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Strange answers to the psychopath test
Is there a definitive line that divides crazy from sane? With a hair-raising delivery, Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, illuminates the gray areas between the two. (With live-mixed sound by Julian Treasure and animation by Evan Grant.)
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If I should have a daughter ...
"If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B ... " began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis -- from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York's Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project
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The danger of a single story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
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How to get your ideas to spread
In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.
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Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce
"Tipping Point" author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce -- and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.
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Lessons from death row inmates
What happens before a murder? In looking for ways to reduce death penalty cases, David R. Dow realized that a surprising number of death row inmates had similar biographies. In this talk he proposes a bold plan, one that prevents murders in the first place. (Filmed at TEDxAustin.)
3 things I learned while my plane crashed
Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time.
The unheard story of David and Goliath
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?
J.J. Abrams' mystery box
J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias -- back to its magical beginnings.
The clues to a great story
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling -- starting at the end and working back to the beginning. (Contains graphic language ...)
Sarah Jones as a one-woman global village
In this hilariously lively performance, actress Sarah Jones channels an opinionated elderly Jewish woman, a fast-talking Dominican college student and more, giving TED2009 just a sample of her spectacular character range.
Half a million secrets
"Secrets can take many forms -- they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful." Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret.com, shares some of the half-million secrets that strangers have mailed him on postcards.
Where does creativity hide?
Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, looking for hints of how hers evolved.
What explains the rise of humans?
Seventy thousand years ago, our human ancestors were insignificant animals, just minding their own business in a corner of Africa with all the other animals. But now, few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we've spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth itself). How did we get from there to here?
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The electric rise and fall of Nikola Tesla
Combining projection mapping and a pop-up book, Marco Tempest tells the visually arresting story of Nikola Tesla -- called “the greatest geek who ever lived” -- from his triumphant invention of alternating current to his penniless last days.
A story of mixed emoticons
Rives tells a typographical fairy tale that's short and bittersweet ;)
How to live passionately—no matter your age
Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.
How we discovered DNA
Nobel laureate James Watson opens TED2005 with the frank and funny story of how he and his research partner, Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA.
Tales of passion
Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism -- and, of course, passion -- in this talk.
Murray Gell-Mann on beauty and truth in physics
Armed with a sense of humor and laypeople's terms, Nobel winner Murray Gell-Mann drops some knowledge on TEDsters about particle physics, asking questions like, Are elegant equations more likely to be right than inelegant ones?
My friend Richard Feynman
What's it like to be pals with a genius? Onstage at TEDxCaltech, physicist Leonard Susskind spins a few stories about his friendship with the legendary Richard Feynman, discussing his unconventional approach to problems both serious and ... less so.
Rives remixes TED2006
Rives recaps the most memorable moments of TED2006 in the free-spirited rhyming verse of a fantastical mockingbird lullaby.
Tales of ice-bound wonderlands
Diving under the Antarctic ice to get close to the much-feared leopard seal, photographer Paul Nicklen found an extraordinary new friend. Share his hilarious, passionate stories of the polar wonderlands, illustrated by glorious images of the animals who live on and under the ice.
Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors
Even when our lives appear fine from the outside, locked within can be a world of quiet suffering, leading some to the decision to end their life. At TEDYou, JD Schramm asks us to break the silence surrounding suicide and suicide attempts, and to create much-needed resources to help people who reclaim their life after escaping death. Resources: http://t.co/wsNrY9C
The Museum of Four in the Morning
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
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Life in the "digital now"
One year ago, Abha Dawesar was living in blacked-out Manhattan post-Sandy, scrounging for power to connect. As a novelist, she was struck by this metaphor: Have our lives now become fixated on the drive to digitally connect, while we miss out on what's real?
When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism
Karima Bennoune shares four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanize one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.
In search of the man who broke my neck
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 destiny.
The best gift I ever survived
Stacey Kramer offers a moving, personal, 3-minute parable that shows how an unwanted experience -- frightening, traumatic, costly -- can turn out to be a priceless gift.
Four American characters
Writer and actor Anna Deavere Smith gives life to author Studs Terkel, convict Paulette Jenkins, a Korean shopkeeper and a bull rider, excerpts from her solo show "On the Road: A Search for American Character."
How I became 100 artists
How do you stage an international art show with work from 100 different artists? If you're Shea Hembrey, you invent all of the artists and artwork yourself -- from large-scale outdoor installations to tiny paintings drawn with a single-haired brush. Watch this funny, mind-bending talk to see the explosion of creativity and diversity of skills a single artist is
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Advice to young scientists
“The world needs you, badly,” begins celebrated biologist E.O. Wilson in his letter to a young scientist. Previewing his upcoming book, he gives advice collected from a lifetime of experience -- reminding us that wonder and creativity are the center of the scientific life. (Filmed at TEDMED.)
David Macaulay's Rome Antics
David Macaulay relives the winding and sometimes surreal journey toward the completion of Rome Antics, his illustrated homage to the historic city.
The technology of storytelling
iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book. Sabia shows how new technology has always helped us tell our own stories, from the walls of caves to his own onstage iPad.
