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The TED Interview

The TED Interview

Author: TED

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To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit

Sit down with Head of TED Chris Anderson as he interviews leading thinkers and creators from around the world. The TED Interview is a space for guests to further delve into their groundbreaking work, give us a peek into how they discover and explore fascinating ideas, and, in some cases, even defend their thinking. This season, we’re looking at Infectious Generosity.

Generosity is at the heart of being human. It's how we've co-operated, innovated and grown as a civilization. Following Chris’s book of the same name, this podcast will dive into the idea that through the power of the internet, small acts of thoughtfulness spread to change lives at a scale never experienced before. Welcome to your front-row seat to great conversations with the world’s brightest minds.

And in the spirit of the Infectious Generosity, listeners can receive a free copy of Chris’s book in e-book or audio format. Just visit and fill out the short form to receive yours.
107 Episodes
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit if the world’s biggest problems could be solved with just some simple math? Natalie Cargill, the founder of strategic giving consultancy Longview Philanthropy, works on finding funding for the most impactful solutions to global issues. In an exciting chat, Natalie and Chris talk about the numbers on what it takes to solve extreme poverty, how to prevent the next pandemic and what kind of money it takes to mitigate other risks to our planet. Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit   How much happiness could be gained if more people had access to wealth? Does the relationship between spending money and happiness change when people are in different economic classes? And if chosen randomly, what would YOU do with $10,000? These are questions that Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist and professor, posed in a recent study. She researches how people can optimize time, money and technology to maximize their own happiness. In December 2020, TED teamped up with Elizabeth’s researchers to distribute $10,000 to each of 200 random recipients in seven countries to understand how the use of this cash would contribute to their happiness. The end result was fascinating — and at this live event at the TED2024 conference in Vancouver, Elizabeth and Chris dive into the findings.Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit   When John M. Sweeney first read about the old Italian tradition of “café sospeso”, he didn’t know he’d create a viral movement. The simple and powerful idea originates in the working-class cafés of Naples, where generous Neapolitans who could afford to do so would buy two coffees — but consume only one, leaving the other for a less fortunate person to claim. Chris chats with John about why he took this concept from an exploratory Facebook page to the Suspended Coffees movement that now has more than 2,000 participating cafes worldwide. They talk about the profound power of random acts of kindness, the beauty of gifting economies and how the philosophy of generosity can change an entire community – and the world at large.Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani (a company with expected valuation in the billions of USD) claims to be an “anti-CEO” of sorts. That’s because he cares about one thing more than profit — people. Chris asks Hamdi about how he uses his business to make the world better for both employees and customers, the difference between profit and true wealth, and what we can do, in and outside of business, to combat global inequality. Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit William MacAskill is a moral philosopher and the cofounder of the Effective Altruism Movement, a school of thought that tries to answer the question: How can we do as much good as possible? Chris and Will talk about how to use evidence to figure out how to help solve the world’s most pressing problems efficiently. Then, they discuss why focusing our efforts on some issues over others is both a compelling philosophical question — and a complex project to scale up.Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit From Taiwan to Rwanda, artist Lily Yeh has traveled all over the world in pursuit of more than just aesthetic pleasure — and she’s activating local communities on this journey. Chris and Lily chat about Lily’s artistic evolution, discuss how art encourages growth and healing, and examine the positive effect that art can have on individuals long, even long after a work has been completed. Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit Daryl Davis is a Black musician and actor who regularly enters white nationalist spaces. That’s because Daryl is determined to understand the source of bigotry – by actually talking to the humans he disagrees with. Chris interviews Daryl about his unique approach, from attending KKK rallies to joining all-white country bands. Then, Daryl shares why he chooses curiosity over fear and why he still believes, despite our current divisions, humanity is in a bright spot. Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit It may feel like the world is running low on a seemingly crucial human trait: empathy. But Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, thinks that empathy is not the best measure of goodness. Paul’s work focuses on exploring some of the most puzzling aspects of human nature, including pleasure, religion and morality. He argues that empathy can actually lead to inequality because it muddles our judgment and narrows our prejudices. Chris and Paul talk about the biological evolution that led to our modern human psyche, discuss the perils of acting emotionally and break down the relationship between empathy, generosity and what Paul calls "rational compassion." Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when misinformation and fear was spreading rampantly, one optimistic community was forming... on Facebook. Catherine Barrett started "The Kindness Pandemic" Facebook group as a way to combat the negativity and aggression she was seeing online. Members participated in campaigns where they engaged in kind acts — and then they posted about it. The group went from dozens of members in its first day to more than 50,000 members joining every day. In this episode, Chris and Catherine chat about bringing humanity back into our digital worlds, discuss what it takes to make kindness go viral, and make a case for being loud about generosity. Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at
To get a free copy of the Infectious Generosity book, visit Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is one of the top 10 richest people in the world. But since 2008, he has traded his day-to-day role with Microsoft to focus full-time on his foundation's work to expand opportunity around the world. Chris interviews Bill about his philanthropy philosophy and digs into the opportunities and challenges that face one of the largest private charitable foundations in the world. The two also discuss The Giving Pledge, the movement Bill co-founded with Warren Buffet, which encourages wealthy individuals to commit the majority of their wealth to charitable causes within their lifetimes. Chris and Bill examine the importance of solving the world’s most pressing problems efficiently, talk about why meaningful change requires scale and compare notes on how to best encourage collective excitement about giving back. Transcripts for The TED Interview are available at:
The TED Interview is back for a special season. Chris Anderson, Head of TED, returns as host to investigate the ultimate idea worth spreading: Infectious Generosity. Inspired by Chris’s book of the same name, this season will explore how even small acts of kindness have the potential to spread and impact millions – and ultimately build a more hopeful future for all. Listen in as amazing people and great thinkers share how they aim to change lives at a scale never experienced before. And in the spirit of infectious generosity, listeners can receive a free copy of Chris’s book in e-book or audio format. Just visit and fill out the short form to receive yours. Tune in next week for the first episode of this new season.
A professor at Harvard Business School and expert in work culture, Frei goes into companies like WeWork and Uber with the goal of turning toxic environments into healthy, inclusive spaces. She shares why authenticity, logic, and empathy are the most vital skills an employee can have — and how the measure of a true leader can be seen not just in their presence, but in their absence, too. Find Frances's new show Fixable, wherever you get your podcasts!
Introducing Good Sport

