Show cover of How to Be a Better Human

How to Be a Better Human

Join How to Be a Better Human as we take a look within and beyond ourselves. How to Be a Better Human isn’t your average self improvement podcast. Each week join comedian Chris Duffy in conversation with guests and past speakers as they uncover sharp insights and give clear takeaways on how YOU can be a better human. From your work to your home and your head to your heart, How to Be a Better Human 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.


Stephen Satterfield wants his meals to match his ideals
Stephen Satterfield, the host of Netflix docu-series “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” thinks the bananas in the U.S. are gross. Sure, they’re convenient to produce and ship commercially, but they’re fibrous, bland and maybe worst of all inescapable! They’re also just one example of how what we eat is shaped by culture, politics, and history. In this episode, Stephen explains why he uses gastronomy as a way to understand the world and shares how we can use food to empower people who grow and consume what we eat. For the full text transcript, visit
29:23 27/03/2023
Julissa Arce on why success isn’t worth her assimilation
When do you feel like you've reached "success"? Julissa Arce is an acclaimed social justice advocate, the author of four books, a former vice president at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, and was named a 2019 Woman of the Year by the City of Los Angeles. But if you ask her, she’s still redefining what success looks like, and if it matters. Julissa immigrated to the United States at 11, and was undocumented for almost 15 years. In her latest book, and in today’s episode, she rejects the idea that assimilation can create belonging and brings success – and asks what we can do instead to reconnect and celebrate all that makes us unique. For the full text transcript, visit
31:55 20/03/2023
Why Kim Scott thinks you need to ask for feedback
You know what they say about unsolicited advice (don’t give it!) but when it comes to SOLICITED feedback, author and executive coach Kim Scott says: bring it on. Kim believes that when it comes to improving your life at home, work, and anywhere in between, it helps to ask for – and provide – kind, but radical, candor. In this episode, Kim shares what she’s learned about embracing candidness and care in the workplace, gives tips on how to engage in constructive conversations, and opens up about the benefits of addressing bias in communication. Her latest book, "Just Work: How to Root Out Bias, Prejudice, and Bullying to Build a Kick-ass Culture of Inclusivity" is out now. For the full text transcript, visit
36:07 13/03/2023
Cord Jefferson's creativity is fueled by mental health
Television writer Cord Jefferson has written for the kind of shows that crack hearts open. From The Good Place to Watchmen, Station Eleven to Master of None, Cord has spent his career wrangling human emotions in the writers’ room – but also in his own life. In this episode, Cord speaks about the connection between his personal life and his creative work, how he thinks about vulnerability in making art and why he thanked his therapist in his acceptance speech for his first Emmy. For the full text transcript, visit
34:25 06/03/2023
Anne Helen Petersen on changing your relationship to work and the guardrails that can prevent burnout
What does "burnout" even mean anymore? If you're asking yourself this question, you've come to the right podcast. Anne Helen Petersen is the writer who helped popularize the term and she thinks people are missing the big picture. In this episode, Anne Helen and Chris discuss the structures that are leading so many people, from nurses to teachers to office workers, to suffer from chronic, work-related stress. Then, Anne Helen suggests some of the ways that we can rethink our relationship to work – and offers practices that could protect us from laboring past our limits. For the full text transcript, visit
31:02 27/02/2023
Pardon the Interruption… But Did Sports Debate Shows Change the World?
From risky snowboard halfpipe runs, to 400m sprints where every second counts, to high-stakes archery tournaments, performing well in sports requires mental toughness as much as physical toughness. How do athletes get “in the zone”? And what can we all learn about focus, flow, and mental resilience from athletes? Good Sport is a podcast from the TED Audio Collective about the fascinating psychology behind athletic competition. Each week, host Jody Avirgan guides you through an array of stadiums, pitches, pools, and slopes–all the ways that sports can shed a light on the ups and downs of being human. Follow Good Sport wherever you get your podcasts. 
