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Anna Akbari, PhD


Sociologist, entrepreneur & author of Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness.

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Praise for Anna Akbari...

  • “Anna Akbari gets right down to business to help you hack your life using the same strategies I used to create products as a CTO in Silicon Valley. It’s the opposite of personal development platitudes, and it works because you can measure it. These are real tools you can use to biohack your performance.”

    –Dave Asprey, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Bulletproof Diet





Anna Akbari: Speech Topics


① DIGITAL HAPPINESS | ② STARTUP YOUR LIFE | ③ BE THE SUPERHERO OF YOUR OWN LIFE | ④ SECRET SAUCE OF ENTERPRISE INNOVATION | ⑤ THE POWER OF IMAGE

① Digital Happiness: How To Be the Boss of Technology


Pings, news alerts, social media likes, EMAIL. We all struggle to manage our 24/7 connection to technology in a way that feels healthy and balanced, often at the peril of our personal relationships, the work we produce, and even our own sanity. How do we reclaim some “sacred space” and allow ourselves to find flow in an overly mediated world, without compromising our work and professionalism?

In this presentation, sociologist Anna Akbari, PhD, applies her decade of research on human/technology relationships to offer rules to guide you toward digital happiness, personal well-being, and enhanced productivity in a hyper-connected world. Through audience engagement before and during the presentation, this presentation offers a customized understanding of the effects of digital engagement and helps you to optimize your relationship with technology by creating a framework for setting and following your own technology rules, in both your personal and professional life. Leaders and managers can apply this framework for setting the tone within their companies and industries.

② Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness


Living your life like a startup is about maximizing flexibility, embracing defeat, and failing up. Using the Startup Your Life principles, you actively create the life you want, regardless of the stage you’re in or the hurdles you face. It’s not about “happiness someday,” but now.

In this presentation, Anna Akbari, PhD, demonstrates how to reach personal fulfillment in all areas of life by using the same strategies that power Silicon Valley’s greatest startups. You can live your life like a startup to enhance well-being and success, regardless of your profession or stage in life. This methodology nurtures innovation, increases employee retention rates, and clears out the mental cobwebs. Let Anna help you game the system as you hustle and hack your way to happiness.

③ How To Be the Superhero Of Your Own Life: Your Guide to Slaying Convention, Rewriting Your Story, and Creating the Life You Want


Fairy tales, comic books, multi-book fantasy series — this is the stuff of our youth. Battles of good vs. evil, fought by superhumans with superpowers. These heros embark on a journey, along paths that are often violent and terrifying (and questionably appropriate for children), and yet we are drawn to them at all ages. Even as adults, blockbuster movies and novels are still the stories we still look to for inspiration, the characters we aim to emulate, as we (re)construct our own identity tales.

As a culture, we’re particularly fixated on superheroes. And it makes sense. They’re larger than life. They’re inspirational and aspirational. But they’re also imperfect and far from infallible. We love them because we can see ourselves in them. They’re us — only better. And when we’re kids, we believe it is possible. But as we get older, we don’t love them any less – we just dismiss our ability to become them. So we settle for being a voyeur, cheering them on in yoga pants from a distance.

But we can be the superhero of our own lives — both personally and professionally — regardless of age, profession, or life stage. And this presentation shows you how.

How To Be A Superhero gives you the permission — and the tools — to defy convention and rewrite your story. It invites you to rethink your life as a personalized, labyrinth-like "choose your own adventure" novel — one where you take back the power and start calling the shots.

You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to start on this journey of self-discovery. And becoming the superhero you are meant to be is well worth any battles fought or injuries sustained, because you will come out on the other side more powerful than when you began — regardless of the outcome.

The great American mythologist, Joseph Campbell, wrote extensively about the hero’s journey, a recurring trope that is found in everything from The Odyssey to Star Wars to Lord of the Rings. It’s also the narrative arc of our spiritual giants, from Buddha to Moses to Jesus. Basically, it’s a rite of passage that involves some sort of separation (from your previous life, all the stuff keeping you stagnant), followed by an initiation (complete with wild obstacles, wisdom guides, and hard-fought battles), and finally, a return “home” with a renewed sense of self and purpose.
This is the path of our greatest heroes — from Superman to Katniss Everdeen — and this presentation helps you to make it your story, too. So dust off those tights, and prepare to go on a modern day, convention-busting (super)hero’s journey.

④ The Secret Sauce to Enterprise Innovation


This presentation offers a framework for effective innovation initiatives within the enterprise, including executive team buy-in, innovation as an everyday activity, and enabled employees. The presentation builds on the Startup Your Life methodology and emphasizes the role that individual employees play in transforming large organizations — while improving themselves in the process.

⑤ The Power of Image


Before you can be heard, you are seen. What are you communicating? In this presentation, Dr. Anna Akbari pulls from her in-depth ethnographic research to explore the nuances of self-presentation and develop replicable, customizable formulas for visual success. Image is explored as a critical communication medium and a key component to identity construction and performance across contexts, from personal to professional, and from physical to digital.

Dr. Akbari founded Sociology of Style to bring the science of visual communication to everyday life. Her doctoral dissertation, "Fashioning Power," and her M.A. thesis, “Distinguished Compliance: Living in the Cracks of Corporate Dress Codes,” explore the ways in which we negotiate power in our everyday lives using visual self-presentation.


Anna Akbari: Books


Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way to Happiness

As an entrepreneur, Anna Akbari learned that one of the best things about startups is their ability to "pivot" quickly… ➡︎

Anna Akbari: Bio



      
Anna Akbari, PhD is a sociologist, writer, coach, innovation consultant, and entrepreneur. A former instructor at New York University and Parsons School of Design, she is a frequent public speaker and media personality and has written for and been featured by Forbes, The Atlantic, TIME, The Economist, Financial Times, TED, Bulletproof Executive, Psychology Today, Google Talks, and dozens more. She is a regular contributor and guest on CNN and SiriusXM. Her book, Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness, teaches people to boost happiness and success by living their lives like a Silicon Valley startup.

