Researchers find conversations don’t end when people want them to

Ever get stuck talking to someone, and you can’t figure out how to get out of it? How about finding yourself in a really interesting conversation but having it end kind of prematurely? You’re not alone, and it’s all because we’re uncoordinated — conversationally, anyway.

A new study looking at 932 conversations between pairs of people finds that most conversations don’t end when the participants want them to. Some feel as if conversations are too short while others think they go on far too long, as many folks are undoubtedly, sometimes painfully, aware. In fact only about 2 percent of conversations ended when both people wanted them to, according to the research.

“A lot of people read this and assume that the finding is that people want to go before it ends because I think that’s the most normal experience that people have,” said Adam Mastroianni, a Ph.D. student from the Harvard Psychology Department who helped lead the study. “A majority of people do say that, but plenty of people say the opposite: that they want it to continue. In fact, if you just look at the average, between the people who want to go [from the conversation] soon and people who want to go later, they actually cancel each other out.”

The work highlights that most conversations end at a time that’s different from what people want, signaling a classic coordination problem that likely happens because people don’t want to seem rude.

“This happens for two reasons. One is that people don’t want to talk for the same amount of time so they have that coordination problem to solve. Two, they don’t know what the other person wants, so however they want to solve that problem, they can’t do it because to do it you need to know what the other person wanted and they would have to know what you wanted,” Mastroianni said. “You don’t abruptly stop talking to somebody and walk away because it’s not kind.”

The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Harvard Psychology Professor Daniel Gilbert was one of the study’s other co-authors, along with psychologists from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Virginia.

When it comes to human communication, conversation is essential. Yet, psychologists are only now beginning to study the act itself as opposed to aspects of it of it like persuasion or bias. The researchers here wanted to learn about a basic, but tricky part of conversations — their endings — to see what insights they could offer into fundamental social behavior.

“Humans are the most social animal on the planet and conversation is the bread and butter of social life,” said Gilbert, the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology. “We may not live by bread alone, but we die without it. A scientific understanding of conversation — how it starts and unfolds and ends — could hardly be more important.”

Mastroianni was inspired by parties he had to attend (pre-COVID) where he worried he would got stuck in conversations he couldn’t get out of politely. He wondered: What if both people in a conversation felt like hostages?

The team conducted two smaller studies within the larger one to flesh out the differences between how long conversations lasted and how long people wanted them to last before wrapping things up.

In one part of the study, researchers brought in 252 strangers. The participants were divided and told to talk about anything for at least a minute and up to 45 minutes.

Almost 69 percent reported a point where they felt ready for the conversation to end while about 31 percent reported not having that feeling. On average, the participants wanted the conversation to be almost a minute longer than it actually was.

In all, only about 2 percent of conversations ended when both parties wanted them to and only 30 percent of conversations ended when at least one of the people wanted them to. In about 46 percent of conversations both parties reported wanting the conversations to end before they did, while in only 10 percent of conversations both said they had wanted it to last longer than it did even though one of them chose to end it.

Researchers suggest these discrepancies came down to not knowing when the other person wanted to cut the chatter, and both people hiding their intentions in order to be polite. Participants, for example, misestimated how long their partner wanted the conversation to last by about 64 percent.

“It’s not just that people want different things; it’s also that they really don’t know what the other person wants,” he said.

The other part of the study looked at conversations between people who knew each other. Just over 800 participants completed online surveys regarding their most recent conversation and how long it lasted. Most of the conversations were with a spouse, family member, or friend.

About 66 percent found there was a point during the conversation when they felt ready for it to end and, on average, participants wished their conversations lasted almost two minutes longer. They also felt their conversation partners wanted to keep talking almost six to eight minutes longer than the conversation actually was. Both numbers suggested neither party got the conversation length they were looking for.

The researchers plan more work looking at one of the most essential pieces of social connection, including expanding this study to look at people talking in groups.


The value of talking to strangers — and nodding acquaintances

Experts: COVID has robbed us of impromptu contacts that help keep us happy

Wither the handshake?

Harvard experts weigh in on the origin and fate of the universal greeting

Keeping ethics alive during the pandemic

Center for Ethics launches COVID-19 Rapid Response Impact Initiative

TED launches season 3 of “The Way We Work”

Almost overnight, 2020 changed the way we work. Businesses and governments moved online, parents everywhere worked from kitchen tables alongside their kids, and essential frontline workers showed true heroism in the course of their everyday jobs. In TED’s third season of The Way We Work, business leaders and thinkers advise on how to navigate the shifting sands of work these days — whether brought on by the pandemic or not.