40:03 20/02/2023
Why love –and therapy– means going in a direction you don’t yet know (w/ Dr. Orna Guralnik)
In her critically acclaimed Showtime docuseries, Couples Therapy, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Dr. Orna Guralnik thinks deeply about relationships, emotions, and connection. In this episode, Dr. Guralnik explains why she believes psychoanalysis helps us love better, dispels myths about the right time to go to therapy, and gives tips on how to unblock our relationship with the world around us. For the full text transcript, visit
36:39 13/02/2023
Jody Avirgan learned everything from sports
When it comes to sports, it might seem like there are two kinds of people. Those who are religious about their love for the game and those who only see Super Bowl Sunday as a vessel for an epic halftime concert – if they think about it at all. Jody Avirgan argues this is a false binary. In Good Sport, his new show from the TED Audio Collective, Jody makes the case that sports are as good a lens as any to understand the world – regardless of whether you are an athlete, a fan or a begrudging bystander. In this episode, Jody shares the lessons he’s learned from playing and reporting on sports at the highest levels, and makes a compelling case that sports can help us uncover the amazing emotions that make us better humans. You can listen to Good Sport wherever you are listening to this. For the full text transcript, visit
33:05 06/02/2023
Andrew Marantz doesn’t want you to give up on the internet
The internet can be a wonderful, but also a terribly unpleasant place. Andrew Marantz knows this well. He is a staff writer at The New Yorker who spent three years embedded in the world of internet trolls to understand how regular people propel fringe talking points into the heart of online conversations. In this episode, he shares how ideas spread on the internet – and what we can do to make our digital experiences less about doom-scrolling, and more about real human connection. For the full text transcript, visit
35:24 30/01/2023
The science of happiness (w/ Laurie Santos)
The phrase “comparison is the thief of joy” might be the kind of cliche that makes you roll your eyes – and yet, it’s an idea that is, scientifically, pretty accurate. In today’s episode, psychologist Laurie Santos – a Yale professor and host of “The Happiness Lab” podcast – discusses some of the surprising evidence behind what does and doesn’t make us humans happy. Laurie also shares strategies on how to improve our well-being, discusses the irony behind “self-care”, and explains why happiness is often a journey not just within, but beyond, ourselves. For the full text transcript, visit
35:44 23/01/2023
How to care for the people who take care of us (w/ Ai-jen Poo)
Activist, and MacArthur Genius, Ai-jen Poo believes that caring for others is one of the fundamental acts that make us human. But from nannies to elder-care workers, house cleaners to living assistants, single parents and beyond, globally, caretakers do not earn fair wages or recognition for their essential, life-giving labor. The President of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen explains how society undervalues domestic work, and provides a framework on how we can start a conversation about the future of care for our loved ones – and ourselves. For the full text transcript, visit
39:02 16/01/2023
There is no “grief starter pack” (w/ Michael Cruz Kayne)
There’s one thing that connects all living beings – an experience so profound yet so common. Today’s guest, Michael Cruz Kayne says it best: “It's gonna happen to you, to the people you love – even to the people you hate. Whether we like it or not, we are going to die. For sure.” Yet despite its inevitability, it can be so hard for us to speak about death and loss. So how can we begin to open up about grief, and show up for others who are experiencing it? Michael is a writer, comedian, and the host of the podcast “A Good Cry”. Michael’s son Fisher died when he was just days old. In this episode, Michael talks about his experience and how talking about his emotions helped him heal, and shares times when humor was -- and wasn’t -- able to capture the ineffable seemingly-endless experience of loss. For the full text transcript, visit
38:43 09/01/2023
You can do better than a New Year’s resolution (w/ Gretchen Rubin)
Why do so many of us wait until a new calendar year to start setting our goals? For today’s guest, Gretchen Rubin, “there really is no magic to January 1st”-- and the best time to start a healthy habit is just, well, “now.” Gretchen is a podcaster and the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.” In this episode, she shares eye-opening frameworks on the different ways to make and achieve goals, gives tips on how to create habits that actually improve our lives and discusses why chasing happiness isn’t always fun – and why it doesn’t always make us feel happy. For the full text transcript, visit
37:55 02/01/2023
How to answer your biggest questions—with data (w/ Mona Chalabi)
Whenever we have a question – about ourselves or the world around us – it can be helpful to visualize our answer in order to really understand it. But how do you conceptualize something as big as inequality, as complex as grief, or as silly as your probability of correctly guessing today’s Wordle? For data journalist Mona Chalabi, the answer is through data – and drawing. You’ve probably seen Mona’s illustrations on the internet. She’s known for interpreting data in a way that makes you GET it. In today’s episode, she explains how anyone could use analysis to answer their most personal questions – from whether or not to have a breakup to how many friends you should have. For the text transcript, visit
35:55 28/11/2022
How to have curious conversations in dangerously divided times (w/ Mónica Guzmán)
When was the last time you really connected with someone who disagrees with you? Or saw a post on social media that challenged your views? Or listened to a newscast from across the political aisle? Modern life places us in all kinds of echo chambers – so what happens when these divides stop us from actually seeing and understanding one another? Today’s guest, journalist Mónica Guzmán, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who voted –twice– for Donald Trump. Now the chief storyteller for “Braver Angels”, an organization dedicated to political depolarization, Monica shares the tools she uses to find common ground with her loved ones. She talks about why interacting with (and listening to) different points of view is critical work – and how through curiosity we can achieve the seemingly impossible task of understanding those we tend to think of as our enemy. Her book, “I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times” is out now.
