Food for thought: TED talks to inspire

When it comes to inspiration, few do it better than TED. From thinkers and creators to corporates and everyday people, there’s plenty to listen to and learn from. We dug through TED’s rich archive of talks and chose these three for their unique takes on giving. Enjoy!

Bill and Melinda Gates: Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we’ve ever done

It’s with good reason the philanthropic work of Bill and Melinda Gates is well publicised. In this insightful TED talk from March 2014 – which has clocked up almost 1.7m views to date – the inspirational couple share with interviewer Chris Anderson a little about their relationship, their desire to give, and their work through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Peter Singer: The why and how of effective altruism

A provocative and thoughtful TED talk by Australian philosopher and academic Peter Singer, who explores the notion of “effective altruism” – where the head and heart meet for maximum giving impact.

Singer explains the need for practicality in altruism, not just emotion: “It's really important to use the head as well [as the heart] to make sure that what you do is effective and well-directed, and not only that, but also I think reason helps us to understand that other people, wherever they are, are like us, that they can suffer as we can.”

Michael Norton: How to buy happiness

Harvard professor and social science researcher Michael Norton’s TED talk is a classic, which has been viewed more than 2.6m times. His research found that money can indeed buy you happiness – just not in the way that you may think.

“I think if you think money can't buy happiness you're not spending it right” says Norton. “The implication is not you should buy this product instead of that product and that's the way to make yourself happier. It's in fact, that you should stop thinking about which product to buy for yourself and try giving some of it to other people instead.”

Do you have a favourite TED take on philanthropy? Please share it with us below...