Thought-provoking videos about life and being human, with ideas from business leaders, psychologists and researchers speaking onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these and many other videos free on TED.com, with an interactive English transcript and subtitles in up to 80 languages. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.
Our dangerous obsession with perfectionism is getting worse | Thomas Curran
Social psychologist Thomas Curran explores how the pressure to be perfect -- in our social media feeds, in school, at work -- is driving a rise in mental illness, especially among young people. Learn more about the causes of this phenomenon and how we can create a culture that celebrates the joys of imperfection.
The most powerful woman you've never heard of | Vanessa Garrison
Everyone's heard of Martin Luther King Jr. But do you know the woman Dr. King called "the architect of the civil rights movement," Septima Clark? The teacher of some of the generation's most legendary activists -- like Rosa Parks, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer and thousands more -- Clark laid out a blueprint for change-making that has stood the test of time. Now T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, the cofounders of GirlTrek, are taking a page from Clark's playbook to launch a health revolution in the US -- and get one million women walking for justice. (This ambitious idea is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
How to overcome apathy and find your power | Dolores Huerta
"Sí, se puede!" -- "Yes, we can!" It's the rallying cry Dolores Huerta came up with as a young activist in the 1970s, and she's lived by it in her tireless pursuit of civil rights ever since. With her signature wit and humor, Huerta reflects on her life's work, offering inspiration for anybody trying to overcome apathy, get involved and find their own power.
A love story about the power of art as organizing | phillip agnew
In a lyrical talk full of radical imagination, poet Aja Monet and community organizer phillip agnew share the story of how they fell in love and what they've learned about the powerful connection between great social movements and meaningful art. Journey to Smoke Signals Studio in Miami, their home and community art space where they're creating a refuge for neighbors and creators -- and imagining a new answer to distraction, anger and anxiety.
What does it mean to be civil? Journalist Steven Petrow looks for answers in the original meaning of the word, showing why civility shouldn't be dismissed as conversation-stifling political correctness or censorship. Learn three ways we can each work to be more civil -- and start talking about our differences with respect.
An astronaut's story of curiosity, perspective and change | Leland Melvin
What job is best for a young man who's been a tennis ace, a cross-country traveler, a chemistry nerd and an NFL draftee? How about ... astronaut? Leland Melvin tells the story of the challenges he's accepted and the opportunities he's seized -- and how they led him to the International Space Station and a whole new perspective of life on earth. (Contains mature content)
The way we think about biological sex is wrong | Emily Quinn
Did you know that almost 150 million people worldwide are born intersex -- with biology that doesn't fit the standard definition of male or female? (That's as many as the population of Russia.) At age 10, Emily Quinn found out she was intersex, and in this wise, funny talk, she shares eye-opening lessons from a life spent navigating society's thoughtless expectations, doctors who demanded she get unnecessary surgery -- and advocating for herself and the incredible variety that humans come in. (Contains mature content)
Anger is a powerful emotion -- it warns us of threat, insult, indignity and harm. But across the world, girls and women are taught that their anger is better left unvoiced, says author Soraya Chemaly. Why is that, and what might we lose in this silence? In a provocative, thoughtful talk, Chemaly explores the dangerous lie that anger isn't feminine, showing how women's rage is justified, healthy and a potential catalyst for change.
How to transform sinking cities into landscapes that fight floods | Kotchakorn Voraakhom
From London to Tokyo, climate change is causing cities to sink -- and our modern concrete infrastructure is making us even more vulnerable to severe flooding, says landscape architect and TED Fellow Kotchakorn Voraakhom. But what if we could design cities to help fight floods? In this inspiring talk, Voraakhom shows how she developed a massive park in Bangkok that can hold a million gallons of rainwater, calling for more climate change solutions that connect cities back to nature.
The way we're taught to live has got to change, says author Casey Gerald. Too often, we hide parts of ourselves in order to fit in, win praise, be accepted. But at what cost? In this inspiring talk, Gerald shares the personal sacrifices he made to attain success in the upper echelons of American society -- and shows why it's time for us to have the courage to live in the raw, strange magic of ourselves.
How empowering women and girls can help stop global warming | Katharine Wilkinson
If we really want to address climate change, we need to make gender equity a reality, says writer and environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson. As part of Project Drawdown, Wilkinson has helped scour humanity's wisdom for solutions to draw down heat-trapping, climate-changing emissions: obvious things like renewable energy and sustainable diets and not so obvious ones, like the education and empowerment of women. In this informative, bold talk, she shares three key ways that equity for women and girls can help stop global warming. "Drawing down emissions depends on rising up," Wilkinson says.
3 ways to build a happy marriage and avoid divorce | George Blair-West
Choosing to marry and share your life with someone is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. But with divorce rates approaching fifty percent in some parts of the world, it's clear we could use some help picking a partner. In an actionable, eye-opening talk, psychiatrist George Blair-West shares three keys to preventing divorce -- and spotting potential problems while you're still dating.
The joyful, perplexing world of puzzle hunts | Alex Rosenthal
Welcome to the strange, deviously difficult and incredibly joyful world of puzzle hunts. Follow along as Alex Rosenthal lifts the veil on one of the world's most complex puzzle hunts, the MIT Mystery Hunt -- and reveals how puzzles can be found in the most unexpected places. (Hint: see if you can spot the puzzle hidden in this TED Talk.)
How I unlearned dangerous lessons about masculinity | Eldra Jackson III
In a powerful talk, educator Eldra Jackson III shares how he unlearned dangerous lessons about masculinity through Inside Circle, an organization that leads group therapy for incarcerated men. Now he's helping others heal by creating a new image of what it means to be a whole, healthy man. "The challenge is to eradicate this cycle of emotional illiteracy and groupthink," he says.
How to motivate people to do good for others | Erez Yoeli
How can we get people to do more good: to go to the polls, give to charity, conserve resources or just generally act better towards others? MIT research scientist Erez Yoeli shares a simple checklist for harnessing the power of reputations -- or our collective desire to be seen as generous and kind instead of selfish -- to motivate people to act in the interest of others. Learn more about how small changes to your approach to getting people to do good could yield surprising results.
In 2006, Tarana Burke was consumed by a desire to do something about the sexual violence she saw in her community. She took out a piece of paper, wrote "Me Too" across the top and laid out an action plan for a movement centered on the power of empathy between survivors. More than a decade later, she reflects on what has since become a global movement -- and makes a powerful call to dismantle the power and privilege that are building blocks of sexual violence. "We owe future generations nothing less than a world free of sexual violence," she says. "I believe we can build that world."
My journey to thank all the people responsible for my morning coffee | AJ Jacobs
Author AJ Jacobs embarked on a quest with a deceptively simple idea at its heart: to personally thank every person who helped make his morning cup of coffee. More than one thousand "thank yous" later, Jacobs reflects on the globe-trotting journey that ensued -- and shares the life-altering wisdom he picked up along the way. "I discovered that my coffee would not be possible without hundreds of people I take for granted," Jacobs says.
A memory scientist's advice on reporting harassment and discrimination | Julia Shaw
How do you turn a memory, especially one of a traumatic event, into hard evidence of a crime? Julia Shaw is working on this challenge, combining tools from memory science and artificial intelligence to change how we report workplace harassment and bias. She shares three lessons to apply if you've been harassed or discriminated against -- and introduces Spot: a free, anonymous, online reporting tool that helps empower victims.
How revenge porn turns lives upside down | Darieth Chisolm
What can you do if you're the victim of revenge porn or cyberbullying? Shockingly little, says journalist and activist Darieth Chisolm, who found herself living the nightmare scenario of having explicit photos taken without her knowledge or consent posted online. She describes how she's working to help victims and outlines the current state of legislation aimed at punishing perpetrators.
How we can help young people build a better future | Henrietta Fore
A massive generation of young people is about to inherit the world, and it's the duty of everyone to give them a fighting chance for their futures, says UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore. In this forward-looking talk, she explores the crises facing them and details an ambitious new global initiative, Generation Unlimited, which aims to ensure every young person is in school, training or employed by 2030.
How I climbed a 3,000-foot vertical cliff -- without ropes | Alex Honnold
Imagine being by yourself in the dead center of a 3,000-foot vertical cliff -- without a rope to catch you if you fall. For professional rock climber Alex Honnold, this dizzying scene marked the culmination of a decade-long dream. In a hair-raising talk, he tells the story of how he summited Yosemite's El Capitan, completing one of the most dangerous free solo climbs ever.
3 lessons on decision-making from a poker champion | Liv Boeree
Is it better to be lucky or good? Should we trust our gut feelings or rely on probabilities and careful analysis when making important decisions? In this quick talk, professional poker player Liv Boeree shares three strategies she's learned from the game and how we can apply them to real life.
What happened when we tested thousands of abandoned rape kits in Detroit | Kym Worthy
In 2009, 11,341 untested rape kits -- some dating back to the 1980s -- were found in an abandoned warehouse once used by the Detroit police to store evidence. When this scandal was uncovered, prosecutor Kym Worthy set a plan into action to get justice for the thousands of victims affected. In this powerful, eye-opening talk, Worthy explains how her office helped develop an innovative program to track and test these kits -- and calls for a national effort to help solve the problem of stockpiled rape kits.
Why museums are returning cultural treasures | Chip Colwell
Archaeologist and curator Chip Colwell collects artifacts for his museum, but he also returns them to where they came from. In a thought-provoking talk, he shares how some museums are confronting their legacies of stealing spiritual objects and pillaging ancient graves -- and how they're bridging divides with communities who are demanding the return of their cultural treasures.
The press trampled on my privacy. Here's how I took back my story | Kate Stone
After a horrific accident put her in the tabloid headlines, Kate Stone found a way to take control of her narrative -- and help prevent others from losing their privacy, too. Learn how she reclaimed her story in this personal talk infused with humor and courage.
What are the most important moral problems of our time? | Will MacAskill
Of all the problems facing humanity, which should we focus on solving first? In a compelling talk about how to make the world better, moral philosopher Will MacAskill provides a framework for answering this question based on the philosophy of "effective altruism" -- and shares ideas for taking on three pressing global issues.