37:52 21/11/2022
How to take charge of your money (w/ Wendy De La Rosa)
We hardly ever talk openly about our money. Today’s guest Wendy De La Rosa thinks that’s a costly mistake. She is a behavioral scientist who helps people understand and rewire their relationship with money. A former private equity investor at Goldman Sachs, Wendy is now an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School and the co-founder of Common Cents Lab, which works to improve financial well-being for low- to moderate-income people. In this episode, Wendy shares actionable insights on how to prepare and invest in your financial future, explains why the emotional aspect of decision-making impacts how we spend or save, and breaks down why financial insecurity should not be a source of shame -- and why the issue of wealth inequality cannot be solved merely by budgeting.
38:00 14/11/2022
How free solo climber Alex Honnold faces fear | ReThinking with Adam Grant
In 2017, Alex Honnold did what even the world’s best rock climbers thought was impossible. He climbed to the top of El Capitan– a granite rock mountain more than 3,000 feet high– without a rope, harness, or net. His audacious feat was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “Free Solo,” and it left Adam Grant with some burning questions about what we can learn from his unique approach to managing fear. In this episode of ReThinking, another podcast in the TED Audio Collective, Alex opens up about how he regulates his emotions when he’s hanging on by just a few fingers, what still scares him, and how he stays motivated to pursue ambitious goals. For the full text transcript, visit And for more conversations on how the world’s most interesting people think, follow ReThinking with Adam Grant wherever you're listening to this.
43:49 07/11/2022
How labor unions create worker power (w/ Margaret Levi)
We don't know about you, but we are fans of weekends. And social security. And health insurance. And the end of child labor! And all of these workplace protections exist because of the advocacy of labor unions. In this episode, American political scientist Margaret Levi shares the long history of organizing labor, and explains how unions create equality and protect worker rights. Margaret also discusses her optimism about today’s young workforce and why she believes that an equitable future requires a revival of the labor movement.
34:22 31/10/2022
How to stand up for what you believe in (w/ Luvvie Ajayi Jones)
Most positive change starts with a challenge to the status quo. But going against the current and speaking up for the right thing can be a challenge–especially if you’re the only one voicing your concerns. Luvvie Ajayi Jones is a two-time New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, and a self-described professional troublemaker. In this episode, Luvvie shares why she’s reclaiming the term “troublemaker”, gives tips on gathering the courage to speak up, and explains why she thinks all of us would benefit from getting a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
37:33 24/10/2022
How to tell your authentic story (with Noor Tagouri)
Do you remember a time you ACTUALLY felt represented in pop culture? For Libyan American journalist Noor Tagouri, those moments of being portrayed in a way that feels real can actually be an important catalyst for positive social change. Noor has spent the last decade of her career in journalism, uncovering hidden stories and challenging biases in the mainstream. In this episode, she talks about the importance of telling a story from all angles–and why searching for truth despite pushback is a scary but necessary part of being human.
31:55 17/10/2022
How to get workplace gender equity now (with Sara Sanford)
There are more opportunities for women in the workplace today than there ever have been. But with stagnant wage gaps, limited parental leave, and enduring bias in recruitment, have modern businesses changed THAT much?? Gender equity expert Sara Sanford says there's work to do–and in this episode, she shares how she developed a certified playbook that helps companies use data-backed standards to fight gender bias. Tune in to hear why inclusive work requires that we change not just how people think, but also how the workplace operates.
36:26 10/10/2022
How to have great sex (with Siphumeze Khundayi and Tiffany Mugo)
Sex is a normal part of human life, but it can also get complicated–whether you’re having it or not! The way we approach, think, and engage with our sexuality varies widely our culture, community, identity, and more. But one thing we can all strive for is healthy and safe sex. Siphumeze Khundayi and Tiffany Mugo are two sex educators and the co-founders of HOLAAfrica (HOLAA!) a Pan-Africanist digital platform that focuses on creating spaces that deal with safe sex and pleasure. Today they share insights on the kinds of mental and emotional tools we can turn to in order to have great sex, why it’s ok to take small steps on your sexual journey, and why it’s important to take ownership of your pleasure.
36:06 03/10/2022
TED Tech: Why people and AI make good business partners | Shervin Khodabandeh
What happens when the data-driven capabilities of AI are combined with human creativity and ingenuity? Shining a light on the opportunities this futuristic collaboration could bring to the workplace, AI expert Shervin Khodabandeh shares how to redesign companies so that people and machines can learn from each other. After the episode, TED Tech host Sherrell Dorsey dives deeper into the potential promises (and pitfalls) of AI-work integration. TED Tech is another podcast in the TED Audio Collective. To hear more ideas on the intersection of tech and humanity, follow TED Tech wherever you're listening to this.
