Not long ago, I came across a little-known speech titled, “You and Your Research”.
The speech had been delivered in 1986 by Richard Hamming, an accomplished mathematician and computer engineer, as part of an internal series of talks given at Bell Labs. I had never heard of Hamming, the internal lecture series at Bell Labs, or this particular speech. And yet, as I read the transcript, I came across one useful insight after another.
After reading that talk, I got to thinking… what other great talks and speeches are out there that I've never heard?
I've been slowly searching for answers to that question and the result is this list of my favorite interesting and insightful talks that are not widely known. You may see a few famous speeches on this list, but my guess is that most people are not aware of many of them—just as I wasn't when I first started looking around.
As far as I know this is the only place where you can read transcripts of these speeches in one place.
Famous Speeches and Great Talks
This list is organized by presenter name and then speech topic. Click the links below to jump to a specific speech. On each page, you'll find a full transcript of the speech as well as some additional background information.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story”
- Jeff Bezos, “What Matters More Than Your Talents”
- John Cleese, “Creativity in Management”
- William Deresiewicz, “Solitude and Leadership”
- Richard Feynman, “Seeking New Laws”
- Neil Gaiman, “Make Good Art”
- Elizabeth Gilbert, “Your Elusive Creative Genius”
- Bill Gurley, “Runnin Down a Dream”
- Richard Hamming, “Learning to Learn”
- Richard Hamming, “You and Your Research”
- Steve Jobs, “2005 Stanford Commencement Address”
- Admiral William H. McRaven, “Make Your Bed”
- Arno Rafael Minkkinen, “Finding Your Own Vision”
- Charlie Munger, “A Lesson on Elementary, Worldly Wisdom”
- Charlie Munger, “The Psychology of Human Misjudgment”
- Charlie Munger, “2007 USC Law School Commencement Address”
- Nathan Myhrvold, “Roadkill on the Information Highway“
- Randy Pausch, “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”
- Randy Pausch, “Time Management”
- John Roberts, “I Wish You Bad Luck”
- Sir Ken Robinson, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”
- J.K. Rowling, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure”
- Claude Shannon, “Creative Thinking”
- Bret Victor, “Inventing on Principle”
- David Foster Wallace, “This is Water”
- Art Williams, “Just Do It”
This is an on-going project. If you know of another great talk, please contact me.