Contact Daniel For Booking

Daniel Lerner

Do what you’re truly, harmoniously passionate about, and define your own ideas of success.

Instructor of NYU’s “The Science of Happiness” | Author of U Thrive

Contact Daniel For Booking
Daniel Lerner | Instructor of NYU’s “The Science of Happiness” | Author of U Thrive
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

When do happiness and success coexist? That depends how you define success, says speaker Daniel Lerner. Instructor of The Science of Happiness, the largest and most popular course at New York University, and author of U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life), Lerner integrates the fields of positive and performance psychology to determine how people can both accomplish and live well. With cutting-edge research into how executives, artists, and athletes perform at their peak, overcoming anxiety both at work and at home, Lerner’s talks teach us to achieve greatness through balance, rediscover our core strengths, and find meaning in our work—whether we’re lawyers, entrepreneurs, or opera singers.  

U Thrive is full of the insights and practical tips I wish I’d had as an undergraduate. It’s a user’s guide to the mind and body, written for young adults on the cusp of mastering both!”

Angela Duckworth, Author of Grit

“Ask yourself a few key questions,” suggests Lerner, “When do I feel like I am at my very best? What am I truly passionate about? How does the work that I do help other people?” Whether your answers relate to office or home, the odds are that you will find consistent themes, and whatever they are, the more clearly you can articulate them, the closer you are to turning your dreams into realities. Lerner asks questions that only you can answer, and his keynotes provide the structure to turn these answers into action and results. In his talks, Lerner integrates storytelling, humor, and science, inviting audiences to apply his teachings into their lives with immediate benefit.  


Lerner is a frequent consultant for companies like Deutsche Bank, Oppenheimer Funds, UBS Switzerland, and, where he works with staff ranging from new hires, to high potentials, to senior executives, optimizing opportunities for them as individuals and for the firm as a whole. 

Following a decade at International Creative Management (where he specialized in the representation and development of young performers) and at 21C Media Group (where he was a co-founder and the director of artist development), Lerner studied closely with renowned sports psychologist Dr. Nathaniel Zinsser—a Director of The Center for Enhanced Performance at the United States Military Academy at West Point—focusing on coaching and performance enhancement techniques employed by professional and Olympic athletes. He holds a Masters from and is on the teaching staff for the graduate program  in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. 


“Outstanding. Wonderful. One of my former board members was in tears, came up to me, took my hands, and said, ‘Les, he changed my life.’”

ACC New Jersey

“We had students fill out an evaluation on the conference, and I think two quotations that overall summed up the group were: ‘Loved Dan Lerner!!! Absolutely astounding, intriguing and very approachable; will continue conversation [with him] after this!’ and ‘Bring Dan Lerner back!’ Mr. Lerner was a joy to have on campus. We appreciated the effort he put in the conference to call us and tailor his expertise to our needs, which extended to his arrival when he immediately took interest in our students. It was clear that Dan finds true joy and passion in helping students and many benefited from that this past weekend.”

Purdue University

“Dan is electric! When he speaks, people tune in like the world is on pause. In the 10 years that I have known Dan he has done speaking engagements for my wealth management practice, to clients and referral sources, and for my alumni association (University of Maryland). The responses that I receive after each and every event are beyond positive … they are uniquely exceptional.”

Oppenheimer Funds

“Last year I attended the Good Life Project Immersion Program run by Jonathan Fields, and Dan was a member of his faculty. We connected not only because we both love sports but also how we both are interested in helping people discover what lights them up and to live from that place. He has a rich background on so many topics, but what I love about Dan is how he delivers his sessions. They are full of real life scenarios, current research and funny stories. I am not surprised his class at NYU, ‘The Science of Happiness’ is one of the most popular on campus! When you see Dan teach, you immediately sense his intelligence, intellectually AND emotionally. He has worked with corporate executives, elite musicians, and athletes on how to enhance their performance and use positive psychology to build and sustain success. Dan knows how to help people move toward excellence.”