There are no scraps of men
Alberto Cairo's clinics in Afghanistan used to close down during active fighting. Now, they stay open. At TEDxRC2 (the RC stands for Red Cross/Red Crescent), Cairo tells the powerful story of why -- and how he found humanity and dignity in the midst of war.
A delightful way to teach kids about computers
Computer code is the next universal language, and its syntax will be limited only by the imaginations of the next generation of programmers. Linda Liukas is helping to educate problem-solving kids, encouraging them to see computers not as mechanical, boring and complicated but as colorful, expressive machines meant to be tinkered with. In this talk, she invites us to
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The Philosophical Breakfast Club
In 1812, four men at Cambridge University met for breakfast. What began as an impassioned meal grew into a new scientific revolution, in which these men -- who called themselves “natural philosophers” until they later coined “scientist” -- introduced four major principles into scientific inquiry. Historian and philosopher Laura Snyder tells their intriguing
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Finding the story inside the painting
When Tracy Chevalier looks at paintings, she imagines the stories behind them: How did the painter meet his model? What would explain that look in her eye? Why is that man … blushing? She shares three stories inspired by portraits, including the one that led to her best-selling novel "Girl With a Pearl Earring."
Happiness in body and soul
Eve Ensler, creator of "The Vagina Monologues," shares how a discussion about menopause with her friends led to talking about all sorts of sexual acts onstage, waging a global campaign to end violence toward women and finding her own happiness.
The journey across the high wire
Even a death-defying magician has to start somewhere. High-wire artist Philippe Petit takes you on an intimate journey from his first card trick at age 6 to his tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.
A sci-fi vision of love from a 318-year-old hologram
Science fiction writer Monica Byrne imagines rich worlds populated with characters who defy our racial, social and gender stereotypes. In this performance, Byrne appears as a hologram named Pilar, transmitting a story of love and loss back to us from a near future when humans have colonized the universe. "It's always funny what you think the future is going to be like
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The year I was homeless
Becky Blanton planned to live in her van for a year and see the country, but when depression set in and her freelance job ended, her camping trip turned into homelessness. In this intimate talk, she describes her experience of becoming one of America's working homeless.
George Dyson on Project Orion
Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life.
(Re)touching lives through photos
In the wake of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, mixed into the wreckage were lost and damaged photos of families and loved ones. Photo retoucher Becci Manson, together with local volunteers and a global group of colleagues she recruited online, helped clean and fix them, restoring those memories to their owners.
A story about knots and surgeons
One day, Ed Gavagan was sitting on the subway, watching two young med students practicing their knots. And a powerful memory washed over him -- of one shocking moment that changed his life forever. An unforgettable story of crime, skill and gratitude.
Stories cut from paper
With scissors and paper, artist Béatrice Coron creates intricate worlds, cities and countries, heavens and hells. Striding onstage in a glorious cape cut from Tyvek, she describes her creative process and the way her stories develop from snips and slices.
Ben Dunlap talks about a passionate life
Wofford College president Ben Dunlap tells the story of Sandor Teszler, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who taught him about passionate living and lifelong learning.
Rick Smolan tells the story of a girl
Photographer Rick Smolan tells the unforgettable story of a young Amerasian girl, a fateful photograph, and an adoption saga with a twist.
Escaping the Khmer Rouge
TED Fellow Sophal Ear shares the compelling story of his family's escape from Cambodia under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. He recounts his mother's cunning and determination to save her children.
David Hoffman on losing everything
Nine days before TED2008, filmmaker David Hoffman lost almost everything he owned in a fire that destroyed his home, office and 30 years of passionate collecting. He looks back at a life that's been wiped clean in an instant -- and looks forward.
An unexpected place of healing
When Ramona Pierson was 22, she was hit by a drunk driver and spent 18 months in a coma. At TEDxDU she tells the remarkable story of her recovery -- drawing on the collective skills and wisdom of a senior citizens' home.
Nathaniel Kahn on "My Architect"
Nathaniel Kahn shares clips from his documentary "My Architect," about his quest to understand his father, the legendary architect Louis Kahn. It's a film with meaning to anyone who seeks to understand the relationship between art and love.
Raul Midon plays "Peace on Earth"
Guitarist and singer Raul Midon plays "Everybody" and "Peace on Earth" during his 2007 set at TED.
How photography connects us
The photo director for National Geographic, David Griffin knows the power of photography to connect us to our world. In a talk filled with glorious images, he talks about how we all use photos to tell our stories.
Philippe Starck thinks deep on design
Designer Philippe Starck -- with no pretty slides to show -- spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question "Why design?" Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.
Doris Kearns Goodwin on learning from past presidents
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about what we can learn from American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. Then she shares a moving memory of her own father, and of their shared love of baseball.
Peter Gabriel fights injustice with video
Musician and activist Peter Gabriel shares his very personal motivation for standing up for human rights with the watchdog group WITNESS -- and tells stories of citizen journalists in action.
Carmen Agra Deedy spins stories
Storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy spins a funny, wise and luminous tale of parents and kids, starring her Cuban mother. Settle in and enjoy the ride -- Mama's driving!
