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Global health and development

Hans Rosling, rock star statistician, dismantles myths about global poverty and international development
(and his second talk is even better, but start with the first)

Elizabeth Pisani, journalist-turned-HIV epidemiologist, on the “irrational” behavior that spreads HIV

Esther Duflo, international development economist, on figuring out what actually works by testing it (this is apparently a novel and controversial idea in the field of economics)

Environmental and cultural health

Wade Davis, ethnographer, on what we can learn from the world’s endangered traditional cultures, and the importance of preserving them

Bill Gates‘s ambitious plan to get the world to zero carbon emissions

Jamie Oliver, TV chef, on ignorance of nutrition among children and families, and his anti-obesity crusade

Michael Pollan, botanist, envisions a sustainable food system by taking the plant’s view of evolution

Dan Barber, chef, on sustainability in the fish farming industry

Human behavior and philosophy

Dan Gilbert, psychology researcher, on what really makes people happy

Barry Schwartz, on the many disadvantages of excessive freedom of choice

Sam Harris, arguing that science can and should make moral prescriptions

Dan Pink on how external rewards can actually disincentivize people

John Francis, who spent 17 years not speaking or using motorized transportation, by choice

Creativity, writing, storytelling

Ken Robinson, educator, on how schools discourage creativity and why we need to change that

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, on a healthier approach to the creative process

JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter, on the benefits of failure

Chimamanda Adichie, author of One Half of a Yellow Sun, on literature and cultural identity

Dave Eggers, author of What is the What, on engaging children in writing


Sebastian Wernicke analyses stats from the TED web site itself to construct the best and worst possible TED talk

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