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Dr. Arthur C. Brooks

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Dr. Arthur C. Brooks

"Dr. Brooks is a fascinating person – from his background as a musician to being a Harvard professor, he has so much knowledge to share. His presentation on finding happiness through work has left a lasting impact on our team."

Arthur C. Brooks is the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in July of 2019, he served for ten years as president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks.

Brooks is the author of 12 books, including the national bestsellers “Love Your Enemies” (2019) and “The Conservative Heart” (2015), as well as the forthcoming book “From Strength to Strength” to be published in February 2022. He is also a columnist for The Atlantic, host of the podcast “How to Build a Happy Life,” and subject of the 2019 documentary film “The Pursuit,” which Variety named as one of the “Best Documentaries on Netflix” in August 2019. He gives more than 100 speeches per year around the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Brooks began his career as a classical French hornist, leaving college at 19, touring and recording with the Annapolis Brass Quintet and later the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In his late twenties, while still performing, he returned to school, earning a BA through distance learning at Thomas Edison State College, and then an MA in economics from Florida Atlantic University. At 31, he left music and earned an MPhil and PhD in public policy analysis from the Rand Graduate School, during which time he worked as an analyst for the Rand Corporation’s Project Air Force.

Brooks then spent 10 years as a university professor, becoming a full professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in his seventh year out of graduate school and occupying the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business and Government. During this decade, Brooks published 60 peer-reviewed articles and several books, including the textbook “Social Entrepreneurship” (2008).

In 2009, Brooks became the 11th president of AEI, also holding the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Free Enterprise. Under his leadership, the Institute more than doubled its annual revenues, deepened its outreach to leaders across the ideological spectrum, and expanded its research portfolio to include work on poverty, happiness, and human potential. During this period, he was selected as one of Fortune Magazine’s “50 World’s Greatest Leaders” and was awarded six honorary doctorates.

Featured Videos

Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at Babson Connect 2018 – “Use your weakness to connect to other pe
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at Ted – Poverty in America
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at University of Chicago’s IOP – Motive attribution asymmetry
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Aspen Ideas Festival 2019 – A Conversation with Common and Arthur Brooks
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at SIEPR
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at United States Institute of Peace – “Show Gratitude”
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Aspen Ideas Festival 2019 – A Conversation with Common and Arthur Brooks, Video
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at University of Chicago’s IOP, Video 2
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at Talks at Google – Making People Feel Needed in Public Policy
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks Profile Photo
Dr. Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur Brooks at SIEPR, Video 2

Dr. Arthur C. Brooks’s Speech Topics

  • National Renewal and the Prescription for a Better Future

    In this age of divisive politicians, screaming heads on television, angry campus activists and twitter trolls, Arthur Brooks warns there is an “outrage industrial complex,” that profits by setting American against American.

    “It turns out most of what we 'know' about the other side is wrong,” he says.


    Public leaders and ordinary citizens alike are wondering how we can fight back against the bitterness and contempt washing over America. Conventional wisdom suggests that we need less disagreement, but Brooks recommends better, more loving disagreement.


    It's not that we shouldn't disagree, Brooks says. “On the contrary, we shouldn't agree with each other, because we have a competition of ideas. That's a good thing.”


    Drawing on history, cutting-edge social science, and a decade of experience leading one of the nation's preeminent think tanks, Brooks shows that the country needs more love – not the mushy sentiment, but a commitment to the good of our fellow citizens.


    Audiences will take home tangible lessons on how they can become healers in our nation, as well as happier people overall. 

  • The Pursuit of Happiness and True Success

    How can you build a life that results in genuine human flourishing? How does happiness ordinarily change over a lifetime and how can we get happier as we age?


    Arthur Brooks reveals the answers to these questions by exploring together the advances in behavioral economics and social psychology, ancient wisdom, and art and music.


    Based on his book Gross National Happiness and his documentary “The Pursuit,” he extracts life lessons that can immediately help us pursue happiness, forge stronger relationships, and build more meaningful lives.


    “To pursue the happiness within our reach, we do best to pour ourselves into faith, family, community and meaningful work,” Brooks says. “Further, we need to share it with others with joy and confidence.”


    Audiences will take home tangible lessons on how they can be happier and more successful people – starting today. 


  • Moving from Strength to Strength in Work, Life, & Happiness

    It is an almost inevitable—and, to many of us, frightening—fact that our professional abilities decline as we age. As leaders, 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, Professor Arthur Brooks will reveal 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.

  • Aspirational Leadership: How Good Leaders Become Great

    Organizational success begins with better leadership. So how can we become better leaders?


    From more effective communication and self-management to risk-taking, Arthur Brooks lays out a series of practical strategies that can help each of us develop healthier leadership practices.


    Relying on a quarter-century of academic study of entrepreneurship and ten years of management experience at the helm of one of the nation's leading public policy institutions, he shows that by looking in unexpected places and embracing unconventional ideas, we can all become better leaders – and better servants – to those placed in our care.


    Those in attendance will learn valuable lessons on how to become more effective and successful leaders, who aspire to be authoritative – not authoritarian – in their efforts.


    “Coercive leadership is a surrender to misery,” says Brooks. “A real solution to our problems, one that lasts and works for us all, is authoritative leadership.”


    “While coercive leaders drive people away by belittling and blaming, authoritative leaders garner their support by offering encouragement and trust,” he continues. “They foster a culture that affirms each team member's importance to the work being done, and in doing so convince individuals to invest deeply in the long-term prosperity of the organization.”

What other organizations say about Dr. Arthur C. Brooks

Dr. Brooks is a fascinating person – from his background as a musician to being a Harvard professor, he has so much knowledge to share. His presentation on finding happiness through work has left a lasting impact on our team.

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