16:31 26/09/2022
How to be perfect (with Michael Schur)
Humans face ethical dilemmas big and small every day: Which product is the most sustainable? Can you separate the art from the artist? Should you really share your streaming platform passwords? Today’s guest, Michael Schur, has spent a lot of time thinking about morality, most recently in his Emmy-nominated show The Good Place, and in the New York Times bestselling book “How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question,” and. In this episode, Michael talks about why he’s gone from working on shows like Saturday Night Live, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Hacks, to reading and writing about Kant, Nietzsche, and Aristotle. Michael shares why he uses analogies and pop culture references to engage with philosophy, why he’s still chasing after the eternal and perhaps unanswerable question of “how to be perfect”, and why he believes caring about ethics –at any level– can actually make a difference.
35:52 19/09/2022
How to get motivated - by losing?! (with Monica Wadhwa)
If you’ve ever daydreamed o standing at an Olympic podium or delivering a big award speech, you probably pictured yourself as a winner. But according to today’s guest, marketing professor Monica Wadhwa, maybe you should imagine yourself as a runner-up. In this episode, Monica talks about why getting close to – but not quite achieving – triumph actually helps us gain the energy and motivation we need to chase after our goals, and shares tips on how we can change our mindset and create almost wins that will put us on the path to success.
31:18 12/09/2022
How to be okay when things are not okay (w/ Mollie West Duffy and Liz Fosslien)
Humans: we've got Big Feelings. From happiness to regret, delight to frustration, we all experience a rollercoaster of emotions. But while it's become more acceptable to talk about and even embrace them, it still feels like there is a stigma around admitting that you're grappling with a less-than-positive feeling. Mollie West Duffy (Chris’s wife!) and Liz Fosslien (not Chris’s wife!) are the co-authors of two celebrated books about feelings, “No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions At Work” and “Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay.” In this episode, they share thoughtful insights on the across-the-board importance of talking about our emotions as well as offer tips on how to identify, manage, and learn from the big feelings that make us all human.
36:19 05/09/2022
How to embrace rejection (with Jia Jiang)
We experience rejection all the time–in job interviews, while dating, when pitching a story or even trying to join a new club or activity. But if rejection happens so often, why is it so scary? And worse, what if our fear of being rejected is keeping us from going after the things we want? Jia Jiang is kind of a rejection expert–he’s gone from a career in the corporate world to the risky world of entrepreneurship. To conquer his fear of rejection, he started the 100 Days of Rejection Therapy blog, where he documented an experiment in which he willfully sought rejection on a daily basis. Now he’s authored a bestselling book, and owns a company dedicated to helping people overcome their fear of rejection. In this episode, he shares what he’s learned over the years on how to turn fear into triumph.
31:17 29/08/2022
How to let go of being a "good" person (with Dolly Chugh)
Most of us want to be good people–but what even makes a person “good?” And is our fixation on whether or not we ARE good holding us back from becoming even better? Dolly Chugh is an author and social psychologist who studies the psychology of good people. In this episode, she explains how ethical behavior is full of complexity and paradox, and shares insights on why even striving to be a “good-ish” person can actually help us grow into the better, nicer person we want to become.
34:37 22/08/2022
The TED Interview: How to predict the future with Jane McGonigal
Future forecaster and game designer Jane McGonigal ran a social simulation game in 2008 that had players dealing with the effects of a respiratory pandemic set to happen in the next decade. She wasn’t literally predicting the 2020 pandemic—but she got eerily close. Her game, set in 2019, featured scenarios we're now familiar with (like masking and social distancing), and participant reactions gave her a sense of what the world could—and eventually, did—look like. How did she do it? And what can we learn from this experiment to predict—and prepare for—the future ourselves? In this episode, Jane teaches us how to be futurists, and talks about the role of imagination—and gaming—in shaping a future that we’re truly excited about. Jane’s new book, Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything―Even Things That Seem Impossible Today is available now. This is an episode of The TED Interview, another podcast from the TED Audio Collective. You can find and follow it wherever you're listening to this.
43:13 15/08/2022
How do you approach gender as a parent? (with LB Hannahs)
Thinking and talking about gender is complex for anyone, and for some people it’s a frequent conversation–especially for parents. In today’s episode, LB Hannahs, a genderqueer parent, shares their experience of parenting and discusses why they try to center authenticity and gender expansive thinking in the way they live their lives–both in how they interact with their kids, and how they work and show up in their community. Plus, from rethinking the gifts we give children to embracing the spectrums of identity, LB shares actionable recommendations for parents and non-parents alike on how we all can better support the LGBTQ+ people in our lives.
35:37 08/08/2022