Shawn Achor

Speech Topics

The typical formula, “If you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy,” is scientifically backward. By researching top performers at Harvard, the world’s largest banks, and Fortune 500 companies, Shawn Achor discovered patterns which create a happiness advantage for positive outliers–the highest performers at the company. Based on his best-selling book, The Happiness Advantage, Achor outlines practical applications for reaping the Happiness Advantage in the midst of change and challenge.

When the economic collapse began, the world’s largest banks called in Shawn Achor to restore confidence and forward progress. Shawn researched those managers and teams who maintained high levels of success and leadership during the challenge. 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.

Achor’s research in the field of positive psychology has revealed how changes in our own brain caused by 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 discover the latest scientific research on brain activity 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.


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Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures in the most popular class at Harvard. In 2009 alone, Shawn was invited to lecture in 36 different countries on how positive psychology can raise happiness and performance. His work received attention in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes and BusinessWeek. Shawn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. In 2006, he served as Head Teaching Fellow with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar of “Positive Psychology,” a class that enrolled 1 out of every 7 Harvard undergraduates. For seven years, Shawn served as an Officer of Harvard, living in Harvard Yard studying and counseling Harvard students. Shawn now travels around the world giving talks on this research. When the economy collapsed, the world’s largest banks sent Shawn on a tour of banking crisis centers to restore confidence and forward progress. He has worked with doctors in Dubai, farmers in Zimbabwe, CEOs in Hong Kong and students in South Africa. Shawn is the author of The Happiness Advantage: How Positive Brains Raise Performance and Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness and Sustaining Positive Change (September 2013), which provides actionable, proven strategies for attaining a positive lens in order to accomplish your personal and professional goals.

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