How I went from child refugee to international model | Halima Aden
Halima Aden made history when she became the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of Vogue magazine. Now she returns to Kenya's Kakuma Refugee Camp -- where she was born and lived until the age of seven -- to share an inspiring message about what she's learned on the path from child refugee to international model.
Why the "wrong side of the tracks" is usually the east side of cities | Stephen DeBerry
What do communities on the social, economic and environmental margins have in common? For one thing, they tend to be on the east sides of cities. In this short talk about a surprising insight, anthropologist and venture capitalist Stephen DeBerry explains how both environmental and man-made factors have led to disparity by design in cities from East Palo Alto, California to East Jerusalem and beyond -- and suggests some elegant solutions to fix it.
How women in rural India turned courage into capital | Chetna Gala Sinha
When bankers refused to serve her neighbors in rural India, Chetna Gala Sinha did the next best thing: she opened a bank of her own, the first ever for and by women in the country. In this inspiring talk, she shares stories of the women who encouraged her and continue to push her to come up with solutions for those denied traditional financial backing.
How urban spaces can preserve history and build community | Walter Hood
Can public spaces both reclaim the past and embrace the future? Landscape architect Walter Hood has explored this question over the course of an iconic career, with projects ranging from Lafayette Square Park in San Francisco to the upcoming International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. In this inspiring talk packed with images of his work, Hood shares the five simple concepts that guide his approach to creating spaces that illuminate shared memories and force us to look at one another in a different way.
AI is massively transforming our world, but there's one thing it cannot do: love. In a visionary talk, computer scientist Kai-Fu Lee details how the US and China are driving a deep learning revolution -- and shares a blueprint for how humans can thrive in the age of AI by harnessing compassion and creativity. "AI is serendipity," Lee says. "It is here to liberate us from routine jobs, and it is here to remind us what it is that makes us human."
How to stop swiping and find your person on dating apps | Christina Wallace
Let's face it, online dating can suck. So many potential people, so much time wasted -- is it even worth it? Podcaster and entrepreneur Christina Wallace thinks so, if you do it right. In a funny, practical talk, Wallace shares how she used her MBA skill set to invent a "zero date" approach and get off swipe-based apps -- and how you can, too.
An honest look at the personal finance crisis | Elizabeth White
Millions of baby boomers are moving into their senior years with empty pockets and declining choices to earn a living. And right behind them is a younger generation facing the same challenges. In this deeply personal talk, author Elizabeth White opens up an honest conversation about financial trouble and offers practical advice for how to live a richly textured life on a limited income.
How I'm bringing queer pride to my rural village | Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile
In a poetic, personal talk, TED Fellow Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile examines the connection between her modern queer lifestyle and her childhood upbringing in a rural village in Botswana. "In a time where being brown, queer, African and seen as worthy of space means being everything but rural, I fear that we're erasing the very struggles that got us to where we are now," she says. "Indigenizing my queerness means bridging the many exceptional parts of myself."
What gardening taught me about life | tobacco brown
Gardens are mirrors of our lives, says environmental artist tobacco brown, and we must cultivate them with care to harvest their full beauty. Drawing on her experience bringing natural public art installations to cities around the world, brown reveals what gardening can teach us about creating lives of compassion, connection and grace.
With her signature wit and wisdom, Emily Levine meets her ultimate challenge as a comedian/philosopher: she makes dying funny. In this personal talk, she takes us on her journey to make friends with reality -- and peace with death. Life is an enormous gift, Levine says: "You enrich it as best you can, and then you give it back."
Sex educator Emily Nagoski breaks down one of the most dangerous myths about sex and introduces us to the science behind arousal nonconcordance: when there's a disconnect between physical response and the experience of pleasure and desire. Talking about such intimate, private moments can feel awkward or difficult, yet in this straightforward talk Nagoski urges all of us to share this crucial information with someone -- judges, lawyers, partners, kids. "With every brave conversation we have, we make the world that little bit better," says Nagoski. (This talk contains mature content.)
Why it's worth listening to people you disagree with | Zachary R. Wood
We get stronger, not weaker, by engaging with ideas and people we disagree with, says Zachary R. Wood. In an important talk about finding common ground, Wood makes the case that we can build empathy and gain understanding by engaging tactfully and thoughtfully with controversial ideas and unfamiliar perspectives. "Tuning out opposing viewpoints doesn't make them go away," Wood says. "To achieve progress in the face of adversity, we need a genuine commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of humanity."
How language shapes the way we think | Lera Boroditsky
There are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world -- and they all have different sounds, vocabularies and structures. But do they shape the way we think? Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky shares examples of language -- from an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right to the multiple words for blue in Russian -- that suggest the answer is a resounding yes. "The beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is," Boroditsky says. "Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000."
To eliminate waste, we need to rediscover thrift | Andrew Dent
There's no such thing as throwing something away, says Andrew Dent -- when you toss a used food container, broken toy or old pair of socks into the trash, those things inevitably end up in ever-growing landfills. But we can get smarter about the way we make, and remake, our products. Dent shares exciting examples of thrift -- the idea of using and reusing what you need so you don't have to purchase anything new -- as well as advances in material science, like electronics made of nanocellulose and enzymes that can help make plastic infinitely recyclable.
As a humanist, Leo Igwe doesn't believe in divine intervention -- but he does believe in the power of human beings to alleviate suffering, cure disease, preserve the planet and turn situations of poverty into prosperity. In this bold talk, Igwe shares how humanism can free Africans from damaging superstitions and give them the power to rebuild the continent.
The Great Migration and the power of a single decision | Isabel Wilkerson
Sometimes, a single decision can change the course of history. Join journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson as she tells the story of the Great Migration, the outpouring of six million African Americans from the Jim Crow South to cities in the North and West between World War I and the 1970s. This was the first time in American history that the lowest caste people signaled they had options and were willing to take them -- and the first time they had a chance to choose for themselves what they would do with their innate talents, Wilkerson explains. "These people, by their actions, were able to do what the powers that be, North and South, could not or would not do," she says. "They freed themselves."
The best way to help is often just to listen | Sophie Andrews
A 24-hour helpline in the UK known as Samaritans helped Sophie Andrews become a survivor of abuse rather than a victim. Now she's paying the favor back as the founder of The Silver Line, a helpline that supports lonely and isolated older people. In a powerful, personal talk, she shares why the simple act of listening (instead of giving advice) is often the best way to help someone in need.
Poets Felice Belle and Jennifer Murphy perform excerpts from their play "Other Women," which is created and directed by Monica L. Williams. In a captivating journey, they weave together stories full of laughter, loyalty, tragedy and heartbreak, recalling the moments that made them sisters.
Be humble -- and other lessons from the philosophy of water | Raymond Tang
How do we find fulfillment in a world that's constantly changing? Raymond Tang struggled with this question until he came across the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Tao Te Ching. In it, he found a passage comparing goodness to water, an idea he's now applying to his everyday life. In this charming talk, he shares three lessons he's learned so far from the "philosophy of water." "What would water do?" Tang asks. "This simple and powerful question ... has changed my life for the better."
The hymen is still the most misunderstood part of the female body. Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl share their mission to empower young people through better sex education, debunking the popular (and harmful) myths we're told about female virginity and the hymen.
At some point in our lives, almost every one of us will have our heart broken. Imagine how different things would be if we paid more attention to this unique emotional pain. Psychologist Guy Winch reveals how recovering from heartbreak starts with a determination to fight our instincts to idealize and search for answers that aren't there -- and offers a toolkit on how to, eventually, move on. Our hearts might sometimes be broken, but we don't have to break with them.
Black life at the intersection of birth and death | Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa
"It is the artist's job to unearth stories that people try to bury with shovels of complacency and time," says poet and freedom fighter Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa. Performing her poem "The Joys of Motherhood," Katwiwa explores the experience of Black mothers in America and discusses the impact of the Movement for Black Lives -- because, she says, it's impossible to separate the two.
My failed mission to find God -- and what I found instead | Anjali Kumar
Anjali Kumar went looking for God and ended up finding something else entirely. In an uplifting, funny talk about our shared humanity, she takes us on a spiritual pilgrimage to meet witches in New York, a shaman in Peru, an infamous "healer" in Brazil and others, sharing an important lesson: what binds us together is far stronger than what separates us, and our differences are not insurmountable.
The gift and power of emotional courage | Susan David
Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. A talk to share.
How record collectors find lost music and preserve our cultural heritage | Alexis Charpentier
For generations, record collectors have played a vital role in the preservation of musical and cultural heritage by "digging" for obscure music created by overlooked artists. Alexis Charpentier shares his love of records -- and stories of how collectors have given forgotten music a second chance at being heard. Learn more about the culture of record digging (and, maybe, pick up a new hobby) with this fun, refreshing talk.
"Good" and "bad" are incomplete stories we tell ourselves | Heather Lanier
Heather Lanier's daughter Fiona has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a genetic condition that results in developmental delays -- but that doesn't make her tragic, angelic or any of the other stereotypes about kids like her. In this talk about the beautiful, complicated, joyful and hard journey of raising a rare girl, Lanier questions our assumptions about what makes a life "good" or "bad," challenging us to stop fixating on solutions for whatever we deem not normal, and instead to take life as it comes.
The history of human emotions | Tiffany Watt Smith
The words we use to describe our emotions affect how we feel, says historian Tiffany Watt Smith, and they've often changed (sometimes very dramatically) in response to new cultural expectations and ideas. Take nostalgia, for instance: first defined in 1688 as an illness and considered deadly, today it's seen as a much less serious affliction. In this fascinating talk about the history of emotions, learn more about how the language we use to describe how we feel continues to evolve -- and pick up some new words used in different cultures to capture those fleeting feelings in words.
