60 YouTube channels that will make you smarter

Time is finite. Social media and Netflix can all too easily swallow our precious hours. So why not put them to better use on YouTube? Beyond the music, virals and gaming videos, YouTube has many great channels that can teach anyone practically anything.

Here are the sharpest brains. Press play and become smarter!

Spark your curiosity

Vsauce — Amazing answers to questions about our world

In a Nutshell — Animations that make learning beautiful

C. G. P. Grey — Entertaining explanations of politics, geography and culture

Crash Course — Bite-sized science and learning across many subjects

Scishow— Indispensable science news, history and concepts

HowStuffWorks — Your daily curiosity dose that explains the world

Brit Lab — Smart-ass ammunition that’s guaranteed to astound

THNKR — People, stories and ideas that change perspectives

Experiment with the sciences

MinutePhysics— Simple explanations of physics and other sciences

MinuteEarth — Science and stories about our awesome planet

Veritasium — Science and engineering videos by Derek Muller

Numberphile — Maths Mecca that sums up all things numerical

SmarterEveryDay — Exploring the world of science with Destin Sandlin

Periodic Videos — Videos of each element and other chemistry stuff

Sixty Symbols — A physics and astronomy cornucopia of cool

AsapSCIENCE — Weekly doses of fun and intriguing science clips

It’s Okay To Be Smart — We agree!

PatrickJMT — Straight-to-the-point maths know-how

Bozeman Science — A popular high school teacher explains science

Connect with technology

Computerphile — An array of computing and tech videos

The Game Theorists — Over-analysing video games

Extra Credits — Video game design to start your developer career

The New Boston — Tons of great web development tutorials

Expand your mind

The School of Life — Ideas for life through many lenses

BrainCraft — Weekly videos on psychology and neuroscience

Wisecrack — Learn your ass off with witty sketches

PBS Idea Channel — A cultural critique of pop, technology and art

Philosophy Tube — Oliver Lennard “gives away a philosophy degree”

Inspire your creativity

Mark Crilley— How-to-draw videos on almost every topic you can imagine

Draw With Jazza— Tutorials on all forms of visual expression

JustinGuitar— Guitar courses for various styles, techniques and abilities

HDpiano — Learn to play the piano with easy to follow tutorials

Every Frame a Painting — Top-notch and truly fascinating analysis of film

Photo Exposed — Photography tips, techniques and tutorials

The Art Assignment— Artist talks and challenging assignments for yourself

Film Riot— A how-to trip through all aspects of film making

Avoid burning your house down

Grant Thompson — Caution advised with these experiments and life hacks

Crazy Russian Hacker — The daddy of all science experiment channels

Get closer to nature

Earth Unplugged— BBC-produced channel about the natural world

BBC Earth— Jump in and meet your planet

The Brain Scoop — A private tour of The Field Museum in Chicago

Roll with the big boys

ouLearn — The Open University’s rich and engaging learning channel

The RSA — The Royal Society of Arts sets new standards in its field

TED Talks— No list would be complete without TED’s main collection

TED-Ed — Carefully curated and crafted educational videos and animations

Smithsonian — The mighty institution explores the grand questions

Big Think — Exploring big ideas that define knowledge in the 21st century

The Royal Institution — Films and lectures about the natural world

Gresham College — Liberally delivering knowledge through top lectures

Access the archives

British Pathé — Famous newsreels shown within carefully chosen topics

ITN Source— One of the largest historic collections of news footage

AP Archive— The Associated Press, the world’s largest and oldest agency

Nurture the youngsters

Crash Course Kids —For 5th grade scientists, engineers and astronomers

SciShow Kids— Experiments, experts and answers for kids aged 8 to 88

HooplaKidz— Arts and crafts for little ’uns

Dose up on medicine

Sexplanations — Honest answers about sexuality by Lindsey Doe

Healthcare Triage — Answering questions about medicine and healthcare

Kenhub — An engaging and different way to learn human anatomy

Enjoy the unusual

Vi Hart — A “recreational mathemusician” like no other

ElectroBOOM — Successfully discovering the craziness in engineering

Closing words

These channels have been chosen based on a range of factors, such as production value, impact, quality, variety and quantity. In many categories, great channels and incredible niches have been left out, but such is the burden of any editor. See the entire list of 134 nominees here.

If you find this list helpful, please recommend it so that others can benefit!


The 43 best websites for learning something new

3 ways to unleash your creativity

Formula One - F1 - Malaysia Grand Prix - Sepang, Malaysia- 29/9/16. Crew members push the car of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain for a change of tyres.

The Formula 1 season will begin later this month, pitting the most talented drivers in the most finely honed machines against one another.

The image of a car designer sitting at a computer, working on a complex 3D visualization, is consistent with our perception of a ‘creative person’, but you may not immediately think about the act of driving a Formula 1 car as a creative process.

In fact, drivers are continuously finding inspired ways to take full advantage of every opportunity provided by their car, the conditions and their competitors. The world of Formula 1 represents a fascinating laboratory for exploring human creativity through drivers and their teams.

We can think about human creativity in the context of four components:

Components of creativity

The creative person

I was speaking to a colleague recently about the Finnish Formula 1 driver Kimi Räikkönen. We were reflecting on reports of the 2007 World Champion’s exceptional ability to ‘conceptualise three-dimensional space.’ Theoretically, if a driver can simulate a race circuit in their brain in ‘higher-definition’ than another driver, they can imagine more possible scenarios, and take advantage of them.

Kimi has demonstrated a creative approach to his driving from a young age. There is a legendary story from his days racing karts as a youngster. One race weekend in Monaco, Kimi’s kart was knocked over the barrier in a collision. The kart ended up completely off the circuit. The barrier was much too high, and the kart much too heavy, to lift it back over. Undeterred, Kimi continued driving alongside the circuit, on the wrong side of the barrier, until he ran out of road. At this point, Kimi was able to lift the kart onto the track. Kimi jumped back into his kart and worked his way through the pack, eventually finishing third.

Creativity in knowledge work

Creativity is vital in racing, for teams and for drivers, and it’s becoming increasingly important in the context of knowledge work.

Where the goal of work was once to extract the maximum amount of physical energy from a worker, and transform it into a tangible product, most knowledge work completely disrupts this equation. Knowledge work organisations transform mental energy into ideas and insights – something that will become even more critical as automation replaces many repeatable, process-based tasks.

Last year, the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs’ report identified complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity as the top three skills required to thrive in the 4th industrial revolution. Both complex problem solving and critical thinking require imagination, innovation and the ability to perceive multiple perspectives. Arguably, this makes creativity the foundation for the ‘podium of future skills’.

