Scott Sonenshein

Professor of Management, Rice University, author of STRETCH, co-author of Joy at Work with Marie Kondo


Scott Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at Rice University and the bestselling author of Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less – And Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined (2017).  His latest book, co-authored with Marie Kondo, is Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life (April 2020).  His award winning research, teaching, and speaking has helped Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals in industries such as technology, energy, healthcare, retail, education, banking, manufacturing, and non-profits.

He holds a Doctorate in organizational behavior from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Philosophy in management studies from the University of Cambridge, and a Bachelor of the Arts degree from the University of Virginia. His research appears in the very top academic journals and has contributed to several topics in management and psychology, including change, creativity, personal growth, social issues, decision making, and influence. Scott sits on five distinguished editorial boards and is a former associate editor of his field’s top publication, the Academy of Management Journal.


Emerging from the Long Shadow of the Pandemic:

Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of the Return to Work
60 minutes – on the topics Scott touches upon in the latest Brene Brown podcast.

Stretching: The Art of Doing More with What You and Your Company Already Have

Conventional wisdom says that the more resources we have—bigger budgets, larger teams, or more experience—the more we can do. In this keynote, Scott challenges this belief with over a decade of original research, spanning everything from Fortune 500 companies to budding entrepreneurial ventures. The key to building more successful organizations, he argues, doesn’t come from pursuing more. It comes from expanding the value of existing resources. Using studies and stories, Scott shows that organizations that survive and thrive have one thing in common: they act resourcefully, taking however little, or even how much, they have, and creating even greater value with it. His message is uplifting, illuminating, and personal, and perfect for understanding organizations both large and small.

Joy at Work: Break Free from Clutter to Feel Better and Achieve More at Work

Based on his research and writing with Marie Kondo, Scott Sonenshein teaches us how to find joy at work. With vivid storytelling, and insights grounded in psychology research, Scott helps us strip away the clutter that holds us back – on our desk, in our calendars, and throughout our workdays. Whether in meetings, as part of teams, or when making decisions and building relationships – Scott leads us to what’s most rewarding for ourselves and organizations. Audiences of all sizes leave empowered with tools to thrive at work and bring prosperity to their workplaces.

Unlocking Hidden Resources to Make Organizational Change Successful

Although organizations frequently need to change, they usually fall short of their goals. Too often change initiatives get sidetracked by resistance and other roadblocks that are easily preventable. Drawing from over a decade of researching and teaching organizational change, Scott shows how to transform resisters into resources and how to unpack hidden ideas, talents, and other resources to make any change effort successful. He explains the critical role of expectations, how to avoid the “dunce cap” and techniques for identifying outsiders within your organization to generate the best ideas for implementing change.

Realizing Your Own Ambitions through Resourcefulness

What does the condition of our lawns tell us about our most important endeavors in life—how to build businesses, launch careers, or even raise families? It turns out quite a lot. Drawing from his wealth of scientific studies in the past decade, Scott shows that our strong desire to keep up with others—our colleagues’ work titles and budgets, our friends’ accomplishments, and even our neighbors’ green grass—has put us on a destructive path that makes us ultimately less successful and satisfied. He explains how to redirect the energy spent chasing after what others have to realizing our own goals and dreams. Using research interwoven with stories, he explains why the most important skill to navigating life’s challenges is resourcefulness—getting the most out of what’s already in hand.

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Scott’s Joy at Work presentation and workshop garnered the highest attendance out of all of our January virtual appearance offerings.  Working with New Leaf and Scott was a breeze and his flexible, customer-oriented approach to meeting our needs was very much appreciated.  For organizations looking to identify how to create more Joy at Work and why that is essential in these times, Scott’s session is invaluable.

- Target Corporation

Scott Sonenshein brings a perfect mix of book smarts, clarity, and charm to engage and inform his audience on the fascinating complexities of human behavior in the workplace.  His talk and subsequent Q&A session at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center lasted one hour, felt like only 10 minutes, and left all of us wanting him to continue.  We all learned something we could use that very afternoon!

- MD Anderson Cancer Center

As an early digital disrupter of the blinds industry, we know about the necessity of stretching. So Scott’s presentation at our Leadership Development Day not only resonated, but did so in a powerful and fresh way that motivated us to do even more.