This eight-episode series offers practical wisdom on how to bring your best self to work, online or in-person. Each brief episode gets straight to the point, whether you’re feeling burnt out from remote work, trying to support your busy partner, hoping to nail your next interview or find the best candidate, or planning to grow your freelance business and better manage your team during a crisis. This series is made possible with the support of Dropbox.

Feeling burnout from working remotely? Here’s what you can do:


Tips to up your freelance game:


A cheat sheet on being a leader right now:


What interviewers really care about: 


The hiring process needs a makeover. Here’s how:


It’s possible to have a great career and a great relationship:


Inclusive leadership means really listening to junior staff:


Need to have a personal conversation at work? Here’s how:

Check out the full The Way We Work playlist on

Want to give a TED Talk? Apply to our Global Idea Search

Have a great idea? Apply for the chance to give a TED Talk, either virtually or in person, and join past TED speakers like environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, pictured above at TEDWomen 2019. (Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

Do you have a TED Talk to share with the world? TED is hosting two global idea searches in 2021 with a mission: to hear big, bold ideas from every corner of the globe! We’re looking for people who can offer new, unique insights and fresh ways of thinking to a very large audience.

Applications for the first 2021 Global Idea Search are now open. You’ll be required to create a two-minute video as a part of your submission, and the deadline for this round is January 31, 2021 (11:59pm ET).

Applicants who are selected for round two will be invited to a virtual event where they’ll talk more about their idea and participate in a Q&A with members of the TED community.

Winners will be invited to give a TED Talk, either virtually or in person.

Learn more and submit your application!

Not ready to apply yet? That’s OK — the second global idea search of 2021 will open in June.

In the meantime, check out just a selection of speakers who were discovered during past idea searches:

Adie Delaney: An aerialist on listening to your body’s signals (444k views)

Adeola Fayehun: Africa is a sleeping giant — I’m trying to wake it up (1.5 million views)

Ariel Waldman: The invisible life hidden beneath Antarctica’s ice (1.1m views)

Elizabeth “Zibi” Turtle: What Saturn’s most mysterious moon could teach us about the origins of life (1.3m views)

Tamekia MizLadi Smith: How to train employees to have difficult conversations (2m views)

Zak Ebrahim: I am the son of a terrorist. Here’s how I chose peace (6.4m views and a TED Book)

Richard Turere: My invention that made peace with the lions (2.6m views)

A strange TED tease … Here comes the #MysteryExperiment

Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

A mysterious experiment was launched today, supervised by a group of individuals at TED with input from social scientists. It invites members of the public from seven different countries, recruited on Twitter, to apply to take part in what is described as an “exciting, surprising, somewhat time-consuming, but possibly life-changing” experiment. However, the full purpose of the experiment can’t yet be disclosed. And the wording of the launch on Twitter yields few clues.

TED Curator Chris Anderson commented, “We love working with social psychologists, and the idea behind this experiment is genuinely intriguing. We hope lots of people apply. Hopefully we can reveal a little more early in the new year.”

Residents of the following countries are eligible to participate: USA, Indonesia, Kenya, Brazil, UK, Australia, Canada.

Read more about the Mystery Experiment here — and apply now!

Fairness and Our Future: A day of talks in partnership with the UNDP

How do we ensure that tomorrow is better than today, not just for ourselves but also for future generations and the entire planet? Fairness is ultimately the central challenge of sustainable development — development that benefits all, without harming or leaving any behind. At TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future — a virtual program presented in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and hosted by TED curator, writer and activist Sally Kohn and Special Advisor, Strategic Planning & Innovation, UNDP Joseph D’Cruz — four speakers explored the intersection of development and fairness, asking us all to imagine what truly shared prosperity and possibility looks like.

The talks in brief:

“We evolved to care about fairness because we rely on each other for a cooperative society,” says primatologist Sarah Brosnan. She speaks at TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future, in partnership with the UNDP, on December 9, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Sarah Brosnan, primatologist

Big idea: The value of fairness transcends species. Much like capuchin monkeys, humans evolved to care about equality because society is fortified by cooperation — and we all do better when everybody plays fair.