How urban agriculture is transforming Detroit | Devita Davison
There's something amazing growing in the city of Detroit: healthy, accessible, delicious, fresh food. In a spirited talk, fearless farmer Devita Davison explains how features of Detroit's decay actually make it an ideal spot for urban agriculture. Join Davison for a walk through neighborhoods in transformation as she shares stories of opportunity and hope. "These aren't plots of land where we're just growing tomatoes and carrots," Davison says. "We're building social cohesion as well as providing healthy, fresh food."
Why I'm done trying to be "man enough" | Justin Baldoni
Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity -- to figure out ways to be not just good men but good humans. In a warm, personal talk, he shares his effort to reconcile who he is with who the world tells him a man should be. And he has a challenge for men: "See if you can use the same qualities that you feel make you a man to go deeper," Baldoni says. "Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?"
An interview with the Queen of Creole Cuisine | Pat Mitchell
Leah Chase's New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase changed the course of American history over gumbo and fried chicken. During the civil rights movement, it was a place where white and black people came together, where activists planned protests and where the police entered but did not disturb -- and it continues to operate in the same spirit today. In conversation with TEDWomen Curator Pat Mitchell, the 94-year old Queen of Creole Cuisine (who still runs the Dooky Chase kitchen) shares her wisdom from a lifetime of activism, speaking up and cooking.
We all know that when we make decisions in groups, they don't always go right -- and sometimes they go very wrong. How can groups make good decisions? With his colleague Dan Ariely, neuroscientist Mariano Sigman has been inquiring into how we interact to reach decisions by performing experiments with live crowds around the world. In this fun, fact-filled explainer, he shares some intriguing results -- as well as some implications for how it might impact our political system. In a time when people seem to be more polarized than ever, Sigman says, better understanding how groups interact and reach conclusions might spark interesting new ways to construct a healthier democracy.
The Housing First approach to homelessness | Lloyd Pendleton
What do you think would happen if you invited an individual with mental health issues who had been homeless for many years to move directly from the street into housing? Loyd Pendleton shares how he went from skeptic to believer in the Housing First approach to homelessness -- providing the displaced with short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions -- and how it led to a 91 percent reduction in chronic homelessness over a ten-year period in Utah.
How to talk (and listen) to transgender people | Jackson Bird
Gender should be the least remarkable thing about someone, but transgender people are still too often misunderstood. To help those who are scared to ask questions or nervous about saying the wrong thing, Jackson Bird shares a few ways to think about trans issues. And in this funny, frank talk, he clears up a few misconceptions about pronouns, transitioning, bathrooms and more.
The biggest risks facing cities -- and some solutions | Robert Muggah
With fantastic new maps that show interactive, visual representations of urban fragility, Robert Muggah articulates an ancient but resurging idea: cities shouldn't just be the center of economics -- they should also be the foundation of our political lives. Looking around the world, from Syria to Singapore to Seoul and beyond, Muggah submits six principles for how we can build more resilient cities. "Cities are where the future happens first. They're open, creative, dynamic, democratic, cosmopolitan, sexy," Muggah says. "They're the perfect antidote to reactionary nationalism."
We should aim for perfection -- and stop fearing failure | Jon Bowers
Sometimes trying your best isn't enough; when the situation demands it, you need to be perfect. For Jon Bowers, who runs a training facility for professional delivery drivers, the stakes are high -- 100 people in the US die every day in car accidents -- and it's perfection, or "a willingness to do what is difficult to achieve what is right," that he looks to achieve. He explains why we should all be equally diligent about striving toward perfection in everything we do, even if it means failing along the way.
Why women stay silent after sexual assault | Inés Hercovich
Why do women who experience sexual assault rarely speak up about it? "Because they fear they won't be believed," says Inés Hercovich. "Because when a woman tells what happened to her, she tells us things we can't imagine, things that disturb us, things we don't expect to hear, things that shock us." In this moving talk, she takes us inside an encounter with sexual assault to give us a clearer idea of what these situations really look like -- and the difficult choices women make to survive. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
The powerful stories that shaped Africa | Gus Casely-Hayford
In the vast sweep of history, even an empire can be forgotten. In this wide-ranging talk, Gus Casely-Hayford shares origin stories of Africa that are too often unwritten, lost, unshared. Travel to Great Zimbabwe, the ancient city whose mysterious origins and advanced architecture continue to confound archeologists. Or to the age of Mansa Musa, the ruler of the Mali Empire whose vast wealth built the legendary libraries of Timbuktu. And consider which other history lessons we might unwittingly overlook.
The revolutionary power of diverse thought | Elif Shafak
"From populist demagogues, we will learn the indispensability of democracy," says novelist Elif Shafak. "From isolationists, we will learn the need for global solidarity. And from tribalists, we will learn the beauty of cosmopolitanism." A native of Turkey, Shafak has experienced firsthand the devastation that a loss of diversity can bring -- and she knows the revolutionary power of plurality in response to authoritarianism. In this passionate, personal talk, she reminds us that there are no binaries, in politics, emotions and our identities. "One should never, ever remain silent for fear of complexity," Shafak says.
Lessons from the longest study on human development | Helen Pearson
For the past 70 years, scientists in Britain have been studying thousands of children through their lives to find out why some end up happy and healthy while others struggle. It's the longest-running study of human development in the world, and it's produced some of the best-studied people on the planet while changing the way we live, learn and parent. Reviewing this remarkable research, science journalist Helen Pearson shares some important findings and simple truths about life and good parenting.
The warmth and wisdom of mud buildings | Anna Heringer
"There are a lot of resources given by nature for free -- all we need is our sensitivity to see them and our creativity to use them," says architect Anna Heringer. Heringer uses low-tech materials like mud and bamboo to create structures from China to Switzerland, Bangladesh and beyond. Visit an awe-inspiring school, an elegant office and cozy social spaces -- all built from natural materials -- in this delightful talk.
Why people of different faiths are painting their houses of worship yellow | Nabila Alibhai
Divisions along religious lines are deepening, and we're doubting more and more how much we have in common. How can we stand boldly and visibly together? Inspired by an idea from her collaborator Yazmany Arboleda, place-maker Nabila Alibhai and her colleagues created "Colour in Faith," a social practice art project that unites people of different religions by getting them to paint each other's houses of worship yellow, in a show of solidarity. "We've proven that the human family can come together and send a message far brighter and more powerful than the voices of those that wish to do us harm," Alibhai says.
There's more to life than being happy | Emily Esfahani Smith
Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.
Would you live in a floating city in the sky? | Tomás Saraceno
In a mind-bending talk that blurs the line between science and art, Tomás Saraceno exhibits a series of air-inspired sculptures and installations designed to usher in a new era of sustainability, the "Aerocene." From giant, cloud-like playgrounds suspended 22 meters in the air to a balloon sculpture that travels the world without burning a single drop of fossil fuel, Saraceno's work invites us to explore the bounds of our fragile human and terrestrial ecosystems. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
A smog vacuum cleaner and other magical city designs | Daan Roosegaarde
Daan Roosegaarde uses technology and creative thinking to produce imaginative, earth-friendly designs. He presents his latest projects -- from a bike path in Eindhoven, where he reinterpreted "The Starry Night" to get people thinking about green energy, to Beijing, where he developed a smog vacuum cleaner to purify the air in local parks, to a dance floor that generates electricity to power a DJ booth. Check out Roosegaarde's vision for a future where creativity is our true capital.
Dare to refuse the origin myths that claim who you are | Chetan Bhatt
We all have origin stories and identity myths, our tribal narratives that give us a sense of security and belonging. But sometimes our small-group identities can keep us from connecting with humanity as a whole -- and even keep us from seeing others as human. In a powerful talk about how we understand who we are, Chetan Bhatt challenges us to think creatively about each other and our future. As he puts it: it's time to change the question from "Where are you from?" to "Where are you going?"
How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas | Manoush Zomorodi
Do you sometimes have your most creative ideas while folding laundry, washing dishes or doing nothing in particular? It's because when your body goes on autopilot, your brain gets busy forming new neural connections that connect ideas and solve problems. Learn to love being bored as Manoush Zomorodi explains the connection between spacing out and creativity.
You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse | David Baron
On August 21, 2017, the moon's shadow raced from Oregon to South Carolina in what some consider to be the most awe-inspiring spectacle in all of nature: a total solar eclipse. Umbraphile David Baron chases these rare events across the globe, and in this ode to the bliss of seeing the solar corona, he explains why you owe it to yourself to witness one, too.
How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day | Tristan Harris
A handful of people working at a handful of tech companies steer the thoughts of billions of people every day, says design thinker Tristan Harris. From Facebook notifications to Snapstreaks to YouTube autoplays, they're all competing for one thing: your attention. Harris shares how these companies prey on our psychology for their own profit and calls for a design renaissance in which our tech instead encourages us to live out the timeline we want.
Born with a genetic visual impairment that has no correction or cure, Susan Robinson is legally blind (or partially sighted, as she prefers it) and entitled to a label she hates: "disabled." In this funny and personal talk, she digs at our hidden biases by explaining five ways she flips expectations of disability upside down.
How we can face the future without fear, together | Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
It's a fateful moment in history. We've seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism -- all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. "Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?" asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives us three specific ways we can move from the politics of "me" to the politics of "all of us, together."
Cheyenne Cochrane explores the role that hair texture has played in the history of being black in America -- from the heat straightening products of the post-Civil War era to the thousands of women today who have decided to stop chasing a conventional beauty standard and start embracing their natural hair. "This is about more than a hairstyle," Cochrane says. "It's about being brave enough not to fold under the pressure of others' expectations."
Why you should define your fears instead of your goals | Tim Ferriss
The hard choices -- what we most fear doing, asking, saying -- are very often exactly what we need to do. How can we overcome self-paralysis and take action? Tim Ferriss encourages us to fully envision and write down our fears in detail, in a simple but powerful exercise he calls "fear-setting." Learn more about how this practice can help you thrive in high-stress environments and separate what you can control from what you cannot.
