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TED Talks Society and Culture

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.

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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The new urgency of climate change | Al Gore

The coronavirus brought much of the world to a standstill, dropping carbon emissions by five percent. Al Gore says keeping those rates down is now up to us. In this illuminating interview, he discusses how the steadily declining cost of wind and solar energy will transform manufacturing, transportation and agriculture, offer a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear energy and create millions of new jobs. Stay tuned for a lively debate about geoengineering and hear Gore's thoughts about how humanity can create a clean, prosperous future through a focused global effort and a generation of young people committed to change. (This virtual conversation, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson, was recorded June 23, 2020.)

56mins

25 Jun 2020

Rank #1

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How can we support the emotional well-being of teachers? | Sydney Jensen

Teachers emotionally support our kids -- but who's supporting our teachers? In this eye-opening talk, educator Sydney Jensen explores how teachers are at risk of "secondary trauma" -- the idea that they absorb the emotional weight of their students' experiences -- and shows how schools can get creative in supporting everyone's mental health and wellness.

11mins

13 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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The lies our culture tells us about what matters -- and a better way to live | David Brooks

Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we're trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States -- and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as "weavers" -- Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.

14mins

5 Jun 2019

Rank #3

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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.

16mins

30 Jan 2018

Rank #4

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The power to think ahead in a reckless age | Bina Venkataraman

In a forward-looking talk, author Bina Venkataraman answers a pivotal question of our time: How can we secure our future and do right by future generations? She parses the mistakes we make when imagining the future of our lives, businesses and communities, revealing how we can reclaim our innate foresight. What emerges is a surprising case for hope -- and a path to becoming the "good ancestors" we long to be.

13mins

22 Aug 2019

Rank #5

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How the magic of kindness helped me survive the Holocaust | Werner Reich

Holocaust survivor Werner Reich recounts his harrowing adolescence as a prisoner transported between concentration camps -- and shares how a small, kind act can inspire a lifetime of compassion. "If you ever know somebody who needs help, if you know somebody who is scared, be kind to them," he says. "If you do it at the right time, it will enter their heart, and it will be with them wherever they go, forever."

11mins

27 Jan 2020

Rank #6

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The difference between healthy and unhealthy love | Katie Hood

In a talk about understanding and practicing the art of healthy relationships, Katie Hood reveals the five signs you might be in an unhealthy relationship -- with a romantic partner, a friend, a family member -- and shares the things you can do every day to love with respect, kindness and joy. "While love is an instinct and an emotion, the ability to love better is a skill we can all build and improve on over time," she says.

12mins

17 May 2019

Rank #7

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Embrace your raw, strange magic | Casey Gerald

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.

17mins

17 Jan 2019

Rank #8

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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?"

18mins

4 Dec 2017

Rank #9

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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.

12mins

5 Dec 2018

Rank #10

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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.

10mins

9 Nov 2017

Rank #11

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The beautiful balance between courage and fear | Cara E. Yar Khan

After being diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that deteriorates muscle, Cara E. Yar Khan was told she'd have to limit her career ambitions and dial down her dreams. She ignored that advice and instead continued to pursue her biggest ambitions. In this powerful, moving talk, she shares her philosophy for working on the projects that matter to her most -- while letting courage and fear coexist. Watch for heart-stopping, vertigo-inducing footage of a trip that shows her living her theory to the full.

9mins

23 Dec 2019

Rank #12

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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."

9mins

27 Feb 2018

Rank #13

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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.

5mins

24 Jul 2018

Rank #14

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A radical plan to end plastic waste | Andrew Forrest

Plastic is an incredible substance for the economy -- and the worst substance possible for the environment, says entrepreneur Andrew Forrest. In a conversation meant to spark debate, Forrest and head of TED Chris Anderson discuss an ambitious plan to get the world's biggest companies to fund an environmental revolution -- and transition industry towards getting all of its plastic from recycled materials, not from fossil fuels.

14mins

8 Oct 2019

Rank #15

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My journey to thank all the people responsible for my morning coffee | A.J. Jacobs

Author A.J. 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.

15mins

13 Nov 2018

Rank #16

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How I made friends with reality | Emily Levine

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."

15mins

23 May 2018

Rank #17