TED Radio Hour

TED Radio Hour draws from the vast archive of TED Talks and weaves in new interviews to tackle a central theme or question. It’s a journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create.

Recent Episodes

Just A Little Nicer

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.

Courage

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.

The Money Paradox (R)

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.

 

To the Edge (R)

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.

Quiet

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.

Playing with Perceptions

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.