Some TED talks just go viral within a few days of their launch. While others become popular over time. There’s no fixed formula to make people love a TED video.

Or is there?

To find out what makes some TED talks go viral, a bunch of people analysed the ones with the highest number of views. They found –

About 65% portion of the talk was personal stories while 25% was data (facts and figures). The speakers spent the rest 10% to prop up their credibility with achievements or projects they were involved with at the time.

viral ted talk

But one thing was certain: All the successful talks delivered on the TED stage were about game-changing ideas. They shifted the narrative from “How can we do this better?” to “Oh, that’s awesome! Didn’t know it was possible to do that.”

Below are the same fine pieces of new-age wisdom. They’ll help you work better and smarter. If you adopt and follow ideas from even one of these talks, you’ll see a huge gain in productivity. Plus, these talks give you new ambitions and directions to grow your career. Let’s watch em.

Note: Find the talks at the bottom of each subhead (after the write-up).

#1. Jason Fried – Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work

In the first minute itself, Jason asks >”Where do you go when you really need to get something done?”

Then he goes on to answer it himself, “Typically, you get three different kinds of answers. One is kind of a place or a location or a room. Another one is a moving object (e.g. train), and a third is a time (e.g. morning).”

This radical theory by Basecamp founder Jason Fried focuses only on getting stuff done. Then whether it’s 9-5 or 6-2, you should be allowed to work at any time. FYI Basecamp, a project management software with 15 million users, is among many of his amazing achievements.

If you wanna get more of the awesome from Jason, check out one of his books, like Rework. Or head over to his blog Signal v. Noise, where he regularly writes.

#2. Larry Smith – Why you will fail to have a great career

The first line, Larry shoots out at his audience, “I want to discuss with you this afternoon why you’re going to fail to have a great career.” Then he goes on, “I know some of you have already decided you want a good career. You’re going to fail, too.”

In this, another mind-expanding talk, the economist from Waterloo calls out everyone’s lame excuses on failing to achieve their goal, dream, passion and so on.

Larry’s sheer bluntness is a really outstanding element here. His every word pierces like a dagger that you don’t want to stop – because it rings too true and too close to the heart.

#3. Seth Godin – The Tribes We Lead

A nifty goldmine for all marketers, this TED talk revives the age-old concept of tribes. Godin argues that your mass marketing funnel has changed forever because of the internet.

In its place are now small fan groups who adore your brand and offer their complete loyalty. They are your brand’s tribe.

And this tribe is your real audience. They’re the real channel to spread the word about you because they’re excited and proud of your brand – like a dear friend.

He closes off with ways you can harness this tribe’s power to grow your business. After this talk, you’ll change how you tell your personal stories and brand stories too.

#4. Bill Gross – The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed

You know how cool startups are, right? So, if the startup organisations are so great, why do so many fail?

Serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Bill Gross, in this in-depth talk, dissects five common factors that make or break a startup: ideas, team, business model, funding, and timing.

In this TED talk, Gross shares his verdict after analysing 100 Idealab (his own startup incubator) companies, and 100 non-Idealab companies. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to miss this one!

#5. Regina Hartley: Why The Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume

Human resources executive Regina Hartley has two categories for candidates – “Silver Spoons” and “Scrappers”. And if she has to choose between a perfect resume and a candidate who’s resume couldn’t show more zigzag career path, she chooses the latter.

This latter kind, she calls Scrappers. And folks that are perfect A-listers since childhood, she puts in her “Silver Spoons” tray. “Choose the underestimated contender, whose secret weapons are passion and purpose,” she says. “Hire the Scrapper.”

If you’re in HR by any chance, this talk will shake your version of resume screening and shortlisting.

#6. Dan Pink – The Puzzle Of Motivation

Dan starts this funny yet intense talk with his story. He announces how he graduated from law school at the bottom, sprinkling his gripping humor after each sentence. He adds even more humor to the talk by declaring, “I never practised law a day in my life; I pretty much wasn’t allowed to.”

Then a few more moments into his talk, Dan pulls out the big guns. He explains how managers reward their people and how this conventional approach to motivation is totally WRONG!

Employee performance directly correlates with motivation, which comes from intrinsic factors, he explains. If all social scientists prove this concept again & again, then why do bosses and managers depend on external motivators like money, gifts, and vacations, he asks?

One of the most enlightening TED talk ever!

#7. Shawn Achor – The Happy Secret To Better Work

Shawn is a psychologist. But he wasn’t one when he was five. And at that age, he accidentally and pretty unknowingly met the power of positive psychology.

He narrates a story when he was 5 and while playing with his 2 years elder sister Amy, he broke her arm. Watching her cry and in fear that she’ll wake up their parents, he abruptly blurted out, “Amy, wait. Don’t cry. Did you see how you landed? No human lands on all fours like that. Amy, I think this means you’re a unicorn.”

Quite magically, Amy stopped crying, forgot all about her broken limb and let out a true unicorn smile. Long after that incident, Shawn’s life and career changed, in part, driven by the profound effect of a simple, childish lie he witnessed that day.

Catch this really smart & entertaining talk right now. Let happiness be the road to great work and success for once, not the other way ‘round.

Done watching the awesomeness? Well, if you’ve just found new perspectives towards life & work, then I invite you to check out Instahyre where tons of amazing companies are waiting to offer great jobs to top candidates.