Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday TED Talk: Alain de Botton on Success and Failure

The 2009 TED Global talks are starting to come on line. One of the first is this scintillating verbal essay by British (originally Swiss) social philosopher Alain de Botton, who advocates a kinder view of the difference between success and failure, since there are so many random factors at work in peoples' lives. (I have to say again how much I appreciate the fine British art of extemporizing on the spot, using only minimal notes, and without a script or teleprompter. A small foretaste of what is in store: "The next time you see someone driving a Ferrari, don't think: 'This is someone who's greedy' --- think: 'This is somebody who is incredibly vulnerable, and in need of love.'" Though a postmodern intellectual, he can still see the wisdom in Christian sources such as St. Augustine.)

Sit back and relish this delightful talk:

There is a TED page on Alain de Botton here, with links to all six of his books. You may watch his talk in high-res video here, and download other versions of this talk from this page.


  1. What is "TED"...wonder every time I see it...Thanks for so many great offerings!!

  2. Lois, in the Guide to This Site there is a page about the TED Talks. You may read more about the conferences there, as well as on the TED site itself.

    Thank you for your interest, and for visiting here.

  3. Thanks so much for your answer to the meaning of TED...I will be enjoying the many medically oriented TEDs for late night reading! Not intending this as a comment for everyone else to read, just wanted to tell you that I was happy to find so much more I hadn't seen yet!