True North Sports

“When I was connected to Daniel Lerner through a professor in the UPenn Master of Applied Psychology Program, I didn’t realize how lucky I was. I had been looking for a speaker for a Penn mindful leadership retreat, and Daniel ticked all the boxes for relevant topics: excellence, positive psychology, and goal-setting. Daniel takes the stage with an optimism and passion that is evident in both his subject area and personality. His presentation was ranked the highest by far from our participants, and the rave reviews I received afterwards about him were endless. By not only explaining the psychology, but also posing thought-provoking questions, Daniel made sure the speech was interactive and reflective rather than simply passive. We have asked Daniel to come back to our next retreat as a featured speaker, and I hope we can continue to welcome him there!”

University of Pennsylvania/Wharton School

Speech Topics

Passionately Successful Making the Most of Ambition and Happiness

Cutting edge science now shows that when we pursue our passions in the correct way, we can realize the highest levels of personal and professional success.


In this talk, Daniel Lerner defines two types of passion: harmonious, and obsessive. When you’re harmoniously passionate, you not only love what you do, but you are more focused, energetic, and productive, and live a far more fulfilling life. Conversely, obsessive passions are marked by a compulsive, dogged pursuit of achievement, leading to guilt, shame, pessimism, unhappiness, and, far too often, early burnout. 


Drawing on a diverse cast of iconic cultural figures—from Richard Branson to Ellen DeGeneres, Nelson Mandela to Kanye West—Lerner illuminates the difference between healthy and dangerous passions, how and why to ignite, explore, and stoke your healthy ones, and even how to find passion in work that you may have given up as passionless long ago. And if you’ve fallen into patterns of blind obsession, Lerner helps you transition out. Ultimately, this keynote is a fiery, fun, and practical primer on how to live a successfully passionate (and passionately successful!) life.

Beyond Words How Great Achievers Realize Their Unique Potential

How can you bring your best self—your intrinsic talents, your truest voice—to all that you do, at work and in life? You work hard, you strive for engagement. But you may still feel your core strengths don’t align with the work you do. You wouldn’t be alone. For too many of us, our best selves—our most creative, unique, and engaged selves—can seem removed from the work we do. That’s a missed opportunity for workers, for leaders, and for companies. How, then, can organizations help employees realize their utmost potential? Enter Dan Lerner, the teacher behind NYU’s ecstatically popular Science of Happiness class. In this bold new talk, Lerner weaves illuminating examples—from Walt Whitman to Beyonce, from Bruce Lee to Richard Branson, from Hamilton to Maya Angelou, from business leaders to his own family—in order to help you rethink success, fulfilment, and the contribution you can make. With each carefully interlocking story, Lerner reveals how personal expression, artistic or otherwise, led to excellence—and how this in turn changed everything around them. Perfect for individuals, teams, and organizations, this unforgettable talk is about what happens when you transcend limitations and embrace—for the benefit and betterment of those around you—your truest potential. 

Thriving in College Achieving Success in School and Beyond
For many students, the college experience has shifted from four years of thriving to a harrowing journey merely to survive. Rates of depression and anxiety among students are skyrocketing, expectations and competition are more intense than ever, and with online distractions and social media providing entirely new obstacles, today’s campus is markedly different from that of yesterday. 

Featuring highlights from Daniel Lerner’s popular NYU class “The Science of Happiness” (the largest non-101 at the university), this talk will help students make the best of these crucial four years, both inside and outside of the classroom (and offers parents key tips to helping this happen, as well). Fast-paced, engaging, interactive, and immediately applicable, Lerner shares with audiences how to cultivate greater optimism, resilience, willpower, and better relationships. He also reveals the science behind why positive thinking can lead to better grades, a more satisfying social experience, better levels of performance on the stage, field, and in the classroom, and even higher post-grad salaries.

Touching on key aspects of the post-secondary experience—roommates, dating, diet, work, exercise, sleep, study habits, grit, and passion—this talk will help students and parents understand the habits that can get today’s co-eds out of the mode of merely ‘surviving,’ and into that of ‘thriving’—in both college and beyond. This is the talk graduates wish they could have heard while still in school. With the science of positivity, Lerner is changing the way students see school for good.