Wendy Wood
Behavioral Scientist and Speaker

Dr. Wendy Wood is Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California, where she teaches classes on behavior change. Given her research over the past 30 years, she is widely considered the world scientific expert on habit formation and change. She has published over 100 articles, and her research has been supported by Proctor & Gamble, National Science Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute. She is the author of Good Habits, Bad Habits.

Dr. Wood is a popular speaker at scientific conferences and with a broad range of professional groups. In 2018, she gave the inaugural address in Paris for the Sorbonne-INSEAD Distinguished Chair in Behavioral Science. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, on radio shows like Freakanomics, and in podcasts like the People’s Pharmacy.

Dr. Wood especially enjoys sharing her work with other people by giving keynote talks. When discussing the science of habits she focuses on why willpower is not the answer to long-term behavior change—and, more importantly, why we continue to think that it is; the important role that your workspace and living contexts provide in supporting new behaviors; and how to repeat actions to make them habits that you can repeat without struggle and stress.

She has spoken to many notable organizations such as ForgeRock, P&G, World Bank, Workhuman, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The Department of Health and Human Services,  The Paper and Packaging Board, The Arts Club, and Produce for Better Health Foundation.

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Good Habits, Bad HabitsThe Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A potent mix of neuroscience, case studies, and experiments conducted in her lab, Good Habits, Bad Habits is a comprehensive, accessible, and above all deeply practical book that will change the way you think about almost every aspect of your life.

Exercise, Diet, and Getting HealthyMany people struggle with getting and staying healthy. Wendy Wood gives clear, entertaining advice about the basics of forming healthy habits and breaking out of unhealthy ones.
Coping with Change Given disruptions of the pandemic, new technologies, and working from home, many people are struggling to cope with change in their lives. Wendy Wood offers science-based advice for how people can re-establish balance to be productive and happy.
Handling Workplace Challenges A clear, science-based framework for understanding what holds people back when faced with change and how they can reorganize their worklives to make change seamless without struggle.
Education and Being Prepared for College It’s easy to be intimidated by the many challenges when progressing up the academic ladder. But students can learn easy science-based strategies that make academic work a seamless part of their lives.

Good Habits, Bad Habits was mentioned in a New York Times piece about how to build healthy habits.

Good Habits, Bad Habits was also reviewed in Spirituality & Practice. Prevention ran an article about the science behind our bad habits, mentioned Good Habits, Bad Habits, Check out Wendy Wood’s recent appearance on Good Morning America.

Good Habits, Bad Habits included in the top ten books for October in The Washington Post and in San Francisco Chronicle.

Publishers Weekly included Good Habits, Bad Habits as one of the top 10 lifestyle books in their Fall 2019 announcements and gave the book a starred review in their 7/15 issue, calling Good Habits, Bad Habits “an enlightening debut.”

Read Dr. Wendy Wood’s research on forming and breaking habits.

Freakonomics Radio featured Wendy Wood’s research: How to Launch a Behavioral Change Revolution.

Listen to People’s Pharmacy Show as they featured Wendy Wood’s advice for trading bad habits for good ones.

Daily Mail featured Wendy Wood shares how stress can trigger a healthy behavior.

"Wendy gave an inspiring presentation about building habits to the P&G Europe HR community. In times like these, we wanted to build capacity to leverage the changing context to build habits for the better and make positive changes that stick. The audience feedback to me was very positive. Her talk helped our HR professionals critically review some of their organizational change strategies. It also enabled them to apply scientifically-supported guidance to making changes in their personal life. Very clear feedback about the usefulness of this event was the drop-out rate. Wendy managed to keep all 160+ participants listening and engaged attentively with little to no drop-out, whilst normally we see a higher percentage leave the presentation. Thank you, Wendy!"
- Meike Bunt, Procter & Gamble

"We definitely accomplished our goal and [Wendy's presentation] was an excellent kick off to the year."
- Kauffman Fellows

“Thanks so much for your talk ! I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt a lot. Besides, seeing how one disseminates research to a heterogeneous audience was in itself an education. Your position of being at the front lines of academics and the business world is very inspiring. It was fascinating to hear about your experience with P&G and see the scope and value of applications of basic psychological research. Hearing from you has further convinced me of my interest in pursuing a career in consumer insights/behavioral research in an industry setting.”

“It was great to meet and speak with you. You gave an inspirational presentation today!”

“Greetings. I don’t usually send an email to speakers, especially when my work is not closely related to the topic, but I must say your talk yesterday was one of the best talks during my years at Caltech. It was so inspiring to me in many ways.”

“Thank you for having presented so eloquently today at our Behavior Change Community. We had a huge turnout, with most of the 63 participants staying for most of the event (this is unusual).”

"Dr. Wood was so good to work with - she really listened to our explanation of our population, where we are in our culture and wellness journey, the past concerns we've had with global presentations, and the challenges we face. She tailored her presentation and it landed very well with our employees."
— Sarah Gonzales, Senior Director, Global Compensation, ForgeRock

Advance praise for Good Habits, Bad Habits "Wood’s research and perspective on the malleability of habits will bring hope to any reader looking to create long-term behavioral change."—Publishers Weekly

"Good Habits, Bad Habits is a huge achievement. Wendy Wood manages to distill the science of habit formation, most of which emerges from her own lab, in a manner that is fascinating but also, above all, extremely useful for people looking to make positive change in their life."—David Kessler, New York Timesbestselling author of The End of Overeating and Capture

“Fascinating and fun, this book will change a lot of lives. So much of human behavior is habitual—sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Wood brings state-of-the-art social science into contact with the most pressing issues in daily life. She’s a tremendous guide.” —Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University, and author of How Change Happens

“Wendy Wood is the most thoughtful, innovative researcher studying the central role habits play in human behavior. Her work on habits has guided scientific understanding and will have a similar impact on public knowledge. I can’t imagine a better person writing this book.” —Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational

“Wendy Wood is the world’s leading expert on habits—how we make them, break them, and change them. I expect that her book will be both eye-opening and immensely useful in teaching people how to get more done, quit smoking, start exercising, make better choices, and stop annoying their partners.” —Adam Grant, author of Originals

“Wendy Wood is the world’s foremost expert in the field, and this book is essential.” —Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power and Passion of Perseverance

“No one has studied how habits form and influence behavior better than Wendy Wood. More importantly for readers, no one has done a better job of showing how to change negative habits into powerful, helpful versions.” —Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence and Pre-Suasion

“An insightful guidebook from the world’s preeminent habits researcher. Good Habits, Bad Habits is a captivating tale of the science of habits and how you can use them to improve your life.” —Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On

“Drawing on decades of research, combined with the results of her own meticulous studies, Wendy Wood shows us how conventional advice on creating good habits and eliminating bad habits is bound to fail. Wood's research reveals the surprisingly simple features that lie at the heart of good and bad habits. In Good Habits, Bad Habits, she shows how understanding these features is crucial to making habits stick and teaches us how to shape our own habits to improve our lives." —Samuel D. Gosling, personality and social psychologist

"GOOD HABITS, BAD HABITS is a fascinating tour of the science of habits, and Wendy Wood is the consummate tour guide. One of the world's leading habit researchers, Wood shares decades of her own research with wit, charm, and a keen eye for the stories that illuminate the processes of habit-making, habit-breaking, and habit-reshaping. If you want to understand your own habits—and how they form and can be reformed—Good Habits, Bad Habits is for you." —Adam Alter, NYU Stern School of Business