Top 10 Must-see TED Talks 2020

Let’s have an energy recharge by watching the following best TED Talks 2020 – top influential videos from renowned speakers. Can you guess which are the most-watched TED Talks?

TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on various fields such as business, education, science, etc. Undeniably, TED Talks’ popularity not only comes from valuable ideas but also from the public’s admiration for TED speakers. Among the famous names that TED and TEDx invited, there are Google co-founders Larry Page, former President Bill Clinton, Billionaire Bill Gates, famous educator Ken Robinson, and some Nobel Prize winners.

These days, the young are quite into this programme thanks to its educational messages delivered by TED speakers. Such knowledge opens new horizons of ideas to help them study, work and have a more positive outlook on life.

Here are the most-watched TED Talks last year, based on popularity and editor’s vote. Let’s dig in right now to get a motivational boost and explore the best TED Talks 2020.

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Table of Contents

10 Most Popular Ted Talks 2020

How We Must Respond To The Coronavirus Pandemic, by Bill GatesBest Ted Talks 2020

The first place on the list of top 10 TED Talks of the year in terms of popularity belongs to Bill Gates, co-founder of software giant Microsoft. 

Through the talk “How we must respond to the coronavirus pandemic” recorded on March 24, 2020, he has provided detailed information about the COVID-19 epidemic, discussing the importance of the testing process and self-isolation in the outbreak of the pandemic. In addition, Gates has pointed out promising medical breakthroughs and what the world needs to deal with this crisis.

Markedly, the highlight of this talk is how it is carried, like a virtual conversation hosted by Chris Anderson – Head of TED, and Whitney Pennington Rodgers – TED’s current affairs curator. 

Additionally, this is one of the most-watched TED Talks in 2020.

How we must respond to the coronavirus pandemic | Bill Gates

What If A Us Presidential Candidate Refuses To Concede After An Election?, by Van JonesBest Ted Talks 2020

Holding the second position in this list of best TED Talks 2020 is “What if a US presidential candidate refuses to concede after an election?”, presented by Van Jones. He is an Emmy Award-winning producer, a CNN host, and contributor, holding the New York Times Best Seller three times.

In this speech, he stated that if the 2020 United States Presidential Election were close, the race might continue in the courts and the Congress Hall long after the polls close. More specifically, Jones disclosed significant legal flaws that might allow a candidate to gain power while losing both the popular vote and the electoral college. Thus, he emphasized the importance of the concession speech, not for the democracy but the winning candidate.

At the end of the talk, Jones also suggested what an ordinary citizen can do in case no peaceful transfer of power happens.

What if a US presidential candidate refuses to concede after an election? | Van Jones

Why Can’t We Talk About Periods?, by Jen GunterBest Ted Talks 2020

Next, let’s dig into the talk “Why can’t we talk about periods?” delivered by Jen Gunter. She is a Canadian-American gynecologist and a journalist in the New York Times’s women-health column.

“It shouldn’t be an act of feminism to know how your body works,” says gynecologist and author Jen Gunter.

In detail, in this revealing talk, she explains how shame from periods silences and controls women, resulting in the spread of detrimental misinformation and improper pain management. Moreover, Gunter confirmed the end of the menstrual taboos era, giving a clear and necessary lecture on the uterus’s mechanics, which used to be a myth.

Why can’t we talk about periods? | Jen Gunter

How Bees Can Keep The Peace Between Elephants And Humans, by Lucy KingBest Ted Talks 2020

As an illustration, Lucy King has recommended a solution to the alarming human-elephant conflict via the engaging talk “How bees can keep the peace between elephants and humans”. 

Firstly, the Head of the Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program for Save the Elephants presented an existing fact in some African communities. Specifically, the elephant pulled the roof off the house to search for food due to the shrinking of the wilderness’s living areas. Consequently, humans and elephants have to compete for space and resources like never before.

To address this dilemma, it is King’s suggestion that setting up beehive fences keeps elephants away while simultaneously assisting farmers in creating new occupations.

How bees can keep the peace between elephants and humans | Lucy King

The “Opportunity Gap” In Us Public Education — And How To Close It, by Anindya KunduBest Ted Talks 2020

Another speech in the list of best TED Talks 2020 is “The “Opportunity Gap” In Us Public Education — And How To Close It” delivered by the sociologist Anindya Kundu.

