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How to Be a Better Human

Join How to Be a Better Human as we take a look within and beyond ourselves. How to Be a Better Human isn’t your average self improvement podcast. Each week join comedian Chris Duffy in conversation with guests and past speakers as they uncover sharp insights and give clear takeaways on how YOU can be a better human. From your work to your home and your head to your heart, How to Be a Better Human looks in unexpected places for new ways to improve and show up for one another. Inspired by the popular series of the same name on TED’s Ideas blog, How to Be a Better Human will help you become a better person from the comfort of your own headphones.

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Join How to Be a Better Human as we take a look within and beyond ourselves. How to Be a Better Human isn’t your average self improvement podcast. Each week join comedian Chris Duffy in conversation with guests and past speakers as they uncover sharp insights and give clear takeaways on how YOU can be a better human. From your work to your home and your head to your heart, How to Be a Better Human looks in unexpected places for new ways to improve and show up for one another. Inspired by the popular series of the same name on TED’s Ideas blog, How to Be a Better Human will help you become a better person from the comfort of your own headphones.

How to make transformative ideas happen (with Frans Johannson)

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You often hear that “there are no bad ideas” when brainstorming–but why is that? In those instances, doesn’t it feel inevitable that someone’s going to pitch a bad idea? Frans Johannson is a writer who argues that in fact, innovation actually happens when people, ideas, and disciplines intersect. Whether it’s one field of science collaborating with another, or many cultures mixing, Frans says that a wide range of perspectives are the key to seeing a problem in a totally new light. In this episode he shares examples of how diversity leads to transformation, and provides tips on how to unlock your next great idea.

Aug 01 2022

30mins

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How to discover your humanity… through math? (with Francis Su)

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Every day, we humans do math. Whether we are obsessed with a logic puzzle on our smartphones or even just calculating a morning alarm that gives you 8 more minutes in bed, our daily lives are full of numbers, quantities, shapes and patterns. And for Francis Su—a writer and Professor of Mathematics and the Former President of the Mathematical Association of America—math is actually one of the things that makes us human. In today’s episode he talks about how mathematics can serve as a tool for social justice, how math can enhance our sense of aesthetics and beauty, why math is one of the last refuges of truth in a time where misinformation is rampant, and how we can all learn to cultivate, and even come to love, the little daily mathematics of our lives.

Jul 25 2022

31mins

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How to find your voice (with Greta Morgan)

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What would happen if the thing that defined you disappeared overnight? Whether it’s our job, our abilities, or output—many of us meld our identities with the things we do, and often forget who we are in the process. Greta Morgan is a writer and musician whose musical projects include Vampire Weekend, Springtime Carnivore, and Gold Motel. In 2020, Greta was diagnosed with a disorder that completely changed her ability to sing. In this episode, she shares what her vocal loss and recovery taught her about her inner voice, and how we might find our voice and resilience in both art and the creative process.

Jul 18 2022

33mins

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How to make yourself more human in an automated world (with Kevin Roose)

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Humans can have a complex relationship with technology: tools like smartphones make our lives easier, but they can also be a source of anxiety or dependence. The internet can be an amazing place, or it can be a doom scrolling nightmare. And then there’s the always looming threat that our jobs–even the ones we thought only humans could do, like making art–could be lost to automation. Kevin Roose is a tech journalist who writes about the intersection of tech, business, and culture. In today’s episode, he talks about the shift of technology’s role in our lives and how we can set up boundaries with our devices to regain our autonomy. He also shares why he’s optimistic about the future, and his view on how futureproofing your job in an automated world has less to do with sharpening up our coding skills and more to do with leaning into our shared humanity. His new book, “Future Proof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation” is out now.

Jul 11 2022

34mins

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How to Find the Comedy in A Messed-Up World (with Maeve Higgins)

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On a list of the least funny topics imaginable, the global refugee crisis, border disputes, and questions of citizenships are probably close to the top. And yet comedian Maeve Higgins has spent her career finding ways to make jokes about (and make sense of) the ways we draw lines across the globe. She’s a standup and a writer who speaks from the point of view of an Irish immigrant in the United States. In this episode, she talks about ways we can find funny and eye-opening vantage points to look at the realities and borders of the world, our place in it, and how imagination and laughter can help us through tough times.

Jul 04 2022

31mins

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How to unite people through art (with JR)

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Art can move us in deep, meaningful ways. A beautiful song, a good book, or a great film can change our perspectives and attitudes toward ideas, and sometimes people. Where does that magic come from–and how can we channel it when we’re creating? JR is an artist famed for his enormous black and white portraits that tell stories and adorn surfaces from the Louvre to the favelas of Brazil. His ambitious projects, like a recent massive mural outside a supermax prison in California or the boy who peers curiously over the wall at the Mexico–United States border, put a deeply human face to things we might have only read in the news while also highlighting and celebrating the connections between us humans. In this episode, JR talks about the importance of joy in his art-making process, speaks to the value of community and curiosity, and shares how his unique working style developed over the years.

Jun 27 2022

29mins

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Body Stuff: Do you really need 8 hours of sleep?

