Shawn Achor

Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.

Author of The Happiness Advantage

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Shawn Achor | Author of The Happiness Advantage

Happiness speaker Shawn Achor teaches the most popular class at Harvard—a class on positive psychology. Achor has earned over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at the university, and is the CEO of Good Think, Inc. On stage, he shows us emphatically that it’s possible to change not only our happiness, but also, and consequently, the way we view education, business, and personal growth.

 

At Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm, Shawn Achor researches positive outliers—people who are well above average—to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Achor believes that “research should be lived” and strives to disseminate the leading happiness research to others. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, Achor clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. He is the author of New York Times bestselling books The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work and Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change. He has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, and NPR.

 

Achor holds a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics.

Speech Topics

Psychology
Peak Performance The Happiness Advantage—Linking Positive Brains to Performance

Most companies and schools follow this formula: if you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy. This formula is scientifically backward. A decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work first actually fuels greater success second. In fact, 75% of our job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by your optimism, social support network, and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way. By researching top performers at Harvard, the world's largest banks, and Fortune 500 companies, Shawn Achor discovered patterns that create a happiness advantage for positive outliers—the highest performers at a company. Based on his new book, The Happiness Advantage (from Random House), Achor explains what positive psychology is, how much we can change, and practical applications for reaping the Happiness Advantage in the midst of change and challenge.

Leadership
Leadership Positive Leadership—Restoring a Culture of Confidence

Confidence, trust, and job satisfaction are at historic lows. When the economic collapse began, the world’s largest banks called in Shawn Achor to research how to restore confidence and forward progress. While many managers succumb to helplessness, with their teams and clients quickly following suit, Achor researched those who maintained high levels of success and leadership during the challenge. He found that our brains create confidence based on the belief that our behavior matters to the outcome we desire. To develop this trust, we must create “wins” for our brain necessary to overcome learned helplessness and must train our brains for rational optimism. Based on the science of positive psychology and case studies of working with companies in the midst of an economic collapse, Achor provides practical applications for raising the belief that individual behavior matters and helping leaders to keep teams motivated and engaged.

Managing Change The Ripple Effect—How to Make Positive Change Easier

Common sense is not common action. This is because information does not necessarily cause transformation because we require a certain level of “activation energy” to start a change. Shawn Achor’s research in the field of positive psychology has revealed how changes in our own brain due to mindset and behavior can have a ripple effect to a team and an entire organization. This positive ripple effect can create a more productive, positive work culture making positive change easier. Audiences will learn about the latest scientific research on mirror neurons and mental priming to explain how positivity and negativity spread, case studies on how to become a lightning rod for change, and findings on how a positive ripple effect profoundly affects an organization’s ability to transition and change.