✉ Request Booking Info for Anna Akbari




ANNA AKBARI, PhD


Sociologist, entrepreneur & author of Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness.

MORE VIDEOS »
SPEECH TOPICS

① Digital Happiness: How To Be the Boss of Technology


Pings, news alerts, social media likes, EMAIL. We all struggle to manage our 24/7 connection to technology in a way that feels healthy and balanced, often at the peril of our personal relationships, the work we produce, and even our own sanity. How do we reclaim some “sacred space” and allow ourselves to find flow in an overly mediated world, without compromising our work and professionalism?

In this presentation, sociologist Anna Akbari, PhD, applies her decade of research on human/technology relationships to offer rules to guide you toward digital happiness, personal well-being, and enhanced productivity in a hyper-connected world. Through audience engagement before and during the presentation, this presentation offers a customized understanding of the effects of digital engagement and helps you to optimize your relationship with technology by creating a framework for setting and following your own technology rules, in both your personal and professional life. Leaders and managers can apply this framework for setting the tone within their companies and industries.

② Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness


Living your life like a startup is about maximizing flexibility, embracing defeat, and failing up. Using the Startup Your Life principles, you actively create the life you want, regardless of the stage you’re in or the hurdles you face. It’s not about “happiness someday,” but now.

In this presentation, Anna Akbari, PhD, demonstrates how to reach personal fulfillment in all areas of life by using the same strategies that power Silicon Valley’s greatest startups. You can live your life like a startup to enhance well-being and success, regardless of your profession or stage in life. This methodology nurtures innovation, increases employee retention rates, and clears out the mental cobwebs. Let Anna help you game the system as you hustle and hack your way to happiness.

③ How To Be the Superhero Of Your Own Life: Your Guide to Slaying Convention, Rewriting Your Story, and Creating the Life You Want


Fairy tales, comic books, multi-book fantasy series — this is the stuff of our youth. Battles of good vs. evil, fought by superhumans with superpowers. These heros embark on a journey, along paths that are often violent and terrifying (and questionably appropriate for children), and yet we are drawn to them at all ages. Even as adults, blockbuster movies and novels are still the stories we still look to for inspiration, the characters we aim to emulate, as we (re)construct our own identity tales.

As a culture, we’re particularly fixated on superheroes. And it makes sense. They’re larger than life. They’re inspirational and aspirational. But they’re also imperfect and far from infallible. We love them because we can see ourselves in them. They’re us — only better. And when we’re kids, we believe it is possible. But as we get older, we don’t love them any less – we just dismiss our ability to become them. So we settle for being a voyeur, cheering them on in yoga pants from a distance.

But we can be the superhero of our own lives — both personally and professionally — regardless of age, profession, or life stage. And this presentation shows you how.

How To Be A Superhero gives you the permission — and the tools — to defy convention and rewrite your story. It invites you to rethink your life as a personalized, labyrinth-like "choose your own adventure" novel — one where you take back the power and start calling the shots.

You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to start on this journey of self-discovery. And becoming the superhero you are meant to be is well worth any battles fought or injuries sustained, because you will come out on the other side more powerful than when you began — regardless of the outcome.

The great American mythologist, Joseph Campbell, wrote extensively about the hero’s journey, a recurring trope that is found in everything from The Odyssey to Star Wars to Lord of the Rings. It’s also the narrative arc of our spiritual giants, from Buddha to Moses to Jesus. Basically, it’s a rite of passage that involves some sort of separation (from your previous life, all the stuff keeping you stagnant), followed by an initiation (complete with wild obstacles, wisdom guides, and hard-fought battles), and finally, a return “home” with a renewed sense of self and purpose.
This is the path of our greatest heroes — from Superman to Katniss Everdeen — and this presentation helps you to make it your story, too. So dust off those tights, and prepare to go on a modern day, convention-busting (super)hero’s journey.

④ The Secret Sauce to Enterprise Innovation


This presentation offers a framework for effective innovation initiatives within the enterprise, including executive team buy-in, innovation as an everyday activity, and enabled employees. The presentation builds on the Startup Your Life methodology and emphasizes the role that individual employees play in transforming large organizations — while improving themselves in the process.


⑤ The Power of Image


Before you can be heard, you are seen. What are you communicating? In this presentation, Dr. Anna Akbari pulls from her in-depth ethnographic research to explore the nuances of self-presentation and develop replicable, customizable formulas for visual success. Image is explored as a critical communication medium and a key component to identity construction and performance across contexts, from personal to professional, and from physical to digital.

Dr. Akbari founded Sociology of Style to bring the science of visual communication to everyday life. Her doctoral dissertation, "Fashioning Power," and her M.A. thesis, “Distinguished Compliance: Living in the Cracks of Corporate Dress Codes,” explore the ways in which we negotiate power in our everyday lives using visual self-presentation.

BOOKS




BIO


[PRESS KIT]

Anna Akbari, PhD is a sociologist, writer, coach, innovation consultant, and entrepreneur. A former instructor at New York University and Parsons School of Design, she is a frequent public speaker and media personality and has written for and been featured by Forbes, The Atlantic, TIME, The Economist, Financial Times, TED, Bulletproof Executive, Psychology Today, Google Talks, and dozens more. She is a regular contributor and guest on CNN and SiriusXM. Her book, Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way To Happiness, teaches people to boost happiness and success by living their lives like a Silicon Valley startup.

✉ REQUEST BOOKING INFO