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Amanda Ripley


Investigative journalist & NY Times Bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World & The Unthinkable.

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Praise for Amanda Ripley...

  • “Amanda’s presentation was a roaring success!! She was well received by our people- they were captivated.”


  • “It went great! It was our pleasure to have Amanda; she did a great presentation that I could have listened to for hours! Thank you for working with me and making this happen.”


  • “Amanda, as expected, was absolutely perfect in every way, and her visit came at a perfect time. As you know, she is personable, down-to-earth, dynamic, articulate, intelligent, well-prepared, and her research and messages resonated well with our diverse audience. She wowed us all and got a Standing ovation.”



  • “Your sessions at our meeting were an absolute home run for us. It showed that you had taken the time to prepare and know our group. You were smart, funny, and authentic. In both sessions you got our members to really think out of the box and look at education through a different lens.”



Amanda Ripley: Speech Topics


① HOW TO BE HEARD IN A POLARIZED WORLD | ② SAVING AMERICA'S SCHOOL | ③ DISASTER MYTHOLOGY

① The New Rules of Engagement: How to Be Heard in a Polarized World


Conflict, whether political or personal, can escalate and become toxic. At this level, known as "high conflict," we start sorting the world into good and evil, us and them. Things become suddenly very clear. Our brains behave differently. We tend to exaggerate the differences between ourselves and the other political party or racial or religious group (or sibling or co-worker), without realizing we are doing it. We believe the other side cannot change, even when it can. We lose valuable skills. It’s impossible to feel curious, for example, while also feeling threatened. To try to understand how to communicate in times of discord and division, Amanda spent a year following people who navigate conflict in different ways--including psychologists, rabbis, peace negotiators, and conflict mediators from all over the world. She discovered that it is possible to revive complexity and curiosity, even in high conflict. But the traditional methods of explaining, arguing or avoidance will not work. Drawing on stories of people in all kinds of conflict, as well as research into human behavior, Amanda has developed specific rules of engagement for high conflict--including smarter questions to ask any opponent, better ways to share information that people don't want to hear, and conversational tactics to excavate deeper, more interesting truths. This work is surprising and ultimately hopeful, and it has transformed how Amanda operates as a journalist. Her major book on this theme will be published in 2021.

② A Global Quest to Save America's Schools


How did other countries manage to make their public schools fairer and smarter than ours while spending dramatically less than we do? To find out, Amanda spent a year following three American high school students temporarily embedded in schools in Finland, Poland and South Korea. Through the students' stories and new research into education outcomes worldwide, Amanda helps unravel a mystery at the center of our global competitiveness. Her reporting led to the New York Times bestseller, The Smartest Kids in the World. In the end, Amanda returned home more optimistic than when she'd left--convinced that the U.S. can outperform the rest of the world, if we can sustain the political and public will.

③ Disaster Mythology – What really happens at the worst of times


Amanda Ripley draws on years of disaster reporting to explain the three phases most people go through in life-or-death experiences—and how we can learn to do better. She tells detailed stories of specific survivors from recent news-making calamities and combines their wisdom with the latest science into how the brain functions under extreme stress.

Presentation features: Case studies from the evacuation of the World Trade Center on 9/11, the 2004 tsunami and the 2009 crash of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.



Amanda Ripley: Books


The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way

Through the compelling stories of three American teenagers living abroad and attending the world’s top-notch public high schools, an investigative reporter explains how these systems cultivate the “smartest” kids on the planet … ➡︎
The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why

It lurks in the corner of our imagination, almost beyond our ability to see it: the possibility that a tear in the fabric of life could open up without warning, upending a house, a skyscraper, or a civilization … ➡︎

Amanda Ripley: Bio



      

Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist for Time, The Atlantic and other magazines. She is the author, most recently, ofThe Smartest Kids in the World--and How They Got That Way, a New York Times bestseller. Her first book,The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--and Why, was published in 15 countries and turned into a PBS documentary. Amanda is a Senior Fellow at the Emerson Collective.

In her books and magazine writing, Amanda explores the gap between public policy and human behavior. How does the brain learn--and how does that compare to what children do in school all day? How do people behave under extreme stress, and how can we do better?

For Time and The Atlantic, she has chronicled the stories of kids, parents and teachers, writing cover stories onthe college of the future, thepolitics of education reform and the science of motivating children. She has visited schools on four continents and interviewed hundreds of students, teachers and parents. By telling stories that people remember, Amanda brings life to complex research that can change the way we think about the world.

The Smartest Kids in the World was cited as one of the most notable books of the year by the New York Times, the Economist, the Washington Post and Amazon.com.Amanda's writing has also appeared in Slate, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times of London. Her work has helped Time win two National Magazine Awards. To discuss her writing, Amanda has appeared on ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX News and NPR. She has spoken at the Pentagon, the Senate, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as conferences on leadership, public policy and education.

