HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Author & Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University


  • Some Hard Truths About Leadership & Leadership Development: Making Leaders & Leader Development More Effective
  • Dying For a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance
  • Overcoming the Knowing-Doing Gap: Turning Knowledge Into Action
  • Competitive Advantage Through People: Building Profits by Putting People First
  • Getting Things Done: Building Power and Influence
  • Practicing Evidence Based Management


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Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is the author or co-author of 15 books including, Leadership B.S.: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time (HarperBusiness); The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First; Power: Why Some People Have It – and Others Don’t (HarperBusiness), The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action; and Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management. Pfeffer’s most recent book, Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance—and What We Can Do About It (HarperBusiness) is a clarion call for a social movement focused on human sustainability. Pfeffer makes clear that the environment we work in is just as important as the one we live in, and with this urgent book, he opens our eyes and shows how we can make our workplaces healthier and better.

In this timely, provocative book, Pfeffer contends that many modern management commonalities such as long work hours, work-family conflict, and economic insecurity are toxic to employees—hurting engagement, increasing turnover, and destroying people’s physical and emotional health—and also inimical to company performance.  He argues that human sustainability should be as important as environmental stewardship. Pfeffer marshals a vast trove of evidence and numerous examples from all over the world to expose the infuriating truth about modern work life: even as organizations allow management practices that literally sicken and kill their employees, those policies do not enhance productivity or the bottom line, thereby creating a lose-lose situation.

Pfeffer received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. from Stanford. He began his career at the business school at the University of Illinois and then taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Pfeffer has been a visiting professor at the Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University, London Business School, Copenhagen Business School, and for the past 12 years a visitor at IESE in Barcelona.

From 2003-2007, Pfeffer wrote a monthly column, “The Human Factor,” for the 650,000-person circulation business magazine, Business 2.0 and from 2007-2010, he wrote a monthly column providing career advice for Capital, a leading business and economics magazine in Turkey.  Pfeffer has also written for Fortune.com, BNET, the Washington Post, BloombergBusinessWeek.com, and is an Influencer on LinkedIn.

Pfeffer currently serves on the board of directors of Berlin Packaging, on the advisory board for Collective Health, and on the board of the nonprofit Quantum Leap Healthcare. In the past he has served on the boards of Resumix, Unicru, and Workstream, all human capital software companies, Audible Magic, an internet company, SonoSite, a NASDAQ company designing and manufacturing portable ultrasound machines, and the San Francisco Playhouse, a non-profit theater.

Pfeffer has presented seminars in 39 countries throughout the world as well as doing consulting and providing executive education for numerous companies, associations, and universities in the United States.

Pfeffer has won the Richard D. Irwin Award presented by the Academy of Management for scholarly contributions to management and numerous awards for his articles and books. He has been listed in the top 25 management thinkers by Thinkers 50 and as one of the Most Influential HR International Thinkers by HR Magazine. In November, 2011, he was presented with an honorary doctorate degree from Tilburg University in The Netherlands.

Currently, he resides in California.

Praise for Jeffrey Pfeffer:  

“Jeff Pfeffer was the opening keynoter at the 2006 HR Technology® Conference speaking about his earlier book, Hard Facts, on evidence-based management. The audience of nearly 1,000 senior HR executives loved his humor and his insights, formally evaluating him at 4.75 out of 5. I guess that’s an “A” in his world.”
—Bill Kutik, co-chair HR Technology® Conference & Expo

“Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer is simply one of the best Management thinkers and speakers in the world. And our company, HSM, works with only the very best. His ability to put the People context with business results is unmatched. I recommend him to any company.”
—José Salibi Neto, Co-Founder & Chief Knowledge Officer, HSM Brasil

“Jeff has a natural, conversational style which combined with his command of the subject and marketing sense result in entertaining and informative presentations.”
—Shanda Bahles, former Managing Partner of El Dorado Ventures 

“Jeff Pfeffer is the rarest of creatures in the world of business thought leaders: he is substantial and entertaining. There are countless professional business edutainers completely lacking in substance.  And there are thousands of business academics who do rigorous research but put audiences to sleep.  Jeff is one of a handful that combines deep and rigorous research with a delivery that inspires and holds an audience.”
—Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto,  author, and a former partner of Monitor, the strategy consulting firm.

