playlist

Talks for when you wish you had time to read

When you’re just too busy to curl up with a good book, these talks bring the beauty of literature in audio form.

  1. 13:11
    Parul Sehgal An ode to envy

    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.

  2. 19:23
    Anand Giridharadas A tale of two Americas. And the mini-mart where they collided

    Ten days after 9/11, a shocking attack at a Texas mini-mart shattered the lives of two men: the victim and the attacker. In this stunning talk, Anand Giridharadas, author of "The True American," tells the story of what happened next. It's a parable about the two paths an American life can take, and a powerful call for reconciliation.

  3. 13:51
    Latif Nasser The amazing story of the man who gave us modern pain relief

    For the longest time, doctors basically ignored the most basic and frustrating part of being sick — pain. In this lyrical, informative talk, Latif Nasser tells the extraordinary story of wrestler and doctor John J. Bonica, who persuaded the medical profession to take pain seriously — and transformed the lives of millions.

  4. 18:49
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 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.

  5. 18:01
    Jon Ronson 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.)

  6. 11:30
    Karen Thompson Walker What fear can teach us

    Imagine you're a shipwrecked sailor adrift in the enormous Pacific. You can choose one of three directions and save yourself and your shipmates — but each choice comes with a fearful consequence too. How do you choose? In telling the story of the whaleship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker shows how fear propels imagination, as it forces us to imagine the possible futures and how to cope with them.

  7. 9:26
    Dawn Landes A song for my hero, the woman who rowed into a hurricane

    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.)