Amy Alkon
Irreverent behavioral science-based syndicated columnist and author

Amy Alkon does “applied behavioral science,” translating scientific research on human behavior into highly practical advice, dispensed with biting humor in books, speaking engagements, and her Creators syndicate column.


She is the author of the just-published “science-help” book, Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence (St. Martin’s Griffin, Jan. 2018). This book (and the talks Alkon gives on becoming confident) lays out the process of approaching work, life, and romance with confidence. Alkon shows how even the most socially awkward person can use action to transform their emotions and their behavior — and transform their default way of responding from fear-based to confident.


Alkon writes The Science Advice Goddess, an award-winning, behavioral science-based syndicated column that runs in newspapers across the United States and Canada. She is also the author of two other science-based and darkly funny books on how we can all behave less counter-productively, Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck and I See Rude People: One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society.


Alkon does private coaching for academics and businesses. She shows academics how to communicate their research in talks, books, and articles in ways that are understandable, exciting, and practical for a general audience. She uses behavioral science research to help businesses guide decision-making and solve problems in the workplace. Alkon has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, MTV, NPR, and numerous radio local and syndicated radio shows. Popular podcasts she’s appeared on include Adam Carolla’s and Joe Rogan’s. Alkon also does her own weekly science podcast.


Alkon has written for Psychology Today, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, the New York Daily News, among others, and has given a TED talk, “The surprising self-interest in being kind to strangers.” She is the President of the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society. Alkon lives in Venice, California.

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Unf*ckologyA Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence
St. Martin's Griffin

Have you spent your life shrinking from opportunities you were dying to seize but feel “that’s just who I am”? Well, screw that! You actually can change, and it doesn’t take exceptional intelligence or a therapist who’s looking forward to finally buying Aruba after decades of listening to you yammer on.

St. Martin’s Griffin

To lead us out of the miasma of modern mannerlessness, science-based and bitingly funny syndicated advice columnist Amy Alkon rips the doily off the manners genre and gives us a new set of rules for our twenty-first century lives.

Your Feelings Are Not The Boss Of You It’s not how you feel; it’s what you do. In this science-based talk, Amy Alkon lays out the process of approaching work, life, and romantic relationships with confidence. The darkly funny Alkon shows how even the most socially awkward person can use action to transform their emotions and their behavior -- and thus transform their default way of responding from fear-based to confident and be their biggest, best self. Audience members who come to this talk will walk away not just with new ideas but with concrete actions they can take to start seizing life instead of shrinking from it.
The Surprising Self-interest In Being Kind To Strangers Amy Alkon, explains -- with her dark humor -- the science behind why our society has turned so ugly as of late. Anthropology research led Alkon to her conclusion that we’re living in societies too big for our brains. The stone-age psychology still driving us today -- which evolved when we lived in small bands -- is a mismatch with our modern times and the vast strangerhoods in which we live. This makes us ripe for engaging in -- and being victimized by -- various forms of social thuggery. But the power of strangers to hurt us has a flip side -- the power we have to bring meaning to our own lives by extending ourselves in small ways for strangers. Alkon leaves the audience with an action plan with small ways they can change others’ lives and, in turn, change their own and even the world.
Business Talks By Amy Alkon Just as Amy Alkon uses her broad base of knowledge in neuroscience, behavioral science, evolutionary psychology, and clinical psychology to come up with practical solutions for individuals, she does this for businesses as well. Alkon started her career in advertising, working at various agencies in Detroit and New York City, and eventually at Ogilvy & Mather during the early days of branding. She is versed in the literature of business and consumer psychology and motivation and gives talks upon request in motivating staff, increasing cohesion in the workplace, and how to change business practices to reach sales goals or other goals.
Don't Die Alone: The science of how to do your very best in sex, dating, and relationships Alkon turns to behavioral science and evolutionary psychology to help you get dates, get laid, and be in a relationship without wanting to chase your partner around the house with a carving knife.
How to be an entrepreneurial thinker—even if you work for “the man" Alkon worked for international powerhouse ad agency Ogilvy & Mather before creating a a business out of a prank: giving free advice on a Soho Street corner. Alkon went on to self-syndicate her own column to almost 100 newspapers, and takes a unique approach: translating and transforming serious science into practical advice, delivered with biting humor. In this talk, she explains how you can do even an “ordinary” job in extraordinary ways by getting into the habit of using what she calls “entrepreneurial thinking”—practical innovation, imagination, and creativity.
Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck With caustic wit, Amy Alkon lays out her scientific theory behind why we’re experiencing so much rudeness and why we should view bad manners as a form of theft. Using behavioral science, she explains how we can avoid behaving counterproductively and keep the rudesters from abusing us. And surprise: it turns out it’s actually in our self-interest to be kind and generous, especially to strangers.

