Elizabeth Ricker

MIT & Harvard trained brain researcher and Silicon Valley technologist

• Author of 'Smarter Tomorrow: How 15 Minutes of Neurohacking a Day Can Help You Work Better, Think Faster, and Get More Done'

Elizabeth Ricker

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Elizabeth R. Ricker, author of Smarter Tomorrow: How 15 Minutes of Neurohacking A Day Can Help You Work Better, Think Faster, and Get More Done (Little, Brown Spark/Hachette), is an expert and innovator in brain enhancement. She conducted research at MIT and Harvard and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from them, too. Ricker has lectured across the world and consults with Silicon Valley venture capital firms, technology startups, schools, and the Fortune 500.

Elizabeth's book was chosen by The Wall Street Journal as one of "12 Books to Start a Smart New Year", named one of 5 "Books That Motivate You to Live Well" by The Hindu (India), and NYT bestselling authors Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Dan Pink’s Next Big Idea club picked it as #9 in their “Top Book Bites of 2021”. It was nominated for the Audie, Porchlight, Nautilus, and William James Book Awards. It is an Amazon #1 Bestseller in Memory Improvement and #1 New Release in Neuroscience. Thousands of English-language copies have been sold globally, and translations into Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Romanian, and Russian are scheduled for release.

Harvard Magazine called the book "cognitive enhancement...in approachable bite-sized bits". Bestselling authors Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Dan Pink highlighted Smarter Tomorrow in their Next Big Idea Club, where it was described as: “Brilliant...While many of us are out of school now, there are still people out there who make intelligence cool—and show us how we can become smarter ourselves." Stanford neuroscientist, NYT bestselling author, and host of the PBS show “The Brain with Dr. David Eagleman” said: "If you're a brain owner...this is the guidebook you're going to want."

Ricker runs the consultancy Ricker Labs and the citizen neuroscience, DIY, and neurohacking organization, NeuroEducate. Her work has been featured globally, including in Fast Company, on SiriusXM radio, in the March for Science's book "Science Not Silence" (MIT Press), and on public broadcast TV in Europe.

Ricker received her undergraduate degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT and her graduate degree in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard. In college, she worked in the neuroscience lab of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Susumu Tonegawa and in the MIT Media Lab. Ricker was also a nationally ranked athlete and class president — the latter of which occasionally involved such serious duties as dressing up in a giant rodent costume to play Tim the Beaver, the MIT mascot.

You’ll find free book-related tools and resources at ericker.com. You can also follow Ricker as “eliricker” on Medium, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Speech topics

Smarter Tomorrow: A Better Brain in 15 Minutes a Day

What if you could upgrade your brain in just 15 minutes a day? That’s the question that led MIT and Harvard trained researcher Elizabeth Ricker on a 10+ year quest through neuroscience labs and tech startups around the world. After poring through hundreds of research papers, conducting dozens of interviews, and testing countless tools on herself, Ricker uncovered something surprising: rather than finding few, she found many research-backed tools with the ability to upgrade mental performance. There was a problem, though. Certain tools worked well on some people but not on others – and it was hard to predict which tool would work best on whom. As she dug further, Ricker discovered something even more surprising: a little known methodology used by Nobel Prize-winning scientists. This highly personalizable framework can be used to unlock our best performances at work, in relationships, or in life. Learn more in Ricker’s talk.

5 Research-Backed Brain Upgrades: At Home or In the Office

What are five little known – but powerful – ways to improve mental performance? In this talk, Ricker introduces research-backed tools that can be used at home or in the office. They range from easy to complex and from free to a few hundred dollars. She will discuss the surprising power of an often maligned type of human bias, research showing that one of the simplest brain upgrades that humans have been using for a millennia actually works, that the blue light from your phone is not necessarily as bad as we think, that some video games may be good for us, and that a certain type of brain imaging device can be used to meditate more effectively. For every tool, Ricker explains the research behind it and exactly how you can start using it in just fifteen minutes a day.

4 Mental Superpowers for 21st Century Success

Beginning in the early 1900s, the concept of intelligence - as measured by IQ tests - became a popular explanation for success. Starting in the 1990s, emotional intelligence (EQ) began to take hold of the public’s imagination. As the 21st century unfolds, what mental abilities will we value most? In this timely talk, Ricker introduces data from large, longitudinal scholarly studies about the traits that underlie everyday success in today’s world. The mental abilities she pulls out – including ones she calls the New IQ and the New EQ – turn out to be predictive of success in work, school, and relationships. Best of all? These abilities turn out to be wonderfully trainable: you don’t have to be born with them. Ricker will also share research-backed ways each of us can improve in these mental abilities – even if we are not quite at superpower levels yet – in just fifteen minutes a day.


Smarter Tomorrow: How 15 Minutes of Neurohacking a Day Can Help You Work Better, Think Faster, and Get More Done

What if you could upgrade your brain in 15 minutes a day? Let Elizabeth Ricker, an MIT and Harvard-trained brain researcher turned Silicon Valley technologist, show you how.

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