To understand autism, don't look away | Carina Morillo
Carina Morillo knew almost nothing about autism when her son Ivan was diagnosed -- only that he didn't speak or respond to words, and that she had to find other ways to connect with him. She shares how she learned to help her son thrive by being curious along with him. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
How to see past your own perspective and find truth | Michael Patrick Lynch
The more we read and watch online, the harder it becomes to tell the difference between what's real and what's fake. It's as if we know more but understand less, says philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch. In this talk, he dares us to take active steps to burst our filter bubbles and participate in the common reality that actually underpins everything.
Poverty isn't a lack of character; it's a lack of cash | Rutger Bregman
"Ideas can and do change the world," says historian Rutger Bregman, sharing his case for a provocative one: guaranteed basic income. Learn more about the idea's 500-year history and a forgotten modern experiment where it actually worked -- and imagine how much energy and talent we would unleash if we got rid of poverty once and for all.
What makes life worth living in the face of death | Lucy Kalanithi
In this deeply moving talk, Lucy Kalanithi reflects on life and purpose, sharing the story of her late husband, Paul, a young neurosurgeon who turned to writing after his terminal cancer diagnosis. "Engaging in the full range of experience -- living and dying, love and loss -- is what we get to do," Kalanithi says. "Being human doesn't happen despite suffering -- it happens within it."
Thoughts on humanity, fame and love | Shah Rukh Khan
"I sell dreams, and I peddle love to millions of people," says Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood's biggest star. In this charming, funny talk, Khan traces the arc of his life, showcases a few of his famous dance moves and shares hard-earned wisdom from a life spent in the spotlight.
The biology of our best and worst selves | Robert Sapolsky
How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic -- and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors.
Twenty-three Grand Slam titles later, tennis superstar Serena Williams sits down with journalist Gayle King to share a warm, mischievous conversation about her life, love, wins and losses -- starting with the story of how she accidentally shared her pregnancy news with the world.
We should all be feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much ... to be successful, but not too successful, or they'll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world -- of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.
3 ways to plan for the (very) long term | Ari Wallach
We increasingly make decisions based on short-term goals and gains -- an approach that makes the future more uncertain and less safe. How can we learn to think about and plan for a better future in the long term ... like, grandchildren-scale long term? Ari Wallach shares three tactics for thinking beyond the immediate.
What we don't know about mother's milk | Katie Hinde
Breast milk grows babies' bodies, fuels neurodevelopment, provides essential immunofactors and safeguards against famine and disease -- why, then, does science know more about tomatoes than mother's milk? Katie Hinde shares insights into this complex, life-giving substance and discusses the major gaps scientific research still needs to fill so we can better understand it.
Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness | Michele L. Sullivan
We all go through challenges -- some you can see, most you can't, says Michele L. Sullivan. In a talk about perspective, Sullivan shares stories full of wit and wisdom and reminds us that we're all part of each other's support systems. "The only shoes you can walk in are your own," she says. "With compassion, courage and understanding, we can walk together, side by side."
What young women believe about their own sexual pleasure | Peggy Orenstein
Why do girls feel empowered to engage in sexual activity but not to enjoy it? For three years, author Peggy Orenstein interviewed girls ages 15 to 20 about their attitudes toward and experiences of sex. She discusses the pleasure that's largely missing from their sexual encounters and calls on us to close the "orgasm gap" by talking candidly with our girls from an early age about sex, bodies, pleasure and intimacy.
Why women should tell the stories of humanity | Jude Kelly
For many centuries (and for many reasons) critically acclaimed creative genius has generally come from a male perspective. As theater director Jude Kelly points out in this passionately reasoned talk, that skew affects how we interpret even non-fictional women's stories and rights. She thinks there's a more useful, more inclusive way to look at the world, and she calls on artists -- women and men -- to paint, draw, write about, film and imagine a gender-equal society.
To raise brave girls, encourage adventure | Caroline Paul
Gutsy girls skateboard, climb trees, clamber around, fall down, scrape their knees, get right back up -- and grow up to be brave women. Learn how to spark a little productive risk-taking and raise confident girls with stories and advice from firefighter, paraglider and all-around adventurer Caroline Paul.
This app makes it fun to pick up litter | Jeff Kirschner
The earth is a big place to keep clean. With Litterati -- an app for users to identify, collect and geotag the world's litter -- TED Resident Jeff Kirschner has created a community that's crowdsource-cleaning the planet. After tracking trash in more than 100 countries, Kirschner hopes to use the data he's collected to work with brands and organizations to stop litter before it reaches the ground.
Charity Wayua put her skills as a cancer researcher to use on an unlikely patient: the government of her native Kenya. She shares how she helped her government drastically improve its process for opening up new businesses, a crucial part of economic health and growth, leading to new investments and a World Bank recognition as a top reformer.
Sexting, like anything that's fun, runs its risks -- but a serious violation of privacy shouldn't be one of them. Amy Adele Hasinoff looks at problematic responses to sexting in mass media, law and education, offering practical solutions for how individuals and tech companies can protect sensitive (and, ahem, potentially scandalous) digital files.
Our story of rape and reconciliation | Tom Stranger
In 1996, Thordis Elva shared a teenage romance with Tom Stranger, an exchange student from Australia. After a school dance, Tom raped Thordis, after which they parted ways for many years. In this extraordinary talk, Elva and Stranger move through a years-long chronology of shame and silence, and invite us to discuss the omnipresent global issue of sexual violence in a new, honest way. For a Q&A with the speakers, visit go.ted.com/thordisandtom.
How to get better at the things you care about | Eduardo Briceño
Working hard but not improving? You're not alone. Eduardo Briceño reveals a simple way to think about getting better at the things you do, whether that's work, parenting or creative hobbies. And he shares some useful techniques so you can keep learning and always feel like you're moving forward.
What we don't know about Europe's Muslim kids | Deeyah Khan
As the child of an Afghan mother and Pakistani father raised in Norway, Deeyah Khan knows what it's like to be a young person stuck between your community and your country. In this powerful, emotional talk, the filmmaker unearths the rejection and isolation felt by many Muslim kids growing up in the West -- and the deadly consequences of not embracing our youth before extremist groups do.
A better way to talk about love | Mandy Len Catron
In love, we fall. We're struck, we're crushed, we swoon. We burn with passion. Love makes us crazy and makes us sick. Our hearts ache, and then they break. Talking about love in this way fundamentally shapes how we experience it, says writer Mandy Len Catron. In this talk for anyone who's ever felt crazy in love, Catron highlights a different metaphor for love that may help us find more joy -- and less suffering -- in it.
The lies we tell pregnant women | Sofia Jawed-Wessel
"When we tell women that sex isn't worth the risk during pregnancy, what we're telling her is that her sexual pleasure doesn't matter ... that she in fact doesn't matter," says sex researcher Sofia Jawed-Wessel. In this eye-opening talk, Jawed-Wessel mines our views about pregnancy and pleasure to lay bare the relationship between women, sex and systems of power.
Do kids think of sperm donors as family? | Veerle Provoost
How do we define a parent -- or a family? Bioethicist Veerle Provoost explores these questions in the context of non-traditional families, ones brought together by adoption, second marriages, surrogate mothers and sperm donations. In this talk, she shares stories of how parents and children create their own family narratives.
Say your truths and seek them in others | Elizabeth Lesser
In a lyrical, unexpectedly funny talk about heavy topics such as frayed relationships and the death of a loved one, Elizabeth Lesser describes the healing process of putting aside pride and defensiveness to make way for soul-baring and truth-telling. "You don't have to wait for a life-or-death situation to clean up the relationships that matter to you," she says. "Be like a new kind of first responder ... the one to take the first courageous step toward the other."
A queer vision of love and marriage | Kim Katrin Milan
Love is a tool for revolutionary change and a path toward inclusivity and understanding for the LGBTQ+ community. Married activists Tiq and Kim Katrin Milan have imagined their marriage -- as a transgender man and cis woman -- a model of possibility for people of every kind. With infectious joy, Tiq and Kim question our misconceptions about who they might be and offer a vision of an inclusive, challenging love that grows day by day.
Maps that show us who we are (not just where we are) | Danny Dorling
What does the world look like when you map it using data? Social geographer Danny Dorling invites us to see the world anew, with his captivating and insightful maps that show Earth as it truly is -- a connected, ever-changing and fascinating place in which we all belong. You'll never look at a map the same way again.
Now more than ever, it's important to look boldly at the reality of race and gender bias -- and understand how the two can combine to create even more harm. Kimberlé Crenshaw uses the term "intersectionality" to describe this phenomenon; as she says, if you're standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you're likely to get hit by both. In this moving talk, she calls on us to bear witness to this reality and speak up for victims of prejudice.
How can the US recover after the negative, partisan presidential election of 2016? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the morals that form the basis of our political choices. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, he describes the patterns of thinking and historical causes that have led to such sharp divisions in America -- and provides a vision for how the country might move forward.
Islamophobia killed my brother. Let's end the hate | Suzanne Barakat
On February 10, 2015, Suzanne Barakat's brother Deah, her sister-in-law Yusor and Yusor's sister Razan were murdered by their neighbor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The perpetrator's story, that he killed them over a traffic dispute, went unquestioned by the media and police until Barakat spoke out at a press conference, calling the murders what they really were: hate crimes. As she reflects on how she and her family reclaimed control of their narrative, Barakat calls on us to speak up when we witness hateful bigotry and express our allyship with those who face discrimination.
Enough with the fear of fat | Kelli Jean Drinkwater
In a society obsessed with body image and marked by a fear of fat, Kelli Jean Drinkwater engages in radical body politics through art. She confronts the public's perception of bigger bodies by bringing them into spaces that were once off limits -- from fashion runways to the Sydney Festival -- and entices all of us to look again and rethink our biases. "Unapologetic fat bodies can blow people's minds," she says.
The unexpected challenges of a country's first election | Philippa Neave
How do you teach an entire country how to vote when no one has done it before? It's a huge challenge facing fledgling democracies around the world -- and one of the biggest problems turns out to be a lack of shared language. After all, if you can't describe something, you probably can't understand it. In this eye-opening talk, election expert Philippa Neave shares her experiences from the front lines of democracy -- and her solution to this unique language gap.