Efficient, productivity-orientated tasks are easy to reproduce by another human, or even a machine. Creativity is rare. Creativity is the antidote to the poison of efficiency over effectiveness. It’s the solution to sending endless e-mails and making meaningless presentations, because it allows us to perceive the new opportunities that are unfolding in front of us. While the specific factors that provide the optimal circumstances for creativity are debated, a brute force approach, based on clocking the hours, is not amongst them.

All humans have the capacity to be creative

All humans have the capacity to be creative and many of us could unlock more of our creative potential with the right process and conditions. I have heard many people label themselves as “not very creative” but creativity can be expressed in many different ways. For example, creativity may manifest itself as we think of solutions to challenging situations at work, or resolve conflicts, rather than being defined as a tangible creative output.

Previously, it’s been assumed that creativity declines with age. However, in domains that draw on knowledge and expertise, such as writing, philosophy and medicine, research suggests that creative achievement can peak in the early 40s, and declines at a relatively slow rate.

The creative process

Contrary to popular belief, providing someone with a blank slate does not appear to optimise the creative process. Unbounded choice and opportunity can quickly overwhelm the limited resources of attention, executive function and working memory.

We crave new information and we are rewarded for searching out novelty. In the digital age we have access to a fire hose of content to titillate the reward centres of our brain, but if we don’t have rules and boundaries in place, we can easily become distracted and create little real value.

Creativity thrives when there is some pressure and limitation, but not too much. We could plot the creative process as an inverted-U.

A hospitable environment for innovation

Too much time pressure impairs creative cognitive processing, but some pressure can fuel our creativity. Eliminating pressure entirely can suffocate the creative process and create an inhospitable environment for innovation.

Our response to pressure is individual; some people thrive when their backs are against the wall; others prefer a more relaxed approach. For certain individuals, a prize can drive them to produce their most innovative work; others are more motivated by intrinsic rewards. For most of us, it is a combination of the two.

Conditions for creativity

Creativity thrives in three conditions:

1. When we apply and combine old ideas in new ways.

Boundaries force us to look deeper within ourselves, to sift through our experiences for something that could be useful and pool our cognitive resources. Boundaries create the conditions that encourage us to combine what we already know, as well as the new ideas we can come up with.

2. When we feel enough pressure and incentive to encourage flexible thinking.

If we don’t have any pressure or incentive, we can talk forever without actually creating anything. When a clock is ticking, when a reward is waiting and we need to find an answer, our minds are more open to new ways of looking at a problem and we become more cognitively flexible.

3. When we don’t get too comfortable.

When we’ve finally developed an idea that we’re proud of, it’s easy to feel self-satisfied in the afterglow of creative breakthrough. This is one of the greatest risks in the creative process because we can easily become attached to an idea and miss further opportunities for improvement. One way to avoid this state is to regularly move boundaries and change rules (as is the case in Formula 1). This disruption creates a ‘shelf-life’ for your solutions and forces fresh rounds of innovation and creativity.

The creative situation

The development of a Formula 1 car is a good example of what can happen if you provide boundaries and creative conditions for knowledge workers. Team structures combine a breadth and depth of experience that promote the combining of old ideas in new ways. The World Championship competition provides pressure and incentives. Rule changes on an annual basis prevent anyone from becoming too satisfied with their ideas.

A Formula 1 car has thousands of separate elements that must fit together perfectly. A race season could see 30,000 design changes being made to the car, 1,000 per week, as components are tweaked and improved to maximise performance.

The development of a Formula 1 car also illustrates one of the myths of the10,000 hours rule. Achieving excellence is not the result of countless cycles of mechanical repetition. It works more like a neural network, processes are repeated, but parameters are deliberately adjusted after each cycle of learning, to get closer to the desired result.

Default mode and creativity

Crafting a ‘creative situation’ isn’t just about setting up boundaries for work; it can also involve allocating space for creative reflection. Our brains have a distinct network of interacting brain regions that become active in periods of wakeful rest, such as when we daydream or let our minds wander. This default mode network (DMN) activates whenever we are not involved in a task. Consequently, it’s sometimes described as a ‘task-negative’ state.

Entering ‘default mode’ has strong associations with creative and divergent thinking, comprehension, remembering the past and planning for the future. Some evidence has also observed a positive correlation between creative performance, across all measures of creativity, and the physical volume of the grey matter that makes up the default mode network.

The creative product

The technical story of Formula 1 describes the importance of quality over quantity and the triumph of creative solutions over brute force. In the 1906 Grand Prix, Mercedes fielded a car with a Maybach designed 11 litre engine. Its beastly engineering produced a mere 78kW of power. 110 years later, Mercedes is still competing and winning Grand Prix. In the 2016 Formula 1 season, Mercedes’ F1 W07 Hybrid cars featured a power unit that produced nearly 10 times the power of the Maybach engine, with 1/7th of the capacity of its ancestor. Brains have replaced brawn with precision, sophistication and consistent creativity.

It is interesting to note that some of the most significant developments in engine design have taken place in the previous four years. Endless cycles of development, testing and refinement, with a hefty dose of ingenuity, mean that today’s Mercedes PU106C power unit delivers at least 47% efficiency, versus 29% in 2013 and around 20% in 1906. These innovations have been instrumentals to the Mercedes’ AMG F1 teams’ three consecutive Constructor’s Championship victories.

There have been greater improvements in the efficiency of internal combustion engines in the last four years than in the last century. When you provide boundaries, resources, and a clear objective, then release people to do their best work, great things are possible.

Three questions to consider

1. Have you considered what level of pressure facilitates your most creative moments?
2. How can you engineer your environment to construct a more hospitable environment for creativity?
3. When did you last enjoy a ‘task-negative’ state and allocate some time for creative reflection?

