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Scott Barry Kaufman

Psychologist, Professor, Writer, and Podcaster
Scott Barry Kaufman is a psychologist, professor, writer, and podcaster. Now at Columbia University, he was previously at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was invited by Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, to serve as the scientific director of the Imagination Institute. There, Kaufman investigated how we measure human potential, perseverance, achievement, and creativity. In his book Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, he develops his “Theory of Personal Intelligence,” a radical argument for a more holistic, individual way to assess cognitive strengths—and appreciate all kinds of minds. In Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, he shows how creativity can be cultivated and offers a practical, science-backed manifesto for living a more imaginative life.

But his hard-earned achievements emerged from Kaufman’s own struggles to be seen. He spent the first three years of his life almost deaf and was assumed to have a learning disability. After a teacher recognized him as misdiagnosed—he has central auditory processing disorder—he began his incredible journey of self-actualization. He went from special-ed to straight As, and then a PhD in cognitive psychology from Yale and an MPhil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Today, Kaufman is a whirlwind of creative output. His Psychology Podcast has been downloaded over 7 million times. He has edited numerous books, including Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties, and writes for the Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review.

In addition, he serves on the advisory board of the nonprofit Future Project, sits on the editorial board of journals BioMed Central Psychology and Journal of Intelligence, and is co-founder of The Creativity Post, a nonprofit committed to disseminating new work on creativity in all categories: business, science, academics, technology, and more.

My Friday Slate Sessions

Friday, October 18

12:40pm PDT