I was first introduced to Mr. Zander through the ever-amazing TED.com. Yes, I realize this website is on the list of “Stuff White People Like” (meaning, it falls in the realm of TOMS shoes, Volvos and Whole Foods), but in its defense TED is worth a second look.
The tagline, “ideas worth spreading” explains the site and its speakers precisely. At TED.com you will find endless amounts of ideas, theories and experiments. The best part? These “riveting talks by remarkable people” are free and fully accessible with the click of a mouse. Most of these lectures come from different TED conferences held throughout the year, but some come from different philanthropic events like the NextGen:Charity conference.
Another aspect of TED that keeps me coming back is the variety of content. Feeling a little scientific? You can watch a talk about the genomic revolution. Feeling creative? Hear an artist’s take on teaching perspective through virtual children’s books. Of if you just need a little inspiration, you must watch Benjamin Zander’s talk on classical music.
I know, it sounds a little dull. I can just imagine my Lil Wayne-loving brother tuning out right about now. But if anyone can make a case for classical music, it’s Benjamin Zander. He’s like a crazy, passionate professor who possesses the ability to make something like statistics exciting.
Throughout the talk Zander shares his musical expertise and is convinced that you will love classical music once he’s through with you. As he bounces around the stage, his natural ability to inspire others is evident. His enthusiasm for classical music and life is contagious. By the end of the video, I bet you’ll add Chopin to your music collection. I did. Totally worth it.
If you don’t end up watching his talk, I’ll mention a highlight that I think everyone can benefit from. At one point Zander talks about being a conductor and the job of “awakening possibility in other people.” He excitedly explains that you can apply this idea to everyday life, and you can measure your effectiveness – just look for shining eyes. And if you don’t see that spark in the people around you, he reminds you of your ability to change that. For him, measuring success is not about wealth, fame or power, it’s about how many shiny eyes he has around him.
Thanks to TED, Benjamin Zander’s wisdom continues to affect people everyday – 1,748,843 people to date.
Websites like TED.com affirm my choice to study media and pursue a career in publishing. The exchange of ideas, when done well, can be powerful and life changing.
Although negative aspects of the media have been on the forefront lately, it’s good to be reminded of the positive. And for me, TED embodies positivity of technology and the art of communication. After watching a few videos, I’m sure you’ll agree.