playlist

The most popular talks of 2020

What ideas captured people's attention and took off the quickest in 2020? Here are the talks that intrigued and propelled us to the end of this world-shifting year.

  1. 51:50
    Bill Gates How we must respond to the coronavirus pandemic

    Philanthropist and Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates offers insights into the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing why testing and self-isolation are essential, which medical advancements show promise and what it will take for the world to endure this crisis. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 24, 2020)

  2. 16:25
    Van Jones What if a US presidential candidate refuses to concede after an election?

    If the 2020 US presidential election is close, the race could drag on in the courts and halls of Congress long after ballots are cast, says lawyer and political commentator Van Jones. Explaining why the customary concession speech is one of the most important safeguards for democracy, Jones exposes shocking legal loopholes that could enable a candidate to grab power even if they lose both the popular vote and the electoral college — and shares what ordinary citizens can do if there's no peaceful transfer of power.

  3. 11:42
    Jen Gunter Why can't we talk about periods?

    "It shouldn't be an act of feminism to know how your body works," says gynecologist and author Jen Gunter. In this revelatory talk, she explains how menstrual shame silences and represses — and leads to the spread of harmful misinformation and the mismanagement of pain. Declaring the era of the menstrual taboos over, she delivers a clear, much-needed lesson on the once-mysterious mechanics of the uterus.

  4. 13:23
    Lucy King How bees can keep the peace between elephants and humans

    Imagine waking in the middle of the night to an elephant ripping the roof from your house in search of food. This is a reality in some communities in Africa where, as wild spaces shrink, people and elephants are competing for space and resources like never before. In this engaging talk, zoologist Lucy King shares her solution to the rising conflict: fences made from beehives that keep elephants at bay while also helping farmers establish new livelihoods.

  5. 7:59
    Anindya Kundu The "opportunity gap" in US public education — and how to close it

    How can we tap into the potential of all students, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds? Sociologist Anindya Kundu invites us to take a deeper look at the personal, social and institutional challenges that keep students from thriving in the United States — and shows how closing this "opportunity gap" means valuing public education for what it really is: the greatest investment in our collective future.

  6. 12:47
    Colette Pichon Battle Climate change will displace millions. Here's how we prepare

    Scientists predict climate change will displace more than 180 million people by 2100 — a crisis of "climate migration" the world isn't ready for, says disaster recovery lawyer and Louisiana native Colette Pichon Battle. In this passionate, lyrical talk, she urges us to radically restructure the economic and social systems that are driving climate migration — and caused it in the first place — and shares how we can cultivate collective resilience, better prepare before disaster strikes and advance human rights for all.

  7. 1h 6m
    Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King, Anthony D. Romero The path to ending systemic racism in the US

    In a time of mourning and anger over the ongoing violence inflicted on Black communities by police in the US and the lack of accountability from national leadership, what is the path forward? Sharing urgent insights into this historic moment, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King and Anthony D. Romero discuss dismantling the systems of oppression and racism responsible for tragedies like the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and far too many others — and explore how the US can start to live up to its ideals. (This discussion, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, was recorded on June 3, 2020.)

  8. 14:12
    Debbie Millman How symbols and brands shape our humanity

    "Branding is the profound manifestation of the human spirit," says designer and podcaster Debbie Millman. In a historical odyssey that she illustrated herself, Millman traces the evolution of branding, from cave paintings to flags to beer labels and beyond. She explores the power of symbols to unite people, beginning with prehistoric communities who used them to represent beliefs and identify affiliations to modern companies that adopt logos and trademarks to market their products — and explains how branding reflects the state of humanity.

  9. 14:17
    Jennifer L. Eberhardt How racial bias works — and how to disrupt it

    Our brains create categories to make sense of the world, recognize patterns and make quick decisions. But this ability to categorize also exacts a heavy toll in the form of unconscious bias. In this powerful talk, psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt explores how our biases unfairly target Black people at all levels of society — from schools and social media to policing and criminal justice — and discusses how creating points of friction can help us actively interrupt and address this troubling problem.

