Most of us have heard of TED talks and most of us have heard of NPR. But did you know that the two have paired together to give a fascinating weekly radio discussion? Since March 2013, NPR reporter and radio host Guy Raz (@NPRGuyRaz) has brought together innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs among others to the radio format to inspire and enlighten the listener. This amazing free resource is a valuable non-medical podcast for doctors to access.
Background on NPR TED Talks
In an one-hour radio format, the moderator, Guy Raz brings together various TED talks based upon common themes and takes the listener on a refreshing journey (especially when heard while driving in your car in bumper-to-bumper traffic). Rather than rehash each TED talk, Mr. Raz invites the speakers to talk about the theme and about their own individual talks which enhances the excerpts of the TED talks that are woven into the hour. I most recently listened to a moderated session entitled “Why We Collaborate” which included Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, to discuss the interesting topic of how mass collaborations contribute to a better world.
The website that describes the TED Radio Hour on NPR starts with, “An idea is the one gift that you can hang onto even after you’ve given it away.” Anyone that has listened to a TED talk can understand the sense of excitement and energy that is generated internally when listening to one of these talks. These speakers are so powerful, that they can inspire these feelings even when listened to as a podcast while cleaning your apartment! The beauty of the NPR Radio Hour is that Guy Raz has taken the lecture format and broken it down into a conversation that is even more accessible to the listener.
On the onset, it may be difficult to understand why physicians, let alone emergency physicians should be interested or even vested in hearing these talks. But I would argue, that given the immense challenges that we face as doctors, it is all the more important that we listen to these talks. We doctors don’t deal with patients, we deal with people, within society, bound for better or for worse by societal constraints. More than that, we live in an international world, with conflicts and situations that affect all of us as people. It is for these reasons that it is all the more important that we expand our thought processes, knowledge base, and understanding beyond simply the pathophysiology of disease processes. And let’s face it, every now and then it’s a good idea to listen to a conversation that isn’t about the coolest patient you have ever had on a shift.
How to Listen
These talks can be accessed for FREE via various media. You can listen to it directly from the NPR.org website. From that website, you can also download it onto your computer, or you can download it to an iTunes account. The way that I prefer to access it is through my Instacast app on my iPhone. I have subscribed to the NRP Ted Talks through this app which allows me to stream it from my phone into my car radio system via Bluetooth. This makes the long drives through legendary California traffic slightly more bearable.
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