Author:James Hewitt


The Digital Workplace in the Cognitive Era by Forbes

The Digital Workplace in the Cognitive Era by Forbes

The Digital Workplace in the Cognitive Era by Forbes. Positioning for the future: Intelligent IT for the Anytime, Anywhere Workforce


There is a tectonic shift in the way we work. We expect the same kind of intuitive, tactile experience with our workplace technology that we now take for granted with our smartphones, tablets and gaming systems. We expect our devices to talk to each other and update automatically. Virtual meetings should be as easy to set up as a video chat, and whatever we need to do our jobs should be as easy to tailor as a streaming music or video application.
“In the workplace, there is a shift from ‘one size fits all’ to a more personalized experience in IT support and service,” says Richard Esposito, general manager of IBM’s GTS Mobility Services. “Users want to choose their own devices, and they expect the kind of experience they have with consumer devices. At the same time, the idea of renting versus buying has transformed the way most organizations pay for new IT infrastructure. The infrastructure-as-a-service model has revolutionized the way IT resources can be deployed for many of our clients.”
Perhaps the most dramatic change to the digital workplace comes from the potential for cognitive support to combine intelligence and sentiment for a true sense-and-respond experience. Cognitive systems will change the workplace in ways we haven’t yet imagined.
There is no question that technology gives us more choices and better tools. Yet what most of us want is less complexity and, if we are paying for it, lower costs. Planning for the workplace of the future means striking the right balance between finding the right tools for each user today and accessing an infrastructure that can expand with the intelligence and the power of the technology of the future.
We will explore some of these shifts in the workplace through a series of publications beginning with “The Digital Workplace in the Cognitive Era.

Reach for the stars. The advice that failed a generation?

Clouds are reflected in the Midi Tower, the headquarters of the National Pensions Office, in downtown Brussels in Belgium June 21, 2015. Picture taken June 21. REUTERS/Charles Platiau TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX1HLJY

What does the future of work look like for Gen Y?

When the Brexit referendum result came in, many celebrated, while millions despaired. The disappointed supporters of British membership of the European Union tended to be younger and better educated.

Many young people felt let down by older Brexit voters. After all, they are the ones who will have to forge careers in less certain circumstances.

Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 72% favoured continued membership of the EU. As one young Briton explained via Twitter: “Today an older generation has voted to ruin the future for the younger generation. I’m scared.” Another millennial complained: “The fact older generations have reaped the benefits & pulled the EU from my generation? Furious.”

With or without a “hard” Brexit, millennials or Gen Y – those born between 1980 and 1995 – are deeply concerned about their futures, all over the world. Whether it’s housing shortages, job prospects or general political insecurity, Gen Y is worried. This has to be of concern for everyone.

The challenges facing American Millennials

Gen Y will soon become the largest living generation and will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025. The median age of employees of Google, Alibaba, and Tesla is 30 or below. They have a mix of interests and challenges, unprecedented new skills, different insights, and often a flair for entrepreneurship.

Take Rajeeb Dey, for example, named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Rajeeb wanted to make a difference to the opportunities of other young people and became an entrepreneur aged 17, while still at school. Rajeeb, like all Gen Y-ers, is one of the first generation of digital natives. Many are well educated, well travelled, digitally literate, ambitious and impatient to pursue activities that interest them.

They embrace casual work environments, co-working spaces, flexible working hours, online learning and flat company hierarchies. Their career values and use of technology is beginning to determine what the future of work might look like.

A business man rides an escalator in the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai September 21, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: CITYSPACE SOCIETY) - RTR2RVU1
‘Their career values and use of technology is beginning to determine what the future of work might look like.’


But this is not a simple tale of technological progress and utopian views of employment. Other Gen Y-ers are fearful of the future: half of young Spaniards are unemployed. They live in challenging economic circumstances, where automation and artificial intelligence threaten the future of jobs.

Gen Y’s attitudes towards work were shaped by the global financial crisis, which occurred while they were in high school, university or at the beginning of their career. They watched opportunities for graduate careers shrink and many saw their student debts rise sharply at the same time.

These challenges, and the realization that they will struggle in housing markets, are all the greater as they spent their childhoods during an economic boom. The conventional financial and career limitations they face sit alongside the way their parents raised them to “reach for the stars” and “do what makes you happy”. Rajeeb Dey formed his start-up, Enternships.com, in the depths of the recession.

Many Gen Y-ers are not too concerned about the impact of technology on their work – but they should be. While they are largely fluent in using technology, many are ignorant as to how it works, especially compared to Gen Z, the generation below, who learn digital skills, such as coding and programming, from primary school age. This suggests that Gen Y could be left behind by the next generation of digital technology.

Despite recent rapid changes, younger workers are slightly more likely than older workers to expect that their current jobs will exist 50 years in the future: 84% of workers aged 18 to 29 expect that this will be the case, compared with 76% of workers aged 50 and older. While Gen Y is aware of the challenges of technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence (AI), and confident they can live and work alongside them, it is up to them to create the jobs that allow them to do so. It is also up to them to be active learners and continue to improve their skills so that they do not get left behind.

Evidence that Gen Y is conscious of this is their keen use of online education providers such as Coursera, EdX and Udacity, which offer short, industry-specific courses on the use of new technologies. Udacity – university by industry – is an online provider of nanodegrees, supported by Google, Facebook, GitHub, IBM and other tech giants. It offers courses for self-driving car engineers, iOS developers, and machine learning engineers. Another provider, General Assembly, promotes itself as “the solution to the skills gap”, teaching courses in fields such as coding, UX design and digital marketing. Lynda.com offers more than 4,000 online courses in business, technology and creative skills. But the question remains as to whether learning to code, to work in companies like Salesforce is going to lead to a fulfilling career? Or is coding “the next blue collar job”?

Accessing these courses can be valuable, but there’s a risk that young people will favour them and skip traditional tertiary education, such as going to university. This risks them missing out on developing soft skills, learning the politics, history and cultural components behind their topics, and entering the workforce unprepared to deal with its complexities and uncertainties. They may learn about some of the technical issues of the day, but not how to thrive in the complex and confusing world of tomorrow. Gen Y needs to see these courses as supplementary and not as sufficient in themselves.

Have you read?

With some justification, Gen Y complains government legislation favours older generations in areas such as tax allowances for pensions. Labour laws make it harder to lay off current employees who may be poor performers, which means there are fewer jobs available for young qualified graduates. At the same time, many Gen Y-ers have a strong sense of entitlement and expect to receive appreciation for their contributions. They demand flexibility with their work and lifestyle and change jobs far more often than older generations. This is sometimes seen as being flighty or unreliable.

Matching these high expectations in such unfavourable circumstances requires Gen Y to create its own future. But to achieve its goals, this generation needs to be more involved politically. In the 2012 US Presidential election, 46% of Gen Y voted as opposed to 61% of Gen X-ers, and 69% of Baby Boomers. The expectations of Gen Y-ers have to be matched by their taking more responsibility: they shouldn’t complain about political outcomes they did not involve themselves in.

As technology encroaches further into working lives, Gen Y-ers – the future of the workplace – must ensure they remain necessary and relevant. If they want to continue pursuing their progressive career values they must continue to improve their skills in order to work alongside automation and AI, rather than be made redundant by it. Gen Y needs to rise to the technological, political and social challenges that confront us all and get more involved in shaping the future of work.

