Best TED Talks On The Subject Of Death


TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) which are called TED Talks. They are free to watch and access to anyone in many languages.

Death is a topic that is relevant to us all, and yet it simply isn’t pleasant to talk about. These speakers of TED Talks on death offer subtle reframes to help us face this fact of life more thoughtfully and with greater compassion.




Talk about death while you are still healthy

Michelle Knox – Finance Transformation for Westpac Banking Corporation

Do you know what you want when you die? Do you know how you want to be remembered? In a candid, heartfelt talk about a subject most of us would rather not discuss, Michelle Knox asks each of us to reflect on our core values around death and share them with our loved ones, so they can make informed decisions without fear of having failed to honor our legacies. “Life would be a lot easier to live if we talked about death now,” Knox says. “We need to discuss these issues when we are fit and healthy so we can take the emotion out of it — and then we can learn not just what is important, but why it’s important.”

Watch this TED Talk on death here



What really matters at the end of life

BJ Miller – Hospice and palliative medicine physician

At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? For many, it’s simply comfort, respect, love. BJ Miller is a hospice and palliative medicine physician who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients. Take the time to savor this moving talk, which asks big questions about how we think on death and honor life.

Watch this TED Talk on death here



Let’s talk about dying

Peter Saul – Emergency doctor

We can’t control if we’ll die, but we can “occupy death,” in the words of Peter Saul, an emergency doctor. He asks us to think about the end of our lives — and to question the modern model of slow, intubated death in hospital. Two big questions can help you start this tough conversation.


Bios Urn Blog : Best TED Talks On The Subject Of Death

Life that doesn’t end with death

Kelli Swazey · Anthropologist

In Tana Toraja, weddings and births aren’t the social gatherings that knit society together. In this part of Indonesia, big, raucous funerals are at the center of social life. Anthropologist Kelli Swazey takes a look at this culture, in which the bodies of dead relatives are cared for years after they have passed away — because relationships with loved ones don’t simply end when breathing does.



The journey through loss and grief

Jason B. Rosenthal · Advocate, artist

In her brutally honest, ironically funny and widely read meditation on death, “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” the late author and filmmaker Amy Krouse Rosenthal gave her husband Jason very public permission to move on and find happiness. A year after her death, Jason offers candid insights on the often excruciating process of moving through and with loss — as well as some quiet wisdom for anyone else experiencing life-changing grief.

 Watch this TED Talk on death here



Prepare for a good end of life

Judy MacDonald Johnston – Entrepreneur

Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy MacDonald Johnston shares 5 practices for planning for a good end of life.

 Watch this TED Talk on death here


Bios Urn Blog : Best TED Talks On The Subject Of Death


Burial practices that nourish the planet

Caitlin Doughty – Funeral director

Here’s a question we all have to answer sooner or later: What do you want to happen to your body when you die? Funeral director Caitlin Doughty explores new ways to prepare us for inevitable mortality. In this thoughtful talk, learn more about ideas for burial that return our bodies back to the earth in an eco-friendly, humble and self-aware way.

Watch this TED Talk on death here



We don’t “move on” from grief. We move forward with it.

Nora McInerny · Author, podcast host

In a talk that’s by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her hard-earned wisdom about life and death. Her candid approach to something that will, let’s face it, affect us all, is as liberating as it is gut-wrenching. Most powerfully, she encourages us to shift how we approach grief. “A grieving person is going to laugh again and smile again,” she says. “They’re going to move forward. But that doesn’t mean that they’ve moved on.”

Watch this TED Talk on death here



What makes life worth living in the face of death

Lucy Kalanithi – Caregiver

In this deeply moving talk, Lucy Kalanithi reflects on life and purpose, sharing the story of her late husband, Paul, a young neurosurgeon who turned to writing after his terminal cancer diagnosis. “Engaging in the full range of experience — living and dying, love and loss — is what we get to do,” Kalanithi says. “Being human doesn’t happen despite suffering — it happens within it.”

Watch this TED Talk on death here


There’s a better way to die, and architecture can help

Alison Killing – Architect

In this short, provocative talk, architect Alison Killing looks at buildings where death and dying happen — cemeteries, hospitals, homes. The way we die is changing, and the way we build for dying … well, maybe that should too. It’s a surprisingly fascinating look at a hidden aspect of our cities, and our lives.

Watch this TED Talk on death here



How to live before you die

Steve Jobs · Former CEO of Apple and visionary

Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself.

Watch this TED Talk on death here



Bios Urn Blog : Best TED Talks On The Subject Of Death

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