TED Talk watched at 9th meeting – Sam Berns: “My philosophy for a happy life”


Sam Berns
, age 17, was diagnosed with Progeria when he was 22 months old; a genetic disorder that results with rapid, premature aging. Progeria affects only 1 out of 4 to 8 million birhs and approximately 350 children, in the world, have this disease. His parents, both pediatricians, established The Progeria Research Foundation in 1999 to find the cause, treatment and cure. Children with Progeria live an average of 13 years.


In 2013, Sam’s story was broadcasted as a documentary film with the title: Life According to Sam. His courage and spirit moved everyone who came into contact with him. Sam also shared his life philosophy at TEDxMidAtlantic in October 2013.

“No matter what I choose to become, I believe that I can change the world.” he said in his talk at TEDx last year. “And as I’m striving to change the world, I will be happy.”

Unfortunately, this remarkable young man, who inspired millions of people,  passed away on January 10,2014 at the age of 17.

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To see some beautiful stories about Sam, please check out: http://storify.com/progeria/remembering-sam-berns-10-23-96-01-10-14

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Please also watch the following TED Talk where geneticist and physician Francis Collins explains that we know the molecular cause of 4,000 diseases, but for only 250 of them, we have available treatments. He asks why it is taking so long? 

In this talk titled “We need better drugs — now!” Sam was the guest of Dr.Francis Collins. Despite his difficult condition, Sam’s brief appearance on stage radiated positivity and inspiration. He was a great soul indeed.

Rest at peace dear Sam!

Watched at:  “Curious Souls Get Together” 9th meeting -February 9,2014

Report of the 9th “Curious Souls Get Together” meeting:

Dear Friends,

On February 9,2014, Sunday, we met again at Art350 Gallery&Bar on the Anatolian side of Istanbul.

Art350-3Art350-logoAs you know, the venue  is a  magical place and we were surrounded by the paintings of artists Görkem Dikel and Emre Doğrusöz. Just have a look at these dance of colors:



1We started our meeting by watching a very interesting and enjoyable talk of
David Binder on “The arts festival revolution.” This talk was fastinating as David Binder, who is a Broadway producer gave us examples of festivals that broke the boundaries between audience and performer and that “transformed cities into communities.”

Please click on the photo to watch this talk:



My good friend Zeynep Kunt moderated our discussions on this talk. As I know Zeynep since many years and observe her interest and enthusiasm in cultaral and artistic events, I thought that it would be fantastic if Zeynep moderated our discussions. Well, I was not wrong at all! With her  with her intelligent and interesting questions,  coupled with her enthusiasm and hard work, we had a very nice discussion. I would like to thank Zeynep very much for her contribution.

2The second talk we watched was an extraordinarily beautiful  talk of a 17 year old boy called Sam Berns with the title: “My philosophy for a happy life”. He is the victim of a genetic disorder called “progeria” that results in  rapid and premature aging. It effects only 1 out of 4.5 million birhs and there are approximately 350 children in the world that has this disease.


In this beautiful talk, Sam talks about his life, gives us examples of how he deals with progeria, mentiones the documentary that was prepared about his life and he he shares with us his secrets for a happy life.

Sam summarises his philosophy as follows:
  • 1. “Be ok with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much you CAN do.”
  • 2. Surround yourself with people that want to be around with.
  • 3.Have a forward thinking state of mind. Always have something in your life to look forward to. 
  • 4. Never miss a party if you can help it 🙂

Please click on the photo to watch this talk:


Unfortunately, we were very sorry to learn that Sam passed away about a month ago on January 10,2014 :-(. At his death, he was planning to apply to colleage where he hoped to study genetics or cell biology. See what New York Times wrote about him upon his death.

I would like to acknowledge that Sam, despite his brief presence in our world, was a great inspiration to millions  (look at the inspiration he gave us at our Curious Souls meeting). I would like to  express our heartfelt  condolences to his family and the ones who loved him. Rest in peace, dear Sam!

