Jonathan Haidt
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Jonathan Haidt

Named one of the top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, Jonathan Haidt is among the world’s top experts on the psychology of morality and politics. His work can help leaders and organizations improve their cultures, elevate their ethics, and engage their employees’ passions.
Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University—Stern School of Business and Author of New York Times Best Seller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

Expertise In:

  • American Politics
  • Communication
  • Happiness and Mindfulness
  • Ethics
  • Leadership

Audience & Industry

  • Associations
  • Board Meetings and Executive Briefings
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Corporations
  • Global Audiences

Named one of the top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, Jonathan Haidt is among the world’s top experts on the psychology of morality and politics. His work can help leaders and organizations improve their cultures, elevate their ethics, and engage their employees’ passions.

We are all so good at finding fault with others and at rebutting the faults others find in us. Our “righteous minds” lead us into endless conflicts, which damage relationships, happiness, and group cohesion. Moral psychology can therefore help almost any organization function more effectively, and Jonathan Haidt’s 30 years of groundbreaking research has illuminated the moral mind and revealed the nature of moral conflicts. Haidt reports this research in his New York Times best seller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. His most recent book was also a New York Times bestseller -- The Coddling of the American Mind, In that book Haidt explores three “great untruths” that are damaging the mental health and resilience of Gen Z (born after 1996), leading to problems on campus that are now spreading into the corporate world. In Haidt’s talks, he has helped the U.S. Military Academy improve its honor code, helped law firms improve their ability to connect with juries, helped political organizations improve their messaging, and helped many firms rethink their approach to ethics and compliance. Haidt is a professor of ethical leadership at New York University Stern School of Business. He has won four teaching awards, given four TED talks, and presented his ideas everywhere from the World Economic Forum to The Colbert Report.

Featured Videos

Jonathan Haidt's Speech Topics

Leadership in an Age of Anxiety and Polarization

Leading a company, or any group of human beings, has always been a challenge. Since 2017, that challenge has gotten much harder as political polarization coincides with the arrival of Gen Z in the workforce. Social media makes everything more explosive. And now with the pandemic and a darker economic future, good leadership is so much harder, and more vital. In this talk Haidt offers tools from social, moral, and positive psychology that can help leaders navigate political minefields, reduce internal conflicts, and maximize cooperation, trust, and growth within their organizations.

The Coddling of the American Mind (and its Implications for Companies)

From 2014 to 2017, as the millennials were replaced by members of “Gen-Z” — those born after 1996 -- a new set of moral values and practices appeared on many university campuses, first in the USA, and soon after in the UK and Canada. Safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggression training, and speaker shoutdowns (no platforming) are all part of a new campus culture which aims to keep students “safe” from words, ideas, and people that are deemed dangerous. When Gen Z began to graduate, in 2018, they brought this new mindset into the corporate world, where it is leading to increased conflict and cross-generational misunderstandings. In this talk Haidt will analyze this new moral culture, describe a set of interacting causal threads that led to its rise, and then explain why he thinks it is bad for young people's mental health. He'll also offer concrete suggestions for working with Gen Z, whether as students or employees.

Ethical Leadership

It is commonly said that good ethics is good business, but how can a leader put that advice into action—and assure shareholders that he or she is creating long-term value? Jonathan Haidt’s job as the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU Stern is to answer such questions. To do so, he became one of the founding members www.EthicalSystems.org. The researchers at that site have put their minds together to offer advice on everything from ethical leadership to reducing conflicts of interest and accounting fraud. In this talk, Haidt starts by making the business case for a strong commitment to ethics, and then shows you how you can do “ethical systems design”—you can make small changes and “nudges” that will have a big impact on ethical behavior and, in the long run, on trust, cooperation and profitability.

Finding Happiness Using Ancient Wisdom and Modern Psychology

In addition to his work in moral psychology, Jonathan Haidt is one of the leading researchers in the field of positive psychology—the scientific study of human flourishing. His first book, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, is a classic in that fieldIn this crowd-pleasing talk, Haidt lays out the ideas of the ancients on the causes of human happiness and then applies modern research to identify where the ancients were right, and where they went wrong. It turns out that happiness doesn’t just come from within, or from reducing attachments to the world, as many ancient philosophers advised. For modern people, happiness comes from deep attachments and engagements—with other people, with work and with something larger than themselves.

Politics and Polarization

Why is America so divided and politically dysfunctional? Why are American institutions and religious organizations increasingly torn apart over “culture war” issues such as gay marriage? In this talk, Jonathan Haidt shows how the moral mind is prepared and pre-structured to bind people together into teams that then go blind to the ideas and virtues of their opponents. Haidt presents his own research, based on data from over 300,000 people, to show how liberals (progressives), conservatives and libertarians construct radically different moral “matrices”—networks of values and beliefs—that lead them to radically different views on policy and social issues. This talk can be customized to focus on A) how organizations or countries can reduce moral polarization, B) how to improve political appeals across moral matrices, or C) the unique and nearly unstudied psychology and ideology of libertarians.

How to Work with Righteous Minds

Why is it so difficult to persuade people, change their minds, or otherwise get them to see things your way? Because the human mind is fundamentally intuitive, not logical. In this talk, Jonathan Haidt presents the three basic principles of moral psychology and shows how they can be used to strengthen relationships, prepare the ground for persuasion, and then persuade. Haidt offers a map of the moral mind, including his research on the six psychological foundations upon which all moral arguments must rest—care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity. He teaches you not only how to persuade others, but how to see the faults and flaws in your own views, which is necessary for moral growth.

Works by Jonathan Haidt