Almost 30 years ago, Pico Iyer took a trip to Japan, fell in love with the country and moved there. A keen observer of the human spirit, Iyer professes that he now feels he knows far less about Japan -- or, indeed, about anything -- than he thought he knew three decades ago. In this lyrical meditation on wisdom, Iyer expands on this curious insight about knowledge gained with age: that the more we know, the more we see how little we know.
What reality are you creating for yourself? | Isaac Lidsky
Reality isn't something you perceive; it's something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.
We can fight terror without sacrificing our rights | Rebecca MacKinnon
Can we fight terror without destroying democracy? Internet freedom activist Rebecca MacKinnon thinks that we'll lose the battle against extremism and demagoguery if we censor the internet and press. In this critical talk, she calls for a doubling-down on strong encryption and appeals to governments to better protect, not silence, the journalists and activists fighting against extremists.
Why some people are more altruistic than others | Abigail Marsh
Why do some people do selfless things, helping other people even at risk to their own well-being? Psychology researcher Abigail Marsh studies the motivations of people who do extremely altruistic acts, like donating a kidney to a complete stranger. Are their brains just different?
Architecture that's built to heal | Michael Murphy
Architecture is more than a clever arrangement of bricks. In this eloquent talk, Michael Murphy shows how he and his team look far beyond the blueprint when they're designing. Considering factors from airflow to light, theirs is a holistic approach that produces community as well as (beautiful) buildings. He takes us on a tour of projects in countries such as Rwanda and Haiti, and reveals a moving, ambitious plan for The Memorial to Peace and Justice, which he hopes will heal hearts in the American South.
For the first time in history, the majority of American parents don't think their kids will be better off than they were. This shouldn't be a cause for alarm, says journalist Courtney E. Martin. Rather, it's an opportunity to define a new approach to work and family that emphasizes community and creativity. "The biggest danger is not failing to achieve the American Dream," she says in a talk that will resonate far beyond the US. "The biggest danger is achieving a dream that you don't actually believe in."
"When you talk to strangers, you're making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life -- and theirs," says Kio Stark. In this delightful talk, Stark explores the overlooked benefits of pushing past our default discomfort when it comes to strangers and embracing those fleeting but profoundly beautiful moments of genuine connection.
How Argentina's blind soccer team became champions | Gonzalo Vilariño
With warmth and respect, Gonzalo Vilariño tells the captivating story of Argentina's blind soccer team -- and how a sincere belief in themselves and their capabilities transformed the players from humble beginnings into two-time World Champions. "You have to get out there and play every game in this beautiful tournament that we call life," Vilariño says. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
A letter to all who have lost in this era | Anand Giridharadas
Summer, 2016: amid populist revolts, clashing resentments and fear, writer Anand Giridharadas doesn't give a talk but reads a letter. It's from those who have won in this era of change, to those who have, or feel, lost. It confesses to ignoring pain until it became anger. It chides an idealistic yet remote elite for its behind-closed-doors world-saving and airy, self-serving futurism — for at times worrying more about sending people to Mars than helping them on Earth. And it rejects the exclusionary dogmas to which we cling, calling us instead to "dare to commit to the dream of each other."
How to grow a forest in your backyard | Shubhendu Sharma
Forests don't have to be far-flung nature reserves, isolated from human life. Instead, we can grow them right where we are -- even in cities. Eco-entrepreneur and TED Fellow Shubhendu Sharma grows ultra-dense, biodiverse mini-forests of native species in urban areas by engineering soil, microbes and biomass to kickstart natural growth processes. Follow along as he describes how to grow a 100-year-old forest in just 10 years, and learn how you can get in on this tiny jungle party.
Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong | Julia Galef
Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs -- or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information, interweaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your steadfast opinions are tested, Galef asks: "What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?"
Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality | Brian Little
What makes you, you? Psychologists like to talk about our traits, or defined characteristics that make us who we are. But Brian Little is more interested in moments when we transcend those traits -- sometimes because our culture demands it of us, and sometimes because we demand it of ourselves. Join Little as he dissects the surprising differences between introverts and extroverts and explains why your personality may be more malleable than you think.
A highly scientific taxonomy of haters | Negin Farsad
TED Fellow Negin Farsad weaves comedy and social commentary to cleverly undercut stereotypes of her culture. In this uproarious talk/stand-up hybrid, Farsad speaks on her documentary, The Muslims Are Coming!, narrates her fight with the MTA in New York and offers a detailed breakdown of the different types of haters she's encountered in her work. "Comedy is one of our best weapons," she says. "We've tried a lot of approaches to social justice, like war and competitive ice dancing -- but a lot of things are still kind of awful. I think it's time we try and tell a really good poop joke."
A quarter of the world's population cares a lot about the Chinese zodiac. Even if you don't believe in it, you'd be wise to know how it works, says technologist and entrepreneur ShaoLan Hseuh. In this fun, informative talk, ShaoLan shares some tips for understanding the ancient tradition and describes how it's believed to influence your personality, career, marriage prospects and how you'll do in a given year. What does your sign say about you?
An entertainment icon on living a life of meaning | Eric Hirshberg
In the 1970s (and decades following), TV producer Norman Lear touched the lives of millions with culture-altering sitcoms like All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Good Times, pushing the boundaries of the era and giving a primetime voice to underrepresented Americans. In an intimate, smart conversation with Eric Hirshberg, he shares with humility and humor how his early relationship with "the foolishness of the human condition" shaped his life and creative vision.
To those who feel like they don't belong: there is beauty in being a misfit. Author Lidia Yuknavitch shares her own wayward journey in an intimate recollection of patchwork stories about loss, shame and the slow process of self-acceptance. "Even at the moment of your failure, you are beautiful," she says. "You don't know it yet, but you have the ability to reinvent yourself endlessly. That's your beauty."
Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) ... but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Juno Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. "If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you," she says. "Make space for us in your movements." (Adult themes)
Neuroscientist Uri Hasson researches the basis of human communication, and experiments from his lab reveal that even across different languages, our brains show similar activity, or become "aligned," when we hear the same idea or story. This amazing neural mechanism allows us to transmit brain patterns, sharing memories and knowledge. "We can communicate because we have a common code that presents meaning," Hasson says.
How my son's short life made a lasting difference | Sarah Gray
After Sarah Gray's unborn son Thomas was diagnosed with anencephaly, a terminal condition, she decided to turn her family's tragedy into an extraordinary gift and donate his organs to scientific research. In this tribute to life and discovery, she shares her journey to find meaning in loss and spreads a message of hope for other grieving families.
A taboo-free way to talk about periods | Aditi Gupta
It's true: talking about menstruation makes many people uncomfortable. And that taboo has consequences: in India, three out of every 10 girls don't even know what menstruation is at the time of their first period, and restrictive customs related to periods inflict psychological damage on young girls. Growing up with this taboo herself, Aditi Gupta knew she wanted to help girls, parents and teachers talk about periods comfortably and without shame. She shares how she did it.
TED's secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson
There's no single formula for a great talk, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common. TED curator Chris Anderson shares this secret -- along with four ways to make it work for you. Do you have what it takes to share an idea worth spreading?
What does it mean to be a citizen of the world? | Hugh Evans
Hugh Evans started a movement that mobilizes "global citizens," people who self-identify first and foremost not as members of a state, nation or tribe but as members of the human race. In this uplifting and personal talk, learn more about how this new understanding of our place in the world is galvanizing people to take action in the fights against extreme poverty, climate change, gender inequality and more. "These are ultimately global issues," Evans says, "and they can only be solved by global citizens demanding global solutions from their leaders."
How megacities are changing the map of the world | Parag Khanna
"I want you to reimagine how life is organized on earth," says global strategist Parag Khanna. As our expanding cities grow ever more connected through transportation, energy and communications networks, we evolve from geography to what he calls "connectography." This emerging global network civilization holds the promise of reducing pollution and inequality -- and even overcoming geopolitical rivalries. In this talk, Khanna asks us to embrace a new maxim for the future: "Connectivity is destiny."
The surprising habits of original thinkers | Adam Grant
How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals -- including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they're the ones who try the most," Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."
How young Africans found a voice on Twitter | Siyanda Mohutsiwa
What can a young woman with an idea, an Internet connection and a bit of creativity achieve? That's all Siyanda Mohutsiwa needed to unite young African voices in a new way. Hear how Mohutsiwa and other young people across the continent are using social media to overcome borders and circumstance, accessing something they have long had to violently take: a voice.
The reporting system that sexual assault survivors want | Jessica Ladd
We don't have to live in a world where 99 percent of rapists get away with it, says TED Fellow Jessica Ladd. With Callisto, a new platform for college students to confidentially report sexual assault, Ladd is helping survivors get the support and justice they deserve while respecting their privacy concerns. "We can create a world where there's a real deterrent to violating the rights of another human being," she says.
What do you do when your firmly held beliefs turn out not to be true? When Casey Gerald's religion failed him, he searched for something new to believe in -- in business, in government, in philanthropy -- but found only false saviors. In this moving talk, Gerald urges us all to question our beliefs and embrace uncertainty.
Teach girls bravery, not perfection | Reshma Saujani
We're raising our girls to be perfect, and we're raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program -- two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. "I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection."
Why we need gender-neutral bathrooms | Ivan Coyote
There are a few things that we all need: fresh air, water, food, shelter, love ... and a safe place to pee. For trans people who don't fit neatly into the gender binary, public restrooms are a major source of anxiety and the place where they are most likely to be questioned or harassed. In this poetically rhythmic talk, Ivan Coyote grapples with complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity and highlights the need for gender-neutral bathrooms in all public places.
What it's like to be Muslim in America | Dalia Mogahed
When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: A woman of faith? A scholar, a mom, a sister? Or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media -- and to choose empathy over prejudice.
10 ways to have a better conversation | Celeste Headlee
When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations -- and that most of us don't converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. "Go out, talk to people, listen to people," she says. "And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed."