Why? In her time studying and interacting with capuchin monkeys, Sarah Brosnan and her graduate adviser, Frans de Waal, performed a simple study: they sat two monkeys, Lance and Winter, side by side, and gave them rewards in exchange for tokens. Lance traded tokens for cucumbers and Winter traded for grapes. In the hierarchy of monkey preferences, a grape is a better reward than a cucumber — but still, Lance was happy with her trade until she saw Winter start receiving grapes instead of cucumbers. After observing that Winter’s trade deal was different from her own — and feeling a sense of unfairness — Lance began to throw her cucumbers away. A similar pattern of behavior can be observed in humans, too, whether it’s a child getting a smaller piece of cake than her sibling or an employee making less money than his coworkers. Amazingly, across primates the same holds true for the opposite situation: we also care when we get more than others for doing the same task. Why? Because humans are interconnected and interdependent, and we recognize the importance of cooperative partnerships where everybody gets their fair share. Without cooperation, the whole system falls apart, Brosnan says. This evolutionary pull towards fairness extends far beyond the lab and underpins our fight for racial justice and equitable access to resources. The issues humans face are far more complex than cucumbers and grapes, but if capuchin monkeys can teach us anything, it’s that we evolved to care about fairness — and we rely on each other to prosper.

“Inequality must be seen as the global epidemic that it is,” says tech inclusionist ‘Gbenga Sesan. He speaks at TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future, in partnership with the UNDP, on December 9, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

‘Gbenga Sesan, tech inclusionist

Big idea: We must eradicate inequality by giving everybody fair access to technology.

How? Centuries of inequality can’t simply be solved with gadgets — we need to supply training and resources that fully level the playing field, says ‘Gbenga Sesan. That’s why he started the Paradigm Initiative, to help those in his native Nigeria learn how to use technology in a way that sustains their hopes and dreams and ultimately leads to greater development for the entire African continent. In creating systemic solutions for tackling the inequality that 40 percent of the world experiences, Sesan seeks to create lasting fairness for all by offering the opportunities, support and equal advantages for the next generations to succeed.

“Desperate times can lead to beautiful, strategic and innovative solutions,” says climate justice leader Angela Mahecha Adrar. She speaks at TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future, in partnership with the UNDP, on December 9, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Angela Mahecha Adrar, climate justice leader

Big idea: Corporations and big business helped create the climate crisis — but frontline communities are leading the world to clean, innovative and just climate solutions.

How? All over the world, low income and BIPOC people disproportionately live in so-called “sacrifice zones”: urban areas polluted and poisoned by industry and corporate greed. These frontline communities bear the brunt of disastrous environmental changes they did not cause. Since economic and racial injustice helped create climate change, climate solutions must include economic and racial justice, says Angela Mahecha Adrar. She believes frontline communities are the key to developing innovative, effective solutions that deliver climate justice. For example, Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad, a local farm co-op in Washington State, is breaking into the United States’s multibillion-dollar berry business. The co-op renews land, pays its workers $15 an hour and has plans to create energy-efficient worker housing and community spaces. Like Tierra y Libertad, frontline communities across the globe are standing up to big business by creating climate solutions tailored to their neighborhood’s needs.

“Our challenge is to come together to preserve our collective self-interest and humanity, rather than tearing ourselves asunder,” says sustainability champion Achim Steiner. He speaks at TED Salon: Fairness and Our Future, in partnership with the UNDP, on December 9, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Achim Steiner, sustainability champion

Big idea: The dominant risk to humanity’s survival is … humanity itself. But across the world, people are choosing to do things differently and writing a new, sustainable and equitable chapter for people and the planet. 

How? Achim Steiner, head of the UNDP, traces the origins of the United Nations back to the effort to build peace out of the ashes of World War II. Now, he says, another kind of war is brewing — one we’re waging against ourselves. In the current geological age of the Anthropocene, humans have the unprecedented power to shape the planet — for better or worse. We’ve achieved great things (like eradicating smallpox), but we’ve also taken humankind and many other species to the brink, a reality reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic. In order to survive and prosper, we must choose to do things differently. So what’s the path forward? Steiner takes us on a global tour of individuals and societies that are building a better future. For example, Costa Rica abolished its army in order to redirect military spending to education, health and the environment (including paying people to regenerate forests); Denmark has committed to producing all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050; and Bhutan measures its progress based on gross national happiness, rather than GDP. These are but a few examples of people working to put the planet back in balance. Though we are different, Steiner says, we must choose to be united in building lasting, sustainable peace.

