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Christine  Carter

Christine Carter

Sociologist & Happiness Expert

Christine Carter

Sociologist & Happiness Expert


An engaging and sought-afterspeaker, Dr. Carter loves to share her work in person. Combining scientific research and practical application, she offers audiences not only a way to cope with modern pressures, but tactics to truly thrive. Christine Carter, Ph.D., is author of The New Adolescence (2020), The Sweet Spot: How to Achieve More by Doing Less (2017) and Raising Happiness (2011). She regularly keynotes at large conferences and fundraisers and is a popular commencement speaker. She is a frequent contributor to executive, general-interest, and parenting programs with other leading scholars and teachers.

Dr. Carter writes a monthly advice column for Greater Good Magazine, where she draws on scientific research to help people lead their most courageous, joyful, meaningful, and productive lives. She is a contributor to US News & World Report, and her advice column is syndicated on the Huffington Post, PsychologyToday.com, and several other websites.

Dr. Carter has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Dr. Oz Show, the TODAY show, the Rachael Ray Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, PBS, as well as NPR and BBC Radio. She has beenquoted or featuredin the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, as well as Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, Men’s Health, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, Fitness, Redbook, and dozens of other publications.

A summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College and the recipient of multiple honors and awards, Dr. Carter was a Senior Fellow at Dartmouth before she began work in marketing management, and later, school administration. After completing her masters and doctoral degrees in sociology at UC Berkeley, Dr. Carter was recruited to lead the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) as the executive director. In 2014, she hired a new executive director so that she could pursue her writing and speaking career full-time. She remains a sociologist and Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

She lives with her husband, four teenagers, and dog, Buster, in Marin County, California.

Speaker Videos

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Speech Topics

The Sweet Spot: How to Achieve More by Doing Less

Presenting the latest research on productivity and elite performance, Christine demonstrates a sweet paradox: by doing less we can actually accomplish more. Using surprising science and lively anecdotal evidence, she offers a game-changing plan for outsmarting stress and expanding the amount of time we have to get things done. 

The New Adolescence: Raising Happy & Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety & Distraction

Teens today are suffering from an epidemic of anguish that cannot be ignored. Last year, nearly one-fifth seriously considered suicide. We’ve always known that teenagers can be moody, but that is not what we are seeing here. Today’s teenagers and preteens are growing up in an entirely new world, and understandably, many parents are paralyzed by problems that didn’t exist less than a decade ago.

The good news is that we do understand why this generation is different and why they are suffering, and this means that we understand what we can do to reverse the scary trends in mental illness.

A highly acclaimed sociologist at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Dr. Christine Carter melds research—including the latest findings in neuroscience, sociology, and social psychology—with her own real-world experiences as the mother of four teenagers. In her talk about The New Adolescence, she’ll give you realistic ways to help preteens, teens and college students find joy, focus, ease, motivation, fulfillment and engagement.

The New Adolescence is a realistic and reassuring talk for parents, educators, and anyone who cares about kids. It offers road-tested, science-based solutions for raising happy, healthy, and successful teenagers.

The Secret to Happiness: 3 Surprising, Science-based Strategies

Americans might be obsessed with the pursuit of happiness, but increasingly they aren’t finding it. The suicide rate is up 33% since 1999, for example; that’s the highest it’s been since WWII. If you are wondering what is going on — and also how to thrive in the face of these depressing trends — please join us for a presentation by Dr. Christine Carter, a sociologist at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

The good news is that neuroscientists, sociologists, and psychologists have uncovered a lot about wellbeing in the last two decades. We understand why some people and communities are thriving while others are suffering from crippling anxiety and depression. Further good news: There is a lot we can do to build happier communities and to lead meaningful, joyful lives ourselves. In this program, Dr. Carter will teach us three counter-intuitive skills for greater happiness at any age.

How to Be an Anxious & Miserable Manager: Strategies You May Already Be Using

This tongue-and-cheek talk is great for skeptical audiences who may need Dr. Carter’s happiness tips but might feel like happiness is too soft or “light” of a topic to be relevant in their busy and important lives. A popular talk for business leaders who are looking to increase productivity, creativity, and job satisfaction among their team, this speech can also be geared to a general audience.

Unleashing Your Super Power: Simple Tweaks to Dramatically Change Your Life

Research shows that 40% of what we do every day is done out of habit. Many people think that habits are hard to create, and they can be, especially if you don’t know the basic brain mechanics behind habit formation. Here’s the good news: We understand how we can best change our habits — and therefore our lives.

Often when we want to be happier or healthier, we think about changing our circumstances. We think, “If I had a shorter commute, I’d have time to cook more, and then I’d lose weight” or “If I move into the city, I could ride my bike to work, and then I’d be in better shape,” or “If I just got married, I’d finally be happy.” Here’s something surprising: Our ability to follow-through on our plans over the long run doesn’t depend on our actions or what we do. It depends much more on what we think – especially what we think about ourselves. In this talk, you’ll learn how to re-engineer your daily routines for optimal health, happiness, and success.

Are You an Emotionally Courageous Leader? Why it Matters

What makes some managers fear failure and hide their mistakes, while others embrace their blunders as opportunities to do better the next time? New social science and brain research shows us how we can live and work from our “sweet spot” — that place of both power and ease.

Dr. Carter will transform the way you think about vulnerability, stress, adversity and busyness. In this program she shares three simple practices for facing fear with courage while fostering resilience — all rooted in the latest scientific research.

She’ll discuss:

  • A one-minute technique to become a creative and energetic problem-solver in the midst of a stressful day, week, or year.
  • Why our beliefs about why we are successful (or not) predict how well we fare in the face of adversity.
  • A simple but counter-intuitive technique that will make you feel more connected, powerful, productive, successful, and happy.