TED Radio Hour
Summary: The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections. The TED Radio Hour is hosted by Guy Raz, and is a co-production of NPR & TED. Follow the show @TEDRadioHour.
Love is instinctive and essential. We need it to keep our species going, to survive childhood, to create bonds with other people. But what is it that brings certain people together? In this hour, TED speakers examine the mystery of connection and relationships. Amy Webb was having no luck with online dating, until she effectively hacked the system. Anthropologist Helen Fisher questions what happens in our brains when we're in love. Therapist Esther Perel says a good relationship draws on both security and surprise. Writer Jeffrey Kluger explores the profound life-long bond between siblings. Angela Patton tells the story of a unique father-daughter dance.
Seven TED speakers muse about the seven deadly sins: Psychologist Christopher Ryan says human beings are sexual omnivores, and a more nuanced understanding of fidelity may tamp down our shame about lust. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett explains how his city sidestepped gluttony and collectively dropped one million pounds. Activist Dave Meslin says even though we’re apathetic about local politics, we’re hardly sloths. Dr. Gary Slutkin tracks violence, the destructive sibling of wrath. He says if we think of violence as a contagious disease, we can better contain it. Nick Hanauer is a rich guy with at least five houses, but is he greedy? He argues taxing the very rich and increasing the minimum wage would be good for everyone. Editor Parul Sehgal says literature would hardly exist without the “grim thrill” of envy. Jeopardy Know-it-All Ken Jennings reveals how losing to a supercomputer crushed his pride.
Human beings have a fine-tuned sense of fear. But how do we distinguish between fear and danger? How do we decide which fears are rational and irrational? In this hour, TED speakers explore what it means to be afraid, and how we calm ourselves down — or don’t — when we’re terrified. Astronaut and retired colonel Chris Hadfield discusses how to prepare your mind for the unexpected, and the worst. Through the story of the whaleship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker describes how our most vivid fears are often not the most realistic. Folk singer Joe Kowan talks about the visceral, body-hijacking experience he feels when he’s performing in front of an audience, and how a song helped him cope with stage fright. Illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine reveals how he has made a career out of fearlessly performing death-defying feats. Philosopher Stephen Cave delves into the simple question: Why are human beings afraid to die?
Who should get to keep secrets, and who should demand to know them? In this hour, TED speakers talk about the damage secrets can do, and the shifting roles we play when we keep, or share them. "Secrets...can be shocking, or silly, or soulful," says Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret. He shares a few of the half-million secrets that strangers have sent him on postcards. Equality advocate Ash Beckham offers a fresh story about empathy and openness — and it involves pancakes. Charmian Gooch's mission is to “out” corrupt companies. She details how global corruption trackers follow the money — to some surprisingly familiar places. Journalist Glenn Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything to hide."
Brands help us assign value to almost everything we buy. But is there a way to know the difference between real and created value? In this episode, TED speakers explore the seductive power of brands. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock tells the story of his quest to make a completely sponsored film — about sponsorship. Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we perceive it. Consultant Joseph Pine says we’ll pay more for an experience that feels “real.” Marketer Rory Sutherland explains how rebranding changed the potato forever.
How far would you go to find something that's just out of reach, or maybe, not even real? In this hour, TED speakers tell stories about searching for elusive sea-creatures and distant aliens. SETI astronomer Seth Shostak says we're likely to find proof of intelligent life in the universe over the next few decades. Oceanographer Edith Widder explains how innovative technology helped her capture the reclusive giant squid on video. Chef Dan Barber talks about his quest to find a delectable, yet sustainable, fish. Finally, humorist John Hodgman looks hard for aliens too, but finds love instead.
There are some truths that we believe in wholeheartedly — but what if we’re completely wrong? Once we separate fact from fiction, how do our perceptions change? In this hour, TED speakers move beyond conventional wisdom to reveal complex realities about what we think we know to be true. Author Malcolm Gladwell reveals an alternative account of David and Goliath that flips the story on its head. Reporter Jennifer 8. Lee talks about her hunt for the actual origins of Chinese-American food. Ecologist Allan Savory counters everything conventional wisdom tells us about how grasslands lose their life to desertification. Reporter Leslie T. Chang debunks how we assume Chinese factory workers feel. Psychologist Barry Schwartz says having more options doesn't make us happier — it actually paralyzes us.
Memory is malleable, dynamic and elusive. When we tap into our memories, where is the line between fact and fiction? How does our memory play tricks on us, and how can we train it to be more accurate? In this hour, TED speakers discuss how a nimble memory can improve your life, and how a frail one might ruin someone else's. Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser argues that in a criminal trial, even close-up eyewitnesses can create "memories" they may not have seen. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman explains how our experiences and our memories perceive happiness differently. Writer Joshua Foer shows how anyone can achieve amazing feats of memory, including him.