TED launches “How to Be a Better Human,” a new original podcast hosted by Chris Duffy

TED will launch a new original podcast — How to Be a Better Human — on January 11. Most of us want to be better, but we’re not sure where to begin. Hosted by comedian and television writer Chris Duffy, How to Be a Better Human isn’t your typical self-improvement podcast. Each week, Chris will talk to guests and past TED speakers who will offer actionable insights on how to be a little less terrible.

On the heels of a year that has prompted global reflection, How to Be a Better Human encourages us to take a look within and beyond ourselves. From your work to your home — and your head to your heart — the podcast 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. Upcoming episodes will feature psychologist Guy Winch, film and television producer Franklin Leonard, sociologist Robb Willer, resilience expert and researcher Lucy Hone, comedian Aparna Nancherla, climate activist Luisa Neubauer and more.

“Like a lot of people, I want to improve myself but I often get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of advice out there,” says Chris Duffy. “So what do the smartest people in the world do? What practical steps do they take every day to make themselves better people? And how can I do it, too? Luckily, TED is letting me force their speakers to tell me their secrets and advice. And I am sharing it all with you.”

Produced by TED in partnership with PRX, How to Be a Better Human is one of TED’s ten original podcasts, which also include TEDxSHORTS, Checking In with Susan David, WorkLife with Adam Grant, The TED Interview, TED Talks Daily, TED en Español, Sincerely, X and TED Radio Hour. TED’s podcasts are downloaded more than 420 million times annually.

A writer for Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas on HBO, Chris Duffy is also the creator and host of the comedic science podcast You’re the Expert. His writing has been featured in The New Yorker, the Boston Globe, National Geographic Glimpse and elsewhere. In a previous life, he was a fifth-grade teacher. And prior to that, he was a fifth-grade student.

How to Be a Better Human launches January 11. New 30-minute episodes air weekly on Mondays and are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

Editor’s Picks: A (non-exhaustive) list of our favorite TED Talks of 2020

As we usher out 2020 — the (enter superlative of your choice) year — let’s take a moment to look back before we close the door for good. What captured our imaginations, reflected our emotions and sparked our hope for a better tomorrow? From the wisdom of Dolly Parton to the life-saving potential of snail venom to the transformative work of antiracism, here are some of the TED Talks that stayed with us as the world shifted beneath our feet.

Why do people distrust vaccines? Anthropologist Heidi Larson describes how medical rumors originate, spread and fuel resistance to vaccines worldwide.

Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad gives a captivating talk on truth, difference, storytelling — and Dolly Parton.

A more equal world starts with you. Yes, it’s that simple, says equity advocate Nita Mosby Tyler.

Housewife-turned-politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya shares a beautiful meditation on the link between fearlessness and freedom.

Backed by the real, often-untold story of Rosa Parks, professor David Ikard makes a compelling case for the power and importance of historical accuracy.

Racism makes our economy worse — and not just for people of color. Public policy expert Heather C. McGhee offers a crucial rethink on how we can create a more prosperous world for all.

In a talk that’s part cultural love letter, part history lesson, France Villarta details the legacy of gender fluidity in his native Philippines — and emphasizes the universal beauty of all people, regardless of society’s labels.

For the poor and vulnerable, the health impacts of climate change are already here. Physician Cheryl Holder calls on doctors, politicians and others to build a health care system that incorporates economic and social justice.

Venom can kill … or it can cure. A fascinating talk from marine chemical biologist Mandë Holford on the potential of animal venom to treat human diseases.

Why has there been so little mention of saving Black lives from the climate emergency? David Lammy, a Member of Parliament for Tottenham, England, talks about the link between climate justice and racial justice.

“It shouldn’t be an act of feminism to know how your body works,” says gynecologist and author Jen Gunter. The era of menstrual taboos is over.

Scientists predict climate change will displace more than 180 million people by 2100. Disaster recovery lawyer Colette Pichon Battle lays out how to prepare for this looming crisis of “climate migration.”

In a talk brimming with original illustrations and animations, visual artist Oliver Jeffers offers observations on the “beautiful, fragile drama of human civilization.”

Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, calls on us all to rise to our greatest challenge ever: the “Earthshots,” a set of ambitious objectives to repair the planet.

If you: do laundry, are (or have been) pregnant, shop for your household or do similar labor, then by GDP standards, you’re unproductive. Economist Marilyn Waring explains her vision for a better way to measure growth.

The fossil fuel industry is waiting for someone else to pay for climate change. Climate science scholar Myles Allen shares a bold plan for the oil and gas companies responsible for the climate crisis to clean up the mess they made — and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Just like the rest of 2020, the aftermath of the US presidential election was unprecedented. Learn why the concession speech is one of the most important safeguards for democracy in this prescient talk from lawyer and political commentator Van Jones.