Before joining Time as a writer in 2000, Amanda covered the D.C. courts for Washington City Paper and Capitol Hill for Congressional Quarterly. She graduated from Cornell University. Amanda currently lives in Washington, D.C., where she is an Emerson Senior Fellow at the Emerson Collective.

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AMANDA RIPLEY


Investigative journalist & NY Times Bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World & The Unthinkable.

SPEECH TOPICS

① The New Rules of Engagement: How to Be Heard in a Polarized World


Conflict, whether political or personal, can escalate and become toxic. At this level, known as "high conflict," we start sorting the world into good and evil, us and them. Things become suddenly very clear. Our brains behave differently. We tend to exaggerate the differences between ourselves and the other political party or racial or religious group (or sibling or co-worker), without realizing we are doing it. We believe the other side cannot change, even when it can. We lose valuable skills. It’s impossible to feel curious, for example, while also feeling threatened. To try to understand how to communicate in times of discord and division, Amanda spent a year following people who navigate conflict in different ways--including psychologists, rabbis, peace negotiators, and conflict mediators from all over the world. She discovered that it is possible to revive complexity and curiosity, even in high conflict. But the traditional methods of explaining, arguing or avoidance will not work. Drawing on stories of people in all kinds of conflict, as well as research into human behavior, Amanda has developed specific rules of engagement for high conflict--including smarter questions to ask any opponent, better ways to share information that people don't want to hear, and conversational tactics to excavate deeper, more interesting truths. This work is surprising and ultimately hopeful, and it has transformed how Amanda operates as a journalist. Her major book on this theme will be published in 2021.


② A Global Quest to Save America's Schools


How did other countries manage to make their public schools fairer and smarter than ours while spending dramatically less than we do? To find out, Amanda spent a year following three American high school students temporarily embedded in schools in Finland, Poland and South Korea. Through the students' stories and new research into education outcomes worldwide, Amanda helps unravel a mystery at the center of our global competitiveness. Her reporting led to the New York Times bestseller, The Smartest Kids in the World. In the end, Amanda returned home more optimistic than when she'd left--convinced that the U.S. can outperform the rest of the world, if we can sustain the political and public will.


③ Disaster Mythology – What really happens at the worst of times


Amanda Ripley draws on years of disaster reporting to explain the three phases most people go through in life-or-death experiences—and how we can learn to do better. She tells detailed stories of specific survivors from recent news-making calamities and combines their wisdom with the latest science into how the brain functions under extreme stress.

Presentation features: Case studies from the evacuation of the World Trade Center on 9/11, the 2004 tsunami and the 2009 crash of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.



④ Disaster Mythology – What really happens at the worst of times


Amanda Ripley draws on years of disaster reporting to explain the three phases most people go through in life-or-death experiences—and how we can learn to do better. She tells detailed stories of specific survivors from recent news-making calamities and combines their wisdom with the latest science into how the brain functions under extreme stress.

Presentation features: Case studies from the evacuation of the World Trade Center on 9/11, the 2004 tsunami and the 2009 crash of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.



⑤ Leading Through a Disaster


Disasters happen to groups of people: to offices, neighborhoods and families. The health of the group before a disaster directly shapes its ability to survive and recover afterwards. On 9/11, the culture and management style of each company in the World Trade Center dramatically influenced the behavior of the employees in those offices.

Presentation Features: The case study of Morgan Stanley—and the lessons learned for how to build a survival culture in your company


BOOKS




BIO


[PRESS KIT]

Amanda Ripley is an investigative journalist for Time, The Atlantic and other magazines. She is the author, most recently, ofThe Smartest Kids in the World--and How They Got That Way, a New York Times bestseller. Her first book,The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--and Why, was published in 15 countries and turned into a PBS documentary. Amanda is a Senior Fellow at the Emerson Collective.

In her books and magazine writing, Amanda explores the gap between public policy and human behavior. How does the brain learn--and how does that compare to what children do in school all day? How do people behave under extreme stress, and how can we do better?

For Time and The Atlantic, she has chronicled the stories of kids, parents and teachers, writing cover stories onthe college of the future, thepolitics of education reform and the science of motivating children. She has visited schools on four continents and interviewed hundreds of students, teachers and parents. By telling stories that people remember, Amanda brings life to complex research that can change the way we think about the world.

The Smartest Kids in the World was cited as one of the most notable books of the year by the New York Times, the Economist, the Washington Post and Amazon.com.Amanda's writing has also appeared in Slate, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times of London. Her work has helped Time win two National Magazine Awards. To discuss her writing, Amanda has appeared on ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX News and NPR. She has spoken at the Pentagon, the Senate, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as conferences on leadership, public policy and education.

Before joining Time as a writer in 2000, Amanda covered the D.C. courts for Washington City Paper and Capitol Hill for Congressional Quarterly. She graduated from Cornell University. Amanda currently lives in Washington, D.C., where she is an Emerson Senior Fellow at the Emerson Collective.


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