Why consuming TED-talks is stupid.

Caspian Almerud
2 min readDec 27, 2018


Watching TED-talks is stupid and you shouldn’t do it.

Now that you’re here, a bit provoked, I’ll nuance this bit. There is a core of me that, like many others, love TED and all their work. Who love to put on a talk instead of some series in Netflix.

The thing with the culture of watching TED-talks like they’re a series is that they’re not. It makes you feel good for a bit, feeling like you’re productive and a good person. Like you’ve actually done something. That’s because people who end up on TED are motivational speakers with the sole goal to inspire you. And if they’re any good, they usually succeed.

I had a friend to whom I presented this idea. She’s a huge TED-fan just like myself, and we’d discussed some talks together. When she brought up that she sees at least one talk per day, claiming that it was so much better than what other people was doing watching Netflix and that she’d learnt so much from that, I disagreed and told her that’s preposterous. Very few people hear about something one time and learn it instantly. That’s not how learning works. And almost no-one can learn something new each day by passively watching and listening to someone speaking. And there’s the key. Passive.

I told her that what she’d been doing was to put on the talks to relax. When we do that, we can’t learn as effectively. And we most certainly can’t learn if that’s all we do. To learn something, there needs to be repetition. We need to put things in context. It needs to be relevant to us. We need to be active.

So when I told her that what she was doing was stupid and that she should stop, she was angry at first. She’d hung up a huge part of her identity being a good, learning person on watching a TED-talk a day, and I took that away from her.

TED is a marvellous tool. There are astounding numbers of good talks that probably are useable too many of you. But they’re not made for bingewatching and you’re not a better person than someone who’s watching Rick and Morty. Use the tools in the right way.