TED Talks are available in 100 languages, from Albanian to Vietnamese, thanks to the tireless work of our translators. So far, more than 9,400 volunteers have created the upwards of 40,000 translated talks. To celebrate this huge accomplishment, every week the TED Blog will be bringing you a Q&A with one of our most prolific translators. Today, meet Elena Montrasio…
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Ethical Traveler recently published Thirteen Tips for the Accidental Ambassador, ethical advice for proper attitudes and thought processes when traveling to other countries.
Every time I enter a new country, I make sure I know the following: the currency, the main language, religious beliefs, a bit of current and historical politics (only a few facts and figures), and the policy on tipping.
"I would describe the photography that I do as small scale dioramas that I build by hand out of everyday, simple, mundane materials and transform them into an image through the lens of my camera making them look hyper-realistic," he says in the accompanying video episode of The Weekly Flickr.
The biggest fallacy of writing on the web is the idea that there is unlimited space, and as such limitation of space is of no consequence. That is not quite true. Instead of space, the true limitation of the Internet is attention.
The prolonged throat clearing or using words that make you reach for a thesaurus don't account for the paucity of attention that commands an economy of words and synthesis of thought, both presented with the crispness of a freshly laundered linen shirt.
Why visionaries, design thinkers and business leaders need to study the history of science Leave a comment
Right now I am in the middle of writing a book review of Henri Bortoft's Taking Appearance Seriously. Having been taught by Henri, and being someone who now teaches Henri's phenomenological philosophy to business students, his publisher Floris Books sent me his manuscript early, and it has been wonderful for me to read his latest work, especially since his last book…
Who doesn’t like a good story? There’s nothing like curling up with your favorite book, or eReader (still seems weird to me), and escaping into a world of rowdy cowboys on the cattle drive, a conflicted detective trying to solve an impossible case, or the desperate struggle for existence as the people of the planet Zilfho battle their imperialistic overlords, the Hicputis.
” “WEALTH is not without its advantages,” John Kenneth Galbraith once wrote, “and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.” Despite the obvious advantages of wealth, nations do a poor job of keeping count of their own. They may boast about their abundant natural resources, their skilled workforce and their world-class infrastructure. But there is no widely recognised, monetary measure that sums up this stock of natural, human and physical assets.
Economists usually settle instead for GDP. But that is a measure of income, not wealth. It values a flow of goods and services, not a stock of assets. Gauging an economy by its GDP is like judging a company by its quarterly profits, without ever peeking at its balance-sheet. Happily, the United Nations this month published balance-sheets for 20 nations in a report overseen by Sir Partha Dasgupta of Cambridge University. They included three kinds of asset: “manufactured”, or physical, capital (machinery, buildings, infrastructure and so on); human capital (the population’s education and skills); and natural capital (including land, forests, fossil fuels and minerals). “
“Back in 2001 when tech weary investors first started noticing the allure of the emerging markets, Goldman Sachs analyst Jim O’Neill coined the acronym “BRIC” to collectively refer to Brazil, Russia, India and China, then considered the top tier of the emerging economies. The BRIC countries became a symbol of the shift in economic power from the G7 countries to the developing world. For much of the first decade of the 21st Century, the BRICs lived up to their billing. They largely led the world in GDP growth and delivered rock solid returns to those wise enough to invest early. See our current analysis of Latin American rail in our latest Global Investor Newsletter
Over the years, with investors continuously seeking the next wave in emerging markets, other clever acronyms came and went, but none caught on quite like the BRIC. In the investment world nothing is static, and at Euro Pacific Capital we feel it’s time for a change. But the BRICs don’t need to be abandoned, just expanded. In particular, it needs another “I” as in Indonesia. In other words, we think the “BRIC” bloc should now be the “BRIIC” bloc. For a variety of reasons, Indonesia has earned the right to be considered as a premiere destination for emerging market investment.