  10. 1h 2m
    Elizabeth Gilbert It's OK to feel overwhelmed. Here's what to do next

    If you're feeling anxious or fearful during the coronavirus pandemic, you're not alone. Offering hope and understanding, author Elizabeth Gilbert reflects on how to stay present, accept grief when it comes and trust in the strength of the human spirit. "Resilience is our shared genetic inheritance," she says. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and head of curation Helen Walters. Recorded April 2, 2020)

  11. 13:05
    Angelicque White What ocean microbes reveal about the changing climate

    When the ocean changes, the planet changes — and it all starts with microbes, says biological oceanographer Angelicque White. Backed by decades of data, White shares how scientists use these ancient microorganisms as a crucial barometer of ocean health — and how we might rejuvenate them as marine temperatures steadily rise.

  12. 51:14
    Ibram X. Kendi The difference between being "not racist" and antiracist

    There is no such thing as being "not racist," says author and historian Ibram X. Kendi. In this vital conversation, he defines the transformative concept of antiracism to help us more clearly recognize, take responsibility for and reject prejudices in our public policies, workplaces and personal beliefs. Learn how you can actively use this awareness to uproot injustice and inequality in the world — and replace it with love. (This virtual interview, hosted by TED's current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers and speaker development curator Cloe Shasha, was recorded June 9, 2020.)

  13. 3:13
    Jennifer 8. Lee Why 1.5 billion people eat with chopsticks

    Author Jennifer 8. Lee explains how the chopstick spread from the East to the West — and was designed to give you the perfect bite.

  14. 12:56
    Eva Galperin What you need to know about stalkerware

    "Full access to a person's phone is the next best thing to full access to a person's mind," says cybersecurity expert Eva Galperin. In an urgent talk, she describes the emerging danger of stalkerware — software designed to spy on someone by gaining access to their devices without their knowledge — and calls on antivirus companies to recognize these programs as malicious in order to discourage abusers and protect victims.

  15. 12:14
    Dean Furness To overcome challenges, stop comparing yourself to others

    When you stop comparing yourself to others, you can accomplish great things, says wheelchair athlete Dean Furness. He shares how, after losing the use of his legs in an accident, he discovered a powerful new mindset focused on redefining his "personal average" and getting better little by little.

  16. 46:03
    Susan David How to be your best self in times of crisis

    "Life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility," says psychologist Susan David. In a special virtual conversation, she shares wisdom on how to build resilience, courage and joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to listeners' questions from across the globe, she offers ways to talk to your children about their emotions, keep focus during the crisis and help those working on the front lines. (This virtual conversation is part of the TED Connects series, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. Recorded March 23, 2020)

  17. 16:05
    Lucy Hone 3 secrets of resilient people

    Everyone experiences loss, but how do you cope with the tough moments that follow? Resilience researcher Lucy Hone shares three hard-won strategies for developing the capacity to brave adversity, overcome struggle and face whatever may come head-on with fortitude and grace.

  18. 17:30
    Mitch Zeller The past, present and future of nicotine addiction

    Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, killing more people each year than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murder and suicide combined. Follow health policy expert Mitch Zeller into the murky depths of the tobacco industry as he details the sordid history of nicotine addiction — and invites us to imagine a world where policy change helps stop people from becoming addicted in the first place.

  19. 15:54
    Tom Rivett-Carnac How to shift your mindset and choose your future

    When it comes to big life problems, we often stand at a crossroads: either believe we're powerless against great change, or we rise to meet the challenge. In an urgent call to action, political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac makes the case for adopting a mindset of "stubborn optimism" to confront climate change — or whatever crisis may come our way — and sustain the action needed to build a regenerative future. As he puts it: "Stubborn optimism can fill our lives with meaning and purpose."

  20. 11:01
    Werner Reich How the magic of kindness helped me survive the Holocaust

    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."