Shawn Achor

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Best-Selling Author of "Big Potential,"  "The Happiness Advantage" & "Before Happiness"

    Bestselling Authors
    TED Speakers
    Thought Leaders

    Shawn Achor: Biography at a Glance

    • A leading expert on the connection between happiness and success
    • The New York Times Best-Selling Author of "Big Potential,"  "The Happiness Advantage" & "Before Happiness"
    • Presented one of the most popular TEDx Talks of all time, garnering over 13 million views
    • Founded GoodThink, which employs a team of researchers, speakers and trainers to share evidence-based research around the world


    Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard. Shawn has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. His research on happiness made the cover of Harvard Business Review, his TED talk is one of the most popular all-time with over 11 million views, and millions have seen his lecture airing on PBS. Shawn teaches for the Advanced Management Program at Wharton Business School, and collaborates on research with Yale and Columbia University.

    In 2007, Shawn founded GoodThink Inc. to share his research with the world. Subsequently, Shawn has lectured or researched in more than 50 countries, speaking to CEOs in China, school children in South Africa, doctors in Dubai, and farmers in Zimbabwe. He has spoken to the Royal Family in Abu Dhabi, doctors at St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and worked with the U.S. Department of Health to promote happiness. In 2012, Shawn helped lead the Everyday Matters campaign with the National MS Society and Genzyme to show how happiness remains a choice for those struggling with a chronic illness.

    Shawn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. For seven years, Shawn also served as an Officer of Harvard, living in Harvard Yard and counseling students through the stresses of their first year. Though he now travels extensively for his work, Shawn continues to conduct original psychology research on happiness and organizational achievement in collaboration with Yale University and the Institute for Applied Positive Research.

    Shawn is the author of New York Times best‐selling books Big Potential (2018), The Happiness Advantage (2010) and Before Happiness (2013) as well as Ripple’s Effect and The Orange Frog. He is featured in PBS’s The Happiness Advantage with Shawn Achor special.


    The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performancearrow-down

    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. Based on his new book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn 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.

    Before Happiness: Linking Positive Brains to Performancearrow-down

    What is more important than IQ and emotional intelligence combined? Based on the research in Before Happiness, Shawn takes us to the beginning of human potential to explain why some people are able to make great changes while others remain the same. Audiences leave with five clear, practical takeaways, which can immediately start to transform their life, raising both happiness and success rates. In this program, participants will learn how to navigate multiple realities at work, cancel internal and external noise, add vantage points to planning, use success accelerants to speed goal completion and use meaning markers to spread positive genius throughout a team, family and an entire organization.

    Positive Leadership: Restoring a Culture of Confidencearrow-down

    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, Shawn provides practical applications for raising the belief that individual behavior matters and helping leaders to keep teams motivated and engaged.

    The Ripple Effect: How to Make Positive Change Easierarrow-down

    Common sense is not common action. Shawn's research in the field of positive psychology has revealed how changes in our own brain due to mindset and behavior can have a positive ripple effect on a team and an entire organization. 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.


    Shawn was excellent. I expected him to be good, but he was a complete home run. Better than I even hoped. Thanks again!

    Relativity Fest

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