Special Olympics let me be myself -- a champion | Matthew Williams
How much do you know about intellectual disabilities? Special Olympics champion and ambassador Matthew Williams is proof that athletic competition and the camaraderie it fosters can transform lives, both on and off the field. Together with his fellow athletes, he invites you to join him at the next meet -- and challenges you to walk away with your heart unchanged.
Can we break bad habits by being more curious about them? Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction -- from smoking to overeating to all those other things we do even though we know they're bad for us. Learn more about the mechanism of habit development and discover a simple but profound tactic that might help you beat your next urge to smoke, snack or check a text while driving.
Let's design social media that drives real change | Wael Ghonim
Wael Ghonim helped touch off the Arab Spring in his home of Egypt ... by setting up a simple Facebook page. As he reveals, once the revolution spilled onto the streets, it turned from hopeful to messy, then ugly and heartbreaking. And social media followed suit. What was once a place for crowdsourcing, engaging and sharing became a polarized battleground. Ghonim asks: What can we do about online behavior now? How can we use the Internet and social media to create civility and reasoned argument?
How we'll find life on other planets | Aomawa Shields
Astronomer Aomawa Shields searches for clues that life might exist elsewhere in the universe by examining the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. When she isn't exploring the heavens, the classically trained actor (and TED Fellow) looks for ways to engage young women in the sciences using theater, writing and visual art. "Maybe one day they'll join the ranks of astronomers who are full of contradictions," she says, "and use their backgrounds to discover, once and for all, that we are truly not alone in the universe."
What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | Robert Waldinger
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.
A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship | Lily Tomlin
Legendary duo Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin have been friends for decades. In a raw, tender and wide-ranging conversation hosted by Pat Mitchell, the three discuss longevity, feminism, the differences between male and female friendship, what it means to live well and women's role in future of our planet. "I don't even know what I would do without my women friends," Fonda says. "I exist because I have my women friends."
The exhilarating peace of freediving | Guillaume Néry
In this breathtaking talk, world champion freediver Guillaume Néry takes us with him into the ocean's depths. Meter by meter, he explains the physical and emotional impact of water pressure, silence and holding your breath. His eloquent description of the underwater experience reveals the hidden poetry of freediving.
Why are these 32 symbols found in ancient caves all over Europe? | Genevieve von Petzinger
Written language, the hallmark of human civilization, didn't just suddenly appear one day. Thousands of years before the first fully developed writing systems, our ancestors scrawled geometric signs across the walls of the caves they sheltered in. Paleoanthropologist, rock art researcher and TED Senior Fellow Genevieve von Petzinger has studied and codified these ancient markings in caves across Europe. The uniformity of her findings suggest that graphic communication, and the ability to preserve and transmit messages beyond a single moment in time, may be much older than we think.
My country will be underwater soon -- unless we work together | Anote Tong
For the people of Kiribati, climate change isn't something to be debated, denied or legislated against -- it's an everyday reality. The low-lying Pacific island nation may soon be underwater, thanks to rising sea levels. In a personal conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Kiribati President Anote Tong discusses his country's present climate catastrophe and its imperiled future. "In order to deal with climate change, there's got to be sacrifice. There's got to be commitment," he says. "We've got to tell people that the world has changed."
This is what LGBT life is like around the world | Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols
As a gay couple in San Francisco, Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols had a relatively easy time living the way they wanted. But outside the bubble of the Bay Area, what was life like for people still lacking basic rights? They set off on a world tour in search of "Supergays," LGBT people who were doing something extraordinary in the world. In 15 countries across Africa, Asia and South America -- from India, recently home to the world's first openly gay prince, to Argentina, the first country in Latin America to grant marriage equality -- they found the inspiring stories and the courageous, resilient and proud Supergays they had been looking for.
How data from a crisis text line is saving lives | Nancy Lublin
When a young woman texted DoSomething.org with a heartbreaking cry for help, the organization responded by opening a nationwide Crisis Text Line for people in pain. Nearly 10 million text messages later, the organization is using the privacy and power of text messaging to help people handle addiction, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, sexual abuse and more. But there's an even bigger win: The anonymous data collected by text is teaching us when crises are most likely to happen -- and helping schools and law enforcement to prepare for them.
Social services are broken. How we can fix them | Hilary Cottam
When a family falls into crisis -- and it sometimes happens, thanks to unemployment, drugs, bad relationships and bad luck -- the social services system is supposed to step in and help them get back on track. As Hilary Cottam shows, in the UK a typical family in crisis can be eligible for services from more than 70 different agencies, but it's unlikely that any one of them can really make a difference. Cottam, a social entrepreneur herself, asks us to think about the ways we solve deep and complex social problems. How can we build supportive, enthusiastic relationships between those in need and those that provide help?
Two nameless bodies washed up on the beach. Here are their stories | Anders Fjellberg
When two bodies wearing identical wetsuits washed ashore in Norway and the Netherlands, journalist Anders Fjellberg and photographer Tomm Christiansen started a search to answer the question: who were these people? What they found and reported in Norway's "Dagbladet" is that everybody has a name, everybody has a story and everybody is someone.
How my mind came back to life — and no one knew | Martin Pistorius
Imagine being unable to say, "I am hungry," "I am in pain," "thank you," or "I love you,” -- losing your ability to communicate, being trapped inside your body, surrounded by people yet utterly alone. For 13 long years, that was Martin Pistorius’s reality. After contracting a brain infection at the age of twelve, Pistorius lost his ability to control his movements and to speak, and eventually he failed every test for mental awareness. He had become a ghost. But then a strange thing started to happen -- his mind began to knit itself back together. In this moving talk, Pistorius tells how he freed himself from a life locked inside his own body.
Don't ask where I'm from, ask where I'm a local | Taiye Selasi
When someone asks you where you're from … do you sometimes not know how to answer? Writer Taiye Selasi speaks on behalf of "multi-local" people, who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two. "How can I come from a country?" she asks. "How can a human being come from a concept?"
Falling in love is the easy part | Mandy Len Catron
Did you know you can fall in love with anyone just by asking them 36 questions? Mandy Len Catron tried this experiment, it worked, and she wrote a viral article about it (that your mom probably sent you). But ... is that real love? Did it last? And what's the difference between falling in love and staying in love?
This tennis icon paved the way for women in sports | Billie Jean King
Tennis legend Billie Jean King isn't just a pioneer of women's tennis -- she's a pioneer for women getting paid. In this freewheeling conversation, she talks about identity, the role of sports in social justice and the famous Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs.
What really matters at the end of life | BJ Miller
At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? For many, it's simply comfort, respect, love. BJ Miller is a hospice and palliative medicine physician who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients. Take the time to savor this moving talk, which asks big questions about how we think on death and honor life.
An invitation to men who want a better world for women | Elizabeth Nyamayaro
Around the world, women still struggle for equality in basic matters like access to education, equal pay and the right to vote. But how to enlist everyone, men and women, as allies for change? Meet Elizabeth Nyamayaro, head of UN Women's HeForShe initiative, which has created more than 2.4 billion social media conversations about a more equal world. She invites us all to join in as allies in our shared humanity.
My road trip through the whitest towns in America | Rich Benjamin
As America becomes more and more multicultural, Rich Benjamin noticed a phenomenon: Some communities were actually getting less diverse. So he got out a map, found the whitest towns in the USA -- and moved in. In this funny, honest, human talk, he shares what he learned as a black man in Whitopia.
What my religion really says about women | Alaa Murabit
Strong faith is a core part of Alaa Murabit's identity -- but when she moved from Canada to Libya as a young woman, she was surprised how the tenets of Islam were used to severely limit women's rights, independence and ability to lead. She wondered: Was this really religious doctrine? With humor, passion and a refreshingly rebellious spirt, she shares how she found examples of female leaders across the history of her faith — and how she speaks up for women using verses from the Koran.
Twitter gives a voice to the voiceless, a way to speak up and hit back at perceived injustice. But sometimes, says Jon Ronson, things go too far. In a jaw-dropping story of how one un-funny tweet ruined a woman's life and career, Ronson shows how online commenters can end up behaving like a baying mob -- and says it's time to rethink how we interact online.
When to take a stand -- and when to let it go | Ash Beckham
Ash Beckham recently found herself in a situation that made her ask: who am I? She felt pulled between two roles — as an aunt and as an advocate. Each of us feels this struggle sometimes, she says -- and offers bold suggestions for how to stand up for your moral integrity when it isn't convenient.
A warrior’s cry against child marriage | Memory Banda
Memory Banda’s life took a divergent path from her sister’s. When her sister reached puberty, she was sent to a traditional “initiation camp” that teaches girls “how to sexually please a man.” She got pregnant there — at age 11. Banda, however, refused to go. Instead, she organized others and asked her community’s leader to issue a bylaw that no girl should be forced to marry before turning 18. She pushed on to the national level … with incredible results for girls across Malawi.
When writer Roxane Gay dubbed herself a "bad feminist," she was making a joke, acknowledging that she couldn't possibly live up to the demands for perfection of the feminist movement. But she's realized that the joke rang hollow. In a thoughtful and provocative talk, she asks us to embrace all flavors of feminism -- and make the small choices that, en masse, might lead to actual change.
Gorgeous portraits of the world's vanishing people | Jimmy Nelson
When Jimmy Nelson traveled to Siberia to photograph the Chukchi people, elders told him: "You cannot photograph us. You have to wait, you have to wait until you get to know us, you have to wait until you understand us." In this gorgeously photo-filled talk, join Nelson's quest to understand -- the world, other people, himself -- by making astonishing portraits of the world's vanishing tribes and cultures.
What does my headscarf mean to you? | Yassmin Abdel-Magied
What do you think when you look at this speaker? Well, think again. (And then again.) In this funny, honest, empathetic talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied challenges us to look beyond our initial perceptions, and to open doors to new ways of supporting others.
Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved | Esther Perel
Infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. But does it have to be? Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic: because they threaten our emotional security. In infidelity, she sees something unexpected — an expression of longing and loss. A must-watch for anyone who has ever cheated or been cheated on, or who simply wants a new framework for understanding relationships.
A song for my hero, the woman who rowed into a hurricane | Dawn Landes
Singer-songwriter Dawn Landes tells the story of Tori Murden McClure, who dreamed of rowing across the Atlantic in a small boat -- but whose dream was almost capsized by waves the size of a seven-story building. Through video, story and song, Landes imagines the mindset of a woman alone in the midst of the vast ocean. (This talk was part of a session at TED2015 guest-curated by Pop-Up Magazine: popupmagazine.com or @popupmag on Twitter.)
How we're priming some kids for college — and others for prison | Alice Goffman
In the United States, two institutions guide teenagers on the journey to adulthood: college and prison. Sociologist Alice Goffman spent six years in a troubled Philadelphia neighborhood and saw first-hand how teenagers of African-American and Latino backgrounds are funneled down the path to prison — sometimes starting with relatively minor infractions. In an impassioned talk she asks, "Why are we offering only handcuffs and jail time?"
Why do ambitious women have flat heads? | Dame Stephanie Shirley
Dame Stephanie Shirley is the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of. In the 1960s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion, making millionaires of 70 of her team members. In this frank and often hilarious talk, she explains why she went by “Steve,” how she upended the expectations of the time, and shares some sure-fire ways to identify ambitious women …
Everyone around you has a story the world needs to hear | Dave Isay
Dave Isay opened the first StoryCorps booth in New York’s Grand Central Terminal in 2003 with the intention of creating a quiet place where a person could honor someone who mattered to them by listening to their story. Since then, StoryCorps has evolved into the single largest collection of human voices ever recorded. His TED Prize wish: to grow this digital archive of the collective wisdom of humanity. Hear his vision to take StoryCorps global — and how you can be a part of it by interviewing someone with the StoryCorps app.
The little problem I had renting a house | James A. White Sr.
Fifty-three years ago, James A. White Sr. joined the US Air Force. But as an African American man, he had to go to shocking lengths to find a place for his young family to live nearby. He tells this powerful story about the lived experience of "everyday racism" -- and how it echoes today in the way he's had to teach his grandchildren to interact with police.
Finding the right mate is no cakewalk -- but is it even mathematically likely? In a charming talk, mathematician Hannah Fry shows patterns in how we look for love, and gives her top three tips (verified by math!) for finding that special someone.
My mother’s strange definition of empowerment | Khadija Gbla
Khadija Gbla grew up caught between two definitions of what it means to be an “empowered woman.” While her Sierra Leonean mother thought that circumsizing her — and thus stifling her sexual urges — was the ultimate form of empowerment, her culture as a teenager in Australia told her that she deserved pleasure and that what happened to her was called “female genital mutilation.” In a candid and funny talk, she shares what it was like to make her way in a “clitoris-centric society,” and how she works to make sure other women don’t have to figure this out. (Warning: This talk contains hard-to-hear details.)
How to let altruism be your guide | Matthieu Ricard
What is altruism? Put simply, it's the wish that other people may be happy. And, says Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk, altruism is also a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.
In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Erin McKean encourages — nay, cheerleads — her audience to create new words when the existing ones won’t quite do. She lists out 6 ways to make new words in English, from compounding to “verbing,” in order to make language better at expressing what we mean, and to create more ways for us to understand one another.
How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them | Vernā Myers
Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we've seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how.
To the South Pole and back — the hardest 105 days of my life | Ben Saunders
This year, explorer Ben Saunders attempted his most ambitious trek yet. He set out to complete Captain Robert Falcon Scott's failed 1912 polar expedition — a four-month, 1,800-mile round trip journey from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. In the first talk given after his adventure, just five weeks after his return, Saunders offers a raw, honest look at this "hubris"-tinged mission that brought him to the most difficult decision of his life.
The place that travel writer Pico Iyer would most like to go? Nowhere. In a counterintuitive and lyrical meditation, Iyer takes a look at the incredible insight that comes with taking time for stillness. In our world of constant movement and distraction, he teases out strategies we all can use to take back a few minutes out of every day, or a few days out of every season. It's the talk for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the demands for our world.
What the people of the Amazon know that you don't | Mark Plotkin
"The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle," says Mark Plotkin, "It's the isolated and uncontacted tribes." In an energetic and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest's indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal. He outlines the challenges and perils that are endangering them — and their wisdom — and urges us to protect this irreplaceable repository of knowledge.
Meet the mom who started the Ice Bucket Challenge | Nancy Frates
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge craze this summer? Meet the mom who started it all. When Nancy Frates's son Pete hurt his wrist in a baseball game, he got an unexpected diagnosis: it wasn’t a broken bone, it was ALS, and there is no cure. In this inspiring talk, Nancy tells the story of what happened next.
Why your worst deeds don’t define you | Shaka Senghor
In 1991, Shaka Senghor shot and killed a man. He was, he says, "a drug dealer with a quick temper and a semi-automatic pistol." Jailed for second degree murder, that could very well have been the end of the story. But it wasn't. Instead, it was the beginning of a years-long journey to redemption, one with humbling and sobering lessons for us all.
Jamila Lyiscott is a “tri-tongued orator;” in her powerful spoken-word essay “Broken English,” she celebrates — and challenges — the three distinct flavors of English she speaks with her friends, in the classroom and with her parents. As she explores the complicated history and present-day identity that each language represents, she unpacks what it means to be “articulate.”
Is religion good or bad? (This is a trick question) | Kwame Anthony Appiah
Plenty of good things are done in the name of religion, and plenty of bad things too. But what is religion, exactly — is it good or bad, in and of itself? Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers a generous, surprising view.
The world's largest family reunion ... we're all invited! | AJ Jacobs
You may not know it yet, but AJ Jacobs is probably your cousin (many, many times removed). Using genealogy websites, he's been following the unexpected links that make us all, however distantly, related. His goal: to throw the world's largest family reunion. See you there?
I'm not your inspiration, thank you very much | Stella Young
Stella Young is a comedian and journalist who happens to go about her day in a wheelchair — a fact that doesn't, she'd like to make clear, automatically turn her into a noble inspiration to all humanity. In this very funny talk, Young breaks down society's habit of turning disabled people into "inspiration porn."
As a young girl, photojournalist and TED Fellow Kitra Cahana dreamed about running away from home to live freely on the road. Now as an adult and self-proclaimed vagabond, she follows modern nomads into their homes -- boxcars, bus stops, parking lots, rest stop bathrooms -- giving a glimpse into a culture on the margins.
How the teddy bear taught us compassion | Jon Mooallem
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt legendarily spared the life of a black bear -- and prompted a plush toy craze for so-called "teddy bears." Writer Jon Mooallem digs into this toy story and asks us to consider how the tales we tell about wild animals have real consequences for a species' chance of survival -- and the natural world at large.
How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are | Andrew Solomon
Writer Andrew Solomon has spent his career telling stories of the hardships of others. Now he turns inward, bringing us into a childhood of adversity, while also spinning tales of the courageous people he's met in the years since. In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.
What's a marine biologist doing talking about world hunger? Well, says Jackie Savitz, fixing the world's oceans might just help to feed the planet's billion hungriest people. In an eye-opening talk, Savitz tells us what’s really going on in our global fisheries right now — it’s not good — and offers smart suggestions of how we can help them heal, while making more food for all.
Beware: Rives has a contagious obsession with 4 a.m. At TED2007, the poet shared what was then a minor fixation with a time that kept popping up everywhere. After the talk, emails starting pouring in with an avalanche of hilarious references—from the cover of "Crochet Today!" magazine to the opening scene of "The Metamorphosis." A lyrical peek into his Museum of Four in the Morning, which overflows with treasures.
The bridge between suicide and life | Kevin Briggs
For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide.
What does the future hold? 11 characters offer quirky answers | Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones changes personas with the simplest of wardrobe swaps. In a laugh-out-loud improvisation, she invites 11 "friends" from the future on stage—from a fast-talking Latina to an outspoken police officer—to ask them questions supplied by the TED2014 audience.
How public spaces make cities work | Amanda Burden
More than 8 million people are crowded together to live in New York City. What makes it possible? In part, it’s the city’s great public spaces — from tiny pocket parks to long waterfront promenades — where people can stroll and play. Amanda Burden helped plan some of the city’s newest public spaces, drawing on her experience as, surprisingly, an animal behaviorist. She shares the unexpected challenges of planning parks people love -- and why it's important.
Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we've done | Bill Gates
In 1993, Bill and Melinda Gates took a walk on the beach and made a big decision: to give their Microsoft wealth back to society. In conversation with Chris Anderson, the couple talks about their work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as their marriage, their children, their failures and the satisfaction of giving most of their money away.
When fashion model Geena Rocero first saw a photo of herself in a bikini, "I thought ... you have arrived!" As she reveals, that's because she was born with the gender assignment "boy." In this moving talk, Rocero tells the story of becoming who she always knew she was.
Here's a TED first: an animated Socratic dialog! In a time when irrationality seems to rule both politics and culture, has reasoned thinking finally lost its power? Watch as psychologist Steven Pinker is gradually, brilliantly persuaded by philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein that reason is actually the key driver of human moral progress, even if its effect sometimes takes generations to unfold. The dialog was recorded live at TED, and animated, in incredible, often hilarious, detail by Cognitive.
We're all hiding something. Let's find the courage to open up | Ash Beckham
In this touching talk, Ash Beckham offers a fresh approach to empathy and openness. It starts with understanding that everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced hardship. The only way out, says Beckham, is to open the door and step out of your closet.
Are we designed to be sexual omnivores? | Christopher Ryan
An idea permeates our modern view of relationships: that men and women have always paired off in sexually exclusive relationships. But before the dawn of agriculture, humans may actually have been quite promiscuous. Author Christopher Ryan walks us through the controversial evidence that human beings are sexual omnivores by nature, in hopes that a more nuanced understanding may put an end to discrimination, shame and the kind of unrealistic expectations that kill relationships.
