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What's The Power Of A Simple Thank-You?

AJ Jacobs speaks at TEDNYC Intersections in partnership with Brightline, June 7, 2018, New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
Ryan Lash
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Photographer: Ryan Lash/TED

Updated December 16, 2022 at 8:18 AM ET

About the Episode

When A.J. Jacobs set out to thank everyone who made his morning cup of coffee, he realized the chain of thank-you's was endless. This hour, Jacobs shares ideas on gratitude — and how to make it count.

About A.J. Jacobs

A.J. Jacobs is an author and journalist, best known for writing about his lifestyle experiments. He is also editor at large at Esquire magazine, a commentator on NPR and a columnist for Mental Floss magazine.

Jacobs' works chronicle his self-experiments, which have involved taking a vow of total honesty, following the Bible literally for a year, and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey. In addition to his books, Jacobs has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine and Dental Economics magazine.

He holds a BA from Brown University.

Featured Speakers

Tony Fadell: The First Secret Of Design Is... Noticing

As humans, we easily form habits and get used to our surroundings. But at what cost? Designer Tony Fadell says the first step towards innovation is to stop and notice the things we take for granted.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger Of A Single Story

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie shares the story of finding her authentic cultural voice—and warns that if we only hear a single story of another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Mónica Ramírez: Passing The Mic To Migrant Farmer Workers

From wage theft to sexual harassment, migrant farm workers experience injustices that often go unseen. Mónica Ramírez advocates for "passing the mic" so these communities can tell their own stories.

David Steindl-Rast: Want To Be Happy? Be Grateful

Humans want to be happy... and Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast says gratitude and happiness go hand in hand. He shares ideas on how we can all slow down to appreciate the world around us.

Robin Ince: Science Versus Wonder?

Does science ruin the magic of life? Comedian Robin Ince says the more we learn about the astonishing behavior of the universe, the more we stand in awe.

This episode of TED Radio Hour was produced by Katie Monteleone and Diba Mohtasham. It was edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Twitter @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadio@npr.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Katie Monteleone
Katie Monteleone is a producer for TED Radio Hour. She started out as an intern for the show in January 2019. After her internship, Monteleone began producing for Life Kit before returning to the TED Radio Hour team in October 2019 as a full-time producer.
Diba Mohtasham
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