HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Amy Whitaker

Author of Art Thinking & Expert at the Intersection of Creativity and Business


  • Inventing Point B
  • Hands-On Art Thinking Workshop
  • The Design Constraints of Capitalism
  • Art Thinking for Liberal Arts
  • Designing Your Own Metaphor
  • The MFA is the New MBA

Amy Whitaker is an author, writer, artist, and teacher working at the intersection of creativity, business, and everyday life. In possession of both an MBA and MFA, Whitaker shows businesspeople how to think more like artist to discover new ways of doing business and develop greater insights about their career goals through her indispensable and inspiring book Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses (HarperBusiness).

Art Thinking offers practical principles, inspiration, and a healthy dose of pragmatism to help you navigate the difficulties of balancing creative thinking with driving toward results. Whitaker shows that combining the mindsets of art and the tools of business protects the space for open-ended exploration and managing risk on the way to success. Art Thinking takes you from the earliest inkling of an idea to realizing your highest aims, helping you build creative skills you can apply across all facets of business and life.

Whitaker holds an MBA from Yale and an MFA in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art at the University College London. She has lectured widely, including at Google, IBM, and the Museum of Modern Art, and has served on faculty at the Sotheby’s Institute, the Rhode Island School of Design, Williams College, the School of Visual Arts and California College of the Arts. Amy began her career working in art museums, including the Guggenheim, MoMA, and Tate, and for the artist Jenny Holzer. Whitaker has also worked in finance for the startup Locus Analytics, and for the investment management firm D.E. Shaw & Co., L.P.

In 2013, she received the Sarah Verdone Writing Award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Whitaker is the author of previous books including Museum Legs, and her writing has appeared in Fast Company, the New York Post, the New York Times, Art21, Architectural Design, and The Millions. Currently, she resides in New York City.

Praise for Amy Whitaker:

“I have been looking all over the world to find a certain person. . .someone who speaks the language of that terrible word: money. . . finances. . . in . . . the language of art. No one out there spoke the language of art first, until I had the chance encounter. . . to find Amy.”
--John Maeda, then President of the Rhode Island School of Design (now Design Partner, Kleiner Perkins)

“There are people you will meet in life who will change the way you think. Amy’s one of them.”
--Claire Johnson, Google (now COO, Stripe)

Praise for Art Thinking

“In an age of engineering, it also helps to think like an artist. In this fascinating book, Amy Whitaker explores how to apply art thinking to our businesses and our lives.”
--Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators

“An eloquent, inspiring book that will help creative people bring their ideas into the business world-and businesspeople become more creative.
--Adam Grant, author of Originals and Give and Take

“Let Amy Whitaker introduce you to Art Thinking a way of looking at your career that marries commerce and creativity. Whether you’re in a large organization looking for a way to carve out time for innovation, or a lone artist who wants to work smarter, there’s something for you in this book.”
--Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human

“Art Thinking is a spiritual guide to practical endeavor. It embodies a deep belief in both art and the market and the capacity of each to draw out and support our individuality. It also embodies a belief in the power of collectives: of conversations, businesses, and networks. Wise, savvy, humane, and beautifully written, Art Thinking is a celebration of the act of bringing new things into the world, including yourself “
--William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep

“Insightful and engaging, Amy Whitaker has important things to say about the business of art, the art of business, and the art and business of being human.”
--Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

“A singular book that can help starving artists be better fed, and empower business leaders with the agility and openness of an artist’s thinking process. Through thoughtful examples that span centuries and industries, Amy makes the case that innovation, empathy, mindfulness, and commercial success are inevitable outcomes of art thinking.”
--John Maeda, Design Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and author of The Laws of Simplicity

“The beautifully written, Art Thinking, shows us that a mindset of art and tools of business don’t need to be mutually exclusive-we can all dream big, embrace uncertainty, work passionately and live a sustainable life of creativity.
--Ayse Birsel, Designer and author of Design the Life You Love

“What color is your parachute? Art Thinking brings right and left brain together to create a palette of possibilities.
--Barry Nalebuff, Milton Steinbach Professor, Yale School of Management, and coauthor of Why Not?

“A cheerful, encouraging, and practical guide to creativity… Whitaker proves herself a genial, informed companion for a journey toward ‘creative flexibility.’”

“This book is for anyone who wants to make art that is commercially viable as well as those who wish to strengthen business with the vision and energy of innovative integrity.”
--Library Journal

“Whitaker’s approach could not be more timely. Whitaker takes the human from the humanities and injects it back into the business world. She provides a program to cultivate art thinking, and how to leverage creative failure into progress, invention, and new products and services.”