The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Learn the new science of motivating young people—and make your own life easier in the process.

Author of 10 to 25: The Science of Motivating Young People | Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at University of Texas, Austin

Play VideoNow Playing

How Does Growth Mindset Facilitate Resilience?

Play VideoNow Playing

Young People Crave Choice. This is How You Give it To Them.

Play VideoNow Playing

How “Persistence” Helps Students Make Sense of College

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Young people have an innate desire to be respected and admired. Leaders can harness that desire to get the best out of their students, mentees, and employees—and make their own work easier as a result. Developmental psychologist David Yeager is the author of the forthcoming 10 to 25: The Science of Motivating Young People, which growth mindset pioneer Carol Dweck says “will change millions of lives.” With the scientific tools he offers—some as simple as asking questions rather than giving instructions—you can tap into the “mentor mindset” and help the young people you lead reach higher standards, develop initiative, and even take some of the work off your own plate. Whether you’re a teacher looking to bring out the best in your students or a manager looking to communicate better with your Gen Z employees, David’s insights are crucial for leaders in every field.

David Yeager is an experimental development psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. In his academic research, he examines the causes of and solutions to adolescent health problems, such as bullying, depression, academic achievement, cheating, trust, or healthy eating. He often focuses on adolescent transitions—the transition to middle school, the transition to high school, or the transition to college—as a place where there is great opportunity (and risk) for young people’s trajectories. Formerly, David was a middle school English teacher and a K-8 PE coach for a school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he also ran the after-school book club and coached basketball.

David is the author of the forthcoming 10 to 25: The Science of Motivating Young People. Based on cutting-edge research, it reveals how parents, mentors, and leaders of young people aged 10-25 can harness their desire to be respected, resulting in breakthrough connection, enthusiasm, and cross-generational collaboration. He explains how to adopt what he calls “the mentor mindset”: a leadership style that’s attuned to young people’s neurobiological need for status and respect. The practices he offers, like asking questions instead of giving orders, are proven to improve behavior across a wide variety of areas, from purpose to mental health. Young people in this age group are poised to learn, grow, and accomplish incredible things, he says—if we can just tap into the basic systems that drive their motivation and behavior.

David was the subject of a major New York Times Magazine article (“Who Gets to Graduate?”) by education speaker Paul Tough, in which he was named “one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of education.” He has co-authored work on grit and grit-testing with Angela Duckworth, and on growth mindset with Carol Dweck. Over the past 10 years, he has been one of the top 0.1% most-cited psychologists in the world. He chaired and co-hosted a national summit on mindset interventions at the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, which led to the launch and co-chairing of the “Mindset Scholars Network,” an interdisciplinary research network housed at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), where he was a fellow. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe AtlanticScientific AmericanThe Wall Street JournalThe Guardian, and more.

David holds a PhD and MA from Stanford University, and a BA and MEd from the University of Notre Dame. He is a William T. Grant Foundation scholar, a Faculty Research Associate at the UT Population Research Center, and was formerly a Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. His research has earned awards from the Spencer Foundation, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Research on Child Development, the American Educational Research Association, the APA Science Directorate, and the International Society for Research on Aggression. He is a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group and the New Paths to Purpose network at the University of Chicago.

Speech Topics

10 to 25The Science of Motivating Young People

Young people have an innate need to be respected and admired. But few leaders today—whether parents, educators, or managers—understand how to harness it. David Yeager can help.

An expert on the psychology of grit and persistence, David has spent years researching how to motivate and equip young people for success. He can show us why our conventional methods of communicating with young people aged 10 to 25 tend to leave everyone frustrated, and he can teach us a better way of ensuring the younger generation feels inspired, enthusiastic, and empowered to do their best work.

In this talk, David explains how to adopt what he calls the “mentor mindset,” a leadership style that taps into young people’s desire for respect. He offers highly effective and surprisingly easy-to-learn practices: like being transparent about your goals rather than expecting your mentees to read your mind, or holding your students to high standards rather than coddling them. This practical, engaging talk is crucial for anyone who wants to be a more effective manager, parent, or educator.

Read more
Grit at School
Student PersistenceA Social-Psychological Perspective

Why do so many qualified college students in America fail to achieve their professional goals? In this talk, David Yeager goes beyond typical “student success” programs, and instead takes a social-psychological perspective, asking: what does it look and feel like to worry about whether you belong and have what it takes? He shows how beliefs about their belonging and potential can increase their college persistence and reduce institutional achievement gaps. And he outlines the moments of “psychological friction” students encounter—from navigating bureaucratic hassles, to critical feedback in first-year classes, to trouble making friends—and explains practical methods for improving them.

Ultimately, David leaves audiences with a framework and an initial set of starting ideas for engaging in continuous improvement of the psychological environment that supports student persistence.

Read more
Grit at Work
Grit & Growth MindsetWhy Some Environments Motivate People to Become Excellent

Today, it’s more important than ever to be a “learner”—that is, to be able to teach yourself new skills, using your connections to experts or resources you find online. But most people have grown up in an educational system that valued “knowers”—people who have memorized facts or skills. How can you create an environment that fosters the grit needed to be a learner? How can you shake people out of the old model of education, so that they can adapt their skills and knowledge to the quickly-changing economy?

In this keynote, David Yeager outlines key insights from the new science of motivation and learning. He answers questions like: why do some people choose the easy route, rather than teach themselves the hard things? Why do some people wither in the face of critical feedback, while others take the feedback and get better? Why do some people only learn something if it’s fun, but other people learn it even if it’s tedious? He also focuses on how leaders create environments that support people’s motivation to learn, and outlines practical guidance coming from the field of behavioral science.

Read more
Mental Health and Fitness
Stress As a ToolTransforming How We React to Tough Situations

Sweaty palms, racing thoughts—when we face down stressful situations, our minds and bodies conspire to throw us off. And with anxiety levels spiking during the pandemic, it feels like we face down stressful situations every day. But psychologist and researcher David Yeager is proving that it only takes 30 minutes to transform the way we react to stress: turning it from a threat into a challenge.

In his ground-breaking study in Nature, David and his co-authors proved that half an hour was enough to change how students thought about stress and how their bodies reacted to stress, sparking energy and motivation. David has spent years researching the psychology of perseverance—how we can keep going when the going gets tough. In this practical talk, he shows us, our teams, and our kids how to not only endure but harness our response to stress and anxiety, using it to spur us on towards success.

Read more

Featured Books

The Science of Motivating Young People: A Groundbreaking Approach to Leading the Next Generation—And Making Your Own Life Easier

Related Posts

Interested? Read more news and articles about this fascinating keynote speaker

Other News