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

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.

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.