I just can’t say enough about this talk by Barry Schwartz on wisdom (thanks, Terry for pointing it out to me). What’s great about this talk is not just what he says (although that is pretty satisfying), but who he is saying it to. TED in an annual invitation-only conference which includes about 2,000 of the most brilliant, influential, powerful and wealthy people out there. And, Mr. Schwartz is talking to them about virtue, service, mentorship, and moral will + moral skill (aka practical wisdom). He’s talking about why reliance on rules and incentives often has an effect opposite to our expected and desired result. And he’s talking to a room full of people who can get things done. That’s cool.
If you’re not familiar with the TED Talks, it can be a great way to graze mentally. There are some talks that aren’t very significant or pertinent, but there are a lot that are. Kind of like reading great books puts you in direct contact with the great minds that wrote them, these TED Talks are a way of spending about 20 minutes in direct contact with some of the greatest minds of our time. If you go sniffing around, be sure to check out Ken Robinson’s talk Do Schools Kill Creativity? and Steven Pinker on The Stuff of Thought.