The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

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Many of the barriers you're facing are subjective. You can get unstuck—and unlock radical creativity, innovation, and teamwork.

New York Times Bestselling Author of Drunk Tank Pink and Anatomy of a Breakthrough | NYU Marketing Professor

Adam Alter | New York Times Bestselling Author of Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible
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Feeling Stuck? That’s When You Get Your Best Ideas (2:39)

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The Three Kinds of People You Need on Every Team (3:30)

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The “Explore, Then Exploit” Method for Getting Unstuck (4:24)

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Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy (9:30)

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Everybody gets “stuck,” whether at home or at work, in big or little ways. But Adam Alter says that getting stuck isn’t a bug in the human condition: it’s a feature. Getting unstuck is what enables us to unleash our full creative potential and achieve our long-term goals. A New York Times bestselling author and NYU marketing professor, Adam draws on his new book, Anatomy of a Breakthrough, to show us the many research-based strategies he’s found to get through stasis. He’ll show you why you need to build diverse teams by making room for “black sheep,” how so many of the barriers you’re facing are entirely subjective (which means you can do more than you think you can), and much more. Whether you’re facing obstacles at work or looking to unlock revolutionary innovation, Adam’s smart, practical talks will help you and your team get unstuck. “There’s a solution,” Adam says. “Breakthroughs are around the corner.”

“[Anatomy of a Breakthrough is] as captivating as it is constructive. Adam Alter demystifies the science and practice of uncovering motivation, unlocking creativity, and unleashing change.”Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

We can learn more about resilience, teamwork, and innovation when we get stuck than when we don’t, says Adam Alter. In his newest book Anatomy of a Breakthrough, Adam draws on his academic background in psychology and behavioral science to look at case studies of people who’ve gotten stuck, and how they broke through that stasis to achieve great things—like the sub-average swimmer who became a two-time Olympic medalist, or the renowned painter who became paralyzed and relearned to paint with a brush strapped to his wrist.

In his New York Times bestseller Drunk Tank Pink, Adam offered a revelatory look at how our environment unconsciously, yet dramatically, shapes the decisions we make. Rather than being in control of every single one of our choices, we’re powerfully influenced by a laundry list of external forces, often without ever realizing it. A marketing and psychology professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Adam reminds us that while our decisions do change, they often change for shorter periods than we anticipate. So what aspects of our lives right now will stick in the future? In brilliant, psychology-informed talks, he shows us how we can navigate shifting experiences, both inside the workplace and out, and increase our productivity, happiness, and fulfillment moving forward.

“Alter not only explains the source of many cognitive quirks, but convincingly argues that comprehending them affords a better understanding of broader behaviors, from cyclical poverty to altruism.”Publishers Weekly

Adam is also the author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, a groundbreaking study on why tech-based products and experiences are so hard to ignore (or put down). Our obsessions with platforms like Netflix or TikTok are no accident, but the result of careful work by tech companies and marketers. Adam reverse-engineers behavioral addiction, explaining how we can harness addictive products for the good: meaning better savings, improved communications, and clearer boundaries between work and play, pleasure and business. He has shared his insights on the TED mainstage, delivering a talk so popular—one of the top ten of the year—that he was invited back a second time.

Aside from his bestselling books, Adam has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, WIRED, and Slate, among other publications. He has shared his ideas at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and with dozens of companies, including Google, Microsoft, Anheuser Busch, Prudential, and Fidelity, as well as with design and ad agencies around the world.

In addition to his position at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Adam has an affiliated appointment with the University’s Psychology Department. He won both the faculty-voted and MBA student-voted Stern Professor of the Year Awards in 2020. He currently sits on the World Economic Forum steering committee, a board dedicated to investigating the risks and benefits of emerging augmented reality technologies. Adam received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of New South Wales and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton University, where he held the Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Dissertation Fellowship and a Fellowship in the Woodrow Wilson Society of Scholars.


Adam Alter was engaging across demographics: from High School to Med School to the community at large. His message resonated. His delivery is endearing, informative, and engaging. His topic is critically important and his approach is informed, balanced, empowering, and relatable. From an event planning perspective, Adam was a sincere pleasure to work with.

University of Nevada—Reno, Division of Health Sciences

Our experience with Lavin and with Adam was once again, excellent. We've had very strong feedback from the audience on the keynote, and Adam was a dream to work with prior to and at the event. He was very generous with his time in advance of the event in making sure that he understood the audience, which is critical.

International Retail Design Conference

Adam was amazing as the closing keynote for the GMAC conference in San Francisco! He clearly heard us during our prep call and incorporated what we talked about in his presentation. His talk was not only interesting, engaging, and fun, it was completely relevant to our audience. It was the perfect way to close out the week and send people back to their offices with tips they can implement immediately. He was a delight to work with and I will definitely keep him in mind for future speaking engagements.

Graduate Management Admission Council

Speech Topics

Anatomy of a BreakthroughHow to Get Unstuck at Work, at Home, and at Play

Feeling stuck? You’re not alone. Almost everyone feels stuck in some way, unable to push past some kind of roadblock. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Bestselling author Adam Alter has spent the past two decades studying the forces that keep us stuck—and how we can free ourselves to thrive. He says that most of the barriers we face are subjective, which means we have everything we need to get unstuck and push through to success.

In this ground-breaking talk, Adam draws on his new book Anatomy of a Breakthrough to weave together scientific studies, anecdotes, and interviews to teach us how to get unstuck from whatever’s holding us back. He reveals the formula that he and other researchers have uncovered: called the “friction audit,” the process helps you figure out why you (or your organization) are stuck, then suggests a path to progress by overcoming the three kinds of frictions (head, heart, and habit), so you can find the breakthrough that’s just around the corner. Full of practical strategies that you can put into play on your own or as a team—like sacrificing in the short-term for long-term gains, or taking challenges as a signal that you’re moving beyond the easy wins—this talk is a must-listen for anyone interested in innovation and high achievement.

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IrresistibleWhat Distinguishes the Irresistible from the Forgettable?

Why do people return to some ideas, products, experiences, and brands over and over again, while others fade from memory and interest almost immediately? In his new book on behavioral addiction, Adam Alter investigates what separates the irresistible from the forgettable. The answers draw from a broad range of case studies and research—from as far afield as the world of video game design and television script writing to app design and digital advertising. The answers apply broadly to all forms of business, from online and digital product development to consumer sales, packaged goods, services, politics, medicine, and law. Why, for example, did Instagram succeed while Hipstamatic, a very similar earlier app, failed? Why do people play the lottery despite losing time and again and facing impossibly long odds? Should you release upbeat products when the economy is thriving or when times are tough? Adam answers these questions and more in a keynote that explains the sharp divide between the instant sensation and the forgotten disaster.

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Consumer Behavior
Drunk Tank PinkThe Unexpected Forces That Shape Our Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors

Even the smallest environmental cues affect our behavior. The world around us—the weather, colors, geography and location—affects our moods and social interactions. Adam Alter offers a groundbreaking look into the complex relationship between environmental features and our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Humans respond emotionally, physically, and mentally to the shifting world around them. The names we assign, the language we use, and the symbols and images we deploy all affect how we behave as well.

Adam examines it all, delivering a fascinating overview of why we do what we do. He breaks down our cognitive responses to external influences, showing the effects that are driven by small cues. How are these cues cognitively processed? Where do they reside in our consciousness? Adam offers thoughts on how leaders, policymakers, and smarter organizations can change conditions, and create more cognitively healthy environments—and healthier human beings.

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Featured Books

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