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Shawn Achor | CEO of Good Think | New York Times Bestselling Author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential

Our culture frequently tells us that working hard will lead to success, and therefore, happiness. But what if we’re approaching everything backwards? A leader in the field of positive psychology and New York Times bestselling author, Shawn Achor tells us we need to reverse the formula. Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Having spoken to the NBA, the White House, and leaders from countless Fortune 100 companies, Achor shows us how to leverage positive psychology to shift mindset, empower teams, and fuel results.


At consulting firm Good Think Inc., Shawn Achor researches positive outliers—people who are well above average—to understand where human potential, success, and happiness intersect. Based on his vanguard research and 12 years at Harvard, Achor shows organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into successful cultures. His Happiness Advantage training, based on his book of the same name, is one of the largest and most successful positive psychology corporate training programs in the world. In his highly anticipated follow-up book Big Potential, Achor shows us how to unlock potential in ourselves by learning, connecting, and relating to each other. Rather than fighting over the pie, Achor shows us how we can expand the pie—dramatically shifting our understanding of work, performance, and success. With natural charisma and good humor, Achor brings his academic research to life, showing us how to reap the benefits of investing in one of the greatest predictors to success—our social network.


Achor’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, and NPR, and his research on mindset landed the cover feature of the Harvard Business Review.  His TED talk is one of the most popular of all time with over 13 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions. Achor holds a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics.


Speech Topics

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 book, The Happiness Advantage, Achor shows us how practically applied positivity can improve performance, maximize potential, and help us gain a comepetitive edge.

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.

Change Management
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.