The first part of the talk has posed a question that how we can help all students, especially those from low-income families, realize their full potential.

Indeed, through the talk from the sociologist Anindya Kunduthe, we could dive further into the psychological, societal, and institutional barriers hindering students’ academic success in the United States. 

Additionally, he said we could narrow this “opportunity gap” by promoting and investing in public education. For Kundu, it is the best investment we can make in our shared future.

The “opportunity gap” in US public education — and how to close it | Anindya Kundu

Climate Change Will Displace Millions. Here’s How We Prepare, by Colette Pichon BattleBest Ted Talks 2020

First, the climate activist and lawyer Colette Pichon Battle said scientists predict that climate change will have forced more than 180 million people to migrate by 2100. Indeed, this will be an unprepared global crisis of “climate migration”. 

In her lyrical speech, she calls for a comprehensive rebuild of the economic and social systems. More passionately, she shared how to strengthen community resilience, better prepare for disasters, and promote universal human rights.

Climate change will displace millions. Here’s how we prepare | Colette Pichon Battle

The Path To Ending Systemic Racism In The Us, by Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff – Best Ted Talks 2020 

In the form of a virtual conversation, “The path to ending systemic racism in the US” has set a question of the future in the context of continuing brutality. It is the perpetration of police in the United States against Black communities and the lack of responsibility from national leadership. 

Subsequently, the talk shared insights into this alarming situation. In particular, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Rashad Robinson, Dr. Bernice King, and Anthony D. Romero discussed eliminating the unfair and racist structures that have resulted in tragedies, for example, the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and many other innocent people.

The path to ending systemic racism in the US

How Symbols And Brands Shape Our Humanity, by Debbie Millman

As its name suggested, the speech in the top 10 TED Talks list is about Debbie Millman’s journey to discover the history of branding. In other words, the designer and podcaster Millman explores how symbols may bring people together, starting with prehistoric tribes who used signs and symbols to reflect their beliefs. Also, the presenter outlined that modern businesses use logos and trademarks to promote their goods and services, then explain how branding represents the state of humankind.

How symbols and brands shape our humanity | Debbie Millman

How Racial Bias Works — And How To Disrupt It, by Jennifer L. Eberhardt

Another item on the list of best TED Talks 2020 continues to be a speech about racism. Through this powerful speech, Stanford University’s social psychologist Jennifer L. Eberhardt analyzed how our prejudices unjustly target Black people at all levels of society, from schools, media platforms to policing and criminal justice. 

Furthermore, based on this unfair fact, she explained how creating friction points might assist us by actively preventing and tackling this problematic issue. 

How racial bias works — and how to disrupt it | Jennifer L. Eberhardt

It’s Ok To Feel Overwhelmed. Here’s What To Do Next, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” comforted us that we are not alone when getting nervous or afraid during the coronavirus outbreak period. Moreover, through her hope and wisdom, Gilbert inspired how to stay present, accept sorrow when it comes, and believe in the human spirit’s power.

“Resilience is our shared genetic inheritance,” Elizabeth Gilbert said. 

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. Here’s what to do next | Elizabeth Gilbert

10 Editor’s Picks of Best TED Talks 2020

Why Rumors About Vaccines Spread — And How To Rebuild Trust, by Heidi Larson

Similarly to the prior list, the highest position in this list of top 10 TED Talks belongs to the one about vaccines in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Markedly, as director of The Vaccine Confidence Project, Heidi Larson showed how medical misconceptions created, disseminated, and drove vaccination resistance throughout the world. According to Larson, the first step in preventing virus spread was to talk and listen to people, then build trust.

Rumors, trust and vaccines

How Dolly Parton Led Me To An Epiphany, by Jad Abumrad

Basically, the producer, creator, and host of the popular syndicated radio program “Radiolab” Jad Abumrad told us about his search for an answer to the question, “How do you end a story?”. This journey took him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher Dolly Parton.

How Dolly Parton led me to an epiphany | Jad Abumrad

Want A More Just World? Be An Unlikely Ally, by Nita Mosby Tyler

Next, another inclusion in the list of best TED Talks 2020 choosed by editors is “Want A More Just World? Be An Unlikely Ally”. 

As its title suggested, the talk is the founder of The Equity Project Nita Mosby Tyler’s call for starting an equal world. Citing a moment from her own life, the equity advocate explained why advocating for people who endure injustices led to a more equal and fairer future for all of us.