The way we’ve been doing business is hurting us and the environment. What’s the fix? Economist Rebecca Henderson calls for a reimagined capitalism where companies pay for the climate damage they cause.

Author and historian Ibram X. Kendi explains how the concept of antiracism can help you actively uproot injustice and inequality in the world — and replace it with love.

A stunning talk and performance from theater artist Daniel Alexander Jones on how coming undone can be the first step toward transformation.

How do we eradicate racial bias? Psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt explores how interrupting and adding friction to our thought processes could address the unfair targeting Black people face at all levels of society.

“Complete silence is very addictive,” says Rebecca Knill, a writer who has cochlear implants that enable her to hear. With humor and charm, she explores the evolution of assistive listening technology — and how we could build a more inclusive world.

Starbucks COO Rosalind G. Brewer invites business leaders to rethink what it takes to create a truly inclusive workplace — and lays out how to bring real, grassroots change to boardrooms and communities alike.

It takes more than rhetoric or elegance to win a dispute. US Supreme Court litigator Neal Katyal shares stories of some of his most impactful cases — and the key to crafting a persuasive and successful argument in (and out of) court.

Get the inside story behind Thomas Crowther’s headline-making research on reforestation — and the platform he created to help restore the biodiversity of Earth, everywhere.

An update on the #MysteryExperiment

(Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED)

As you may recall, we’ve been promoting a #MysteryExperiment at TED.

Today we can share with you a few more details. It’s unusual and, potentially, really significant.

With funding from an anonymous donor couple in the TED community and under advisement from leading university researchers, we are giving away $2 million in the form of gifts to select applicants to the experiment — up to $10,000 per participant. They are allowed to spend the money however they wish: on personal needs or dreams, or by paying some or all of it forward to others. All they have to do is report back to us how and when they spend the money over the next three months. 

One group of applicants is being encouraged to share the discussion about how to spend the money with their followers on Twitter. You can follow their journey with the hashtag #MysteryExperiment.

There’s never been an experiment quite like this at this scale, and we’re excited that TED has been given the chance to oversee it. We are following informed consent, privacy and best industry practices based on academic standards to conduct this project. We won’t be publishing the results for at least six months, and until then we can’t say too much more about all this without potentially biasing the experiment. So for now, please just think of this as an imaginative project that we hope will contribute to social science in significant ways. We look forward to sharing more with you before long!

TED launches TED Audio Collective for podcasts

On February 22, 2021, TED launches the TED Audio Collective to house its growing collection of podcasts.

While broadly known for its global conferences and signature TED Talk videos, TED is also one of the top podcast publishers in the world. TED podcasts are downloaded 1.65 million times per day in virtually every country on earth. Our shows have been consistently ranked by Apple Podcasts as “most downloaded” of the year, and TED Talks Daily was the second most popular show globally on Spotify in 2020. Now the TED Audio Collective expands upon that foundation, creating a home for shows co-developed by TED and our speakers as well as shows developed and produced independently by inspiring thinkers and creators.

The podcasts in the TED Audio Collective are for listeners curious about everything from philosophy and psychology to science, technology, business and unexpected pathways in between — all curated through TED’s lens of “ideas worth spreading.” Here’s a sneak peek of exciting new content to expect over the coming months.

New in the TED Audio Collective:

Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter

Dr. Jen Gunter is on a mission to make us experts on the way our bodies work. Body Stuff is an original show developed by TED that aims to demystify the systems of the body while debunking medical myths along the way. Did you know that you don’t actually need eight glasses of water a day? That you can’t “boost” your immune system?

With humor and wit, Dr. Jen Gunter, a celebrated OB/GYN, pain medicine physician and TED speaker, aims to share accurate, evidence-based medical information in a fun and accessible way.

(Season 1 launches May 2021)

Lost Birds with Mona Chalabi

From COVID to electoral politics, people are turning to data to make sense of the world as never before. But how well do we understand what those numbers actually mean? Interpreting data has never been more timely or relevant to fight misinformation and understand the world around us.

In this original, sound-rich series, data scientist Mona Chalabi will take listeners on an inquiry into the central question: How can we use data to make sense of our lived experiences, and what are the limits of that data? Along the way, she will tackle urgent, random and sometimes deeply personal questions: How does Google calculate walking speeds? What happens when cities get louder? When will my heartache end?

