Margaret Heffernan Brilliant TED Talk – Dare To Disagree

Kumar Gauraw

Margaret Heffernan, the author of the book Willful Blindness delivers this incredible TED talk I just watched. In this brilliant talk, she shares the story of Dr. Alice Stewart from Oxford who was the first doctor to find out that the X-Ray of the pregnant women was the leading cause of Cancer in small children.

Margaret, in this talk, shares that, even though plenty of evidence, research results and public records were produced by Dr. Stewart, the authorities of European and American medical establishments took 25 years to abandon the use of X-Rays of pregnant women.

It is a fantastic talk with loaded information about the human tendency of avoiding conflicts. I watched this video a few times and I encourage you to watch for yourself!

A few of the highlights of Margaret's talk I would like to paraphrase here that you might enjoy as well when you hear:

  • Dare to have thinking partners who aren't echo chambers.

  • Constructive conflicts thinking requires that we collaborate people who are very different from ourselves and find ways to engage with them.

  • If we aren't going to be afraid of conflict, we have to see it as thinking.

  • For the most part, organizations do not think. It's not because they don't want to, but they can't. And they can't think because the people inside of them are too afraid of conflict. They are afraid to raise, afraid of change, they can't think together.

  • Openness  alone, can't drive change.  Openness isn't the end… it's the beginning!

If you are in the position of leadership or aspiring to be in one, you owe it to yourself to watch this 12 minute video. It will give you a completely a new perspective on conflict management and why it is important to have partners who are not afraid to challenge your thought process.

Question:  What did you like the most about this video? Please leave your thoughts in the comments now.

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Kumar Gauraw

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Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

4 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...


  1. Twitter:
    Four words for leaders at every level:
    RESOLVE ALL CONFLICT IMMEDIATELY.
    Failing to do so allows miscommunication, misinterpretation, misunderstanding and many hurt feelings. 

    What I like most about this video is that it reflects that one person, from a social justice perspective, had the COURAGE to confront what she saw as an egregious error effecting the lives and health of so many others.

    As to “Dare to have thinking partners who aren’t echo chambers…” it explains a few of my comments as of late: 
    1) “George was pretty much everything Alice wasn’t.” They complimented and completed each other. Much like their relationship, I am more interested in COMPLETING others than COMPETING with them. The only one I need to compete with is myself to BE a better person. 
    2) In writing forums, I refuse to ‘parrot’ what others are saying, because it stagnates my creativity.
    3) Generally speaking, there is a tendency for people to “go with the flow”… to not “buck the system”… to take “the path of least resistance.” 

    It takes real courage to address issues that face society. Hence, we have seen the emergence in the past decade of ’empathy-based economies.’

    We may only be one person, but banded together for a worthy cause, we are many. Individually and collectively, we can make a difference.

    •  Wow! You really have put this whole concept together, Bill! Your comments have added so much value to this original TED Talk itself.

      Thank you for your words of wisdom and I truly admire the way you have put the whole concept in words. You are amazing!

  2. Ravi Sharma

    It is a great video sir. Thank you for sharing on your blog. I also liked what Mr. Bill Butler said because now, I can relate this talk to the my situations.

    Please keep posting great content like this more often. Thanks.


  3. Twitter:
     “Dare to have thinking partners who aren’t echo chambers…” is my favorite from this talk. So many times we want to go with the flow, we just do not want to go against the current and it hurts the overall goal. That feeling hurts the organizations in the long run as Margaret talks.

    This is very unfortunate phenomena but I believe if we make change at personal level, if we educate our children with a good understanding of this concept, the world will be a better place.

Please Note: My goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. Therefore, I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.