Special thanks to Kate Dodgson, a Gen Y-er, who helped research this article.

Source: https://www.weforum.org

Written by:

Mark Dodgson, Director, Technology and Innovation Management Centre, University of Queensland Business School

David Gann, Vice President, Imperial College

How Do You Measure Leadership?


Source: https://medium.com/ycombinator/how-do-you-measure-leadership-a77b6d26636e#.tj5ofh9jo

Are you a good leader? How do you know?

In a startup culture that is obsessed with management by metrics, many founders struggle to answer this critical question about themselves. It’s tempting to measure leaders simply by the success of their businesses. But even the most successful founders know how much timing and luck can be confounding factors in this approach. Measuring leadership through bottom-line company performance also fails to provide any clues as to how someone can improve as a leader. So is there a better way?

This essay describes a way to measure leadership that I hope will be helpful to those who seek to improve as leaders. It is based on observations I made when working closely with four leaders that I consider extraordinary: Ed Catmull (Pixar’s founder), Steve Jobs (Pixar’s CEO), John Lasseter (Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer), and Bob Iger (Disney’s CEO). To my surprise, these men could not have been more different in style, temperament, and approach. They did not conform to a single model of leadership. One was an introverted scientist while another was an extroverted artist. One was a college dropout who had founded a company and was infamous for brash behavior while another was a career executive who was exceptionally genteel and diplomatic.
Despite their differences, these men were able to create an extraordinary amount of trust in the people around them. They built trust by doing the same three things exceptionally well, though each in his own way. I believe that these three traits are the foundational traits of great leaders You cannot be a great leader without them because you cannot build trust without them. And the trick to measuring leadership is to measure a leader’s effectiveness along these three dimensions, as detailed in the notes section at the end of this post.
Three Foundational Characteristics of Great Leaders
I believe that people of all temperaments, personality types, and personal/professional backgrounds can be great leaders, and that they can lead quite differently and still be successful. But to be trusted and followed as a leader, you must excel in three key areas:
1. Clarity of Thought and Communication
Great leaders think and communicate clearly. They describe a vision of the future that people find compelling to work hard to achieve. If your employees are confused about your mission and strategy, or do not find it motivating or credible, they will not follow you with the focus and determination necessary to succeed.1
Clarity of thought always precedes clarity of language. To improve your communication, the best thing you can do is to spend more time thinking about what you believe is truly important for your business. Once you’ve crystallized what’s important for everyone to understand, practice expressing it in simple terms. Simplicity is vital. A great example is the retail strategy that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos communicated to his team years ago. He based it on three simple but enduring customer preferences: lower prices, bigger selection, and faster delivery. To this day, anything Amazon employees do to lower prices, expand selection, and accelerate delivery creates value for the customer and advances the company’s strategy. As Bezos said:
“You can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time….when you have something that you know is true, even over the long-term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
Taking time to prepare internal communications becomes increasingly important as your company grows. As you scale, your employee base grows more diverse, and fewer of your employees have a personal relationship with you. Hence, they are much less likely to just “know what you mean” and more likely to be confused and critical if you don’t communicate well.
Great leaders spend hours preparing their internal communications. They don’t just wing it, no matter how naturally talented they are as communicators. As an example, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke and his senior team spend hundreds of hours preparing for their annual employee Summit. As Tobi says:
“We want to be a loosely coupled, highly aligned company. The Summit is the main enabler of this because it is a grand sync. We spend countless hours preparing because if we communicate well at the Summit, we achieve great alignment by the end. We can then use our weekly townhalls to keep us from drifting too far apart until the next Summit.”
2. Judgment about People
Great leaders have great intuition about people, particularly when it comes to selecting people to whom they give power and responsibility. They are able to see hidden potential in people and detect cases where ambition exceeds ability. And when they make hiring or promotion mistakes, which are inevitable, they have the courage to rectify the situation if the employee cannot be coached to improve. Nothing does more damage to an organization or to the standing of a leader than picking the wrong leaders or failing to correct these mistakes when they happen. The judgment around the initial hiring or promotion decision is the most important, as leaders who fire too many of their own also lose a lot of credibility and trust.
Not everyone is naturally gifted when it comes to intuition about people, but everyone can improve. Gathering more data will help you make better people decisions. When looking to hire leaders, try to meet as many of the best people in the field as possible as a way to sharpen your recognition skills. Spend as much time as you can getting to know executives that you are considering hiring. In a 2016 interview, Uber CTO Thuan Pham describes being interviewed by CEO Travis Kalanick for “30 hours straight, one-on-one, over two weeks,” including over Skype when Travis was traveling. “Throughout those 30 hours,” Pham continued, “I actually forgot it was an interview. It was just like a discussion between two colleagues.”
It also helps to do extensive reference checks on hires and ask for examples of behavior that shows good judgment and high integrity because these traits are hard to test in an interview. And try to learn from cases when you hire or promote the wrong person and are not able to coach them to improve.
3. Personal Integrity and Commitment
Great leaders have exceptional personal integrity and commitment to their mission. Integrity means standing for something meaningful beyond oneself rather than being motivated by narrow personal interests. It means being able to admit when you have made a mistake rather than acting like you are always right and having the humility to receive critical feedback openly and work to improve. It means avoiding behavior like favoritism, conflicts of interest, inappropriate language, inappropriate work relationships, etc., that erode trust. A useful test is to ask yourself: if your team had full transparency into your private communications and behavior towards employees, would you be embarrassed by anything you have done or said? This is a high bar, but one that great leaders strive to meet.
Beyond putting in the time, great leaders make their work into their core life mission in ways that inspire others. They derive deep personal meaning and fulfillment from leading people to achieve a mission. Their personal commitment translates into high levels of personal productivity and execution, which in turn becomes the foundation for pushing their organizations to do the same.
It All Adds Up To Trust
So how do you know you are good leader? You are a good leader if you excel in the three areas described above and thereby earn the trust of the people around you.
Building trust in this way is both a science and an art; it requires both competence and character. Trust is built when leaders think clearly about the future and move their organizations to the right place, in terms of product, sales, and people. Do the predictions you make about the future — about the products you should build, the investments you should make, and the changes in competitive or technological landscape — prove to be accurate? And do the people you have chosen to lead in your organization prove to be the right ones? Over time, the answers to these questions become known, and if you answer a lot of these questions correctly, you earn trust. I consider this the “science” of building trust. It’s built on clarity of thought, good communication, and good judgment about people.
The art of building trust is more complicated. It is closely tied with a leader’s ability to communicate with integrity. It is built when you say the right thing at the right time, and show empathy and good judgment. It grows when you stand for ideals bigger than yourself rather than caring primarily about your personal success, wealth, fame, or position. It also grows when you are honest with others, admitting what you don’t know, and not trying to be someone else. This is why you can’t try to copy Steve Jobs or Ed Catmull in your quest to be a great leader. You can only be yourself.
Most leaders understand the science of building trust. They understand that they need to think and communicate clearly about product and strategy and make good choices when they are hiring and promoting people into leadership positions. They understand that they have to show deep commitment and get things done. But in my experience, the truly great leaders also understand the art of building trust. Leaders have to make many hard decisions — firing people, taking responsibility for mistakes, disappointing people by saying no, etc. Great leaders treat these challenges as opportunities to build trust. They ask themselves which course of action and which style of communication will increase the trust that employees have in them. When faced with a difficult challenge, they optimize for trust.
This, perhaps, is the lesson that great leaders teach everyone else. In difficult times, as you evaluate one course of action versus another, ask yourself which path will generate more trust in you as a person and as a leader. Always try to choose that path.
Thanks to Tobi Lütke, Tyler Bosmeny, Daniel Yanisse, David Rusenko, Sam Altman, Michael Seibel, and the YC Continuity team for reading drafts of this essay.
Survey Questions for Evaluating Leaders
The best approach to measuring leadership is to evaluate a leader’s performance in the three areas in which all great leaders must excel: clarity of thought / communication, judgment about people, and personal integrity / commitment. Measuring leadership in this way requires gathering data from employees, but most startups have never done this in a systematic way.
Eventually, all companies need to develop methods to gather employee sentiment and turn it into structured data. In fact one of the core responsibilities of a good HR team is to gather and document employee sentiment and use it to assess leadership.2 I suggest that startups begin to gather this data systematically once they reach about 50 people in size.
Whatever set of data gathering techniques is used, it’s critical to ask the right questions to assess leadership performance. These sample questions are meant to serve as a starting point for a more thorough employee survey. These questions are written to evaluate a CEO, but can easily be adapted to any leader in the company. Part of the goal is to see the level of alignment between a CEO’s responses and that of the employees.
1. Clarity of Thought and Communication
Questions for the CEO
Write down your company’s mission, strategy, and key metrics (“mission-to-metrics”) in less than 2 minutes.
Write down 2–3 themes that you have consistently emphasized in your communications to employees.
Questions for Employees (current and departing)
What is the company’s mission and strategy?
What are the most important operating metrics that measure the company’s success?
How does your work contribute to these key success metrics?
How often has the company’s definition of mission, strategy and metrics changed in the past 24 months? Or has it been the same over this time?
What do you think is really important to the CEO? What does he or she consistently emphasize in communications?
How effective and clear is the CEO in the following communication methods: written, speaking to a large group, speaking with a small group?
2. Judgment About People
Questions for the CEO
Rate the effectiveness of each leader you have promoted or hired at the company.
Write down the name of any leader that you have promoted or hired that you don’t think is actually the right person to lead his/her area.
Have you exited the right employees? Or have you made mistakes?
Questions for Employees (current and departing)
Has the CEO chosen good leaders at the company?
Which leaders do you respect and why?
Are there leaders that you think are weak and why?
Has the CEO replaced any leaders in the past year? Were these good decisions, from your perspective?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the senior leader (i.e., CEO direct report) who oversees your area?
Have any high performing members of your team chosen to leave the company in the past year? Why did they choose to leave?
Ask departing employees: are they leaving because of concerns about senior leadership?
3. Personal Integrity and Commitment
Questions for the CEO
Are there actions you have taken which you feel have diminished the confidence that employees have in your integrity? What are they?
Do you ask for feedback about your performance? Are there examples when you have responded to employee feedback and changed your behavior?
How do you rate your level of commitment to your job?
How do you rate the level of commitment of your direct reports?
Questions for Employees (current and departing)
How would you rate your CEO’s integrity / moral compass?
Do you think the CEO listens well and is open to feedback? Are there examples where feedback has changed the CEO’s behavior in a positive way?
Have you seen examples of favoritism, inappropriate relationships, inappropriate language, conflicts of interest, or any other unethical behavior in the CEO?
When asked anonymously, what do employees / direct reports feel motivates the CEO?
How would you describe the level of personal commitment that the CEO shows to the mission of the company?
Have you seen examples of lack of commitment from the CEO?
Have you seen examples of lack of commitment from other leaders or from employees?
[1] Please see “What’s the Second Job of a Startup CEO” for a more thorough discussion of creating purpose & alignment.
[2] Data gathering methods include employee roundtables mediated by the CEO or HR, structured questions asked as part of employee exit interviews, all-hands or team meetings to gather employee feedback, hiring of external consultants to survey or interview employees, and on-line or email surveys of employees.

