memoir editorI once went to a book signing at a Barnes & Noble that was so jam-packed with attendees that people were flowing out of the room dedicated to author appearances.

But this wasn’t for a book by a celebrity or a world-famous politician.

It was for a book being published by an expert on education in the arts.

It was for a book written by renowned speaker Sir Ken Robinson.

Indeed, Ken’s TED talk on schools and creativity has spent much of its life being the most-viewed TED talk of all time. And even back in 2009, when that book signing took place, he had already risen to rock star status among our culture’s most literate and active.

This begs the question: why?

Why should a British man talking about schools killing our creative capacities become such a phenomenon?

If you were to read conventional books about presentations and TED talks, you might read that a talk like Ken’s is as popular as it is because it is funny, or that it features great stories. You might find out that he practiced the talk hundreds of times and think that that’s why he was so well received.

But the truth is there are plenty of talks out there that are funny, feature stories, and have been rehearsed many times over.

And none of them have tens of millions of views.

What Ken’s talk does have – that very few talks have in general – is a fully distilled idea that pervades the entire rest of the talk. A single concept that can be scaled to the lives of every audience member who hears it.

He expresses this idea at the end of the talk. Check it out and let me know if you have figured out what it is.

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