Shawn Achor

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Shawn Achor
Shawn Achor.JPG
Born Waco, Texas
Education BA, Harvard University
MA, Harvard Divinity School
Occupation Business consultant, psychological researcher, author, and presenter
Organization GoodThinkInc., Institute of Applied Positive Research
Known for Positive Psychology, finding success through happiness
Notable work(s) The Happiness Advantage, The Orange Frog, Before Happiness

Shawn Achor is an American educator, author, and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology. He is best known for his research reversing the formula of success leading to happiness—his research shows that happiness in fact leads to success. Achor spent 12 years studying what makes people happy at Harvard University.[1] He later authored The Happiness Advantage[2] and founded the Institute of Positive Research and GoodThinkInc.[3] His TEDx talk "The Happy Secret to Better Work"[4] is one of the 20-most viewed TED talks. Shawn is frequently sought out by media outlets as an expert on the topic of happiness and productivity.


Achor graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and went on to receive a Master of Arts from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist Ethics.


Achor spent 12 years at Harvard University studying what makes people happy, including work as teaching assistant for Tal Ben-Shahar's popular "Happiness" course.

In 2007, Achor founded GoodThinkInc.(GoodThink), [5] and then later founded The Institute for Applied Positive Research with Michelle Gielan, in order to bring his empirical research on the effects of happiness to a wider audience. The company offers consultancy services, seminars, and presentations that utilize scientific research in positive psychology to improve work performance.[3] The team consists of researchers, speakers, and trainers, who deliver information to organizations internationally.[3]

Achor has taken his message of "The Happy Secret to Better Work" and then The Happiness Advantange to many media outlets, including a presentation at TED,[6] a PBS special,[7] and numerous interviews and guest columns on influential news and blog sites.[8][9][10][11]

His most recent book is Before Happiness, published by Crown in September 2013.[12] This book features research that Achor conducted with Ali Crum and Peter Salovey at Yale University at the large Swiss bank UBS, which was published in the top psychology journal[13] (The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) providing evidence that changing one's mindset about stress changes the physical effects of stress.

Shawn advises several projects related to spreading happiness, including BetterUP, an online training community where members are coached by experts to realize their full potential at work.

His work has been licensed in partnership with the International Thought Leadership Network—in development of a business parable and workshop called The Orange Frog. An interactive online course based on his first book The Happiness Advantage was developed in partnership with leading the cloud-based, social learning platform, CorpU. His work has also been turned into cutting-edge science-based games and activities at Happify.


  1. ^ Kaminer, Ariel (20 April 2012). "Returning to College, Without the Beer". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Achor, Shawn (2010). The Happiness Advantage. Random House. ISBN 9780307591562. 
  3. ^ a b c "About Us". Good Think, Inc. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  4. ^ TEDx talk
  5. ^ Schawbel, Dan (9/10/2013). "Shawn Achor: What You Need To Do Before Experiencing Happiness - Forbes". Retrieved 2014-05-26. 
  6. ^ "Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work". TED. May 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Happiness Advantage". KBTC-TV. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Achor, Shawn (27 August 2012). "Achieving Happiness Despite Everyday Challenges". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Achor, Shawn (19 March 2012). "Is happiness the secret of success?". CNN. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Achor, Shawn (January 2012). "Positive Intelligence". Harvard Business Review. 
  11. ^ Goudreau, Jenna (28 October 2012). "Seven Steps To Happiness At Work". Forbes. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Achor, Shawn. Before Happiness. Crown Publishing Group. New York, NY. 2013
  13. ^ Crum, Alia, Peter Salovey, and Shawn Achor. "Rethinking Stress: The Role of Mindsets in Determining the Stress Response." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 104, no. 4 (2013): 716-733.