You may not have all week to read a new book, but chances are you have five minutes to watch a TED talk.
Owing to their easy-to-digest format, even the shortest TED talks contain fascinating insights worthy of discussion.
Let these talks be the start of your next conversation.
"The jobs we'll lose to machines — and the ones we won't" by Anthony Goldbloom
Goldbloom is a machine learning expert. The research he presents in his 2016 talk reflects on how many jobs will get displaced by robotics and artificial intelligence software over the coming decades.
Machine learning will help computers get really smart at figuring out complex tasks to do them better and faster than a human — tasks such as essay writing and diagnoses of eye diseases.
Duration — 4:36
"How the news distorts our worldview" by Alisa Miller
Ultimately, her talk suggests a lack of global coverage prevents people from becoming global citizens.
Duration — 4:19
"Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors" by JD Schramm
Stanford lecturer JD Schramm urges people to reconsider the taboo surrounding suicide attempts, as people who fail the first time are far more likely to succeed the second time, research shows.
Silence only furthers the isolation, Schramm says in his 2011 talk. He encourages viewers to learn more about the resources available to survivors.
Duration — 4:14
"How I built a windmill" by William Kamkwamba
Power was scarce in William Kamkwamba's home country of Malawi, so he decided to collect his own energy.
The windmill Kamkwamba built is the subject of his 2007 talk, in which he describes the steps of collecting spare parts to build a multi-story structure that, once completed, could power four light bulbs and two radios.
The talk highlights just how far ingenuity can take someone if their drive is strong enough.
Duration — 4:07
"How to grow fresh air" by Kamal Meattle
In his 2009 talk, activist Kamal Meattle reveals how three varieties of plants, arranged throughout a person's home, can produce measurably cleaner air.
The plants are Areca Palm, Mother-in-Law's Tongue, and Money Plant. Based on when and how the plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, Meattle says they literally help people grow fresh air.
Duration — 3:59
"8 secrets of success" by Richard St. John
Marketer Richard St. John crams the many of elements of success into just a few minutes in his 2005 talk. are who successful, love the work they do, have persistence, give to others, and listen well to come up with new ideas.
The talk debunks the idea that successful people just get lucky. There are many other factors that deserve credit, too.
Duration — 3:26
"Yup, I built a nuclear fusion reactor" by Taylor Wilson
When Taylor Wilson he was 14, he completed his homemade nuclear fusion reactor. He built it in his parents' garage.
In his 2012 talk, then 17-year-old Wilson explained some of his bigger breakthroughs since that time, including a system for detecting weapons-grade plutonium and uranium that costs orders of magnitude less than the models used by Homeland Security.
Duration — 3:25
"Got a meeting? Take a walk" by Nilofer Merchant
In her 2013 talk, Author Nilofer Merchant says a walking meeting is the perfect opportunity to get up and move after spending all day sitting at a desk. She says she now walks 20-30 miles a week, just taking meetings.
Her experience has taught her that "getting out of the box" of her office really does get her thinking out of the box.
Duration — 3:24
"Remember to say 'thank you'" by Laura Trice
The research on gratitude has found time and again that showing appreciation for someone or something is supremely important for personal happiness.
Laura Trice's 2008 talk presents stories of how a simple "thank you" has transformed people's relationships and lives. Gratitude, Trice says, gives people a chance to express their insecurities however minor, and let others feel valued for being there.
Duration — 3:24
"Try something new for 30 days" by Matt Cutts
Cutts, a software engineer, is no stranger to iteration. In his 2011 talk, he discusses the virtues of trying something new every 30 days.
Over his multi-month journey, he hiked parts of Mount Kilimanjaro, wrote a short novel, and became the kind of person who enjoys biking to work.
The biggest benefit: He learned the secret to creating new habits is setting small, concrete goals. Over time, they can't help but grow.
Duration — 3:20
"Keep your goals to yourself" by Derek Sivers
Sivers, an entrepreneur, presents compelling research in his 2010 talk that says people who achieve their goals are less likely to talk about those goals with others.
Studies have shown that discussing your goals makes you feel like you've already accomplished them, often leading you to work less hard at actually following through.
Duration — 3:15
"Forget multitasking, try monotasking" by Paolo Cardini
Paolo Cardini, a designer and teacher, urges people to reconsider the value of multitasking in his 2012 talk. He says it's overrated from a productivity standpoint.
And a lot of research agrees.
Instead, Cardini encourages people to try monotasking — doing one thing at a time until finishing, then starting the next task. It could make life a little easier.
Duration — 2:52