5 ways to lead in an era of constant change

0:11Have you ever noticed when you ask someone to talk about a change they’re making for the better in their personal lives, they’re often really energetic? Whether it’s training for a marathon, picking up an old hobby, or learning a new skill, for most people, self-transformation projects occupy a very positive emotional space.

0:32Self-transformation is empowering, energizing, even exhilarating. I mean just take a look at some of the titles of self-help books: “Awaken the Giant Within,” “Practicing the Power of Now,” or here’s a great one we can all relate to, “You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.”


0:59When it comes to self-transformation, you can’t help but get a sense of the excitement. But there’s another type of transformation that occupies a very different emotional space. The transformation of organizations. If you’re like most people, when you hear the words “Our organization is going to start a transformation,” you’re thinking, “Uh-oh.”


1:27“Layoffs.” The blood drains from your face, your mind goes into overdrive, frantically searching for some place to run and hide.

1:39Well, you can run, but you really can’t hide. Most of us spend the majority of our waking hoursinvolved in organizations. And due to changes in globalization, changes due to advances in technology and other factors, the reality is our organizations are constantly having to adapt. In fact,I call this the era of “always-on” transformation.

2:08When I shared this idea with my wife Nicola, she said, “Always-on transformation? That sounds exhausting.” And that may be exactly what you’re thinking — and you would be right. Particularly if we continue to approach the transformation of organizations the way we always have been.

2:27But because we can’t hide, we need to sort out two things. First, why is transformation so exhausting? And second, how do we fix it?

