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About Ozan


Ozan Varol standing and smilingHey, I’m Ozan. I’m a rocket scientist turned award-winning professor and best-selling author.

A native of Istanbul, I grew up in a family of no English speakers. I moved to the United States by myself at 17 to attend Cornell University, where I majored in astrophysics. While there, I served on the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers project. I later became interested in the physics of society, went to law school, and became a law professor. After getting tenure, I left academia to become a full-time author and speaker.

My mission in life is to help people reimagine the status quo. I believe that outdated conventional wisdom holds us back. I believe that society has seduced us into assuming that flying lower is safer than flying higher, that coasting is better than soaring, and that small dreams are wiser than bigger ones. I believe that reimagining—not just resisting—the status quo is the key to unlocking our full potential.

My work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time, BBC, CNN, Washington Post, Newsweek, Fast Company, Slate, and many other outlets. My books and articles have been read by millions around the globe.

A sought-after speaker, I’ve delivered keynotes to institutions like Microsoft, Intel, lululemon, adidas, Accenture, Deloitte, Salesforce, General Electric, Google X, CVS Health, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Navy.

I’m the bestselling author of two books: Awaken Your Genius and Think Like a Rocket Scientist. My books have been translated into 25 foreign languages and selected as:

  • One of’s “6 Business Books You Need to Read This Year (according to Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, and Adam Grant)”
  • One of Amazon’s Top 20 business books of the year
  • Adam Grant’s # 1 pick of his top 20 leadership books of the year
  • One of 6 Groundbreaking Books of Spring 2020 (according to Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink, and Adam Grant).

I live in Portland, Oregon, with my wife Kathy and our two dogs, Einstein and Sputnik. My esoteric interests include Turkish soccer, indie bookstores, and getting lost in foreign cities.

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What others are saying

When the stakes are high, the unknowns are threatening, and the problems seem insurmountable, you need a superhero—which means you need Ozan Varol.

—DANIEL PINK, New York Times-bestselling author of Drive

Ozan Varol is a true original.

—ADAM GRANT, New York Times-bestselling author of Think Again

If you looked up the word ‘polymath’ in the dictionary, you may see a picture of Ozan Varol.

—NIR EYAL, Bestselling author of Hooked and Indistractable

Ozan Varol is like Nassim Taleb meets Daniel Kahneman.

—CLARA SHIH, CEO of Salesforce Service Cloud

Ozan Varol's a brilliant mind, a warm and kind heart, and the exact type of spirit we need putting resilient vibes into the world right now.

—NEIL PASRICHA, New York Times-bestselling author of Book of Awesome

Ozan Varol is one of my favorite thinkers on thinking.

—SHANE SNOW, Bestselling author of Smartcuts and Dream Teams

Ozan Varol is always smart and always fascinating.

—SUSAN CAIN, Bestselling author of Bittersweet and Quiet

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