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

Brand Over Brain (R)

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.

In Search Of

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.

Misconceptions (R)

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 Games (R)

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.

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.