2:40First of all, let’s acknowledge that change is hard. People naturally resist change, especially when it’s imposed on them. But there are things that organizations do that make change even harder and more exhausting for people than it needs to be. First of all, leaders often wait too long to act. As a result, everything is happening in crisis mode. Which, of course, tends to be exhausting. Or, given the urgency, what they’ll do is they’ll just focus on the short-term results, but that doesn’t give any hope for the future. Or they’ll just take a superficial, one-off approach, hoping that they can return back to business as usual as soon as the crisis is over.

3:36This kind of approach is kind of the way some students approach preparing for standardized tests.In order to get test scores to go up, teachers will end up teaching to the test. Now, that approach can work; test results often do go up. But it fails the fundamental goal of education: to prepare students to succeed over the long term.

4:05So given these obstacles, what can we do to transform the way we transform organizations so rather than being exhausting, it’s actually empowering and energizing? To do that, we need to focus on five strategic imperatives, all of which have one thing in common: putting people first.

4:32The first imperative for putting people first is to inspire through purpose. Most transformations have financial and operational goals. These are important and they can be energizing to leaders, but they tend not to be very motivating to most people in the organization. To motivate more broadly, the transformation needs to connect with a deeper sense of purpose.

4:56Take LEGO. The LEGO Group has become an extraordinary global company. Under their very capable leadership, they’ve actually undergone a series of transformations. While each of these has had a very specific focus, the North Star, linking and guiding all of them, has been Lego’s powerful purpose: inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. Expanding globally? It’s not about increasing sales, but about giving millions of additional children access to LEGO building bricks.Investment and innovation? It’s not about developing new products, but about enabling more children to experience the joy of learning through play. Not surprisingly, that deep sense of purpose tends to be highly motivating to LEGO’s people.

5:53The second imperative for putting people first is to go all in. Too many transformations are nothing more than head-count cutting exercises; layoffs under the guise of transformation. In the face of relentless competition, it may well be that you will have to take the painful decision to downsize the organization, just as you may have to lose some weight in order to run a marathon. But losing weight alone will not get you across the finish line with a winning time. To win you need to go all in.You need to go all in. Rather than just cutting costs, you need to think about initiatives that will enable you to win in the medium term, initiatives to drive growth, actions that will fundamentally change the way the company operates, and very importantly, investments to develop the leadership and the talent.

6:57The third imperative for putting people first is to enable people with the capabilities that they need to succeed during the transformation and beyond. Over the years I’ve competed in a number of triathlons. You know, frankly, I’m not that good, but I do have one distinct capability; I am remarkably fast at finding my bike.


7:27By the time I finish the swim, almost all the bikes are already gone.


7:35Real triathletes know that each leg — the swim, the bike, the run — really requires different capabilities, different tools, different skills, different techniques. Likewise when we transform organizations, we need to be sure that we’re giving our people the skills and the tools they need along the way.

7:57Chronos, a global software company, recognized the need to transfer from building products —software products — to building software as a service. To enable its people to take that transformation, first of all they invested in new tools that would enable their employees to monitor the usage of the features as well as customer satisfaction with the new service. They also invested in skill development, so that their employees would be able to resolve customer service problems on the spot. And very importantly, they also reinforced the collaborative behaviors that would be required to deliver an end-to-end seamless customer experience. Because of these investments,rather than feeling overwhelmed by the transformation, Chronos employees actually felt energizedand empowered in their new roles.

8:55In the era of “always-on” transformation, change is a constant. My fourth imperative therefore is to instill a culture of continuous learning. When Satya Nadella became the CEO of Microsoft in February 2014, he embarked on an ambitious transformation journey to prepare the company to compete in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This included changes to strategy, the organization and very importantly, the culture. Microsoft’s culture at the time was one of silos and internal competition — not exactly conducive to learning. Nadella took this head-on. He rallied his leadership around his vision for a living, learning culture, shifting from a fixed mindset, where your role was to show up as the smartest person in the room, to a growth mindset, where your role was to listen, to learn and to bring out the best in people. Well, early days, Microsoft employees already noticed this shift in the culture — clear evidence of Microsoft putting people first.

10:07My fifth and final imperative is specifically for leaders. In a transformation, a leader needs to have a vision, a clear road map with milestones, and then you need to hold people accountable for results.In other words, you need to be directive. But in order to capture the hearts and minds of people,you also need to be inclusive. Inclusive leadership is critical to putting people first.

10:38I live in the San Francisco Bay area. And right now, our basketball team is the best in the league.We won the 2015 championship, and we’re favored to win again this year. There are many explanations for this. They have some fabulous players, but one of the key reasons is their head coach, Steve Kerr, is an inclusive leader. When Kerr came to the Warriors in 2014, the Warriors were looking for a major transformation. They hadn’t won a national championship since 1975.

11:16Kerr came in, and he had a clear vision, and he immediately got to work. From the outset, he reached out and engaged the players and the staff. He created an environment of open debate and solicited suggestions. During games he would often ask, “What are you seeing that I’m missing?”

11:39One the best examples of this came in game four of the 2015 finals. The Warriors were down two games to one when Kerr made the decision to change the starting lineup; a bold move by any measure. The Warriors won the game and went on to win the championship. And it is widely viewedthat that move was the pivotal move in their victory.

12:08Interestingly, it wasn’t actually Kerr’s idea. It was the idea of his 28-year-old assistant, Nick U’Ren.Because of Kerr’s leadership style, U’Ren felt comfortable bringing the idea forward. And Kerr not only listened, but he implemented the idea and then afterwards, gave U’Ren all the credit — actions all consistent with Kerr’s highly inclusive approach to leadership.

12:40In the era of “always-on” transformation, organizations are always going to be transforming. But doing so does not have to be exhausting. We owe it to ourselves, to our organizations and to society more broadly to boldly transform our approach to transformation. To do that, we need to start putting people first.

13:10Thank you.


William Ury The walk from no to yes

Well, the subject of difficult negotiation reminds me of one of my favorite stories from the Middle East, of a man who left to his three sons, 17 camels. To the first son, he left half the camels; to the second son, he left a third of the camels; and to the youngest son, he left a ninth of the camels. The three sons got into a negotiation — 17 doesn’t divide by two. It doesn’t divide by three. It doesn’t divide by nine. Brotherly tempers started to get strained. Finally, in desperation, they went and they consulted a wise old woman. The wise old woman thought about their problem for a long time, and finally she came back and said, “Well, I don’t know if I can help you, but at least, if you want, you can have my camel.” So then, they had 18 camels. The first son took his half — half of 18 is nine.The second son took his third — a third of 18 is six. The youngest son took his ninth — a ninth of 18 is two. You get 17. They had one camel left over. They gave it back to the wise old woman.