Most investors don’t realize that Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world, with more people than Brazil or Russia, two other charter nations in the BRIC club. They also may be unfamiliar with Indonesia’s enormous under developed natural resources, including oil/gas, coal, tin, gold, wood and rubber. Indonesia’s economy is well-balanced, with a large consumption component and limited reliance on exports to the developed world. Impressively, retail sales in Indonesia doubled from 2009 to 2012 (yes, doubled in three years) which we attribute to an improving labor market, favorable demographics, strong growth in wages and high consumer confidence. Meanwhile, developed markets struggle with high unemployment, an aging workforce, stagnant wages, and low consumer confidence. It’s no wonder retail sales in the US and Europe, struggling to grow 1% per year, create a stark contrast to Indonesia.
While Indonesia’s economy is still small relative to the other BRICs (roughly half the size of Brazil and Russia), it does have an economic growth rate that puts it well into the mix. According to the IMF, for the 17 year period between 1990 and 2007, Indonesia grew at an annual rate of 7.54%. While this is less than China (13.3%) and India (7.6%), it is more than Brazil (6.1%) or Russia (4.92%). The country is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and is a member of the G-20 group of the world’s major economies. “
” “Why storytelling?”
“Simple: nothing else works.”
That was the rudimentary answer that I gave to cynical left-brained managers back in the 1990s and early 2000s when I was introducing them to the power of leadership storytelling. Slides leave listeners dazed. Prose remains unread. Reasons don’t change behavior. When it comes to inspiring people to embrace some strange new change in behavior, storytelling isn’t just better than the other tools. It’s the only thing that works.
A more scientific answer can be found in Brian Boyd’s wonderful book, On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction, (Harvard University Press, 2009)
This elegantly written book assembles a mass of scientific evidence, drawing on evolutionary theory, ethology, linguistics, artificial intelligence, game theory, anthropology, economics, neurophysiology, analytic and experimental philosophy, epistemology and psychology, and shows–scientifically–why storytelling is so important.
The eclipse of storytelling in the 20th Century
Anthropologists always knew that storytelling is a universal feature of every country and every culture, even if, for most of the 20th Century, storytelling got very little respect. As so-called scientific approaches to life became dominant, mechanistic, machine-like thinking was everywhere triumphant. Analysis was king. Narrative was seen as either infantile or trivial.
The phenomenon didn’t just affect storytelling. In retrospect, the 20th Century can be seen as a giant experiment by the human race to find out what could be accomplished if organizations treated people as things and communicated to them in abstractions, numbers and analysis, rather than through people-friendly communications such as stories.
Employees became “human resources” to be mined, rather than people to be minded. Customers became “demand”, or “consumers” or “eyeballs”, to be manipulated, rather than living, feeling human beings to be delighted. Storytelling was only one of many elements that suffered “collateral damage.”
The whole experiment can be seen as a success to the extent that the material standard of living of a proportion of the world’s population for a time improved. But the experiment was an abysmal failure in most other respects. It made human beings people miserable. And organizations steadily became less and less productive, as the need for innovation grew.
In any event, the effort to suppress storytelling was unsuccessful: storytelling, though despised, lived on in the cracks and crevices of society—in the cafeterias, the corridors, around water-coolers, in bars and restaurants, living rooms and bedrooms. Throughout the 20th Century, storytelling got little respect, but it could not be suppressed. It turned out to be central characteristic of being human.
It also turned out that storytelling was a central component of leadership. Want to understand why Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama became national leaders? A big part of it lay in their ability to tell effective leadership stories.
Now, the ongoing reinvention of management to transform workplaces from the boring, sterile, dispiriting cubicles of the 20th Century into the lively centers of inspiration and creativity that are needed for the Creative Economy of the 21st Century has storytelling at its core.
Why stories are so powerful
Boyd explains what is it about the apparently frivolous activity of storytelling that makes it so powerful. He helps us see why storytelling is central to innovation, the critical performance dimension of 21st Century organizations: stories are a kind of cognitive play, a stimulus and training for a lively mind.”
Editor's note: Verne Kopytoff is a technology journalist who lives the the Bay area.
A college textbook can cost a staggering $200. Over four years of study, students can easily spend thousands of dollars on books on top of a hefty tuition.
The situation is not much better in public elementary, middle and high schools, where taxpayers pick up the bill.