Want a more just world? Be an unlikely ally | Nita Mosby Tyler

How To Be Fearless In The Face Of Authoritarianism, by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

The leader of democratic Belarus has delivered a powerful talk, “How to be fearless in the face of authoritarianism”, included in the top 10 TED Talks 2020. Notably, the housewife-turned-politician outlined her extraordinary effort to defeat Belarus’s long-serving autocracy in the nation’s presidential election in 2020.

Drawing a clear picture of how small acts of resistance could grow into powerful and peaceful movements, Tsikhanouskaya expressed an interesting thought on the relationship between bravery and freedom, reminding us of all we have to stand up to injustice. All we need is to do it together.

How to be fearless in the face of authoritarianism | Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

The Real Story Of Rosa Parks — And Why We Need To Confront Myths About Black History, by David Ikard

To begin his powerful talk, the passionate scholar-activist pointed out the fact in the United States that Black history is frequently watered-down, containing distortions and missing of context together with rich, successful historical people.

Subsequently, Professor David Ikard, empowered with the real story of Rosa Parks, demonstrated how making the reality of racism kinder, more gentle, and more digestible disadvantageously influenced us all. He emphasized the importance and value of historical accuracy.

The real story of Rosa Parks — and why we need to confront myths about black history | David Ikard

Racism Has A Cost For Everyone, by Heather C. McGhee

Appearing on the list of best TED Talks 2020 continues to be a speech about racism. 

Specifically, public policy expert Heather C. McGhee confirmed that racism weakened our economy, and not only for people of color. McGhee revealed surprising insights into how racism drove weak leadership and diminished our economic potential based on her study and experience while travelling across the United States.

 “Our fates are linked,” she stated. “It costs us so much to remain divided.”

In conclusion, the presenter mentioned a radical revision of what we might do to make the United States’s economy more wealthy.

Racism has a cost for everyone | Heather C. McGhee

The Gender-fluid History Of The Philippines, by France Villarta

Evidently, in many areas in the world, people consider gender as binary: male or female, each of which has its own set of characteristics and traits determined by biological sex. However, as the communications consultant France Villarta pointed out, this is not the case.

To be more specific, he discussed the legacy of gender fluidity and inclusivity in his home country, the Philippines. Also, Villarta stressed the unique value of all individuals, irrespective of their social backgrounds.

The gender-fluid history of the Philippines | France Villarta


The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One – A Meaningful Feminist Masterpiece

The Link Between Climate Change, Health And Poverty, by Cheryl Holder

Physician Cheryl Holder indicated that climate change obviously harmed the poor and economically vulnerables’ health. For more detail, the comprehensive medical prevention advocate pointed out that unusually high temperatures, disease-carrying mosquitoes, and climate change threaten people with existing health issues. In contrast, richer ones move to higher ground.

Additionally, in her emotional speech, Holder suggested practical approaches for professionals to safeguard their patients from climate-related health concerns. She also called for action from doctors, politicians, and others to create a healthcare system operating based on economic and social equality.

The link between climate change, health and poverty

The Power Of Venom — And How It Could One Day Save Your Life, by Mandë Holford

Equally important, marine chemical biologist Mandë Holford gave us a fascinating presentation and shared her research about venom, a strange substance that could kill and cure. In specific, she discovered its potential for treating human illnesses like cancer in the future.

The power of venom — and how it could one day save your life | Mandë Holford

Climate Justice Can’t Happen Without Racial Justice, by David Lammy

Overall, the first Black MP to hold the Justice post in British Parliament set a question about the little mention of saving Black people’s lives in the face of the climate urgency. In a passionate speech on creating a new green movement, David Lammy called for the support and participation of Black and minority leadership on climate matters. He also emphasized the need for a worldwide recognition that it is racial, social, and intergenerational justice that plays a vital role in addressing global warming.

Climate justice can’t happen without racial justice | David Lammy

Emma Anderson

Emma Anderson is a career consultant and freelance writer for JobandEdu by night. Layla assists students, and new hires in determining a suitable career path and walk them through the application process. She decides to pursue writing since she thinks everyone should have access to information about potential careers, such as the application process and the company's culture. She's into writing, driving her with stuff that interests her in all her good reads.