1:11Now, if you think about that story for a moment, I think it resembles a lot of the difficult negotiationswe get involved in. They start off like 17 camels, no way to resolve it. Somehow, what we need to do is step back from those situations, like that wise old woman, look at the situation through fresh eyes and come up with an 18th camel. Finding that 18th camel in the world’s conflicts has been my life passion.

1:35I basically see humanity a bit like those three brothers. We’re all one family. We know that scientifically, thanks to the communications revolution, all the tribes on the planet — all 15,000 tribes — are in touch with each other. And it’s a big family reunion. And yet, like many family reunions, it’s not all peace and light. There’s a lot of conflict, and the question is: How do we deal with our differences? How do we deal with our deepest differences, given the human propensity for conflict and the human genius at devising weapons of enormous destruction? That’s the question.

2:14As I’ve spent the last better part of three decades, almost four, traveling the world, trying to work, getting involved in conflicts ranging from Yugoslavia to the Middle East to Chechnya to Venezuela — some of the most difficult conflicts on the face of the planet — I’ve been asking myself that question. And I think I’ve found, in some ways, what is the secret to peace. It’s actually surprisingly simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. It’s not even new. It may be one of our most ancient human heritages. The secret to peace is us. It’s us who act as a surrounding community around any conflict, who can play a constructive role.

2:59Let me give you just a story, an example. About 20 years ago, I was in South Africa, working with the parties in that conflict, and I had an extra month, so I spent some time living with several groups of San Bushmen. I was curious about them, about the way in which they resolve conflict. Because, after all, within living memory, they were hunters and gatherers, living pretty much like our ancestors lived for maybe 99 percent of the human story. And all the men have these poison arrows that they use for hunting — absolutely fatal. So how do they deal with their differences? Well, what I learned is, whenever tempers rise in those communities, someone goes and hides the poison arrows out in the bush, and then everyone sits around in a circle like this, and they sit and they talk and they talk. It may take two days, three days, four days, but they don’t rest until they find a resolution or better yet — a reconciliation. And if tempers are still too high, then they send someone off to visit some relatives, as a cooling-off period.

4:02Well, that system is, I think, probably the system that kept us alive to this point, given our human tendencies. That system, I call “the third side.” Because if you think about it, normally when we think of conflict, when we describe it, there’s always two sides — it’s Arabs versus Israelis, labor versus management, husband versus wife, Republicans versus Democrats. But what we don’t often see is that there’s always a third side, and the third side of the conflict is us, it’s the surrounding community, it’s the friends, the allies, the family members, the neighbors. And we can play an incredibly constructive role.

4:39Perhaps the most fundamental way in which the third side can help is to remind the parties of what’s really at stake. For the sake of the kids, for the sake of the family, for the sake of the community, for the sake of the future, let’s stop fighting for a moment and start talking. Because, the thing is, when we’re involved in conflict, it’s very easy to lose perspective. It’s very easy to react. Human beings — we’re reaction machines. And as the saying goes, when angry, you will make the best speech you will ever regret.


5:13And so the third side reminds us of that. The third side helps us go to the balcony, which is a metaphor for a place of perspective, where we can keep our eyes on the prize.

5:23Let me tell you a little story from my own negotiating experience. Some years ago, I was involved as a facilitator in some very tough talks between the leaders of Russia and the leaders of Chechnya.There was a war going on, as you know. And we met in the Hague, in the Peace Palace, in the same room where the Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal was taking place. And the talks got off to a rather rocky start when the vice president of Chechnya began by pointing at the Russians and said, “You should stay right here in your seats, because you’re going to be on trial for war crimes.” And then he turned to me and said, “You’re an American. Look at what you Americans are doing in Puerto Rico.” And my mind started racing, “Puerto Rico? What do I know about Puerto Rico?” I started reacting.


6:10But then, I tried to remember to go to the balcony. And then when he paused and everyone looked at me for a response, from a balcony perspective, I was able to thank him for his remarks and say, “I appreciate your criticism of my country and I take it as a sign that we’re among friends and can speak candidly to one another.”


6:28“And what we’re here to do is not to talk about Puerto Rico or the past. We’re here to see if we can figure out a way to stop the suffering and the bloodshed in Chechnya.” The conversation got back on track. That’s the role of the third side, to help the parties go to the balcony.

6:44Now let me take you, for a moment, to what’s widely regarded as the world’s most difficult conflict,or the most impossible conflict, the Middle East. Question is: where’s the third side there? How could we possibly go to the balcony? Now, I don’t pretend to have an answer to the Middle East conflict, but I think I’ve got a first step — literally, a first step — something that any one of us could do as third-siders. Let me just ask you one question first. How many of you in the last years have ever found yourself worrying about the Middle East and wondering what anyone could do? Just out of curiosity, how many of you? OK, so the great majority of us. And here, it’s so far away. Why do we pay so much attention to this conflict? Is it the number of deaths? There are a hundred times more people who die in a conflict in Africa than in the Middle East. No, it’s because of the story,because we feel personally involved in that story. Whether we’re Christians, Muslims or Jews, religious or non-religious, we feel we have a personal stake in it.

7:48Stories matter; as an anthropologist, I know that. Stories are what we use to transmit knowledge.They give meaning to our lives. That’s what we tell here at TED, we tell stories. Stories are the key.And so my question is — yes, let’s try and resolve the politics there in the Middle East, but let’s also take a look at the story. Let’s try to get at the root of what it’s all about. Let’s see if we can apply the third side to it. What would that mean? What is the story there?

8:17Now, as anthropologists, we know that every culture has an origin story. What’s the origin story of the Middle East? In a phrase, it’s: Four thousand years ago, a man and his family walked across the Middle East, and the world has never been the same since. That man, of course, was Abraham.And what he stood for was unity, the unity of the family; he’s the father of us all. But it’s not just what he stood for, it’s what his message was. His basic message was unity too, the interconnectedness of it all, the unity of it all. And his basic value was respect, was kindness toward strangers. That’s what he’s known for, his hospitality. So in that sense, he’s the symbolic third side of the Middle East. He’s the one who reminds us that we’re all part of a greater whole. Now, think about that for a moment.

9:15Today, we face the scourge of terrorism. What is terrorism? Terrorism is basically taking an innocent stranger and treating them as an enemy whom you kill in order to create fear. What’s the opposite of terrorism? It’s taking an innocent stranger and treating them as a friend whom you welcome into your home, in order to sow and create understanding or respect, or love.