See Amy featured on KABC.

Check out some of Amy’s best advice for The Observer and

Read about Amy’s TED Talk on and Amy’s blog.

Follow Amy on Twitter.

Keep up with Advice Goddess.

"Your exciting talk at the 21st Annual Psychology Day was so engaging and thought provoking that discussions continued for days. In the years since I have been part of this event we never had such deep engagement from everyone in attendance. The many questions from students and faculty was evidence that we were all enthusiastic and intrigued by your interdisciplinary science-based explanations of human behavior. Some professors took the opportunity of student interest to further discuss some of the ideas you highlighted in your talk. We simply needed more time with you to unpack more! We hope you will return to California State University, Fullerton to enlighten us again. Thank you for such stimulating talk."
-Iris Blandon-Gitlin, PhD: Chair, Psychology Day Committee

Praise for Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence
“Amy Alkon does a wonderful job of explaining how to not only change what you do, but more importantly, how you think. By rooting her advice in science―and in her own hilarious experiences―she shows you how to get out of your own way and become your best self.”
—Charles Duhigg, author of bestselling The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

“Amy Alkon is a virtuoso at making science accessible and fun. In this fast-paced, deeply authentic “science-help” book, Alkon weaves her own dramatic transformation with the latest science to show you how to live the life you truly want to live. It’s time to stop pitying yourself, devaluing yourself, hiding yourself, and all the other things we do to ourselves to avoid being our full selves. You can be comfortable in your own skin RIGHT NOW. This book will show you how.”
―Scott Barry Kaufman, Professor of Positive Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined and Wired To Create

“Amy Alkon is every bit as original, fierce and science-backed as you'd expect in a book titled Unf*ckology. Alkon invented the science-help genre, and this book finds her at the height of her powers. Alkon tackles interpersonal and intrapsychic problems with a voice as sui generis as the problems are universal. It's a master class in making important life changes taught by your hilarious best friend, the one who is as funny as she is smart, and whose radical honesty about her own shortcomings makes her thoroughly unfuckwithable.”
―Kaja Perina, Editor in Chief of Psychology Today

Praise for Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck
"Alkon not only tells readers what good manners are but also provides useful suggestions for politely calling offenders’ attention to their rudeness. And she does this in a ferociously funny style--it’s worth a read for the laughs alone. There is nothing here of the proper arrangement of table setting, nor of how to address a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury; rather Alkon deals with modern problems in interpersonal relationships, such as how civilized people should act when standing in lines, on airplanes, online, and elsewhere. In addition, she officers very dependable, sensible, caring advice to those whose friends or family are coping with terminal illness. VERDICT: Solid psychology and a wealth of helpful knowledge and rapier wit fill these pages. Highly recommended."
Library Journal (starred review)

"This book is a gem. Hysterically funny and grounded in science, Amy Alkon explains why so many people are rude and how it's possible to be courteous, even if you're foul-mouthed and clueless about etiquette."
—Dr. Adam Grant, Wharton School professor and New York Times-bestselling author of Give and Take

"I can say without reservation that Good Manners For Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck is hilarious, consistently entertaining, and, above all, wise. It’s Emily Post as a beach read."
—Charlotte Allen, The Weekly Standard

"She is chatty, at times outrageous, but full of ideas about living politely in a society that she says has become too big for our brains to handle. As for Oscar Wilde, at the end of his life is said to have commented: ‘The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork.’"
—Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal