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How to Be a Better Human

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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.
83 Episodes
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The internet can be a wonderful, but also a terribly unpleasant place. Andrew Marantz knows this well. He is a staff writer at The New Yorker who spent three years embedded in the world of internet trolls to understand how regular people propel fringe talking points into the heart of online conversations. In this episode, he shares how ideas spread on the internet – and what we can do to make our digital experiences less about doom-scrolling, and more about real human connection. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
The phrase “comparison is the thief of joy” might be the kind of cliche that makes you roll your eyes – and yet, it’s an idea that is, scientifically, pretty accurate. In today’s episode, psychologist Laurie Santos – a Yale professor and host of “The Happiness Lab” podcast – discusses some of the surprising evidence behind what does and doesn’t make us humans happy. Laurie also shares strategies on how to improve our well-being, discusses the irony behind “self-care”, and explains why happiness is often a journey not just within, but beyond, ourselves. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
Activist, and MacArthur Genius, Ai-jen Poo believes that caring for others is one of the fundamental acts that make us human. But from nannies to elder-care workers, house cleaners to living assistants, single parents and beyond, globally, caretakers do not earn fair wages or recognition for their essential, life-giving labor. The President of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen explains how society undervalues domestic work, and provides a framework on how we can start a conversation about the future of care for our loved ones – and ourselves. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
There’s one thing that connects all living beings – an experience so profound yet so common. Today’s guest, Michael Cruz Kayne says it best: “It's gonna happen to you, to the people you love – even to the people you hate. Whether we like it or not, we are going to die. For sure.” Yet despite its inevitability, it can be so hard for us to speak about death and loss. So how can we begin to open up about grief, and show up for others who are experiencing it? Michael is a writer, comedian, and the host of the podcast “A Good Cry”. Michael’s son Fisher died when he was just days old. In this episode, Michael talks about his experience and how talking about his emotions helped him heal, and shares times when humor was -- and wasn’t -- able to capture the ineffable seemingly-endless experience of loss. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
Gretchen Rubin is HAPPIER, and she wants you to be happier too. The #1 bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before gets more personal than ever as she brings her practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits to this lively, thought-provoking podcast. Gretchen’s cohost and guinea pig is her younger sister, Elizabeth Craft, a TV writer and producer living in Los Angeles, who (lovingly) refers to Gretchen as her happiness bully. Part of the Cadence13 Network.
Why do so many of us wait until a new calendar year to start setting our goals? For today’s guest, Gretchen Rubin, “there really is no magic to January 1st”-- and the best time to start a healthy habit is just, well, “now.” Gretchen is a podcaster and the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.” In this episode, she shares eye-opening frameworks on the different ways to make and achieve goals, gives tips on how to create habits that actually improve our lives and discusses why chasing happiness isn’t always fun – and why it doesn’t always make us feel happy. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
Whenever we have a question – about ourselves or the world around us – it can be helpful to visualize our answer in order to really understand it. But how do you conceptualize something as big as inequality, as complex as grief, or as silly as your probability of correctly guessing today’s Wordle? For data journalist Mona Chalabi, the answer is through data – and drawing. You’ve probably seen Mona’s illustrations on the internet. She’s known for interpreting data in a way that makes you GET it. In today’s episode, she explains how anyone could use analysis to answer their most personal questions – from whether or not to have a breakup to how many friends you should have. For the text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
When was the last time you really connected with someone who disagrees with you? Or saw a post on social media that challenged your views? Or listened to a newscast from across the political aisle? Modern life places us in all kinds of echo chambers – so what happens when these divides stop us from actually seeing and understanding one another? Today’s guest, journalist Mónica Guzmán, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted –twice– for Donald Trump. Now the chief storyteller for “Braver Angels”, an organization dedicated to political depolarization, Monica shares the tools she uses to find common ground with her loved ones. She talks about why interacting with (and listening to) different points of view is critical work – and how through curiosity we can achieve the seemingly impossible task of understanding those we tend to think of as our enemy. Her book, “I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times” is out now.
We hardly ever talk openly about our money. Today’s guest Wendy De La Rosa thinks that’s a costly mistake. She is a behavioral scientist who helps people understand and rewire their relationship with money. A former private equity investor at Goldman Sachs, Wendy is now an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School and the co-founder of Common Cents Lab, which works to improve financial well-being for low- to moderate-income people. In this episode, Wendy shares actionable insights on how to prepare and invest in your financial future, explains why the emotional aspect of decision-making impacts how we spend or save, and breaks down why financial insecurity should not be a source of shame -- and why the issue of wealth inequality cannot be solved merely by budgeting.
In 2017, Alex Honnold did what even the world’s best rock climbers thought was impossible. He climbed to the top of El Capitan– a granite rock mountain more than 3,000 feet high– without a rope, harness, or net. His audacious feat was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “Free Solo,” and it left Adam Grant with some burning questions about what we can learn from his unique approach to managing fear. In this episode of ReThinking, another podcast in the TED Audio Collective, Alex opens up about how he regulates his emotions when he’s hanging on by just a few fingers, what still scares him, and how he stays motivated to pursue ambitious goals. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/RWAG2. And for more conversations on how the world’s most interesting people think, follow ReThinking with Adam Grant wherever you're listening to this.
