The Best TED Talks By B-School Professors

3) University of Waterloo’s Larry Smith: “WHY YOU WILL FAIL TO HAVE A GREAT CAREER”


Is this information new? 3

Not exactly. Smith’s talk stitches together stuff we’ve probably all heard. The wonderful thing is, he doesn’t parrot the advice. He dismantles it.

Is the presentation engaging? 5

This economist bears no resemblance to Ryan Gosling, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. The curmudgeonly way he mocks his audience works so well that even he’s surprised. “Goodness, you’re all cheery about failing!” he exclaims. “Canadian group, undoubtedly.”

Is this spicier than a class presentation? 5

His talk starts with this sentence: “I want to discuss with you this afternoon why you’re going to fail to have a great career.” That’s much more interesting, than, say, “I want to discuss with you this afternoon why it’s important to update your LinkedIn profile.”

Does it leave viewers with practical takeaways? 1

Not at all, but it works for Smith. He crushes everything you believed about finding your passion and walks away. It’s up to you to pick up the pieces.

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