(Season 1 launches June 2021)

Conversations with People Who Hate Me 

TED alum Dylan Marron is joining the TED Audio Collective to continue exploring what happens when online feuders step out from behind the keyboard and get to know the human on the other side of the screen.

In an internet era characterized by comment section wars, devastating clapbacks and anonymous vitriol, Dylan Marron connects people who have clashed online — from old friends to complete strangers — to explore why we believe what we believe, how we relate to each other on the internet and just what a phone call can accomplish. Don’t be fooled by the title! It’s actually a loving show that fosters unlikely connections in an age of increasing digital isolation. 

(New episodes launching Fall 2021)

Design Matters 

The iconic Design Matters with Debbie Millman pulls back the curtain on how incredibly creative people design the arc of their lives. It’s the world’s first podcast about design — an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians and other luminaries of contemporary thought. Design Matters joined the TED Audio Collective in October 2020 and is produced independently, with TED amplifying the podcast to its global audience. 

(New episodes every Monday. Watch out for upcoming conversations with Adam Grant, Jacqueline Woodson, Nick Cave and many more.)

Plus, new episodes from:


Hosted by Manoush Zomorodi, ZigZag is a business show about being human. Manoush takes listeners on a journey to discover new ways we can align our business ambitions with systemic change that’s good for our fellow human beings and the world. In March 2021, Manoush will release season six: “The Zig Zag Project.” Over six weeks, she’ll lead a boot camp for listeners who want to make big changes in their work life by finding ways to align their personal values with their professional ambitions.

(Season 6 launches March 2021)

TED Business 

Columbia Business School professor Modupe Akinola hosts TED Business, a show that explores the most powerful and surprising ideas that illuminate the business world. After hearing a TED Talk, listeners get a mini-lesson from Modupe on how to apply the ideas from the talk to their own lives. Because whatever your business conundrum — how to land that new promotion, set smarter goals, undo injustice at work or unlock the next big thing — there’s a TED Talk for that.

(New episodes every Monday)

WorkLife with Adam Grant 

WorkLife with Adam Grant is back with its fourth season! Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes listeners inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals to explore the science of making work not suck. Season four kicks off with a bonus episode where JJ Abrams interviews Adam Grant about his new book, Think Again

  • Taken for Granted: TED is also launching a companion series inspired by Adam’s popular long-form interviews with luminaries like Esther Perel. Starting with Brené Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, Jane Goodall and Glennon Doyle, he’ll sit down with his favorite thinkers about the opinions and assumptions we should all be revisiting. 

(Season 4 launches March 2021, and Taken for Granted launches February 2021)

The TED Interview 

In The TED Interview, Head of TED Chris Anderson speaks with some of the world’s most interesting people to dig into the most provocative and powerful ideas of our time. From Bill Gates to Monica Lewinsky, Chris follows his curiosity across myriad topics and disciplines, diving deep with the most compelling thinkers from the TED stage and beyond. Entering the sixth season of the show this year, Chris investigates “The Case for Optimism” and why there’s still reason for tremendous hope in these trying times.

(Season 6 launches April 2021, featuring interviews with climate activist Xiye Bastida, inventor of CRISPR Jennifer Doudna and many more.)

TED Radio Hour

In each episode of TED Radio Hour, host Manoush Zomorodi explores a big idea through a series of TED Talks and original interviews, inspiring us to learn more about the world, our communities and, most importantly, ourselves. TED Radio Hour is a co-production of NPR and TED.

(New episodes every Friday. Watch out for an exciting episode in March called “Through The Looking Glass” about the tools that scientists, physicians and artists use to extend our perception of what we can see and our boundaries of consciousness — featuring TED speakers Emily Levesque, Ariel Waldman, Rick Doblin and more.)

Our Partners: TED Partnerships, working in collaboration with the TED team and podcast hosts, strives to tell partner stories in the form of authentic, story-driven content developed in real-time and aligned with the editorial process — finding and exploring brilliant ideas from all over the world. Past and current partners are wide-ranging and diverse, including Accenture, Bonobos, Unilever, Hilton, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Lexus, Marriott Hotels, Morgan Stanley, Warby Parker, Verizon, Women Will, a Grow with Google program and more. Learn more here

Other podcasts in the TED Audio Collective: Far Flung with Saleem Reshamwala, Sincerely, X, Checking In with Susan David, TED Talks Daily, TED Health, How to Be a Better Human, TEDx SHORTS, TED en Español and TED in Chinese.