We don't know about you, but we are fans of weekends. And social security. And health insurance. And the end of child labor! And all of these workplace protections exist because of the advocacy of labor unions. In this episode, American political scientist Margaret Levi shares the long history of organizing labor, and explains how unions create equality and protect worker rights. Margaret also discusses her optimism about today’s young workforce and why she believes that an equitable future requires a revival of the labor movement.
Most positive change starts with a challenge to the status quo. But going against the current and speaking up for the right thing can be a challenge–especially if you’re the only one voicing your concerns. Luvvie Ajayi Jones is a two-time New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, and a self-described professional troublemaker. In this episode, Luvvie shares why she’s reclaiming the term “troublemaker”, gives tips on gathering the courage to speak up, and explains why she thinks all of us would benefit from getting a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Do you remember a time you ACTUALLY felt represented in pop culture? For Libyan American journalist Noor Tagouri, those moments of being portrayed in a way that feels real can actually be an important catalyst for positive social change. Noor has spent the last decade of her career in journalism, uncovering hidden stories and challenging biases in the mainstream. In this episode, she talks about the importance of telling a story from all angles–and why searching for truth despite pushback is a scary but necessary part of being human.
There are more opportunities for women in the workplace today than there ever have been. But with stagnant wage gaps, limited parental leave, and enduring bias in recruitment, have modern businesses changed THAT much?? Gender equity expert Sara Sanford says there's work to do–and in this episode, she shares how she developed a certified playbook that helps companies use data-backed standards to fight gender bias. Tune in to hear why inclusive work requires that we change not just how people think, but also how the workplace operates.
Sex is a normal part of human life, but it can also get complicated–whether you’re having it or not! The way we approach, think, and engage with our sexuality varies widely our culture, community, identity, and more. But one thing we can all strive for is healthy and safe sex. Siphumeze Khundayi and Tiffany Mugo are two sex educators and the co-founders of HOLAAfrica (HOLAA!) a Pan-Africanist digital platform that focuses on creating spaces that deal with safe sex and pleasure. Today they share insights on the kinds of mental and emotional tools we can turn to in order to have great sex, why it’s ok to take small steps on your sexual journey, and why it’s important to take ownership of your pleasure.
What happens when the data-driven capabilities of AI are combined with human creativity and ingenuity? Shining a light on the opportunities this futuristic collaboration could bring to the workplace, AI expert Shervin Khodabandeh shares how to redesign companies so that people and machines can learn from each other. After the episode, TED Tech host Sherrell Dorsey dives deeper into the potential promises (and pitfalls) of AI-work integration. TED Tech is another podcast in the TED Audio Collective. To hear more ideas on the intersection of tech and humanity, follow TED Tech wherever you're listening to this.
Humans face ethical dilemmas big and small every day: Which product is the most sustainable? Can you separate the art from the artist? Should you really share your streaming platform passwords? Today’s guest, Michael Schur, has spent a lot of time thinking about morality, most recently in his Emmy-nominated show The Good Place, and in the New York Times bestselling book “How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question,” and. In this episode, Michael talks about why he’s gone from working on shows like Saturday Night Live, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Hacks, to reading and writing about Kant, Nietzsche, and Aristotle. Michael shares why he uses analogies and pop culture references to engage with philosophy, why he’s still chasing after the eternal and perhaps unanswerable question of “how to be perfect”, and why he believes caring about ethics –at any level– can actually make a difference.
If you’ve ever daydreamed o standing at an Olympic podium or delivering a big award speech, you probably pictured yourself as a winner. But according to today’s guest, marketing professor Monica Wadhwa, maybe you should imagine yourself as a runner-up. In this episode, Monica talks about why getting close to – but not quite achieving – triumph actually helps us gain the energy and motivation we need to chase after our goals, and shares tips on how we can change our mindset and create almost wins that will put us on the path to success.
Humans: we've got Big Feelings. From happiness to regret, delight to frustration, we all experience a rollercoaster of emotions. But while it's become more acceptable to talk about and even embrace them, it still feels like there is a stigma around admitting that you're grappling with a less-than-positive feeling. Mollie West Duffy (Chris’s wife!) and Liz Fosslien (not Chris’s wife!) are the co-authors of two celebrated books about feelings, “No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions At Work” and “Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay.” In this episode, they share thoughtful insights on the across-the-board importance of talking about our emotions as well as offer tips on how to identify, manage, and learn from the big feelings that make us all human.
We experience rejection all the time–in job interviews, while dating, when pitching a story or even trying to join a new club or activity. But if rejection happens so often, why is it so scary? And worse, what if our fear of being rejected is keeping us from going after the things we want? Jia Jiang is kind of a rejection expert–he’s gone from a career in the corporate world to the risky world of entrepreneurship. To conquer his fear of rejection, he started the 100 Days of Rejection Therapy blog, where he documented an experiment in which he willfully sought rejection on a daily basis. Now he’s authored a bestselling book, and owns a company dedicated to helping people overcome their fear of rejection. In this episode, he shares what he’s learned over the years on how to turn fear into triumph.
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Comments (33)

