Brigid Schulte

Speech Topics

In an increasingly complex knowledge economy, doing the best work will require making time for creativity, innovation and the next big idea. Instead, knowledge workers have no time to think – they face constant interruptions, about every three minutes, and information overload. Many workplaces most value face time warriors, who put in long hours at the office. Yet that overwork culture is leading to burn out, stress, sickness and disengagement. Drawing on stories and case studies from her reporting and on research, from neuroscience to behavioral economics, Brigid shows how transforming that outdated work culture, focusing on mission, performance, flexibility and healthy, happy workers, not only leads to better work, but to time for a better life.



The Harvard psychologist Erik Erikson said the richest and fullest lives make time for the three great arenas of life: Work. Love. And Play. Today, many of us are caught up in a swirl of Overwhelm: Americans work among the longest hours of any advanced economy. We value busyness as a badge of honor, are still shaped by the power of outdated traditional gender roles, and see leisure time as silly and unproductive. But is all that time and attention we’re pouring into work really ensuring the best and most innovative work? Much less a rich, fair, healthy and full life? Brigid lays out the case for why Americans are the most anxious and overwhelmed people on earth, what that’s costing us as individuals, families, communities, as businesses and economically, and, more importantly, what we can do about it, and why play and leisure time is essential for our health and is the wellspring of creativity and innovation. Drawing on her extensive research for her book and in her role as director of The Better Life Lab at New America, Brigid uses stories and data to show Bright Spots where things are already shifting, and shares personal mastery skills to make time feel less scattered, and life more authentic, with time for effective, meaningful work, for love, and for play.


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Brigid Schulte is Founding Director of The Good Life Initiative at the nonpartisan think tank, New America, and serves as Director of the Better Life Lab, working to transform policy, practice, and culture so that people and families have the opportunity to live their best lives at work and at home. She speaks worldwide on redesigning work cultures, reimagining gender roles for a fairer division of labor and opportunity, and recapturing the value of leisure.

Schulte is the author of The New York Times bestseller Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, named a Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year by The Washington Post and NPR, and a 2014 Good Reads Finalist for Best Business Book.

A member of The Washington Post team that won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize, she writes widely for publications including Slate, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and others, and is a frequent television and radio guest.

Schulte holds an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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