“Pfeffer’s insightful stories and innovative strategies surrounding organizational behavior are among the best that are available today.  Whether you are trying to improve performance, realize the untapped potential of your employees, or drive customer-centricity throughout your company, Jeff’s fresh and irreverent perspectives are sure to help you move the needle”.
—Andrew Salzman, Chief Marketing Officer, Saba Software

“I have known Pfeffer for a number of years and used him at a number of different forums at Hewitt.  He has helped us develop emerging leaders and to facilitate discussion at meeting with our top clients.  We have also asked Jeff to advice us on some fairly significant global research projects.  I have always found his writing to be thoughtful and provocative and have found discussions with him in a variety of settings to be just as stimulating.  He is invariably compelling and engaging and brings an energy and enthusiasm for ideas that is unparalleled in our field.”
Bob Gandossy, Hewitt’s Global Practice Leader for Talent, Engagement, and Leadership

“Jeff possesses two exceedingly rare traits; he is both a scholar and also a practitioner. He has the uncanny ability to apply the theoretical to the practical; to be a dispassionate observer of human behavior in large and small  organizational settings, drawing lessons from what is observed, and then able to reach a variety of audiences, enabling them to grasp, through his teaching and consulting genius, what they need to know to overcome the many inhibitors to efficiency, productivity and stability in diverse settings. What distinguishes Jeff from the many other consultants, speakers, trainers and faculty with whom I have worked over the years, is his authenticity as a teacher. His ability to connect with the people with whom he is working, to bring executives, managers and students, to a point where actually learn and seek to change their ways of knowing and ways of doing, the latter two being the sine qua non of real change in any enterprise.”
—Daniel J Julius, Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Alaska System of Higher Education, Former President, College and University Personnel Association  and Academy of Academic Personnel Administrators 

We have the pleasure of working with Jeff Pfeffer as a presenter/facilitator in our Leadership Academy program.  Over the past three years, Jeff has led interactive, dynamic discussions with our leaders on the topic of talent and the human side of organizations.  He consistently receives rave reviews.”

A few remarks from our participants include:

“Jeffrey Pfeffer was outstanding!”

“Breadth and depth of speaker’s knowledge and expertise made a very stimulating discussion.”

“Jeff was fabulous—best presenter we have had so far.”
Erika Duffy, Sr. Transformation Consultant, Leadership Academy Program Manager, Sutter Health University

Praise for Dying for a Paycheck:  

“In this urgent and essential book, Pfeffer lays bare the hidden costs of the gig economy, employment instability, and many modern management practices. If you’ve got a job, you must read this book.”
— Laszlo Bock, CEO and Co-Founder of Humu & author of Work Rules!

“This is simply the most important business book I have read in a decade. As Pfeffer’s sharp analysis points out, the relationship between people and organizations is flat-out broken. Offering a range of solutions, Dying for a Paycheck will start a revolution.”
— Tom Rath, author of Strengthfinder 2.0.

“This profound book on personal well-being and organizational work environments should change how work is done and literally save lives.  Using Pfeffer’s insights, employees can take responsibility for their physical and mental health and leaders can create abundant organizations that win.”
— Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

“With precision and insight, Pfeffer lays bare the true cost of toxic workplaces, providing a timely wakeup call for any leader who thought a good workplace was simply a ‘nice to have’. As Pfeffer shows, it is a fundamental right in our fast changing society. Dying for a Paycheck is an essential book from one of our greatest organizational scholars.”
— Professor Lynda Gratton, author of the The 100-Year Life: living and working in an age of longevity

“Pfeffer examines the heretofore uncharted relationship between dysfunctional workplace practices and employee health.  Dying for a Paycheck is a compelling and important read for all of us seeking to produce a healthy and engaged organization.”
— Gary Loveman, former CEO, Caesars Entertainment and former president of Consumer and Health Services, Aetna

Praise for Leadership BS:  

“Sensible advice...”
— The Economist

“Jeff Pfeffer stands as one of the great management thinkers of our time. Here in this important work, he challenges us to embrace a hippocratic oath of leadership: first do no harm. Diagnostic and prescriptive, passionate and incisive, provocative and inspired-Pfeffer yet again makes a noble contribution.”
—Jim Collins, author Good to Great, co-author Built to Last and Great by Choice

“As bracing as a splash of cold water, Leadership BS is at once a scathing indictment of the ‘leadership industry’ and a roadmap to success. Pfeffer dismantles the jargon-filled aphorisms of conventional leadership, replacing them with fact-based prescriptions for how to succeed.”
—Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations, Google and author of New York Times bestseller, Work Rules!

