HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Bernard Roth

Author, Rodney H. Adams Professor of Engineering & Academic Director of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school) at Stanford University


  • The Achievement Habit



Bernie Roth is the Rodney H. Adams Professor of Engineering at Stanford University. A longtime veteran of the Stanford design scene, he first came to the Stanford Design Division faculty in 1962. He arrived from New York City, his birthplace, with a wife, two children, a proper haircut, a sports jacket and a very traditional background in Mechanical Engineering and liberal New York politics. The experience of the Vietnam-War protest movement, the Human Potential Movement, and the other social upheavals centered in San Francisco Bay area, totally changed his life as an educator. It added a missing dimension, the explicit concern for his students’ education and growth beyond simply developing their technical expertise. The only things that he seems to have lost in the transition are the clean haircut and sports jacket. His most recent activities have moved him more strongly into experiences that enhance peoples’ creative potential through the educational process. His primary intention as an educator and person is to empower his students, colleagues and friends to have fulfilling lives.

In The Achievement Habit (Harper Business), Roth applies the remarkable insights that stem from design thinking—previously used to solve large scale projects—to help us realize the power for positive change we all have within us. Roth leads us through a series of discussions, stories, recommendations, and exercises designed to help us create a different experience in our lives. He shares invaluable insights we can use to gain confidence to do what we’ve always wanted and overcome obstacles that hamper us from reaching our potential. Roth introduces the power of design thinking to help you achieve goals you never thought possible.

 In 2003 he joined a small group of colleagues to bring more cross disciplinary collaboration into education. These discussions led to the formation of the Stanford institute nicknamed "the d.school."  Roth brought to the d.school a wealth of experience in teaching design, an intimate knowledge of the functioning of Stanford University, and a worldwide reputation as a researcher in kinematics and robotics. Since 2005, the d.school has been the primary focus of Roth’s professional activities.

In the 1980's, Roth, (together with the late Rolf Faste and Doug Wilde) developed the concept of a Creativity Workshop. The Workshop was offered to students, faculty and professionals around the world. These same techniques have been made available to d.school students and are described in The Achievement Habit. He has found that these types of learning experiences enhance students’ ability to make meaningful positive difference in their own lives. He is especially pleased that his activities at the d.school have contributed to creating an environment where students and coworkers get the tools and values for realizing the enduring satisfactions that come from assisting others in the human community.

Roth and his wife Ruth live on the Stanford campus. He is fortunate to be able to bike to work and to many other daily activities. For over thirty years he has been part of a group that rides a twenty mile bike loop each Sunday morning. He has two grown sons; Elliot lives in San Francisco, CA and Steven lives in Novato, CA.

Praise for The Achievement Habit:

“Bernie Roth is the central pillar and the conscience of the d.school at Stanford and one of its real gems. It’s exciting that he now puts his best ideas into this book for many more of us to benefit.”
-- David M. Kelley, Founder of the d.school at Stanford University, Founder and Chairman of IDEO

The Achievement Habit is a masterpiece in describing how to think creatively and fulfill your life’s ambitions. Everyone who reads this book will clearly see why Bernie is considered one of the most creative and liberated thinkers today.”
--Paul Hait, Entrepreneur/Olympic Gold Medalist

“Bernie Roth is a master teacher who unlocks his students’ minds and hearts allowing them to create the lives they dream to live. Finally, his wisdom is available to the entire world.”
--Tina Seelig, Professor of the Practice, Stanford School of Engineering, Author, Insight Out

“Before unleashing design thinking on others, unleash it on yourself. You, and the world, will be far better for it. The Achievement Habit reveals a host of invaluable approaches to this most personal of design projects.”
--Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of Change By Design