Amin Dayani

this podcast is absolutely superb as well as replete with invaluable orginalities

Sep 5th
Reply

Amin Dayani

amazing is it ?

Sep 5th
Reply

BunnyBoo

Very inspiring <3

Jul 20th
Reply

jack massie

far too many ads

Jun 28th
Reply

𝙼𝚊𝚎𝚍𝚎

it helped me sooo much🤩 thank youu

May 8th
Reply

M.K.A

Heard this was a favorite by listeners, and now know why Enlightening and heartfelt Perhaps it'll take time to find that special someone, but it's more important that that person feels special to you and vise versa Commitment is key, and from there stems respect, and ultimately, love

Mar 25th
Reply

M.K.A

Heart-warming and inspiring This's also a personal belief, that we all have an influence, an impact, regardless of how we view ourselves. Our very existence dictates it Happy they made up and look forward to working with each other + build a more authentic and understanding bond 👏

Mar 22nd
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Elizabeth Twente

be encouraged

Jan 18th
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Dana Pellegrino

Regarding that guest, George...being a relationship "expert" doesn't give you the right to define love for other people and tell them how they should be choosing a partner 🙄 it's a bit pretentious to think that he can just generalize those two things for every person on the planet. His advice isn't that good either. Bad guest.

Dec 20th
Reply

Aubrey Pata

"That kind of language hurts people" - so obvious but powerful. Great podcast, thank you so much ❤️

Nov 9th
Reply

Aubrey Pata

"You don't want to make someone think it's undiscussable" That's absolutely true, I've let what I interpret as someone else wanting to stop the topic guide my reactions without even asking how they feel. I was probably wrong.

Nov 9th
Reply (1)

Aubrey Pata

A statement and a question does not make it a long question. They're two different types of question not two different lengths.

Nov 9th
Reply

Aubrey Pata

I like the host better than Celeste in regards to empathy. Sharing your own experience, when done appropriately, expands both total understanding and the comprehension of the both parties. Even if your suggestions or experience is not directly useful, the participants become more creative. 9.5/10 I have assisted in the other person opening their mind and understanding their heart. It doesn't matter if their solution is the opposite of yours as long as you got them thinking instead of being completely overwhelmed with emotions or confusion.

Nov 9th
Reply

Raymond

lmao this trash podcast spends like 1/4 to 1/2 of their episodes on commercials. thankful for the fast forward button. not ideal if you are hands free.

Aug 25th
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Boyama Online

Keep on trying! https://www.logobids.com/users/boyama

Aug 20th
Reply

Raymond

🤣🤦🏽‍♂️ zen priest

Jul 27th
Reply

Ralph Lawrence Perez

Having high inflation nowadays, even vegetables are too expensive. It is not a kind of poor people food. 😂

Jul 16th
Reply

Raymond

nothing quite as awful as recycled episodes... lame

Jul 7th
Reply

Raymond

she identifies as they/them...makes sense why she is so contradictory and unoriginal...

Jun 16th
Reply

mahsa safavi

fesenjon😍

Jun 10th
Reply
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