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speaker

Bob
Harris

Storytelling consultant, social enterprise advocate, memory skills expert.

Profile

Bob Harris has written for or consulted on world-famous TV shows and films ( Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Avengers: The Age of Ultron), written two bestselling memoirs, and won US journalism awards for his radio storytelling. Built on 30 years of experience, Bob’s teachable storytelling techniques also apply powerfully to business and philanthropy.

Bob has also won more than $500,000 on US quiz shows using memory skills, stress management, and performance techniques that he offers to academic and corporate audiences.

Sharing his good fortune, Bob heavily invested in social enterprises, making 10,000+ small loans to developing-world businesses via the charity Kiva.org. He then visited numerous recipients for The International Bank of Bob.

Current Work

In television, Bob is executive producer of an upcoming miniseries for the SBS and the creator/executive producer of Echo Chamber , a US drama series now in development at Endgame Entertainment.

Bob also consults regularly with businesses and charities, helping them use classic storytelling techniques to laser-focus their branding and messaging on the interests of clients, investors, and other stakeholders.

In social enterprise, Bob remains active in speaking and fundraising. Readers of The International Bank of Bob, his book about Kiva.org, have now made more than 295,000 small loans to mom-and-pop businesses in 95 countries, with a total loan volume recently surpassing USD $10,000,000 (almost AUD $15 million).

Previous Experience

Speaking: Bob has spoken at more than 350 venues worldwide. Notable bookings range from corporate seminars and keynotes (including Adobe, Google and eBay) to top US universities (including UCLA, and the University of Chicago) to government panels (including the U.S. Department of State) with appearances as diverse as the Mensa World Gathering, a Yale University “Master’s Tea,” and TEDx Tysons.

Storytelling: Bob has written for Bones and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; consulted on one of the top 10 box office films of all time ( Avengers: The Age of Ultron); and has been involved in numerous other projects in five countries, including award-winning documentaries produced by HBO and Michael Moore.

In 2018, Bob taught the Master of Arts program in Serial Storytelling at Germany’s prestigious Internationale Filmschule; one of his students used Bob’s techniques to win the 2019 International Series Writers Competition in Cannes.

For five years, Bob was an award-winning syndicated radio commentator, writing and sharing news and slice-of-life stories daily on nearly 100 US stations.

Bob is also the author of five books, including two bestsellers and Who Hates Whoma series of summaries of the world’s major conflicts so lucid that the New York Times Book Review recommended it to the 2008 US presidential candidates.

Social enterprise: Bob is the author of The International Bank of Bob, the definitive book about the microlending and the charity Kiva.org. After Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus shared the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for developing microcredit as a means of poverty alleviation, Bob became curious to learn if their model really helped the recipients. Soon, he invested his own nest egg in thousands of small loans to mom-and-pop businesses all over the developing world via Kiva.org, then spent years literally following the money - to Kiva, to its field partners, and finally to recipients themselves. Bob’s travels took him to challenging environments on five continents, rapidly turning his work into a study not just of poverty and its causes, but also the deep resilience of ordinary people, the creativity and love at every stop, and the simple, profound connections between us all.

Memory skills: Bob is one of America’s most well-known and successful quiz show contestants, with 14 appearances on Jeopardy! and career winnings on all shows of more than AUD $500,000. One of only 15 players chosen to play in Jeopardy’s first-ever million-dollar Masters tournament, Bob has also been part of a million-dollar-winning team on Super Greed, given the fastest-ever correct phone-a-friend response on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire , and won grand prizes on multiple smaller quiz shows.

An invited speaker at the Mensa World Gathering, the National History Bowl, and the Trivia Championships of North America, Bob was co-host of the History Channel’s National History Bee and the author of Prisoner of Trebekistan, a bestselling memoir of Jeopardy! including chapters on his memory techniques. The book is now standard study material for US quiz show contestants, used in numerous US educational institutions, and was itself the subject of questions on both Jeopardy! and Millionaire.

Media
Expertise
Talking Points

Heroic Storytelling for Business Branding and Messaging

Need to communicate your goals, ideas, and solutions more clearly? Want to better frame your own services as a perfect fit for your clients’ or stakeholders’ interests? Bob’s simple approach can help make your own stories more compelling, memorable, and effective.

Great storytelling can improve virtually everything: branding, sales and marketing, interdepartmental communications, even how we talk with bosses, colleagues, and employees. Storytelling is also the spine of our personal lives; getting good at it can enhance every relationship we have.

You recognize a compelling story instantly - but what, exactly, makes you feel rapidly engaged? What elements are necessary, what elements make you feel more interested or less, and what should be left out?

Bob provides an original, teachable framework and demonstrates how it recognizably applies to everything from heroic Greek myths to Hollywood screenplays to interdepartmental communications and corporate branding.

