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The best organizations build a culture that embraces healthy dissent.

Bestselling Author of The Art of Insubordination and The Upside of Your Dark Side | Award-Winning Expert in Psychology and Well-Being

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Good Activism Needs Principled Rebels

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The Art of Insubordination

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Becoming a Mad Scientist with Your Life

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How to Become a Principled Rebel

Lavin Exclusive Speaker

If companies want to innovate and get fresh ideas, they need to hear from dissenters who challenge conventional wisdom. But Todd Kashdan says that not just any rebellion will do—what really makes a difference is principled dissent, when a rebel speaks up with courage for a greater good. Todd is an award-winning psychology expert and bestselling author. He shares practical scientific guidance from his book The Art of Insubordination so that you can make principled dissent a vital part of your culture. You’ll learn how to express unpopular—but important—ideas, how to help principled rebels express their contrary opinions, how to build the mental fortitude to handle discomfort and productive conflict, and how to ensure the best ideas win, even if they are unexpected. Todd’s warmth, wit, and proven wisdom—with research featured in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and The Atlantic—will make us rebels with a cause. We’ve all got a cause. Let’s rebel.

Todd Kashdan wants us to know that it’s not only okay to defy unhelpful and dysfunctional norms: defying what is no longer working is vital to designing great workplaces, societies, and personal lives. He says that we simply need to rebel in the right way: with principle and conviction. He’s used his award-winning research and expertise in psychology and well-being to develop a scientific handbook for how to dissent in a way that makes real change. You can be a principled rebel. Your company, your school, and your community can learn how it works and why dissent is so important. Everybody can gain the benefits of speaking up for the right cause at the right time.

Todd offers evidence-based advice for every step, from how to express unpopular but important ideas to how to create a culture that permits, embraces, and thrives on principled insubordination. If we learn how to give principled rebels the space to express their opinions and shake us out of our conformity, Todd says that our teams and companies will gain “the ability to seek, conquer, think, learn, and create” in an incredibly new, fresh, and creative way. When you put Todd’s ideas into practice, he wants you to know that you’ll have the rebellious mindset to “courageously question, challenge, dismantle and replace dysfunctional systems with something better.”

Todd delivers his message with honesty, humor, and surprising insights into human nature. He’s an amazing scientist and an incredible writer—Kirkus said that his book The Art of Insubordination is esssential for anyone “determined to make waves for a good cause”—but maybe it all goes back to a lesson that he learned from his grandmother, one of the first women on Wall Street. She taught him that “people easily defer to the powerful…we should celebrate the brave renegades who stand up to authority and manifest that bravery ourselves.” It’s easy to sit back and accept the norm, but we can all learn the courage to break the rules.

Todd is a professor of psychology at George Mason University, and a leading authority on well-being, psychological flexibility, curiosity, courage, and resilience. He’s at the cutting edge of positive psychology research: Todd received the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Association, and his articles on well-being have been cited over 41,000 times. He’s the author of four other books in addition to The Art of Insubordination, including The Upside of Your Dark Side and Curious?, which Arianna Huffington called “one of those rare books that can make you rethink how you see the world.” He was profiled in the New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, and TIME for his groundbreaking research and what it teaches us about our lives.


Todd’s talk was incredibly engaging and focused on curiosity as a skill that supports professional exploration and success. The feedback was terrific as people walked away thinking about the ways in which curiosity is essential to a growth mindset, and this is an integral part of our culture.


Dr. Todd is one of the best presenters I have ever come across in my professional career. The confidence and delivery of the information that he shares is extremely thought-provoking and, dare I say, life-changing. I left the presentation feeling like I understood myself better and wanted to give myself a lot more grace and patience in dealing with adult life. I wish him the ultimate best and positive energy, as he shared with us.


Todd Kashdan was perfect; what he said was inspirational and useful, and entertaining.

BBDO Worldwide

Each year our participants walk away raving about the experience of working with Dr. Kashdan, his energy and expertise.

Charter Bank Group

Speech Topics

The Art of InsubordinationRecipes for Defying the Rules and Becoming a Principled Rebel

If society is going to improve, if companies are going to grow, if life is going to get better, we need different opinions. We need people to speak up and offer a new way of doing things. Todd Kashdan, psychology professor and author of The Art of Insubordination, says that rebels are often afraid of what will happen to them if they speak up and offer a different point of view.  If insubordination is going to work, it needs to be delivered in the right way: through principled dissent, guided by courage, sincerity, and a passionate need to make a real contribution.

Todd will teach you how to design a culture that permits and embraces principled dissent, leading to greater productivity, creativity, and innovation. He’ll show you the steps you need to take to help people offer their best, most unique contributions—even when they are completely different—and for improving any group’s collective intelligence, health, and longevity. He has scientific recipes for making it all work, from how to build trust and openness to how to be insubordinate in a way that is careful, responsible, and imaginative.

Todd wants us to know that if we open the door for rebels to educate us—and if we learn how to rebel with a principled mindset—we’ll get everything that makes life great: “curiosity, inspiration, awe, admiration, elevation, and elation.”

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Corporate Culture
Curiosity and CourageAchieving Success By Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zones
If an organization wants to be fearless and innovative, its leaders and team members need to be brave and curious. These aren’t concepts that we’re just born with: curiosity and courage can be learned. We can all gain the ability to speak up and stand out. Todd Kashdan, psychology expert and head of George Mason University’s Well-Being Lab, shows companies how to pull down unintentional barriers to doing things in a new way and how to encourage people to be inquisitive, creative, and productively disruptive. He demonstrates the benefits of creating a culture where everyone questions, explores new terrain, and breaks free from popular ideas and conventions.
Todd discusses the relationship between bravery and vulnerability (and why it’s critical to innovation), how courage is related to our personal boundaries, and how both curiosity and courage can manifest in different ways for different people. He lays out the latest research for understanding and leveraging the unique capacities for curiosity and courage that we all have, while helping you avoid needless pitfalls and common mistakes.
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