9:42So what if, then, you took the story of Abraham, which is a third-side story, what if that could be —because Abraham stands for hospitality — what if that could be an antidote to terrorism? What if that could be a vaccine against religious intolerance? How would you bring that story to life? Now, it’s not enough just to tell a story. That’s powerful, but people need to experience the story. They need to be able to live the story. How would you do that? And that was my thinking of how would you do that. And that’s what comes to the first step here. Because the simple way to do that is: you go for a walk. You go for a walk in the footsteps of Abraham. You retrace the footsteps of Abraham.Because walking has a real power. You know, as an anthropologist, walking is what made us human. It’s funny — when you walk, you walk side-by-side, in the same common direction. Now if I were to come to you face-to-face and come this close to you, you would feel threatened. But if I walk shoulder-to-shoulder, even touching shoulders, it’s no problem. Who fights while they walk?That’s why in negotiations, often, when things get tough, people go for walks in the woods.

11:03So the idea came to me of, what about inspiring a path, a route — think the Silk Route, think the Appalachian Trail — that followed in the footsteps of Abraham? People said, “That’s crazy. You can’t. You can’t retrace the footsteps of Abraham — it’s too insecure, you’ve got to cross all these borders, it goes across 10 different countries in the Middle East, because it unites them all.” And so we studied the idea at Harvard. We did our due diligence. And then a few years ago, a group of us, about 25 of us from 10 different countries, decided to see if we could retrace the footsteps of Abraham, going from his initial birthplace in the city of Urfa in Southern Turkey, Northern Mesopotamia. And we then took a bus and took some walks and went to Harran, where, in the Bible, he sets off on his journey. Then we crossed the border into Syria, went to Aleppo, which, turns out, is named after Abraham. We went to Damascus, which has a long history associated with Abraham. We then came to Northern Jordan, to Jerusalem — which is all about Abraham — to Bethlehem, and finally, to the place where he’s buried, in Hebron. So effectively, we went from womb to tomb. We showed it could be done. It was an amazing journey.

12:16Let me ask you a question. How many of you have had the experience of being in a strange neighborhood or strange land, and a total stranger, perfect stranger, comes up to you and shows you some kindness — maybe invites you into their home, gives you a drink, gives you a coffee, gives you a meal? How many of you have ever had that experience? That’s the essence of the Abraham Path. That’s what you discover as you go into these villages in the Middle East where you expect hostility, and you get the most amazing hospitality, all associated with Abraham: “In the name of Father Ibrahim, let me offer you some food.” So what we discovered is that Abraham is not just a figure out of a book for those people; he’s alive, he’s a living presence.

13:00And to make a long story short, in the last couple of years now, thousands of people have begun to walk parts of the path of Abraham in the Middle East, enjoying the hospitality of the people there.They’ve begun to walk in Israel and Palestine, in Jordan, in Turkey, in Syria. It’s an amazing experience. Men, women, young people, old people — more women than men, actually, interestingly.

13:26For those who can’t walk, who are unable to get there right now, people started to organize walks in cities, in their own communities. In Cincinnati, for instance, they organized a walk from a church to a mosque to a synagogue and all had an Abrahamic meal together. It was Abraham Path Day. In São Paulo, Brazil, it’s become an annual event for thousands of people to run in a virtual Abraham Path Run, uniting the different communities. The media love it; they really adore it. They lavish attention on it because it’s visual and it spreads the idea, this idea of Abrahamic hospitality, of kindness towards strangers. And just a couple weeks ago, there was an NPR story on it. Last month, there was a piece in the Manchester Guardian about it, two whole pages. And they quoted a villager who said, “This walk connects us to the world.” He said, “It was like a light that went on in our lives — it brought us hope.” And so that’s what it’s about.

14:30But it’s not just about psychology; it’s about economics. Because as people walk, they spend money. And this woman right here, Um Ahmad, is a woman who lives on the path in Northern Jordan. She’s desperately poor. She’s partially blind, her husband can’t work, she’s got seven kids.But what she can do is cook. And so she’s begun to cook for some groups of walkers who come through the village and have a meal in her home. They sit on the floor — she doesn’t even have a tablecloth. She makes the most delicious food, that’s fresh from the herbs in the surrounding countryside. And so more and more walkers have come, and lately she’s begun to earn an income to support her family. And so she told our team there, she said, “You have made me visible in a village where people were once ashamed to look at me.” That’s the potential of the Abraham Path.

15:27There are literally hundreds of those kinds of communities across the Middle East, across the path.The potential is basically to change the game. And to change the game, you have to change the frame, the way we see things — to change the frame from hostility to hospitality, from terrorism to tourism. And in that sense, the Abraham Path is a game-changer.

15:52Let me just show you one thing. I have a little acorn here that I picked up while I was walking on the path earlier this year. Now, the acorn is associated with the oak tree, of course — grows into an oak tree, which is associated with Abraham. The path right now is like an acorn; it’s still in its early phase. What would the oak tree look like? When I think back to my childhood, a good part of which I spent, after being born here in Chicago, I spent in Europe. If you had been in the ruins of, say, London in 1945, or Berlin, and you had said, “Sixty years from now, this is going to be the most peaceful, prosperous part of the planet,” people would have thought you were certifiably insane.But they did it, thanks to a common identity, Europe, and a common economy. So my question is, if it can be done in Europe, why not in the Middle East? Why not, thanks to a common identity, which is the story of Abraham, and thanks to a common economy that would be based, in good part, on tourism?

16:56So let me conclude, then, by saying that in the last 35 years, as I’ve worked in some of the most dangerous, difficult and intractable conflicts around the planet, I have yet to see one conflict that I felt could not be transformed. It’s not easy, of course. But it’s possible. It was done in South Africa.It was done in Northern Ireland. It could be done anywhere. It simply depends on us. It depends on us taking the third side. So let me invite you to consider taking the third side, even as a very small step. We’re about to take a break in a moment. Just go up to someone who’s from a different culture, a different country, a different ethnicity — some difference — and engage them in a conversation. Listen to them. That’s a third-side act. That’s walking Abraham’s Path. After a TED Talk, why not a TED Walk?


17:54So let me just leave you with three things. One is, the secret to peace is the third side. The third side is us. Each of us, with a single step, can take the world, can bring the world a step closer to peace. There’s an old African proverb that goes: “When spiderwebs unite, they can halt even the lion.” If we’re able to unite our third-side webs of peace, we can even halt the lion of war.

18:31Thank you very much.