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Arthur C. Brooks

Harvard professor, PhD social scientist, #1 New York Times-bestselling author

  • About Arthur C. Brooks

    Arthur C. Brooks is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Public and Nonprofit Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches courses on leadership, happiness, and social entrepreneurship. Brooks has written 13 books, many of them #1 New York Times bestsellers, including From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life and Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, which he co-authored with Oprah Winfrey. He writes the popular “How to Build a Life” column at The Atlantic.

    Blending academic rigor, wit, and strategic insight, Brooks speaks to audiences all around the world about human happiness and works to raise well-being within private companies, universities, public agencies, and community organizations. Brooks’ approach is evidence-based and data-driven, combining behavioral science and neuroscience research with philosophy and wisdom traditions.

    In Build the Life You Want, Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey invite readers to begin a journey toward greater happiness no matter how challenging the circumstances. Drawing on cutting-edge science and their years of helping people translate ideas into action, they reveal how the tools of emotional self-management can help people change their lives.

    The bestseller From Strength to Strength is a practical roadmap born out of a seven-year journey that Brooks embarked on at the height of his career. At age 50, Brooks set out to discover how to transform his future from one of disappointment over waning abilities into an opportunity for progress. In From Strength to Strength, he explains how we can increase our happiness as we age by refocusing on certain priorities and habits that anyone can learn, such as deep wisdom, detachment from empty rewards, spiritual progress, and connection and service to others.

    In his 2019 bestseller Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt, Brooks explores America’s divisive political and social landscape. Through engaging anecdotes, research findings, and thoughtful analysis, he argues for the importance of dialogue, compassion, and respect in bridging the gap between opposing viewpoints.

    Brooks began his career as a classical French hornist, leaving college at 19 to tour and record in the United States and Spain. In his late twenties, while still performing, he returned to school, earning a BA through distance learning. At 31, Brooks left music and earned an MPhil and PhD in public policy analysis from the Rand Graduate School. During that time, he also worked as an analyst for the Rand Corporation’s Project Air Force, performing military operations research analysis. Brooks then spent the next 10 years as a university professor, primarily at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and nonprofit management, and published 60 peer-reviewed articles and several books, including the textbook “Social Entrepreneurship” (2008). In 2009, Brooks became the president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC, one of the world’s most influential think tanks. Over the following decade, he was selected as one of Fortune Magazine’s “50 World’s Greatest Leaders” and was awarded seven honorary doctorates.

    Contact us to learn more about bringing Arthur C. Brooks to speak to your organization.

  • Speaking Topics

    How to Get Happier in an Unhappy World

    The evidence is clear: in almost every country, happiness is falling. It is easy to get dragged down when around us, loneliness is increasing, relationships are harder to form, and political polarization is on the rise. But we can beat this current by understanding the fundamentals of happiness science, practicing it each day, and sharing it with others.

    Moving from Strength to Strength in Work, Life, and Happiness

    Our skills and interests naturally change as we age—a fact that can be difficult and frightening for many “strivers.” 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, Arthur C. Brooks reveals 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.

    Strategies for Leaders to Foster a Culture of Happiness

    In this inspiring keynote, Arthur C. Brooks, renowned scholar and expert in happiness and leadership, unveils the key strategies leaders can employ to build cultures of workplace happiness. Leaders often fail when they neglect to prioritize the well-being of their employees, leading to burnout and decreased productivity. However, research indicates that investing in employee happiness is not at odds with achieving profitability; in fact, happier employees contribute to higher firm performance.

    Brooks emphasizes the importance of demonstrating to employees how their work serves others and the broader organization. He talks about how leaders must lead by example, prioritizing their own happiness and well-being to create a culture of positivity in the workplace. He also looks at the role of leaders as both passive and active teachers, blending authoritative leadership with coaching to inspire employees to align with the company's mission.

    Campus Talk: Friendship, Connection and Meaning

    A paradox of modern life is that just as technology has made the world smaller, people struggle for deep connection. In this honest and personal talk, Arthur C. Brooks engages undergraduates, graduate students, or faculty members in a meaningful conversation about community. Blending the latest in behavioral social science and cutting edge research, he inspires audiences to navigate the complexities of campus life, cultivate resilience, and forge paths to personal and professional fulfillment in a way that all students can understand.

  • Video

  • Praise for Arthur C. Brooks


    Arthur Brooks is one of my very favorite thinkers. Witty, wise, and insatiably curious, he is one of the few intellectuals who can reliably weave scientific research and everyday observations into what we all really need: succinct advice for a good life.

    Angela Duckworth, Founder and CEO of Character Lab and author of Grit

    Praise for From Strength to Strength

    From Strength to Strength offers real answers to timeless questions about happiness and progress: How can I be happier? How can I have more meaning in life? What is the most important thing to me right now and why?

    Eric Schmidt, former chairman and CEO of Google

    To the overachievers, success addicts, and tired strivers who are fairly confident you can’t keep it up forever but will try anyway—this book is for you. Arthur Brooks shows you it’s possible to build a life that really does get better with age.

    Simon Sinek, optimist and author of Start with Why and The Infinite Game
  • Books by Arthur C. Brooks

  • Media About Arthur C. Brooks

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Arthur C. Brooks travels from Boston, MA

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