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Dan  Buettner

Dan Buettner

Author & Explorer


Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Fellow and multiple New York Times best-selling author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. An internationally recognized explorer, he is founder of Blue Zones, LLC – a project that researches the world’s best practices in health, happiness, and longevity and shares that information to help people live longer, better. Read More >

The article Buettner wrote for National Geographic Magazine in November 2005, “The Secrets of Living Longer,” was the third-highest selling issue in the magazine’s history and made Buettner a National Magazine Award finalist. A similar article, titled “The Island Where People Forget to Die,” was one of the New York Times Sunday Magazine’s most popular pieces. A chord was struck, and thus Buettner’s book and company were born.

Buettner has appeared as a longevity expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, ABC World News, CBS’s The Early Show, and CNN. He is also a member of Cooking Light magazine’s Advisory Board.

Blue Zones works in partnership with Healthways, municipal governments, and various insurance companies to implement the program in more than 20 cities so far, and has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date. The strategy focuses on optimizing the local environment – walkability for citizens and kids, availability of healthy food options, social connectivity, pursuit of life purpose, and ongoing coaching and support for creating homes which effortlessly bring forth wellness and happiness. Harvard University’s Walter Willet called the results “stunning” in Newsweek.

Buettner also holds three Guinness World Records for cycling six continents. In February 1995, he and a team including Mayanist Julie Acuff, photographer Douglas Mason, and his two brothers, Steve and Nick, embarked on a three-month, 3,244-mile mountain bicycling expedition known as MayaQuest. They traveled through Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras to gain insights into the causes of the collapse of the Mayan civilization around 900 AD. Carrying laptop computers and a mini-satellite dish on loan from Rockwell, these adventurers were able to link up with 40,000 schools involved in the project via Prodigy, as well as other Internet users. The team logged on twice a week, uploaded their findings, fielded questions from students and teachers, and received input from more than one million online participants.

The last of these trips also became the subject of an Emmy-winning PBS documentary co-produced by Buettner and a book he authored, Afratrek: A Journey by Bicycle through Africa, which won the Young Reader Award of Scientific American. Buettner’s other books include Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way and his new book The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.

Buettner resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is proud to be the father of three (nearly) grown children. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

The Making of a Healthy City

In 2009, Albert Lea, Minnesota, a statistically average American city, completed a one-year community health experiment that raised life expectancy by three years, trimmed a collective 12,000 pounds off waistlines, and dropped healthcare costs of city workers by some 40%. USA Today, Good Morning America, AARP, ABC Nightline, CNN, and US News & World Report all covered the story. Harvard's Dr. Walter Willett, writing in Newsweek magazine, called the results “stunning.” Dan Buettner, founder and director of the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project, created a “perfect storm” of health that transformed a city. He tells the fascinating story of how one typically obese American city of 18,000 reversed the trend and also got happier. Workplaces were an integral part of building enthusiasm and support. Dan's presentation takes audiences on the yearlong journey as this town adopts 28 evidence-based ways to change their environment to live longer and better. They got healthier without thinking about it. 

Blue Zones: Secrets of a Long Life

Unlocking the Secrets of Happiness