Episodes
Time with friends just isn’t the same with a screen in between you. That’s a struggle many have faced recently, with half of Americans saying they’ve lost touch with at least one friend during the pandemic. It can be sad, but is falling out of touch with friends normal? How many relationships should we maintain, and what are the different kinds of friendships we need anyways? Evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar has been studying social relationships for 50 years, and he has answers. Data...
Published 10/25/21
If there’s one thing that connects all humans, it’s that everything we walk on, breathe, drink, and eat comes from the same source: planet Earth. From composting to cooking to taking climate action, today’s guests (including Chef Sean Sherman, comedian Jo Firestone, and activist Luisa Neubauer) share the many ways they try to connect to and protect the home we share-- and invite you to get involved in whatever way you can. You can check out TED’s efforts to build a world that is safer,...
Published 10/18/21
When was the last time you really, really laughed? For some people, laughter comes easily and anything can set them off. But for many of us, finding humor in everyday life is something we might leave to the professionals. Jo Firestone is a comedian--and long-time friend of Chris’s--who frequently teaches all kinds of people the art of stand-up comedy. In today’s episode, she talks about how humor can be an act of connection, and how comedy can help us see the lighter sides of life, even in...
Published 10/11/21
When you think of a scientist, do you think of a person in a lab coat? How about a teenager with a smartphone-- or even, yourself? Mary Ellen Hannibal is a science writer who argues that everyday people collecting data with simple tools like phones can make a big impact in the sciences, their lives, and their communities. She shares great tips on how to get involved with this vital, and hopefully enjoyable, work. Her book, “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of...
Published 10/04/21
Imagine someone just pointed out you have something stuck in your teeth. A comment like that would probably make most of us self-conscious, but you’d probably be grateful for the heads up if you were about to head into a meeting. Now imagine that situation but with higher stakes, like your attitude at work or the way you behave with your partner. What would happen if we went through life unaware of how we are perceived? In today’s episode, organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich talks about...
Published 09/27/21
If you are online and especially if you're on social media, it’s likely you’ve engaged with people whose opinions are different from your own. While those conversations can sometimes be informative, they often spiral into a vitriolic whirlpool of hurtful or even threatening comments. Dylan Marron is the creator and host of “Conversations with People Who Hate Me”, a podcast where he facilitates conversations and tries to explore the humanity of people online. In today’s episode, Dylan talks...
Published 09/20/21
Hustle culture, burnout, “toxic productivity.” Does today’s fast-paced world ever leave you feeling rushed? Dorie Clark teaches executive education at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and at Columbia Business School. In today’s episode, she talks about the importance of “playing the long-game”-- the idea that when it comes to planning for your enduring future success, it might be better to prioritize long-term payoff above overnight “wins.” Dorie discusses how pressure in our...
Published 09/13/21
Whether they are academics, designers, medical professionals, or anything in between, our guests are leaders in their fields whose expertise goes beyond their TED and TEDx talks. Unsurprisingly, they’ve garnered wisdom on how to navigate or forge a successful career. In today’s episode, organizational psychologist David Burkus, management professor Christine Porath, and Hollywood executive Franklin Leonard share powerful ideas and accessible strategies for anyone looking for thoughtful career...
Published 09/06/21
Alison Bechdel. Eileen Myles. Kenny Fries. Saeed Jones. Four icons reflect on their journeys in this special Pride episode of Design Matters. For more episodes of Design Matters, find the podcast wherever you're listening to this.
Published 08/30/21
Plastic is everywhere. We know we should cut down on it where we can, but is plastic ever the answer? In this episode, a whole world of plastic you never knew about. Starting with: which bag is best: paper, plastic, or cotton? The answer might surprise you. Dan breaks down the pros and cons of each bag, and which you should carry on your next shopping trip. Then we follow the journey of three different plastic bottles after you throw them away, shedding light on the dangers these disposables...
Published 08/23/21
Feeling awe can boost your mood and make you feel more connected with others. Comedian Chris Duffy learns how to tap into it. This is an episode of The Science of Happiness podcast. For more, find the podcast wherever you're listening to this.
Published 08/16/21
At the end of each interview, Chris asks guests: What idea, book, or piece of culture has made you a better human? In today’s episode, we compile never-before-heard answers from past guests for the ultimate recommendation list. From emergency physician Leana Wen’s favorite book to moral philosopher Christopher Robichaud’s must-watch show to comedian Aparna Nancherla’s most-listened podcast, tune in to find an eclectic mix of quality content that might inspire YOU. To learn more about "How to...
Published 08/09/21
Over the course of the podcast, our guests have shared insights for how anyone can be a better human-- in love, in the workplace, in our communities, and beyond. But, how are these experts trying to be better humans in their own lives? Today’s episode is an anthology on this season’s most popular answer: by being more patient. Listen as sleep scientist Wendy Troxel, Hollywood executive Franklin Leonard, psychologist Guy Winch, and more share the rich and surprising benefits of practicing this...