I got 99 problems ... palsy is just one | Maysoon Zayid
"I have cerebral palsy. I shake all the time," Maysoon Zayid announces at the beginning of this exhilarating, hilarious talk. (Really, it's hilarious.) "I'm like Shakira meets Muhammad Ali." With grace and wit, the Arab-American comedian takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her adventures as an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled.
In the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on salt water, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that's how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida -- at age 64. Hear her story.
It's amazing what a rigged game of Monopoly can reveal. In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there's good news too.
The 4 stories we tell ourselves about death | Stephen Cave
Philosopher Stephen Cave begins with a dark but compelling question: When did you first realize you were going to die? And even more interesting: Why do we humans so often resist the inevitability of death? Cave explores four narratives -- common across civilizations -- that we tell ourselves "in order to help us manage the terror of death."
Why buses represent democracy in action | Enrique Peñalosa
"An advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars, but rather one where even the rich use public transport," argues Enrique Peñalosa. In this spirited talk, the mayor of Bogotá shares some of the tactics he used to change the transportation dynamic in the Colombian capital... and suggests ways to think about building smart cities of the future.
Want to be happy? Be grateful | David Steindl-Rast
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you're going, and above all, being grateful.
What I discovered in New York City trash | Robin Nagle
New York City residents produce 11,000 tons of garbage every day. Every day! This astonishing statistic is just one of the reasons Robin Nagle started a research project with the city's Department of Sanitation. She walked the routes, operated mechanical brooms, even drove a garbage truck herself--all so she could answer a simple-sounding but complicated question: who cleans up after us?
Why stay in Chernobyl? Because it's home. | Holly Morris
Chernobyl was the site of the world's worst nuclear accident and, for the past 27 years, the area around the plant has been known as the Exclusion Zone. And yet, a community of about 200 people live there -- almost all of them elderly women. These proud grandmas defied orders to relocate because their connection to their homeland and to their community are "forces that rival even radiation."
What is jealousy? What drives it, and why do we secretly love it? No study has ever been able to capture its "loneliness, longevity, grim thrill" -- that is, says Parul Sehgal, except for fiction. In an eloquent meditation she scours pages from literature to show how jealousy is not so different from a quest for knowledge.
In the center of Caracas, Venezuela, stands the 45-story "Tower of David," an unfinished, abandoned skyscraper. But about eight years ago, people started moving in. Photographer Iwan Baan shows how people build homes in unlikely places, touring us through the family apartments of Torre David, a city on the water in Nigeria, and an underground village in China. Glorious images celebrate humanity's ability to survive and make a home -- anywhere.
We need a heroic narrative for death | Amanda Bennett
Amanda Bennett and her husband were passionate and full of life all throughout their lives together -- and up until the final days, too. Bennett gives a sweet yet powerful talk on why, for the loved ones of the dying, having hope for a happy ending shouldn't warrant a diagnosis of "denial." She calls for a more heroic narrative for death -- to match the ones we have in life.
In the 1930s, broadcast radio introduced an entirely new form of storytelling; today, micro-blogging platforms like Twitter are changing the scene again. Andrew Fitzgerald takes a look at the (aptly) short but fascinating history of new forms of creative experimentation in fiction and storytelling.
The unheard story of David and Goliath | Malcolm Gladwell
It's a classic underdog tale: David, a young shepherd armed only with a sling, beats Goliath, the mighty warrior. The story has transcended its biblical origins to become a common shorthand for unlikely victory. But, asks Malcolm Gladwell, is that really what the David and Goliath story is about?
Kevin Breel didn't look like a depressed kid: team captain, at every party, funny and confident. But he tells the story of the night he realized that -- to save his own life -- he needed to say four simple words.
Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents' | James Flynn
It's called the "Flynn effect" -- the fact that each generation scores higher on an IQ test than the generation before it. Are we actually getting smarter, or just thinking differently? In this fast-paced spin through the cognitive history of the 20th century, moral philosopher James Flynn suggests that changes in the way we think have had surprising (and not always positive) consequences.
What we don't understand about trust | Onora O'Neill
Trust is on the decline, and we need to rebuild it. That's a commonly heard suggestion for making a better world ... but, says philosopher Onora O'Neill, we don't really understand what we're suggesting. She flips the question, showing us that our three most common ideas about trust are actually misdirected.
In Lebanon there is one gunshot a year that isn’t part of a scene of routine violence: The opening sound of the Beirut International Marathon. In a moving talk, marathon founder May El-Khalil explains why she believed a 26.2-mile running event could bring together a country divided for decades by politics and religion, even if for one day a year.
Long before sustainability was a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban was using ecologically sound building materials such as cardboard tubes. He uses them to build remarkable temporary structures for disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda and Japan. Yet often, these buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose.
Ingenuity and elegance in ancient African alphabets | Saki Mafundikwa
From simple alphabets to secret symbolic languages, graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa celebrates the many forms of written communication across the continent of Africa. He highlights the history and legacy that are embodied in written words and symbols, and urges African designers to draw on these graphic forms for fresh inspiration. It's summed up in his favorite Ghanaian glyph, Sankofa, which means "return and get it" -- or "learn from the past."
Why do we argue? To out-reason our opponents, prove them wrong, and, most of all, to win! Right? Philosopher Daniel H. Cohen shows how our most common form of argument -- a war in which one person must win and the other must lose -- misses out on the real benefits of engaging in active disagreement.
More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. Writer Pico Iyer -- who himself has three or four “origins” -- meditates on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.
The New Yorker receives around 1,000 cartoons each week; it only publishes about 17 of them. In this hilarious, fast-paced, and insightful talk, the magazine's longstanding cartoon editor and self-proclaimed "humor analyst" Bob Mankoff dissects the comedy within just some of the "idea drawings" featured in the magazine, explaining what works, what doesn't, and why.
A Saudi woman who dared to drive | Manal al-Sharif
There's no actual law against women driving in Saudi Arabia. But it's forbidden. Two years ago, Manal al-Sharif decided to encourage women to drive by doing so -- and filming herself for YouTube. Hear her story of what happened next.
What is it like to raise a child who's different from you in some fundamental way (like a prodigy, or a differently abled kid, or a criminal)? In this quietly moving talk, writer Andrew Solomon shares what he learned from talking to dozens of parents -- asking them: What's the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?
What happens when a dream you've held since childhood ... doesn't come true? As Lisa Bu adjusted to a new life in the United States, she turned to books to expand her mind and create a new path for herself. She shares her unique approach to reading in this lovely, personal talk about the magic of books.
In our digital world, social relations have become mediated by data. Without even realizing it, we're barricading ourselves against strangeness -- people and ideas that don't fit the patterns of who we already know, what we already like and where we've already been. Maria Bezaitis makes a bold call for technology to deliver us to what and who we need, even if it's unfamiliar and strange.
Clinical psychologist Meg Jay has a bold message for twentysomethings: Contrary to popular belief, your 20s are not a throwaway decade. In this provocative talk, Jay says that just because marriage, work and kids are happening later in life, doesn’t mean you can’t start planning now. She gives 3 pieces of advice for how twentysomethings can re-claim adulthood in the defining decade of their lives.
In search of the man who broke my neck | Joshua Prager
When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident left him a hemiplegic. He returned to Israel twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down. In this mesmerizing tale of their meeting, Prager probes deep questions of nature, nurture, self-deception and identity.
One afternoon, Kees Moeliker got a research opportunity few ornithologists would wish for: A flying duck slammed into his glass office building, died, and then ... what happened next would change his life. [Note: Contains graphic images and descriptions of sexual behavior in animals.]
The good news on poverty (Yes, there's good news) | Bono
Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono "embraces his inner nerd" and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight … if we can harness the momentum.
Could your language affect your ability to save money? | Keith Chen
What can economists learn from linguists? Behavioral economist Keith Chen introduces a fascinating pattern from his research: that languages without a concept for the future -- "It rain tomorrow," instead of "It will rain tomorrow" -- correlate strongly with high savings rates.
There are so many tiny, beautiful, funny, tragic moments in your life -- how are you going to remember them all? Director Cesar Kuriyama shoots one second of video every day as part of an ongoing project to collect all the special bits of his life.
iO Tillett Wright has photographed 2,000 people who consider themselves somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum -- and asked many of them: Can you assign a percentage to how gay or straight you are? Most people, it turns out, consider themselves to exist in the gray areas of sexuality, not 100% gay or straight. Which presents a real problem when it comes to discrimination: Where do you draw the line?
Why domestic violence victims don't leave | Leslie Morgan Steiner
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in "crazy love" -- that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.
A Saudi, an Indian and an Iranian walk into a Qatari bar ... | Maz Jobrani
Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani takes to the TEDxSummit stage in Doha, Qatar to take on serious issues in the Middle East -- like how many kisses to give when saying “Hi,” and what not to say on an American airplane.
Would you kill for a pair of Air Jordans? Lemon Andersen spins a tale of someone who did, reciting a poem by Reg E. Gaines. These verses taught Lemon that poetry could be about more than self-expression, and could sound like music when given rhythm and infused with the grit of the New York streets around him.
How I started a sanitary napkin revolution! | Arunachalam Muruganantham
When he realized his wife had to choose between buying family meals and buying her monthly "supplies," Arunachalam Muruganantham vowed to help her solve the problem of the sanitary pad. His research got very very personal -- and led him to a powerful business model. (Filmed in Bangalore as part of the TED Global Talent Search.)
Scott Fraser studies how humans remember crimes -- and bear witness to them. In this powerful talk, which focuses on a deadly shooting at sunset, he suggests that even close-up eyewitnesses to a crime can create "memories" they could not have seen. Why? Because the brain abhors a vacuum. Editor's note: In the original version of this talk, Scott Fraser misspoke about available footage of Two World Trade Center (Tower 2). The misstatement has been edited out for clarity.
Using nature's genius in architecture | Michael Pawlyn
How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun.