Sunday, March 06, 2011

Speaking at TED2011

I've just returned from a week in Long Beach, California, where I was invited to speak at the annual TED event. It was a wonderful experience and amazing to meet such inspiring people and share my own thoughts and ideas with a large and diverse public.

TED talks generally last no longer than 18 minutes, and my session's time limit was shorter still: a maximum of 12 minutes. Worried as I was as I prepared my remarks in the days and weeks beforehand, I actually came in nicely under the set limit with a whole ninety seconds to spare!

Beautiful weather on the West Coast of course, and delicious seafood too. Definitely worth the jet lag!


Justin Wehr said...

Wonderful! Can you tell us what the talk was about?

Anonymous said...

Good to hear you out and about.
TED2011 Report – Session 9: Threads of Discovery
“Personal perceptions are at the heart of how we acquire knowledge.”

Trent said...

Hey Daniel! I couldn't find a place on your website to email you directly, so I'm leaving this in a comment. I'm currently writing a paper about the merits of introspection, and I'd like permission to include your story as an example of a case in which a tremendous amount was learned from one person's introspective efforts. I hope you won't mind!

Anonymous said...


Someone from Lithuania

Greiksy said...

Hey, Saludos Mr. Daniel... Le escribo desde Caracas, Venezuela. Soy cursante del 3 año de medicina, interesada en la estructura y funcionamiento del sistema nervioso en general. Hace tiempo, en un proyecto de investigacion sobre Autismo, Asperguer y Savant me encontré con un fantastico video respecto a usted. Estoy encantada, y realmente intrigada por la forma tan maravillosa en que su cerebro funciona, y sobre todo admiro la manera tan especial en que ha logrado abrirnos una ventana a la comprension de sus asombrosas habilidades.
Saludos afectuosos y el deseo de que continue siendo el exitoso embajador de aquellos que poseen el don de una mente tan peculiar, y no pueden contarnoslo. Un abrazo cariñoso.

Daniel Tammet said...

Hi Justin,

My talk was on perception, using slides to show the audience how I perceive words and numbers in colours, shapes, and emotions.

I also made the argument that our personal perceptions (and not abstract reasoning) are at the heart of how we acquire knowledge.

A fascinating experience to speak in front of such a large, yet engaged, public.

Unknown said...

Bonjour Daniel, Je vient de terminer la lecture de ton livre "je suis né un jour bleu". J'ai vraiment bien apprécié !


Sverrir Björn said...

You´r a great inspiration Daniel. You made me really proud when i heard you talking Icelandic in the Icelandic national television =).

Me and my girlfriend are eager to know how many cats you have?

Greetings from Iceland.

Damon said...

What a blessing to have someone with what is arguably an evolutionary leap forward in humankind development so able to articulate the incredible inner workings. I appreciate your gift Daniel and thank you for the burden you carry in bringing it to others. You do so with an apparent courage and tolerance to the invasive interest with modesty and not surprisingly stunning intellect. Your capacity hints at greater things to come.

Unknown said...

Dear Daniel-

I came to a talk you gave in Atlanta at Agnes Scott College several years ago.

My friend and I cried as we felt so touched by your journey. How you have navigated your challenges and how kindness and connection, gentleness and understanding seemed to be important to you.

As a healer and creative person I felt I received a blessing from the open heartedness, the beauty of the non-linear dimensions you open the door to, and the invitation to expand our selves into greater experience with all that is. To soften the boundaries we have created between our minds and senses, spirits and brains..and to share what we know of our own shared humanity.
With much gratitude and tenderness,

Dave Huxtable said...

Hi Daniel

Having seen you speak at TED2011, from the cheaper seats in Palm Springs, I've just finished reading Born on a Blue Day which I enjoyed tremendously.

I loved your descritions of coping with being 'different’ in the world of childhood with its vicious conformity.

I was also touched by the maturity of the guy you had a crush on at school. His gentle response that he could't be the person you wanted him to be was amazing for a 16 year old.

As a passionate linguist, I was also fascinated by your insights into language. I look forward to reading your most recent release.

Maria Romeiras said...

Loved to hear your speach at TED. I'm an historian diving into neuroplasticity waters, especially linked to the brain moulding in blind and low-visioned people. We are all special and unique persons, but you manage to say it in a very sweet way. I've been learning a lot from you, from this statement, as from your book. Thank you so much.
Maria Romeiras

Orthomentor said...

Greetings. I am working with idiosyncratic vocabularies and Factor Analytic approaches to same among authors. Your TED talk gave me a detour with synesthesia! Surely, "menschenkenner" had one "color" to Abe Maslow and might have another for someone else. This makes the math difficult!


pablin said...


The speech at TED was awesome. I'm amazed not by your savant abilities, but but your courage to overcome the adversities if your condition. Reading your book and loving it.

Anonymous said...


I have no exceptional talents such as yours. But, I really admire you for sharing your experiences with the world and the effort you must have put forth in explaining what you perceive. I notice throughout your speeches, you are very careful with how you distinguish your way of perceiving/knowing as opposed to the majority, so as not to make others feel inferior. I find your communication skills remarkable in that you don't seem to have a core deficit in human interaction while harnessing this beatiful gift of synaesthesia. This skill will be explored for years and no doubt will eventually be able to be duplicated by fusing different areas of the brain, but I wonder how this would change society as we know it. My theory is that this could be the key to slowing the rigorous pace of the world that we surely cannot continue. We consume too much and take up too many resources on earth. I feel that autism could become exponentially more prevalent and over years produce more high-functioning autism along with synesthaesia and possibly other similar conditions the evolutionary process would curb mass consumption of resources and provide much needed stability in our world, as a different perspective is obviously needed so that people can view our finite life on earth and all it's beauty. I can only hope. Please keep sharing.

Evan L.
Fort Worth, Texas