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Stephen McFarland on More Ted Talks for Evaluators

My name is Stephen McFarland and I’m in love with Ted. He’s erudite, multifaceted, and makes me think. I love to spend an evening with him, or just 16 minutes. I laugh at his jokes, gawk at his ingenuity, and marvel at the way he makes me re-examine the world.

About this time last year, Susan Kistler wrote on “Ted Talks for Evaluators.” I had seen a few before, but began watching them more earnestly and I am hooked. Ted Talks are “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” Yesterday, Corinne Ranney-Philbrick wrote about practical videos for professional development – excellent resources for learning the nuts and bolts, theory and practice, of our field. Ted talks are different. They make you think about possibilities, about a different tomorrow. They inspire and amaze. And I believe they have just as much place in an evaluator’s toolbox and thus I am writing this companion piece. Here are new Ted talks for evaluators, from the past year.

Hot Tip – Hans Rosling and the Magic Washing Machine (March 2011): There is a story here – a story about how freeing women from the drudgery of hand-washing clothes creates opportunity for learning and advancement. The narrative and telling is fascinating and data driven. Rosling has done a number of Ted Talks (I think he is the most prolific contributor) and with each new one I learn more about what it means to tell the story in my data.

Hot Tip – Stefan Sagmeister on 7 Rules for Making More Happiness (June 2011): How do we find, embrace, and live a joyful life? This exploration of joy is both funny and provocative. I watched and then I asked myself how my life – both personal and professional – would be different if I oriented it more towards seeking happiness, not the hedonistic happiness of a frat party, but the happiness brought about through joy and love in a peaceful world. I haven’t managed to transform myself, but I have become more reflective and I believe more joyous. And the graphics are great.

Hot Tip – Dan Ariely on Beware Conflicts of Interest (August 2011): The topic is obvious, but the message is unique. He explores how conflicts of interest are not always as readily identified as we might believe – that they are often deep within our psyche and introduce bias in ways that are difficult to foresee.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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1 comment

  • Dawn Smart · September 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I’m also a big TED fan … stimulates my brain and my desire to think about/do/experience other realms.


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