researched, and deals with very practical issues. This Chris’s best advice up to date in terms of packaging his experience into one

The art of spreading ideas has gotten far much better with this book.


  • “We live in an era where the best way to make a dent on the world may no longer be to write a letter to the editor or publish a book. It may be simply to stand up and say something . . . because both the words and the passion with which they are delivered can now spread across the world at warp speed.”
  • “Ideas that could solve our toughest problems often remain invisible because the brilliant people in whose minds they reside lack the confidence or the know-how to share those ideas effectively.”
  • “Humans have developed a technology that makes this possible. It’s called language.”
  • “Inspiration can’t be performed. It’s an audience response to authenticity, courage, selfless work, and genuine wisdom. Bring those qualities to your talk, and you may be amazed at what happens.”
  • “My advice to speakers would be to look for a single big idea that is larger than you or your organization, but at the same time to leverage your expertise to show that it is not just empty speculation.”
  • “An issue-based talk leads with morality. An idea-based talk leads with curiosity. An issue exposes a problem. An idea proposes a solution. An issue says, “Isn’t this terrible?” An idea says, “Isn’t this interesting?”
  • “Knowledge can’t be pushed into a brain. It has to be pulled in.”

  • “One of the best ways to disarm an audience is to first reveal your own vulnerability.”
  • “You are human. Your listeners are humans. Think of them as friends. And just reach out.”
  • “It’s not about you, it’s about the idea you’re passionate about. Your job is to be there in service of that idea, to offer it as a gift.”

PS: Thank you for this book gift Lolo.


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