1. How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are: Andrew Solomon
Writer Andrew Solomon has spent his career telling stories of the hardships of others. Now he turns inward, bringing us into a childhood of adversity, while also spinning tales of the courageous people he’s met in the years since. In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.
Andrew Solomon writes about politics, culture and psychology.
2. My escape from North Korea: Hyeonseo Lee
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was “the best on the planet.” It wasn’t until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope — and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind.
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thoght her country was the “best on the planet.” It wasn’t until the famine of the 90s that she began to wonder. She escaped the country at 17-years-old to begin a life in hiding as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope — and a powerful reminder of those who face constant danger, even when the border is far behind.
3. The bridge between suicide and life: Kevin Briggs
For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide.
As a member of the California Highway Patrol with assignments including patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge, Sergeant Kevin Briggs and his staff are the last barriers between would-be suicides and the plunge to near-certain death.
4. My stroke of insight: Jill Bolte Taylor
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.
Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened — and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.
5. In search of the man who broke my neck: Joshua Prager
When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident left him a hemiplegic. He returned to Israel twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down. In this mesmerizing tale of their meeting, Prager probes deep questions of nature, nurture, self-deception and identity.
Joshua Prager’s journalism unravels historical secrets — and his own.
6. My immigration story: Tan Le
In 2010, technologist Tan Le took the TEDGlobal stage to demo a powerful new interface. But now, at TEDxWomen, she tells a very personal story: the story of her family — mother, grandmother and sister — fleeing Vietnam and building a new life.
Tan Le is the founder & CEO of Emotiv, a bioinformatics company that’s working on identifying biomarkers for mental and other neurological conditions using electroencephalography (EEG).
7. Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors: JD Schramm
Even when our lives appear fine from the outside, locked within can be a world of quiet suffering, leading some to the decision to end their life. At TEDYou, JD Schramm asks us to break the silence surrounding suicide and suicide attempts, and to create much-needed resources to help people who reclaim their life after escaping death.
JD Schramm teaches future business leaders both the theoretical and practical aspects of communication.
8. How electroshock therapy changed me: Sherwin Nuland
Surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland discusses the development of electroshock therapy as a cure for severe, life-threatening depression — including his own. It’s a moving and heartfelt talk about relief, redemption and second chances.
A practicing surgeon for three decades, Sherwin Nuland witnessed life and death in every variety. Then he turned to writing, exploring what there is to people beyond just anatomy.
9. A story about knots and surgeons: Ed Gavagan
One day, Ed Gavagan was sitting on the subway, watching two young med students practicing their knots. And a powerful memory washed over him — of one shocking moment that changed his life forever. An unforgettable story of crime, skill and gratitude.
Ed Gavagan was walking down the street in downtown Manhattan when he was the victim of a gang assignment to kill a random stranger. He lives to tell the amazing story.
10. The story of a girl: Rick Smolan
Photographer Rick Smolan tells the unforgettable story of a young Amerasian girl, a fateful photograph, and an adoption saga with a twist.
Rick Smolan is the co-founder of the America 24/7 and Day in the Life photography series — and a natural storyteller in many media. His latest books are America at Home and Blue Planet Run.