Published 08/02/21
Listening to your favorite song, going on vacation, chocolate… What makes YOU happy? Today’s guest, psychiatrist Dr. Robert Waldinger, is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, an 83-year-old project--one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever--that tracks how life experience across decades affects health and wellbeing in middle age and beyond. Robert shares the surprising things he’s learned about what makes a meaningful life and what to do--or avoid--in order to...
Published 07/26/21
Does it ever feel like you—or someone you know—is always entering a relationship that’s doomed? According to psychology researcher, Raquel Peel, you may be falling victim to a surprising foe—yourself. Raquel studies “romantic self-sabotage,” the patterns and behaviors that can keep a person from having successful relationships, or justify their failures. In this episode, she outlines common destructive habits to watch out for, and gives guidance on how to recover if you spiral into sabotage....
Published 07/19/21
Have you ever had a rude co-worker or boss — or have you ever been told that the “jerk” is you? Today’s guest, Christine Porath, researches incivility in the workplace. She’s found that if you want to have a thriving business full of happy and talented employees, there is no room for any kind of disrespect. In this episode, she shares insights from her research and suggests ways anyone—bosses, managers, and employees alike—can up the civility at work. Christine teaches at Georgetown...
Published 07/12/21
What do we mean when we call ourselves “allies”? For Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler, being an ally means being a person that uses their own resources and privileges to stand beside people that are marginalized. She explains why we need "unlikely allies" in the fight for justice, and why people who are experiencing inequality first hand must be willing to accept the help if we all want the world to be a fairer, more equitable place. Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler is the Chief Catalyst and Founder of The Equity...
Published 07/05/21
How would you describe your community? And what if the stories you tell have the power to save someone from injustice? With the popularity and support of movements like Black Lives Matter, it seems the world is reckoning with how we think about the systems and institutions that support mass incarceration. Today’s guest, Raj Jayadev, wants us to focus on “proximate, intimate change” in our local communities and courts. He is the co-founder and coordinator of Silicon Valley De-Bug, a community...
Published 06/28/21
If you choose to be in a relationship —long or short term— how do you go about picking the right person to spend your time with? And once you are in that relationship, how can you be a good partner? Can you avoid it ending badly? George Blair-West is a relationship expert, researcher, and doctor specializing in psychiatry with a private practice in Brisbane, Australia. He co-authored the book "How to make the biggest decision of your life: Unlocking the secrets to a healthy lasting...
Published 06/21/21
Do you remember the first time you used “Google” as a verb? Or a time before there were “selfies”? Language is constantly evolving, and as a result provides limitless opportunities to change how we see the world. Juli Delgado Lopera is the author of the acclaimed novel “Fiebre Tropical” (Feminist Press 2020), which was recently awarded the LAMBDA Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. A Colombian now living in the U.S., Juli breaks down boundaries of English and Spanish in their work by...
Published 06/14/21
What’s your favorite dish — and what culture originated that recipe? Whether you’re thinking about grilled cheese, burritos, curry, pho… (we would go on but we are getting too hungry) trying something delicious opens you up to new experiences and conversations. Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, is a chef and food educator who focuses on revitalizing and reclaiming indigenous food systems in a modern culinary context. In today’s episode, he shares how increasing access to indigenous food practices...
Published 06/07/21
When most people think about poop, they think about shame and embarrassment. It’s something they don’t want to talk about and that prevents us from learning things—like the number of times a day we should be going number two—that can keep us healthy! On this episode, Dr. Jen Gunter tells us why some of the things we’ve been told about poop are a load of crap, what makes the gut the “second brain” of the body, and how what you eat goes from food to feces. By the end, you’ll know everything you...
Published 05/31/21
When was the last time you got lost in a book? If it’s been a minute, today’s guest might recommend you visit a local library or bookstore ASAP. Michelle Kuo is a teacher, lawyer, writer who is passionate about reading in communities with other people, whether that's through book clubs or in prisons. In this episode, we talk about how reading skills reveal the bridging power of the written word -- as well as the limitations of its power. In 2017, she released “Reading with Patrick”, a memoir...
Published 05/24/21
Roleplaying games and the Marvel universe may be fictional, but they can also teach us a lot about morality in the real world. Christopher Robichaud is a Lecturer in Ethics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In this episode, he shares ways we can explore important, everyday issues in fun, safe, and unexpected ways. Christopher has made a career out of teaching ethics and philosophy using pop culture, dissecting moral questions using anything from zombie apocalypse...
Published 05/17/21
After scrolling through your social media feeds, how do you feel? Empowered and connected -- anxious, or exhausted? When stand up, actor, and writer Aparna Nancherla was just starting out, her jokes on Twitter got her recognition in a way that traditional comedy clubs probably could never have. But having built a comedy career for herself, in large part, by being on the internet, she recognizes that social media is not always fun and laughs. Now, for the sake of her mental health, she limits...
Published 05/10/21