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We all know a good night’s sleep is essential, but for many people, sleeping well (or falling asleep at all) can be difficult and even stressful– and there’s no shortage of tales about what prevents people from catching their ZZZs. In this episode, Dr. Jen digs into ``how to sleep'' culture– from blue light blockers to sleep hygiene enthusiasts, to the 8 hours a night rule to… witches?! Don’t sleep on this episode–because it might just have you skipping the melatonin supplements and rethinking sleep rituals –before jumping into bed for a well-deserved snooze. This is an episode of Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter, another podcast from the TED Audio Collective. To hear more episodes on the lies we're told (and sold) about our personal health, follow Body Stuff wherever you're listening to this.

May 30 2022

33mins

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How To Pitch Your Best Ideas | WorkLife with Adam Grant

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Great pitches can seem like genius or magic. But you don’t have to be a great salesperson to give a great pitch. Whether you’re floating an idea at a team meeting, looking for investors for your startup, or applying for your next job, life is full of pitching moments. In this episode, we bust myths about what it takes to drum up excitement–and share insights from Hollywood and Silicon Valley on ways to improve your chances of getting your audience on board. This is an episode of WorkLife with Adam Grant, another podcast in the TED Audio Collective. To hear more episodes on the science of making work not suck, follow WorkLife with Adam Grant wherever you're listening to this. For the full transcript of this episode, visit go.ted.com/WL44.

May 02 2022

43mins

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How to talk to a colleague who offended you

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Dionna and Denise had a professional relationship that mostly worked–until it didn’t. After a string of mishaps in their workplace, a comment Denise made online sparked a fallout between the two coworkers. In this episode, we hear from both women about the power of impact regardless of intent, how assumptions cloud communication, and why forgiveness requires accountability, transparency, and a willingness to put yourself in another person’s shoes. This is an episode of the podcast Conversations With People Who Hate Me, another show from the TED Audio Collective. You can find and follow the show wherever you’re listening to this.

Mar 21 2022

57mins

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How to find gratitude everyday

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As the year draws to a close and the collective mood turns reflective, we asked you—our listeners—to pick moments from the first season that stuck with you and inspired you. In today’s episode, we yield the floor in gratitude and compiled some of those insights that resonated most with our community. From psychologist Guy Winch’s thoughts on strategic discomfort to poet Sarah Kay’s meditations on compassion, tune in for an eclectic collection of ideas to set you on that path toward becoming a better human in 2022. To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Dec 20 2021

12mins

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How creating space for joy can build resilience (with Miracle Jones)

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With all the terrible things happening in the world lately, does the idea of maintaining a spark of joy in your day to day feel unrealistic? Or even inappropriate? Today’s guest, Miracle Jones, believes that all the collective tragedy makes the role of joy in our routines even more crucial. She is a community organizer and queer activist who currently serves as the director of policy and advocacy at 1Hood Media. In today’s episode, Miracle meditates on the importance of joy as a catalyst for resilience, growth, and collective action, and shares how we can cultivate its practice even (and perhaps especially) in the darkest of times. You can learn more about Miracle’s work at 1hood.org. To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Dec 13 2021

33mins

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How to nurture your “emotional agility” (with Susan David)

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Whether you’re the kind of person who “gets in their feels” or you’re more the type to sweep things under the rug, all humans experience emotions. And the way we tend to those emotions directly affects the way we see our lives, says today’s guest, Susan David. She is a psychologist and author of the book “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” (Avery, 2016). In today’s episode, Susan explains how “emotional agility”--a process that enables us to navigate life's twists and turns--, powers self-acceptance, and gives tips on how to cultivate our agility to lead more meaningful, successful lives. You can hear more from Susan on her TED Audio Collective podcast “Checking In with Susan David” streaming wherever you are listening to this. To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Dec 06 2021

27mins

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How to enrich your everyday life with poetry (with Sarah Kay)

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Roses are red, violets are blue, has poetry ever been intimidating for you? For many people, this art form can feel unapproachable for a myriad of reasons, but today’s guest, poet and educator Sarah Kay, suggests that people who don’t like poetry just maybe haven’t found a poem that really speaks to them. In this episode, Sarah proposes a fresh approach to this ancient art, talks about why playing with language can help you get in touch with yourself, and discusses the ways that writing and art help us form deeper, meaningful connections with others. Plus, she shares helpful, fun, and low-stakes writing exercises that might encourage you to put pen to paper. Read Sarah’s poetry and more at kaysarahsera.com To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Nov 29 2021

29mins

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How thinking critically about history shapes our future (with David Ikard)

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Can you think of a time when you told a story and remembered it...wrong? Perhaps you forgot a small detail, like the color of someone’s shoes, or something much bigger, like where the event took place. In a personal context, that might not seem like a huge deal. But what happens when what we misrepresent are our historical narratives? David Ikard is a Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. In this episode, he talks about the dangers of inaccurate history, shares tips on how to find work that can contextualize and bring nuance to your historical knowledge, and uncovers the real story of one of history’s most iconic figures. You can follow David’s work on Twitter @blkeducator.

