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TED Speakers

 

Every year, David Lavin attends the TED conference, bearing witness to the latest ideas worth spreading. This is a selection of speakers, including two TED Prize winners, who have made a big impact on the TED stage.

 

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Andrew Marantz

New Yorker Staff Writer | Author of Antisocial

Social media has hijacked the global conversation. We face an informational crisis that is radicalizing youth, sowing confusion, and shaking democracy to its core. For his book, Antisocial, Andrew Marantz spent four years with the two groups who increasingly control the internet: the founders of social media platforms, and the trolls who use them to advance their toxic agendas. With clarity, courage, and even humor, Marantz explains how we got into this mess—and how we can get out. 
Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Team Human, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, and Present Shock

Author and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff has spent his prolific career thinking about how new media and technology are impacting culture, business, and the economy. Named one of the world’s 10 most influential thinkers by MIT,  he has written 15 bestselling books and coined such concepts as “viral media,” “social currency,” and “digital natives.” His talks are a culmination of his pioneering work, and an infallible source of what’s to come. 
Yeonmi Park

North Korean Defector and Human Rights Activist | Author of In Order to Live

Born in North Korea, human rights activist and TED Speaker Yeonmi Park grew up in a punishing society devoted to the worship of Kim Jong-Il. But at the age of 13, she and her family made a daring and difficult escape to China in search of a life free of tyranny. In her viral talks, viewed nearly 350 million times, Park urges audiences to recognize—and resist—the oppression that exists in North Korea, and around the world.   
Soraya Chemaly

Journalist & Author of Rage Becomes Her | Co-Founder and Director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project

Being human means playing host to a variety of emotions—and it’s not optional. To award-winning author and viral TED speaker Soraya Chemaly, the trick is learning to see them as vital signals, critical to how well our organizations function. Chemaly speaks with crackling lucidity to the wealth of data that our emotions provide us with—at work, at home, and in the world at large. 
Beau Lotto

Director of The Lab of Misfits

Why do we see the world the way we do? Professor, neuroscientist, and author Beau Lotto shows us that only by understanding our perception biases will we be able to create powerful change. A three-time mainstage TED speaker with over 7 million views, Lotto’s insights reveal how we can overcome our brains’ biases—and drive true adaptability, creativity, and innovation in the process.  
Michael Green

Award-Winning Architect & Founder of Michael Green Architecture | Co-Author of The Case for Tall Wood Buildings

There is nature and there is architecture. Must the second come at cost of the first? Through his radical, beautiful, and sustainable construction of tall wood buildings, award-winning architect Michael Green works to solve worldwide housing demand while also reducing carbon emissions. His talks offer innovative and sustainable ideas that you can apply to how you work, live, and heal the planet.   
Angela Duckworth

Author of Grit, the #1 New York Times Bestseller | Pioneering Researcher on Grit, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

In her landmark research, psychologist Angela Duckworth reveals the importance of character to success in life. Her pioneering work on grit and self-control—showcased in her instant New York Times bes...

Michael Murphy

Architect | Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group

If you want to know what we prioritize as a society, look to our architecture. This is the philosophy of Michael Murphy, one of the most acclaimed, visionary architects in America. Murphy speaks eloquently on how the buildings we make, work, and live in can nourish us, bringing necessary function and equally necessary beauty to individuals and communities alike.   
 
Martin Ford

Author of Architects of Intelligence and The New York Times bestseller Rise of the Robots

How did AI advance from the realm of science fiction to today’s reality? And how should we prepare for the future? Martin Ford—a McKinsey award-winning author, software entrepreneur, and TED mainstage...

Adam Alter

New York Times Bestselling Author of Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible

What makes us obsessively scroll through our phones, or binge-watch Netflix? There’s a fascinating psychology behind our addictive, tech-based behaviors, says Adam Alter. A New York Times bestselling ...

Megan Phelps-Roper

Former Member of the Westboro Baptist Church | Author of Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church

Formally of the Westboro Baptist Church—a group infamous for its intolerance—Megan Phelps-Roper is a unique example of how empathy can overcome hate, and how tolerance can bridge ideology.

David Eagleman

One of the World’s Foremost Neuroscientists | Host of PBS’s The Brain | Scientific Advisor for HBO’s Westworld this is the science description this is the neuroscience description

How can we harness the brain for maximum creativity—at work, and school? In The Runaway Species, David Eagleman reveals how any organization can adopt a more innovative mindset by decoding how the min...

Steven Pinker

Author of Enlightenment Now and The Better Angels of Our Nature

Steven Pinker asks the big questions about human progress—and sets out, in public, to answer them. In 2018’s Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that, despite the headlines, the world is getting better, ...

Susan Pinker

Psychologist and Author of The Village Effect and The Sexual Paradox

Award-winning author and Psychologist SUSAN PINKER examines the endless paradoxes of the human condition, and the way it affects our personal relationships, our workplaces, and our educational institu...

Sarah Lewis

Author of The Rise | Guest-Editor of Aperture’s “Vision & Justice” Issue | Associate Professor At Harvard

When we view race and justice through the lens of culture, we can enlarge our notion of citizenship, of who belongs and who counts. Sarah Lewis, an intellectual star and powerful speaker, has sparked ...

Titus Kaphar

2018 MacArthur Fellow | Award-Winning Painter and Sculptor

Urgent and timely, Titus Kaphar’s artworks capture the spirit of social justice and change in America today (exemplified in his TIME cover portrait of the Ferguson protests). Named a 2018 MacArthur Fe...

Kimberley Motley

First Foreign Litigator in Afghanistan, 2014 TED Speaker

Kimberley Motley is the only foreign litigator working in Afghanistan. Armed with an unwavering determination and a passion for justice, she navigates the country’s punitive and capricious legal syste...

