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Rituals can help us transform our unconscious habits into conscious productivity, unlocking greater meaning at work and at home.

Harvard Business School Professor | Author of The Ritual Effect | Co-Author of Happy Money

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From pre-game traditions to team-building exercises, rituals are intertwined in every facet of our lives. Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton, author of The Ritual Effect, shows that rituals play a role in our everyday lives: from building connections to helping us leave work behind at the end of the day. We can transform our unconscious habits into conscious productivity—and rise to challenges and opportunities like never before. Named one of WIRED Magazine’s 50 People Who Will Change the World, Michael demonstrates the power of rituals in our teams, our workplaces, our families, and even our marriages.

“A masterclass. Opens our eyes to the rituals we already perform—and the ones we can choose to create—which have the remarkable power to infuse the mundane with meaning and emotion.”Angela Duckworth, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Grit

Michael Norton is a Harvard Business School professor whose work dives into the psychological effects of ritual. His groundbreaking research has proved the importance and flexibility of rituals in our everyday lives—they affect our feelings, thoughts, and even behaviors. Michael shows that rituals can bind us together as a community, which makes for stronger teams who coordinate and find meaning in their work, and explores the role that rituals play in our families, our friendships, and our marriages. Michael shows us the power of ritual in our personal lives and our workplaces. His groundbreaking book, The Ritual Effect, has been called “endlessly fascinating” (Dan Pink, Drive) and “an eye-opening window into why we swear by certain routines—and how we can build more enriching ones” (Adam Grant, Think Again).

Michael has also researched personal finance and spending—specifically, how to use money to get happier. Along with fellow professor Elizabeth Dunn, he’s the co-author of the book Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending, which proved that we’re going about spending our money all wrong. With five practical principles on how to increase happiness by changing the philosophy behind spending, Happy Money is “a rare combination of informed science writing, rollicking good fun, and practical pointers for a more flourishing and compassionate life” (David G. Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness). His TEDx talk, which draws on this research, has been viewed over 4 million times.

Michael has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS, Fox, and MSNBC, co-hosted Talking Green, a podcast on how people really interact with money, and written op-eds for The New York Times, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. His research has been featured in publications like Psychological Science, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Marketing Research, has been covered by The Economist, The Financial Times, and The Washington Post, and has been parodied by The Onion.

Speech Topics

Team Building
The Power of Ritual Harnessing Rituals For Better Lives

Rituals are an integral aspect of our personal lives: from meetings to family holidays to our interactions with businesses and sports teams. Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton is an expert in the benefits of rituals. He’s identified the psychological underpinnings of rituals, and he argues that while rituals can be used to promote division and polarization, we can also turn to rituals to bring us closer together.

Drawing on his ground-breaking research, Michael provides practical tips for harnessing the power of ritual to create stronger teams and workplace cultures. He gears his talks towards your specific audience, highlighting the aspects of ritual that are of most use to you—from teamwork, marketing, mental health, and more.

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Corporate Culture
Office RitualsUsing Rituals to Bring Meaning to Your Workplace

Employees on the job face two problems. The first is that we struggle to engage with work—attending meetings, answering emails—that can so often feel meaningless. The second is that we struggle to leave the stress of work behind at the end of the day, which interferes with our ability to enjoy our downtime with friends and family. But Harvard professor Michael Norton says that we can solve both problems by simply learning how to use rituals in our everyday working lives.

Michael offers us tried and true ways to increase the meaning and connection we feel from our jobs. His research shows that teams that report having rituals—like eating lunch together at the same time every day, or taking turns buying food for the group—report that their work is more meaningful. And enacting rituals after work, like taking a shower and imagining the day’s stress washing down the drain, helps us maintain clear divisions between our work and life. Drawing on insights from his original research and The Ritual Effect, Michael helps us understand how rituals work and how we can put them to use inside and outside the office.

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Happiness & Wellness
Happy MoneyThe Science of Happier Spending

Can money buy happiness? Yes—if you follow five core principles of smarter spending. Innovative researcher and Harvard professor Michael Norton co-authored Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending with psychology “rising star” Elizabeth Dunn.

The book provides five research-based principles designed to help people use their money in happier ways—whether they have a little or a lot of it. Full of cutting-edge research, Happy Money provides examples like how individuals gain happiness by choosing “experiences over stuff”, to how companies seek to create happier employees or “happier products” for their customers. Along the way, you’ll learn why you would be just as happy driving a Ford Escort as a BMW; why commercials make TV better; why you should be giving more money to charity. Michael will show you how the science of spending can create better, happier customers and companies.

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