We want to know what you think about the podcast! Let us know your thoughts by visiting this link https://survey.prx.org/BetterHuman—and get a chance to be featured in a future episode.

To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Nov 22 2021

28mins

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How to co-parent as allies, not adversaries (with Ebony Roberts)

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When you think of your home or your childhood, what comes to mind? Did you feel cared for and loved? Did you trust that your parents were always doing what’s best for you? Whether you are a parent or a child, healthy communication is one of the most important aspects of an intentional relationship with your family. Today’s guest, Ebony Roberts, is a writer, educator, activist, and mother. After ending their relationship, she and her ex-partner (author Shaka Senghor) decided to continue co-parenting their child. In this episode, she shares tips on how to establish good communication at home and gives deep insight on how to prioritize trust, open-ness, and of course, love. You can read more about Ebony’s story in her book, “The love prison made and unmade” (Harper Collins, 2019) and check out her talk at TED.com

We want to know what you think about the podcast! Let us know your thoughts by visiting this link https://survey.prx.org/BetterHuman—and get a chance to be featured in a future episode.

To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Nov 15 2021

32mins

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How to find health information you can trust (with Dr. Jen Gunter)

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While technology and the internet have made accessing information easier than ever, how can we discern between the facts we need to make the right decisions and fictions that could actually cause us harm? Turns out there is a better way to search on the internet and find reliable information, both on- and offline. Today’s guest, Dr. Jen Gunter, is on a mission to help people find accurate health information online. In this episode, she shares tips on how to tell a reputable source from a questionable one, and how to foster a healthy sense of skepticism about the information that pops up into your life—from your social media feeds to random conversations. Dr. Gunter is an OB/GYN and pain medicine physician and a New York Times columnist. In addition to being both a doctor and a mother, she hosts the TED Audio Collective podcast “Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter”: https://www.ted.com/podcasts/body-stuff-with-dr-jen-gunter

We want to know what you think about the podcast! Let us know your thoughts by visiting this link https://survey.prx.org/BetterHuman—and get a chance to be featured in a future episode.

To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Nov 08 2021

32mins

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How practicing curiosity could help the world around you (with Joe Hanson)

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Have you ever wondered why there are seven days in a week? Or, why glaciers are blue—or what color even is? Today’s guest, YouTube creator Joe Hanson, makes a living by asking—and trying to answer—these kinds of questions. A biologist turned video producer and educator, Joe spends his days thinking about how telling stories and encouraging curiosity can help people think more deeply about the universe they live in, and engage with science in more meaningful ways. In this episode, he gives tips on how to unleash our innate desire to know things, explains what makes good science, and shares how cool facts can help you save the planet— and win big at trivia night. Joe was a part of Countdown, TED’s climate conference, which you can learn more about at countdown.ted.com. You can check out “It’s Okay To Be Smart”, Joe’s award-winning science education show from PBS Digital Studios, on YouTube. We want to know what you think about the podcast! Let us know your thoughts by visiting this link https://survey.prx.org/BetterHuman—and get a chance to be featured in a future episode To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Nov 01 2021

33mins

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Am I Normal? with Mona Chalabi: How many friends do I need?

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Time with friends just isn’t the same with a screen in between you. That’s a struggle many have faced recently, with half of Americans saying they’ve lost touch with at least one friend during the pandemic. It can be sad, but is falling out of touch with friends normal? How many relationships should we maintain, and what are the different kinds of friendships we need anyways? Evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar has been studying social relationships for 50 years, and he has answers. Data journalist Mona Chalabi maps out her own relationships against the averages, and invites us to do the same. This is an episode of Am I Normal? with Mona Chalabi, another podcast from the TED Audio Collective. You can find and follow it wherever you're listening to this. To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Oct 25 2021

23mins

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How to be a better steward of the environment

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If there’s one thing that connects all humans, it’s that everything we walk on, breathe, drink, and eat comes from the same source: planet Earth. From composting to cooking to taking climate action, today’s guests (including Chef Sean Sherman, comedian Jo Firestone, and activist Luisa Neubauer) share the many ways they try to connect to and protect the home we share-- and invite you to get involved in whatever way you can. You can check out TED’s efforts to build a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone at countdown.ted.com. To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Oct 18 2021

16mins

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How to find the humor in everyday life (with Jo Firestone)

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When was the last time you really, really laughed? For some people, laughter comes easily and anything can set them off. But for many of us, finding humor in everyday life is something we might leave to the professionals. Jo Firestone is a comedian--and long-time friend of Chris’s--who frequently teaches all kinds of people the art of stand-up comedy. In today’s episode, she talks about how humor can be an act of connection, and how comedy can help us see the lighter sides of life, even in difficult times. Case in point: over the last year, Jo taught socially-distant stand-up to senior citizens over Zoom. Now, her students will be the stars of their very own comedy special, “Good Timing” which airs later this month. Barbara Bova, one of Jo’s hilarious students, also joins to share the comedy tips she learned and to tell some great jokes. Find more about Jo on her website at jofirestone.com and check out “Good Timing” on October 15. To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman

Oct 11 2021

33mins

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