Johann Hari

Bestselling Author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections

“Every human being has basic psychological needs,” says journalist Johann Hari. “And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many—perhaps most—people.” I...

Jessica Jackley

Co-Founder of Kiva, the microlending site, and Author of Clay Water Brick

You can do good and do well at the same time. Just ask Jessica Jackley, founder of KIVA, the world’s most successful microlending site. Praised by the likes of Oprah and Bill Clinton, Jackley champion...

Edward O. Wilson

One of the World’s Most Distinguished Biologists

E.O. Wilson has made a tremendous contribution to our understanding of biodiversity, while his insights on social and group behavior have changed our perception of ourselves. The stirring keynotes fro...

Tom Wujec

World Renowned Expert on Innovation | Former Chief Disruptor at Autodesk | Author of The Future of Making

Veteran innovator Tom Wujec has spent three decades studying how teams and organizations achieve radical breakthroughs. Along the way, Wujec—Autodesk’s former Chief Disruptor—has designed cutting-edge...

Ashton Applewhite

Anti-Ageism Activist | Author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

What if discrimination on the basis of age were as unacceptable as any other kind of prejudice? Ashton Applewhite is a leading voice in an emerging movement dedicated to dismantling ageism and making ...

Laura Galante

Leading Cybersecurity Analyst | Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council and Founder, Galante Strategies

Cyber spying. Russian hacking. DNC leaks, fake news, and manipulation. To Laura Galante, cybersecurity—and cyber literacy—are indispensable tools for any government or corporation. From The New York T...

Emily Esfahani Smith

Journalist and Author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters

Meaning, not happiness, is the key to a good life. That’s the vital message at the core of Emily Esfahani Smith’s book, The Power of Meaning, which outlines four pillars essential to living a life tha...

Janna Levin

Author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space

Janna Levin is changing the way we understand the cosmos. She brings originality, lucidity—and even poetry—to one of humanity’s oldest sciences. And in her book Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from O...

John Maeda

Chief Experience Officer at Publicis Sapient | Author of How to Speak Machine (2019)

John Maeda is a world-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist, educator, and investor whose career reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology. For more than a decade, he has worked...

Bill Strickland

An Extraordinary Business and Community Leader

Bill Strickland created an empire by stoking genius in those who believed they had nothing. The Founder and Chairman of Manchester Bidwell—an arts and training center with a $10 million annual budget—...

Jer Thorp

Author of Living in Data (Spring 2020) | Former NYT Data Artist-in-Residence

The world seems more fragmented than ever, but to Jer Thorp—one of the world’s most innovative artists—those fragments are data, and data can be read, organized, and used for good. Twitter, Microsoft,...

Salman Khan

Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Khan Academy

As Founder and CEO of the nonprofit Khan Academy, Sal Khan seeks to remove the barriers to education that leave over 600 million children lacking basic math and reading skills. His free, world-class c...

Edward Burtynsky

World-Renowned Photographer, Winner of the TED Prize

World-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky creates stunning photos—“reflecting pools of our time”—that explore large-scale social, political, and economic issues, including water, oil, and the uphea...

David Kwong

Illusionist | New York Times Crossword Writer | Consultant (Now You See Me)

David Kwong is no ordinary magician. He’s a New York Times crossword writer, TED speaker, Harvard grad, Broadway star/producer, and a consultant on blockbuster films like The Imitation Game. His debut...

Jared Diamond

Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and Upheaval

Jared Diamond is the epitome of a celebrity scientist—a Pulitzer Prize Winner, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and one of the world’s Top 10 Public Intellectuals (Foreign Policy). He also uniq...

Rev. Jeffrey Brown

Pastor and President of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace)

Rev. Jeffrey Brown was one of the key architects behind the “Boston Miracle,” which saw the violent crime rate among youth plummet by 79% over a decade. Today, he works with faith groups, cities, gove...

Nathan Wolfe

Expert on the spread of global pandemics | Founder of Metabiota Risk Management

As climate change affects the way viruses spread, the efforts of Nathan Wolfe—the Indiana Jones of virus hunting—are more necessary than ever. Author of the bestselling Viral Storm, Wolfe travels the ...

Candy Chang

Urban Space Artist Behind the "Before I Die" Walls

World-renowned artist and urban designer Candy Chang engages communities to share everything from their greatest hopes to their deepest anxieties in public. The Atlantic calls her artwork Before I Die

Isabel Allende

Author of The House of the Spirits and In the Midst of Winter

A literary legend, a social activist, and a feminist icon, Isabel Allende—now in the fourth decade of a career like no other—has sold over 70 million books in over 40 languages. The massive audiences ...

Greg Gage

TED Speaker | Neuroscientist | Cofounder and CEO of Backyard Brains

Greg Gage is starting a neuro-revolution—or “neuroscience for the 99%.” That means affordable, DIY labs in classrooms around the world. From his live experiments on the TED stage (now with over 8 mill...

Eman Mohammed

TED Senior Fellow and Photojournalist

Photographer Eman Mohammed knows what it feels—and looks—like to be deemed the other: she began her career as the youngest female photojournalist in Gaza, one of the most dangerous places on the plane...

Suki Kim

New York Times bestselling author of Without You, There Is No Us, Expert on North Korea

Suki Kim is one of the only writers to ever go undercover in North Korea. An award-winning novelist, Kim’s obsession with the country led her to pursue journalistic assignments there beginning in 2002...

Karen Armstrong

Founder of The Charter for Compassion

Karen Armstrong is the most original and inclusive speaker on the role of religion in the modern world. Her bestselling books, including A History of God, and sought-after talks examine the difference...