“A provocative case that most leadership advice is baloney and the entire industry is broken. Pfeffer convincingly argues that we consistently give the wrong people power-and even when we get it right, authenticity is a recipe for disaster.”
—Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

“In this must-read book, Pfeffer exposes the gap between what we’re told we should do to be leaders and what successful leaders actually do to climb the career ladder. Pfeffer’s take-no-prisoners approach to management research and practice always reveals insightful and shocking results.”
—Keith Ferrazzi, author of ,New York Times bestsellers Never Eat Lunch Alone and Who's Got Your Back?

“I wish I had read Leadership BS years go. It’s not only honest but helpful, putting words to the disconnect I’ve seen between what works and what we’re all “supposed to be” doing. This inconsistency has so much to say about the current state of professional women’s progress.”
—Gina Bianchini, CEO, Mighty Bell and co-founder, Lean In

“Leadership BS goes directly to the soul of leadership practices, exposing both the rewards and penalties of contemporary notions. You’ll be challenged to look at qualities such as narcissism, vulnerability, immodesty and ego and consider why these too are important traits of effective leaders.”
—Curt Coffman, co-author of First, Break all the Rules

“A fascinating inquiry into why the “leadership industry” has failed to develop better leaders. Pfeffer turns conventional wisdom about leadership upside down, and challenges us to rethink why and how leaders behave. It’s an indispensable book for every leader, executive coach, and others who seek to help leaders.”
—Morten T. Hansen, professor, University of California, Berkeley, co-author, Great by Choice

“Pfeffer offers no nostrums, no feel-good solutions; instead, he offers unvarnished insights and dry-eyed suggestions. Anyone who is seriously interested in leadership should read this book.”
—Stephen Kosslyn, founding dean, the Minerva Schools of Arts and Sciences at the Keck Graduate Institute

“Jeff Pfeffer has done it again. He forces us to confront uncomfortable questions about ourselves and our cultures. This book reminds us of the dangers of pursuing comforting messages instead of practical truths.”
—Kent Thiry, CEO, Davita Healthcare Partners

“Pfeffer persuasively attacks the simplistic generalities that masquerade as leadership advice. Offering examples of when such advice can hurt leaders. Turning some of our assumptions concerning authenticity, trust, and humility on their head. Essential reading for anyone who would rather rely on scientific evidence than merely on cool stories.”
—Sim B Sitkin, Duke University, Faculty Director, Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics

“Challenges conventional thinking and traditional bromides, underscoring the importance of being evidence-based if you want to make an impact in developing leadership.”
—Barry Z. Posner, PhD, Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership, Santa Clara University, co-author, The Leadership Challenge

“[Power] will help you get comfortable with challenging assumptions and lingering on the pause....[Pfeffer] draws on a wealth of social-science and psychology research.”
— Inc magazine

“This is an entertaining and inspiring read for anyone looking to shake things up at work.”
— Publishers Weekly

Praise for Power:

“Jeff Pfeffer is of immense service to the world with his work, blending academic rigor and practical genius into wonderfully readable text. The leading thinker on the topic of power, Pfeffer here distills his wisdom into an indispensable guide.”
— Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall

“Talk about speaking truth to power! In refreshingly candid prose, Jeff Pfeffer offers brilliant insights into how power is successfully built, maintained, and employed in organizations. It’s well known that when Pfeffer speaks about power, smart people listen. This book shows why.”
— Robert Cialdini, author of Influence

“Jeff Pfeffer nails it! Political skill, not just talent, is central to success in every field. In Power, this leading scholar comes down to earth with practical, even contrarian, tactics for mastering the power game.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Chaired Professor, Harvard Business School, and bestselling author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End and SuperCorp

“[Power] will help you get comfortable with challenging assumptions and lingering on the pause....[Pfeffer] draws on a wealth of social-science and psychology research.”
 — Inc.

“Its candor, crisp prose, and forthrightness are fresh and appealing... Brimming with frank, realistic insights on paths to the top, this book offers unexpected—and aggressive—directions on how to advance and flourish in an ever-more competitive workplace.”
— Publishers Weekly

“[Academics and consultants] have an interest in presenting business as a rational enterprise.... This leaves the analysis of power to retired businesspeople...(who strive to present themselves as business geniuses rather than Machiavellis) and practicing snake-oil salesmen…Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford Business School is an exception to this rule.”
— The Economist

“[Power] ought to be required reading for would-be leaders...[E]xcellent.”
— Financial Times