Introducing Good Sport


This week on The TED Interview we’re excited to introduce TED’s newest podcast, Good Sport, hosted by veteran sports producer Jody Avirgan. What can sports teach us about life – and each other? Good Sport brings you invigorating stories from on and off the field to argue that sports are as powerful and compelling a lens as any to understand the world – from what happens when you age out of a sport, to how we do or don't nurture talent, to analyzing how sports arguments have become the mode for all arguments. Good Sport launched on February 8th and you can find it anywhere you’re listening to this. TED Audio Collective+ subscribers on Apple Podcasts can hear the whole season early and ad-free.
Curious about 2023? Youngme, Mihir and Felix from the podcast After Hours are back with their celebrated predictions episode. Who will acquire Spotify? Will Twitter implode? What’s the trend in inflation and energy prices? Who will top the music charts? Space travel for all? Listen in as the hosts outguess each other what the new year will bring. After Hours is another podcast in the TED Audio Collective. If you'd like to hear more, follow the show now wherever you're listening to this.
David Byrne views life through many lenses. He’s a musician, author, filmmaker, curator, conservationist, digital music theorist, bicycle advocate, visual artist... the list goes on. But through his many trajectories – from co-founding the acclaimed band Talking Heads to his later solo career, moving into theater and beyond, David is always trying to capture the indescribable. In this episode, he shares how he meshes art, technology, and point of view to tell one-of-a-kind stories, move audiences, and invoke all of us to create masterpieces of our own. David’s latest experiential theater project “Theater of the Mind” is running now through December 18 at York Street Yards in Denver, Colorado.
When she was just 18, scientist, industrial designer, animal behaviorist, and autism activist Temple Grandin created one of her most well-known inventions: the hug machine. Inspired by the squeeze chute–a device that holds and soothes cattle before they’re handled–Temple designed a device for her and other hypersensitive people who want to experience being held without overstimulation. In this episode, Temple talks about her long, multifaceted career, and how her neurodivergent mind and its gift for identifying patterns and thinking visually has helped her pioneer groundbreaking research. She also explains how all kinds of brains can contribute to creating knowledge, and shares how neurodiversity is a strength across many disciplines. Temple’s latest book, “Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions,” is out now.
Nearly every day for a year, American poet Ross Gay sat down and wrote about something that delighted him–from carrying a small tomato plant through an airport to playing a pickup basketball game.The result was his first nonfiction book, “The Book of Delights”, a collection of essays beloved by both critics and fans. These days, Ross is in pursuit of understanding another transcendent human emotion: joy. The author shares what his practice of seeking delight has taught him about life, writing and language, and why he thinks poetry is the best coach for philosophy, mindfulness and gratitude.
How many soulmates do you think people have? What if you tried to funnel all the water from Niagara falls through a straw? Do you think it’s possible? if you sold the whole planet for scrap–what parts would be most valuable? You might think these absurd questions are unanswerable, or even pointless, but these are the kind of questions Randall Munroe can’t stop thinking about. Randall is the bestselling author of the books “What If” and “What If 2” which provide serious, scientific answers to absurd questions. He’s also the Hugo-award winning cartoonist behind the popular xkcd webcomics. In this episode, Randall talks through the most intriguing scenarios from his new volume, and shares why absurdist thought experiments actually help us understand the world–and each other–a bit better.
In 2011, when medical doctor and epidemiologist Mark Smolinski was working as a science advisor for the blockbuster film “Contagion,” the film ran a campaign that asked communities: “What are you gonna do to prepare for the next pandemic?” A decade later, as the president of Ending Pandemics–a social venture that aims to predict, detect, and prevent disease outbreaks on our planet– Mark is still thinking about how we can rid the world of pandemic disease. In this episode, Mark shares why we use big data to track disease, explains how our interconnected ecosystems shape public health, talks about why ending pandemics is an achievable goal, and argues that local communities are the ones who can lead the way in understanding–and preventing–the spread of illness.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, life expectancy in the United States was 79. Today it’s 76. When compared to other countries like the UK and Japan, where life expectancy is above 80, it’s clear that the U.S. has a lot of work to do. Today on The TED Interview, surgeon, writer, and the Assistant Administrator for Global Health as USAID. Atul Gawande talks about the obstacles the U.S. is facing and how investment in key areas like healthcare innovation, geriatric medicine, and accessible health education, could help Americans live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
Comments (111)

