Arthur C. Brooks

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Bestselling Author & Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School

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Arthur C. Brooks: Biography at a Glance

  • Arthur C. Brooks is the Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School.
  • He served for ten years as president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks.
  • His book Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, co-written with Oprah Winfrey, draws on cutting-edge science and their years of helping people to show you how to improve your life right now.
  • Brooks is the author of several books, including the national bestsellers Love Your Enemies, The Conservative Heart, and From Strength to Strength
  • His bestselling book From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life explores accepting change and finding purpose. 
  • Based on his book Gross National Happiness and his documentary The Pursuit, he extracts life lessons that can immediately help us pursue happiness, forge stronger relationships, and build more meaningful lives.



Arthur C. Brooks is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in July of 2019, he served for ten years as president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks.

Brooks is the author of 12 books, including the national bestsellers Love Your EnemiesThe Conservative Heart, and From Strength to Strength. He is also a columnist for The Atlantic, host of the podcast How to Build a Happy Life with Arthur Brooks, and the subject of the documentary film The Pursuit, which Variety named one of the "Best Documentaries on Netflix." He gives more than 100 speeches per year around the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Brooks began his career as a classical French hornist, leaving college at 19, touring and recording with the Annapolis Brass Quintet and later the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In his late twenties, while still performing, he returned to school, earning a BA through distance learning at Thomas Edison State College, and then an MA in economics from Florida Atlantic University. At 31, he left music and earned an MPhil and PhD in public policy analysis from the Rand Graduate School, during which time he worked as an analyst for the Rand Corporation’s Project Air Force.

Brooks then spent 10 years as a university professor, becoming a full professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in his seventh year out of graduate school and occupying the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business and Government. During this decade, Brooks published 60 peer-reviewed articles and several books, including the textbook Social Entrepreneurship (2008).

In 2009, Brooks became the 11th president of AEI, also holding the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Free Enterprise. Under his leadership, the Institute more than doubled its annual revenues, deepened its outreach to leaders across the ideological spectrum, and expanded its research portfolio to include work on poverty, happiness, and human potential. During this period, he was selected as one of Fortune Magazine’s “50 World’s Greatest Leaders” and was awarded six honorary doctorates.

Originally from Seattle, Brooks currently lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with his wife Ester Munt-Brooks, who is a native of Barcelona. They have three children, Joaquim, Carlos, and Marina.


Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happierarrow-down

Arthur C. Brooks invites you to begin a journey toward greater happiness no matter how challenging your circumstances. Drawing on cutting-edge science and years of helping people translate ideas into action, Brooks shows you how to improve your life right now instead of waiting for the outside world to change.

With insight, compassion, and hope, Brooks reveals how the tools of emotional self-management can change your life―immediately. He recommends practical, research-based practices to build the four pillars of happiness: family, friendship, work, and faith. And along the way, he shares hard-earned wisdom from his own life and career as well as the witness of regular people whose lives are joyful despite setbacks and hardship.

Moving from Strength to Strength in Work, Life, & Happinessarrow-down

It is an almost inevitable—and, to many of us, frightening—fact that our professional abilities decline as we age. As leaders, how can we prepare for the changes that come later in life, and how can we structure our lives in a way that uncovers new strengths and leads to lasting happiness?

Blending the latest in behavioral social science research, ancient wisdom, and historical analysis, Professor Arthur Brooks will reveal how effectiveness and wellbeing at all stages of life come not from holding on to past achievements, but from cultivating new habits and a different understanding of success and fulfillment.

Leadership and Happinessarrow-down

Most people think success is the key to happiness, but they are wrong. Happiness is the key to success. According to research, to be successful in life, one should understand happiness and manage to it—our own and others’. Unfortunately, most people have to learn this fact through hard experience. Happiness expert Arthur C. Brooks believes that behind this problem lies an enormous opportunity for businesses to improve happiness practices internally, thus raising workplace engagement, facilitating recruitment, and increasing retention and productivity. Indeed, companies can establish a culture of meaning, purpose, and life satisfaction–and can thus prosper in highly-competitive labor markets where culture and quality of life are so critical.

Love Your Enemiesarrow-down

America is afflicted with a "culture of contempt," says Brooks. It is increasingly common for people to view those who disagree with them as worthless, instead of just misguided or incorrect. This is fomented by an “outrage industrial complex” in media and politics. Through ancient wisdom and cutting-edge behavioral science, Brooks provides a roadmap to the prosperity that comes when we choose to love one another – gaining strength from our differences.

Your Happiness 401karrow-down

Well-being is like a retirement account: The sooner you invest, the greater your returns will be. Exploring the expanding science of happiness, Professor Brooks shares specific investments you can make based on the best research, trends in social science, positive psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy to help people live a more purposeful life, full of long-lasting enjoyment and satisfaction.

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