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Shawn Achor

Harvard Researcher | New York Times Bestselling Author

Shawn Achor
TED Bloomington - The Happy Secret to Better Work
Shawn Achor
TED Bloomington - The Happy Secret to Better Work

Is there a connection between happiness and success? Having spent over a decade at Harvard University as the Head Teaching Fellow in Positive Psychology, Shawn Achor is the world’s leading expert on the topic. His acclaimed TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work”, has been seen by over 22 million people around the world and was named one of “the most popular talks of all time”. In his dynamic keynotes, Achor bridges the gap between happiness psychology research and what it means for the workforce and individuals alike.

Achor is the New York Times bestselling author of three books — The Happiness Advantage, Big Potential, and Before Happiness. He has worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, with clients including the NFL, the Pentagon, and the US Treasury. Achor has also traveled to 51 countries, speaking to farmers in Zimbabwe, CEOs in China, doctors in Dubai, and schoolchildren in South Africa.

In 2014, Oprah Winfrey hosted a two-hour interview with Achor on the science of happiness and meaning. His research on happiness has also made the cover of Harvard Business Review and has received attention from other top media outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, and NPR. Achor also has a lecture airing on PBS, which has been seen by millions of viewers.

Achor graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics.

Speaking topics

Presentations listed below include in-person and virtual keynotes, as well as workshops, fireside chats, and other presentation formats.

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Client reviews

  • An amazing event! It was such fun and so stimulating to have Shawn at Facebook! As we strive to help the world become more open and connected, remaining positive and grateful for meaningful and productive relationships is essential! Shawn’s ideas and research is very insightful to us as we think about our mission. Thank-you!

  • Shawn was the highlight of our entire event! Absolutely the best presenter we’ve ever seen at any conference, anywhere. He is a top-tier presenter, has undeniable content backed with data, relates to everyone on a personal level, and motivates and inspires everyone to improve themselves both at home and professionally.

  • Shawn hit it out of the park in both of his presentations. He was sandwiched between two other 20 minute presenters in the opening general session and he stole the show. The pre-event preparations were excellent, too.

  • The members and guests of MHCA were treated to a fine presentation when you keynoted our Fall Conference. When selecting our speakers, we strive to find those people whose passion will inspire our members to higher performance and personal growth. Your message certainly did  both. Clearly you have touched the heart of MHCA by describing The Happiness Advantage. Thank you so much for your message.

  • Shawn Achor spoke at our annual team meeting in 2011. Shawn is a talented and engaging speaker. He has the ability to reach his audience through a unique combination of humor and real life experiences intertwined with results from his extensive research on happiness that brings credibility and validity to his message. After a two hour presentation (on a Saturday morning nonetheless), our team still wanted to hear more! I have heard from many that they are practicing his techniques to improve both their personal lives and their success at work. His message should resonate with any individual or company that values continuous improvement and strives for peak performance.

  • Shawn Achor is an infectious speaker and can captivate an audience. He’s appearance was truly meaningful to my YPO members. I can already tell based on their responses that they have valued what he has said and are using it in their everyday lives. Thank you for making this  possible!

  • Shawn’s presentation on happiness was absolutely amazing! Funny, engaging, smart, optimistic, and practical, Shawn inspired us to shift the way that we look at the world, and to make simple yet powerful changes in our own lives. His uplifting message had a positive impact on those who attended – the feedback we’ve received has been extraordinary, and people are still talking about his presentation!


  • Harvard lecturer Shawn Achor is funny, self-depreciating, and devastating to my notions of what his field is all about. He’s got research that makes the “genes + environment + potential for success” model look like an idea only Flat Earthers could harbour. Even better, he’s got tips for how we can improve our brains. By the time he starts talking about “activation energy” and tells us we can prime our brains for enhanced achievement by doing one simple activity every day, I’m butter to his knife.

  • A short note of appreciation for the outstanding, insightful and inspirational presentation at our Senior Leadership meeting. You have an uncanny ability to modify the content to the audience, and the result is impactful.

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