#1. Chip Kidd: Designing Books is No Laughing Matter
“My job was to ask this question: “What do the stories look like?””
Chip Kidd‘s hilarious and engaging talk on cover design is a must-watch for any indie author. Whether you’re briefing a designer, or designing your own book cover, it’s imperative that your cover tells the story you want to convey, and Kidd explains just how to do that.
#2. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger of A Single Story
“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize.”
Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains the power of telling and sharing stories, and the importance of seeing those stories resonate around the world.
#3. Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts
“Introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.”
It can be challenging being a writer in a world that sometimes seems to demand more social media marketing and reader engagement than actual writing. Susan Cain makes the case for those who flourish in quieter environments and explains how she was able to harness her own creativity by embracing solitude and creating a more comfortable working space.
#4. Frank Warren: Half A Million Secrets
If you’re still looking for the spark to ignite your story, you might find inspiration over at postsecret.com, where hundreds of thousands of people anonymously mail their secrets in on the back of a postcard. New secrets are posted every Sunday and contain a wealth of potential writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing!
#5. Tina Seelig: The Little Risks You Can Take to Increase Your Luck
Stanford university professor and author Tina Seelig teaches entrepreneurship and she believes that we make our own luck by taking risks and opportunities. Her book has sold more than a million copies worldwide and she attributes her success to the risks she took along the way.
#6. Adam Grant: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers
“Know that being quick to start but slow to finish can boost your creativity, that you can motivate yourself by doubting your ideas and embracing the fear of failing to try, and that you need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”
If you like to wait until a deadline is looming to start any real work, then this one is for you! Adam Grant explains that procrastination can be a virtue for creativity and that some of our best ideas are unleashed when we free ourselves from constraint and allow exploration of multiple ideas and possibilities.
#7: Tracy Chevalier: Finding the Story Inside the Painting
“Our DNA tells us to tell stories.We tell stories all the time about everything, and I think we do it because the world is kind of a crazy, chaotic place, and sometimes stories, we’re trying to make sense of the world a little bit, trying to bring some order to it.”
When bestselling author Tracy Chevalier visits a gallery, she looks for stories amid the artwork. In this talk, she discusses three stories that took inspiration from portraits, and explains how she uses art to spark creativity.
#8. Isabel Allende: Tales of Passion
“There’s a Jewish saying that I love.What is truer than truth? Answer: The story. I’m a storyteller. I want to convey something that is truer than truth about our common humanity.”
Isabel Allende is a Chilean author who weaves magical realism and Latin American mythology into her writing. In this talk, she explains how passion is the driving force behind her writing, and how she has channelled her passion for telling women’s stories into making positive change in the world. Warning: it’s a tough listen, but incredibly inspiring.
#9. Elif Shafak: The Politics of Fiction
“Fiction for me was less of an autobiographical manifestation than a transcendental journey into other lives, other possibilities.”
How many authors use fiction to transcend their own identities and explore other worlds and realities? Elif Shafak pushes back against the expectation that you should write only what you know, and encourages writers to explore what they most want to write.
#10. Bel Pesce: 5 Ways To Kill Your Dreams
“When we think about the dreams we have, and the dent we want to leave in the universe, it is striking to see how big of an overlap there is between the dreams that we have, and projects that never happen.
This talk by Brazilian author Bel Pesce focuses on creating your own success in business. She urges listeners not to stand in their own way and to follow through on the dreams they have in order to create the reality they want.