Compassion is considered a universal virtue, but is it innate or taught? Have we lost touch with it? And can we become better at it? In this hour, TED speakers explore compassion, its roots, its meaning and its future. Political pundit Sally Kohn says we shouldn’t worry so much about being politically correct, but instead should try to be emotionally correct. Journalist and broadcaster Krista Tippett argues that overtly saintly and sappy connotations have made us lose touch with the true meaning of compassion — so she proposes a ‘linguistic revival.’ Author Robert Wright explains that humans are not only wired to be compassionate, but we have evolved to feel compassion out of self-interest. Religion scholar Karen Armstrong explains how compassion is the core principle in all world religions — in the form of the Golden Rule. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, examines why we aren't more compassionate more of the time.
What does it mean to be courageous? Is it an automatic response or a conscious choice? In this hour, TED speakers examine the nature of courage and what it takes to risk everything to do the right thing. Margaret Heffernan looks at why we keep ourselves from seeing injustices, and the courage it takes to stand up and combat them. As a war reporter, Janine di Giovanni goes to some of the most dangerous places on earth and tells the story people who demonstrate courage daily. Kimberly Motley defends Afghan women and girls forced into marriage or wrongly accused of adultery, and she does this without a bodyguard, a headscarf or speaking the language. Leana Wen has launched a campaign to expose systemic corruption in the medical field, despite threats from fellow doctors.
What does money tell us about human nature? How does it motivate, trick, satisfy and disappoint us? In this hour, TED speakers share insights into our relationship with money. Psychologist Laurie Santos studies human irrationality by observing how primates make decisions — including some not-so-savvy money choices their human relatives often make. Behavioral economist Keith Chen says languages that don’t have a future tense strongly correlate with higher savings. Social psychologist Paul Piff describes how almost anyone’s behavior can change when they’re made to feel rich. Career analyst and writer Daniel Pink explains why traditional rewards like money aren't always successful motivators. Social scientist Michael Norton researches how money can buy happiness — the key is social spending that benefits not just you, but other people.
Some people might only dream of adventure, but for others, there’s no other option but to explore the most extreme places on Earth. From the deepest caves to rough oceans, from the North Pole to dizzying heights on a high wire -- what drives adventurers to constantly push to the brink of human endurance? In this hour, TED speakers share their experiences of going to the edge of our world. Arctic explorer Ben Saunders recounts his harrowing solo ski trek to the North Pole. Engineer and daredevil caver Bill Stone pushes the frontier to the remotest depths of the Earth. Roz Savage quit her high-powered job to become an ocean rower. High-wire artist Philippe Petit tells the amazing story of how he walked between the Twin Towers.
In this episode, we explore ways to find quiet in our busy lives. How can we make a conscious effort to seek out stillness and calm in a fast-paced and increasingly noisy world? Environmentalist John Francis shares the lessons he learned after not speaking a word for 17 years. Writer Susan Cain talks about the value of introverts, people who draw their energy from quieter, more low-key social interactions. Singer Megan Washington explains how singing quiets the part of her brain that makes her stutter. Cloudspotter Gavin Pretor-Pinney advocates slowing down for a moment to notice the beauty of clouds. Author Pico Iyer suggests it is our reflective moments that give life its meaning.
Where do stereotypes come from? Is there any truth or value to the assumptions we make about each other? Why do some perceptions persist, and can they be overcome? In this hour, TED speakers examine the roots and consequences of stereotypes. Playwright and performer Sarah Jones explores the fine line between stereotyping and celebrating ethnicity. Iranian-American comedian and actor Maz Jobrani talks about a comic’s role in challenging stereotypes. Artist Hetain Patel describes how first impressions can be deceptive and why we need to think more deeply about identity. Educator and poet Jamila Lyiscott unpacks the three distinct dialects of English she speaks — and what it really means to be called “articulate.” Psychologist Paul Bloom explains why prejudice is natural, rational and even moral — the key is to understand why we depend on it, and recognize when it leads us astray.
There are problems affecting big parts of our lives that seem intractable. From politics, to healthcare, to law and the justice system — some things just don’t seem to work as they should. In this hour, TED speakers share some big ideas on how to solve the seemingly impossible. Attorney Philip K. Howard argues the U.S. has become a legal minefield and we need to simplify our laws. Legal scholar Lawrence Lessig says corruption is at the heart of American politics and issues a bipartisan call for change. Health advocate Rebecca Onie describes how our healthcare system can be restructured to not just treat — but prevent — illness. Lawyer Bryan Stevenson explains how America’s criminal justice system works against the poor and people of color, and how we can address it.