He then provides examples of the model in current successful advertisements and explores common mistakes; demonstrates the difference between 1st- and 2nd-person storytelling, and when you’ll use each one; and shows how to construct a story framework for any communication - including, as a learning aid, a demonstration of how he used these very techniques in framing the program itself!

Bob also includes a segment on presentation skills, including the most valuable lessons from 30 years of live performances in theater, comedy, radio, television, and live talks.

In just one sitting, you and your group will learn an easy mnemonic for the elements needed for any powerful story-one that you can then not just use to reach customers, but even share with stakeholders, employees, and colleagues.

Memory and Performance Skills for Business and Education

Imagine having the focus, memory, and stress management skills required to flourish in the world’s most-watched quizzing competition, with a million dollars on the line and more than ten million people watching you. Or imagine having the creativity and confidence to bang out bestselling books, popular TV episodes, award-winning radio pieces, Star Wars comic books, consulting notes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, etc. - and how that creativity can transform your own work. And now imagine these skills are all surprisingly accessible, once you’ve found the right teacher.

Olympic athletes, successful CEOs, and Hollywood’s most creative people all share powerful habits to perform at their best - and Bob Harris has studied, used, and taught these habits for more than a decade. Based on sound science and the latest in neurophysiology, Bob shares:

- The physical and emotional mechanisms of memory creation
- How to hijack your body’s primal survival instincts to accelerate knowledge acquisition and retention
- The power of the subconscious to determine our outcomes, and how to bypass and rewire negative
expectations
- How to take command of both internal and external surroundings, giving you a powerful sense of control and
home-field advantage
- Using all the above plus free association to accelerate creativity
- Combining it all to reduce stress and enjoy what you do!

The International Bank of Bob: Social Enterprise, Poverty Alleviation, and Kiva.org

Hired by Forbes as a globetrotting luxury travel writer, living like a billionaire while reviewing some of the most opulent hotels on Earth, Bob found himself… bored. Wealth without purpose felt aimless, even depressing, when others around him didn’t feel the same way. But inspired in Dubai by a life-changing, joyous encounter with a few of the impoverished workers whose backbreaking labour creates such wealth, Bob decided to share his good fortune. But how?

Microfinance had recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, so Bob sought out Kiva.org, a charity platform for crowdfunding small no-interest business loans in the developing world. Bob poured his nest egg into hundreds-and eventually, thousands-of these loans, then visited clients in dozens of challenging environments, from Bosnia to Rwanda to Lebanon to Peru to Cambodia. Asking what works and what doesn’t first-hand, Bob then simply wrote the stories of ordinary people just trying to make better lives for their kids, often in the wake of war, tragedy, or even genocide.

On the day of release, Bob’s book surprisingly rocketed on Amazon to #3 worldwide. In its wake of its popularity, readers have lent more than US $10,000,000 to small businesses in 95 countries.

In this uplifting talk, Bob introduces us to ordinary people the news never covers: inspiring, resilient, enterprising souls whose stories are brilliantly, amusingly, heartbreakingly, life-affirmingly like our own. For business groups, the benefits of corporate giving, multiculturalism, and a culture of generosity are highlighted. For academic and general groups, the interconnection and deep similarities between all human societies are the focus, along with powerful proof that one person can make a difference. Told with humour and compassion, The International Bank of Bob brings the world to our doorstep, and makes clear that each of us can, actually, make it better.

Secondary PTSD: Caring for Exhausted Caregivers

It’s not discussed nearly enough: Secondary PTSD (aka vicarious trauma) is a quiet, growing epidemic. Anyone who supports people dealing with trauma - first responders, military veterans, aid workers, crisis counselors, etc. - may be at tremendous risk themselves for depression, addiction, isolation, and more. Even family members not directly involved in the support - the children of a military spouse, for example - may be at risk.

Worse, because the source isn’t one’s own trauma, even intense pain is often discounted, ignored, and endured in silence. It shouldn’t be.

In this talk, Bob shares his own deeply personal story of enduring, recognizing, and then learning to work through a severe case of Secondary PTSD, growing out of his years of traveling to conflict zones and meeting survivors of tragedy for his book about Kiva.

When the source of pain is so rarely discussed, simply understanding the nature of the problem is half the solution. Bob’s talk about Secondary PTSD raises awareness for a general audience, offers a detailed case history to counseling professionals, and gives recognition and hope to those who may be suffering invisibly while caring for others.
Topics

Business

  • Sales
  • Entrepreneurship & Entrepreneurs
  • Marketing
  • Purpose & Vision
  • Social Enterprise

Innovation

  • Creativity

Lifestyle & Wellbeing

  • Media Personalities & Celebrity
  • Society, Culture and The Arts
  • Stress

Motivational

  • Challenge & Adventure
  • Inspiring Stories
  • Celebrity & Media
  • Resilience
  • Connection & Storytelling
Feedback
Connections are what bind us and Bob Harris has turned that into a science… Dig into his ideas and memory methods and be amazed at what it will change in your life. Envolve Media
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