My father the forger
Sarah Kaminsky tells the extraordinary story of her father Adolfo and his activity during World War II -- using his ingenuity and talent for forgery to save lives.
The shared wonder of film
Movies have the power to create a shared narrative experience and to shape memories and worldviews. British film director Beeban Kidron invokes iconic film scenes -- from Miracle in Milan to Boyz n the Hood -- as she shows how her group FILMCLUB shares great films with kids.
What’s your 200-year plan?
You might have a 5-year plan, but what about a 200-year plan? Artist Raghava KK has set his eyes on an ultra-long-term horizon; at TEDxSummit, he shows how it helps guide today's choices and tomorrow's goals -- and encourages you to make your own 200-year plan too.
The hidden light of Afghanistan
Photographer Monika Bulaj shares powerful, intimate images of Afghanistan -- of home life, of ritual, of men and women. Behind the headlines, what does the world truly know about this place?
A circle of caring
In this 3-minute talk, cartoonist and educator Jok Church tells a moving story of the teacher who cared for him when no one else did -- and how he returned the favor.
Capturing memories in video art
Using video mapping and projection, artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo captures and shares his memories and friendships. At TED Fellow Talks, he shows his charming, thoughtful work -- which appears to preserve the people in his life in jars, suitcases, blenders ...
Natasha Tsakos' multimedia theatrical adventure
Natasha Tsakos presents part of her one-woman, multimedia show, "Upwake." As the character Zero, she blends dream and reality with an inventive virtual world projected around her in 3D animation and electric sound.
The Jill and Julia Show
Two TED favorites, Jill Sobule and Julia Sweeney, team up for a delightful set that mixes witty songwriting with a little bit of social commentary.
Jehane Noujaim wishes for a global day of film
Jehane Noujaim unveils her 2006 TED Prize wish: to bring the world together for one day a year through the power of film.
Jonathan Harris collects stories
At the EG conference in December 2007, artist Jonathan Harris discusses his latest projects, which involve collecting stories: his own, strangers', and stories collected from the Internet, including his amazing "We Feel Fine."
Deborah Scranton on her "War Tapes"
Filmmaker Deborah Scranton talks about and shows clips from her documentary The War Tapes, which puts cameras in the hands of soldiers fighting in Iraq.
The council of dads
Diagnosed with cancer, Bruce Feiler worried first about his young family. So -- as he shares in this funny, rambling and ultimately thoughtful talk -- he asked his closest friends to become a "council of dads," bringing their own lifetimes of wisdom to advise his twin daughters as they grow.
Chris Abani on the stories of Africa
In this deeply personal talk, Nigerian writer Chris Abani says that “what we know about how to be who we are” comes from stories. He searches for the heart of Africa through its poems and narrative, including his own.
Phil Borges on endangered cultures
Photographer Phil Borges shows rarely seen images of people from the mountains of Dharamsala, India, and the jungles of the Ecuadorean Amazon. In documenting these endangered cultures, he intends to help preserve them.
C.K. Williams' poetry of youth and age
Poet C.K. Williams reads his work at TED2001. As he colors scenes of childhood resentments, college loves, odd neighbors and the literal death of youth, he reminds us of the unique challenges of living.
A young poet tells the story of Darfur
Emtithal "Emi" Mahmoud writes poetry of resilience, confronting her experience of escaping the genocide in Darfur in verse. She shares two stirring original poems about refugees, family, joy and sorrow, asking, "Will you witness me?"
The politics of fiction
Listening to stories widens the imagination; telling them lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, feel what others feel. Elif Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics.
3 ways to spot a bad statistic
Sometimes it's hard to know what statistics are worthy of trust. But we shouldn't count out stats altogether ... instead, we should learn to look behind them. In this delightful, hilarious talk, data journalist Mona Chalabi shares handy tips to help question, interpret and truly understand what the numbers are saying.
Everything you hear on film is a lie
Sound design is built on deception — when you watch a movie or TV show, nearly all of the sounds you hear are fake. In this audio-rich talk, Tasos Frantzolas explores the role of sound in storytelling and demonstrates just how easily our brains are fooled by what we hear.
Why we need gender-neutral bathrooms
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
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Ananda Shankar Jayant fights cancer with dance
Renowned classical Indian dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. She tells her personal story of not only facing the disease but dancing through it, and gives a performance revealing the metaphor of strength that helped her do it.
4 larger-than-life lessons from soap operas
Soap operas and telenovelas may be (ahem) overdramatic, but as Kate Adams shows us, their exaggerated stories and characters often cast light on the problems of real life. In this sparkling, funny talk, Adams, a former assistant casting director for "As the World Turns," share four lessons for life and business that we can learn from melodramas.
Shimon Schocken's rides of hope
Computer science professor Shimon Schocken is also an avid mountain biker. To share the life lessons he learned while riding, he began an outdoor program with Israel's juvenile inmates and was touched by both their intense difficulties and profound successes. Photographs by Raphael Rabinovitz.
Before Avatar ... a curious boy
James Cameron's big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create unreal worlds all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic -- from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving -- and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits "Aliens," "The Terminator," "Titanic" and "Avatar."