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If you are not familiar with TED talks (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) then prepare your brain for a feast of stimulating information that will make you the toast of dinner table talk wherever you go.

TED conferences cover a mind-boggling array of science, educational and cultural topics and are, by tradition, limited to 18 minutes each. This means that the speakers must find fun, innovative and engaging ways to get their ideas across. Presenters range from Nobel Prize winners to titans of business, world-renowned politicians and even rock icons.

The TED app already has over 1 700 of these talks available in video and audio formats, with new talks added every week. Right now you can access the minds of people like Google co-founder Larry Page explaining his vision for the future of the world’s most important company, Edward Snowden explaining how to “take back the internet”, International Space Station commander Chris Hadfield talking about his experiences in space, or even U2 singer Bono giving you a very unusual take on “the good news on poverty”.

The app is easy to use and finding topics and presenters of interest is as simple and straightforward as it could possibly be. But if you’re not that keen on feeding your inquiring mind with 18-minute videos, TED Conferences recently launched the TED Books app. This presents the ideas in electronic book format. As you would expect from TED Conferences, each book is written by a world-renowned expert in their field. Like the talks they are based on, the authors are limited to 20 000 words to ensure their ideas are transferred in the most concise and powerful manner possible. But, while the video talk app is free, the TED Books app requires an annual subscription of R159.00. 

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