TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.
TEDTalks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker "ideas worth spreading," talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world's most inspiring voices.
Dan Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness," challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.
Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."
Dean Ornish talks about simple, low-tech and low-cost ways to take advantage of the body's natural desire to heal itself.
Dean Ornish is a clinical professor at UCSF and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. He's a leading expert on fighting illness -- particularly heart disease with dietary and lifestyle changes.
Mathematician Steven Strogatz shows how flocks of creatures (like birds, fireflies and fish) manage to synchronize and act as a unit -- when no one's giving orders. The powerful tendency extends into the realm of objects, too.
Customers want to feel what they buy is authentic, but "Mass Customization" author Joseph Pine says selling authenticity is tough because, well, there's no such thing. He talks about a few experiences that may be artificial but make millions anyway.
Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry's pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce -- and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.
Freakonomics author Steven Levitt presents new data on the finances of drug dealing. Contrary to popular myth, he says, being a street-corner crack dealer isn’t lucrative: It pays below minimum wage. And your boss can kill you.
Eve Ensler, creator of "The Vagina Monologues," shares how a discussion about menopause with her friends led to talking about all sorts of sexual acts onstage, waging a global campaign to end violence toward women and finding her own happiness.
Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes the audience on a whimsical journey through moments of his life that made him happy -- and notes how many of these moments have to do with good design.
Al Seckel, a cognitive neuroscientist, explores the perceptual illusions that fool our brains. Loads of eye tricks help him prove that not only are we easily fooled, we kind of like it.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin offer a peek inside the Google machine, sharing tidbits about international search patterns, the philanthropic Google Foundation, and the company's dedication to innovation and employee happiness.
Why do people see the Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich or hear demonic lyrics in "Stairway to Heaven"? Using video and music, skeptic Michael Shermer shows how we convince ourselves to believe -- and overlook the facts.
Performer and web toymaker Ze Frank delivers a hilarious nerdcore standup routine, then tells us what he's seriously passionate about: helping people create and interact using simple, addictive web tools.
Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff looks at happiness -- the ways we try to achieve and increase it, the way it's untethered to our real circumstances, and its surprising effect on our bodies.
Featuring the vocals and mischievous bell-playing of accordionist and singer Rachelle Garniez, the TED House Band -- led by Thomas Dolby on keyboard -- delivers this delightful rendition of the Edith Piaf standard "La Vie en Rose."
Savage-Rumbaugh's work with bonobo apes, which can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology — and how much by cultural exposure.