Laura van Groenendael

I really enjoyed this series, it is uplifting and kind, and helps getting rid of the paralysis I feel when thinking on the overwhelming scale of the problems our generation and future generations face and need to solve. I love how you give me rational, believable arguments and thoughts on how I can make a difference that is meaningful, impactful difference. I am sharing this post as I feel it is what the world needs more of. Thank you Chris Anderson!

Jun 28th

Asante Duodu Samuel

if you believe everything on this earth is predetermined and a the world is a test by the supreme being somewhere. Why do you have issue when there's is injustices and stereotype against Islam?? can't it be labeled as something already written??

Apr 9th

Arpita Sen Gupta


Feb 24th

Clarke Eleanor


Oct 23rd

Amaya Bryant

but the summertime that's all this evidence summer last week next week this summer break out of here this summer yet but I celebrate my life thank God Jesus summer my birthday Christmas that's good for New Year I I go to club and I can go to my concert it's what what what whatever you look whatever what whatever your place to live in the concert I don't get baby girl I go to concert music video studio 2 fashion Angus skin care of my hair care Anderson and it is booty and I'll be there to get some clothes like in Spanish stop stop lie to me stop lie stop stop lying I like to stop lying to me it's not a fire to me stop like my face stop lie my face and beanie baby purple to me I'm crying I'm hurt your your you hurt my feelings send it to me a telephone to you you said it to me to that tries your your your your today to me your send it to me you'll send it to me your you said to me and my life very cool and I'll be the famous disease and I've been and it's online girl I'm not being a stit

Sep 19th

Amaya Bryant

I've been such a good but he's definitely he is there in his breathing event because it's a person but it's another really understood this enough refrigeration me because you'll be fun that I'm back together with the Bruno Mars and in Phillies but that's cut cut courtroom it's a really apparently either decide then that's wrong you're talking smack s? and I'll be there Charlie on my back this is my husband and I'm baby beginning get your brother Alice book of this book is a slap book this I feel and I'll be there I'm not a whiskey and not but nothing too long you slap you're cute and that's what somebody kill you and you you flirt you flap and then you're feeling up this hurts it's a fitness that the flat your curves and then send your current flip because your flip and it flip and if you split it's a flip you this is election would you give them to you when I added that but you get the answer get a good night and Bruno Mars before 4:00 at 5:00 this morning at home always good time yea

Sep 19th

Michael Davis


Sep 12th

Pooya Estakhri

feels familiar

Aug 21st

Jeff Jones THE FIRST


Aug 4th

Lisa Hathaway

ol..l.l om

Aug 2nd

M Minh

Very interesting topic and useful practice to achieve what we want in the future through imagination

Jul 1st

vigilant skipper

I'm really sorry for this comment, but her voice of laughter should be better be removed from the track. sorry again.

Sep 6th

Marzie Tarizade


Jul 19th


Dismally short-sighted with respect to his negative views of #UBI and human motivation. 👎 Good pushback from Chris. Please interview Scott Santens.

Jun 10th


Yes, Science and scientists must be paid better. The current compensation for those choosing scientific careers is actually insanely poor.

Jun 10th



Apr 1st

HiKi GaYa


Mar 21st
Reply (3)

mayur sundararajan

Inspirational answer in the end. The world has lost a lot due to that HANGING CHAD!! Imagine Al Gore as president followed by Obama, world would have been a much better place.

Sep 15th

kate maryam

listening to this wonderful conversation ironically in the times of Corona. And that 'potential' global pandemic you discussed actually became a reality! Inshaallah this will actually wake up the world to the opportunity of the changes we can embrace to slowly start to function better as a united people 🙏

Jun 1st

Teresa Wilkinson

Bill Clinton was 25 years older than Monica Lewinsky when he met her, he was a husband, and a father (to a girl), the responsibility was on Clinton's shoulders to not engage in an affair with an impressionable very, very young woman, the fact that Monica Lewinsky was vilified for something that far too many other people have also engaged in, though ill advised, was appalling, and it was this young woman who paid the worst price while Clinton sailed away scot-free with his marriage intact and a fortune in his pockets and stunningly still one of the most popular presidents ever, so the victim was blamed not the perpetrator

Apr 28th