Each month, Look Who’s Talking features voices from across BWH answering the same question. This month, BWHers share talks that have inspired them. If you would like to add your voice to the conversation, please submit a comment at the bottom of the page.


“My favorite TED Talk is ‘My Stroke of Insight,’ which clearly describes what magnificent feelings are possible if you could ignore the selfish part of your brain, the left hemisphere. This spectacular feeling is the main reason that many individuals dedicate their entire lives to helping other people. I grew up with the sounds of ambulances, gunshots, bombs and wailing mothers during one of the worst wars in Iran’s history. During this tragic time, watching the heroic actions of white-coated medical teams in the streets of Tehran inspired me to dedicate my life to medical research and helping people who suffer from catastrophic diseases. Although I have never had the pleasure of experiencing this spectacular feeling, my enthusiasm grows everyday seeing the BWH medical staff proud of their successes and experiencing that magnificent feeling themselves. If you would like to learn more about it, see the ‘My Stroke of Insight’ TED Talk!”

-Morteza Mahmoundi, PhD, Departments of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine


“In Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED Talk, ‘Grit: The power of passion and perseverance,’ she describes the importance of passion and perseverance to long-term success and gives insight as to how to ‘grow’ grit.  Duckworth cites Carol Dweck’s work regarding the importance of a ‘growth mindset’ and ends by telling all of us that we need to be willing to fail and try again to ultimately succeed. This TED Talk precedes her 2016 book “Grit,” where she provides many different contexts from education to sports to military training, from children to adults, that emphasize the importance of passion and perseverance for achieving success.”

-Jessica Dudley, MD, Chief Medical Officer



“Nicholas Christakis’ TED Talk called ‘The hidden influence of social networks’ is my personal favorite. Christakis explains classic themes including the effects of spousal loss on one’s health, inter-related health habits of persons in networks, and the invisibility of network forces. He exemplifies what a physician-social scientist can do in medicine and public health. In my team’s case, this includes creating tools to help map a patient’s network. This information could help identify at-risk patients, leverage social network resources to enhance transitions of care and shorten hospital length of stay.”

-Amar Dhand, MD, DPHIL, Department of Neurology


“‘The power of vulnerability’ by Brené Brown is easily my all-time favorite TED Talk. It challenges us to summon the courage to leave our safety nets and comfort zones to explore the unknown and uncertain. It reminds us not to be crippled by fear of failure but to lean into discomfort as we grow personally and professionally. Brown frames vulnerability as the very birthplace of innovation, creativity and change, and says that it is integral to living authentically. I think of the scientist with a daring hypothesis or the innovator who goes out on a limb with an idea and takes that first step. The world as we know it has, in part, been shaped by people unafraid to be vulnerable – who asked unconventional questions, explored revolutionary ideas and persisted in the face of challenges!”

-Faith Makka, MSN, MPH, Hospital Administration (Deland Fellow)


“I enjoy this short animated lecture called ‘The Power of Networks’ because it offers a new way of understanding the world around us. It’s a great overview of how best to model the increasingly complex systems we encounter based on a more modern way of thinking. The accompanying animation is also a really creative and engaging visual aid.”

-Damien Croteau-Chonka, PhD, Department of Medicine



“My favorite TED Talks appeal to the spirit. They help us navigate these messy, mysterious human lives. They address triumph and flourishing, as much as doubt and uncertainty. They help us answer the question first posed by Socrates, ‘How should I live?’ Pico Iyer is a travel writer of immense talent and wisdom. In his sincere and insightful TED Talk, ‘The Art of Stillness,’ he encourages us to slow down and examine our lives. What is a meaningful life? I’m not sure, but I appreciate seekers like Iyer who try for answers.’”

-Dustin Grinnell, MS, Office of Strategic Communication