3The third talk we watched was an entertaining talk of Amy Webb with the title:   “How I hacked web dating” It was interesting to follow how Amy -with full dedication and determination – searched for his soul mate. Watch this talk to see if she succeeded 🙂

Please click on the photo to watch the video:




As you can guess, our discussions on this talk was extremely entertaining! Among all the laughter, there were some lessons to be learned as well! My dear friend Petek Uner volunteered to moderated this talk.  She was so open and connected with us so well by sharing her own personal thoughts that we all felt very connected and started sharing our own point of views as well. I would like to thank Petek  very much for her volunteering.

During our discussions, we talked about the importance of  finding a life partner, why  it was becoming  more and more difficult, how men and women viewed this issue  and what could be some lessons to be drawn from this talk. Evidently, we were not able to bring solutions  to the issue, yet we agreed that it might be an interesting idea to read -with an open mind-  a book like “Dating for Dummies” and discuss it together :-))

4The final talk that we watched was quite an entertaining one of  Reggie Watts with the title “Beats that defy boxes.”  However, we could not comprehend what he was saying- nor could anybody at TED 🙂 No wonder this talk is rated as the wierdest, strangest  talk in the history of TED.

Please click on the picture to watch this talk:

Reggie Watts

With this talk, we ended another interesting “Curious Souls Get Together” meeting.

As usual, together with the ones that joined us, we continued the evening with a lively dinner at Kirpi reastaurant. We had no reseration and  we had to sequeze around a table; but none of us complained. Our meeting brought us all so close together that simply we disregarded all  imperfections.



I would like to thank you, dear Curious Souls, for attending our meeting and for your lively discussions.

I can hardly wait to see you all at our next meeting!

With my kindest regards

Isil the Curious Soul 🙂

Note for our meeting tomorrow !

Dear Curious Souls,

I propose to watch the following TED talks at our meeting tomorrow:  February 9,2014 at Art350 Gallery:

  1. David Binder: “The arts festival revolution”.
  2. Sam Berns: “My philosophy of life”
  3. Jane McGonigal: “Thumbwrestling.”
  4. Amy Webb:”How I hacked web dating”
  5. Reggie Watts:”Beats that defy boxes”

If you haven’t already watched these talks, I suggest that you DO NOT watch them in advance. Let’s keep the surprise element present 🙂

We will meet at 1:30 pm but I intend to start at 2:00 o’clock. You know that it is really good to chat with friends in advance. We will also give time for latecomers to catch up with us.

If you can not make it by 1:30 or 2:00 o’clock, you can still join us while we are having our meeting (or leave in advance)  but, I warn you: you will miss very interesting talks 🙂

The venue is a very beautiful place and we will also be surrounded with the paintings of two artists. So I hope you will enjoy being there.

There are maximum 50 seats available and presently I see that more than 50 members registered to participate. However, my experience shows that  some participants do not show up, so most probably we will have enough spaces. But if everybodys and we are more than 50, I apologize in advance as some may have to stand up – at least until they share seats with others. Yet I guarantee that you will still enjoy our meeting 🙂

For those of you who will come from the European side, if you would like to use the public transportation, then there are minibuses from Taksim square going to Bostancı – take that minibus and  get off at the last stop. But pay attention – there are two different minibuses for Bostanci: one from sahil (sea line) and the other Ziverbey. Take the “sahil” one. When you get off at the last station, take another dolmuş that goes from Bostancı to Kadıköy through Bagdat street. While driving through Bagdat street, follow the building numbers on your left hand side and get off at number 350. ART350 gallery is right there.

Last time when we held meetings at Art350, some friends, mostly  newcomer foreigners  to Istanbul,  had difficulty finding the venue. I was very sorry to learn about  that. So this time, if there are some member who will come from the European side, can you please try to coordinate and come together if possible? This would be easier. If you need any help, please contact me.

I wish you a very pleasant day today and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

With my kindest  regards
Isil the Curious Soul 🙂