Scott Berkun

Scott Berkun

  • @berkun

Seattle, Washington

Areas of Expertise:

  • Innovation
  • Public Speaking
  • Management
  • Project management
  • Philosophy
  • Interaction design
  • usability
  • creative thinking
  • user experience
  • speaking
  • training
  • writing
Scott Berkun is the best selling author of Confessions of a Public Speaker, The Myths of Innovation, and Making Things Happen. His work as a writer and public speaker have appeared in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at Scott Berkun.

The Year Without Pants The Year Without Pants
by Scott Berkun
August 2013
Ebook: $26.95

Confessions of a Public Speaker Confessions of a Public Speaker
by Scott Berkun
December 2010
Print: $16.99
Ebook: $13.99

The Myths of Innovation The Myths of Innovation
by Scott Berkun
August 2010
Print: $17.99
Ebook: $14.99

Confessions of a Public Speaker Confessions of a Public Speaker
by Scott Berkun
November 2009
Ebook: $13.99

Making Things Happen Making Things Happen
by Scott Berkun
March 2008
Print: $39.99
Ebook: $31.99

The Myths of Innovation The Myths of Innovation
by Scott Berkun
May 2007

The Art of Project Management The Art of Project Management
by Scott Berkun
April 2005

O'Reilly Master Class: Leading and Managing Breakthrough Projects Video O'Reilly Master Class: Leading and Managing Breakthrough Projects Video
by Scott Berkun
November 2009
Video: $99.99

Scott blogs at:

Please Don’t Be Generic (When sending LinkedIn requests)

April 10 2014

I believe in first impressions, especially if you’re asking someone else for something. When you make a connection to another person, even on the interwebs, please take 60 seconds to say something personal about why you’re making the connection. If you’re not willing to take 60 seconds to write something… read more

Noah: movie review (Spoiler Free)

April 09 2014

I’m fascinated by religious history and love movies, so it’s no surprise I’ve seen many films with religious themes. Even when I’m familiar with the texts they refer to, I often go back to reread and compare how the filmmakers handled the many challenges of trying to make a narrative… read more

Book Review: Smarter Than You Think

April 07 2014

It’s wise to read books with points of view you don’t share. It’s the only way you get exposed to ideas with the power to change your mind. For a long time I’ve been a techno-neutralist. I’m not convinced technology is good or bad, it depends. I know from history how… read more

How Events & Conferences Should End

April 02 2014

Yesterday I gave the closing talk at An Event Apart Seattle. It was a new talk, requested by organizers Marci Eversole, Jeffrey Zeldman & Toby Malina. From their observations and attendee feedback they knew one big challenge for all events is how to help attendees bring ideas with them back to work. As… read more

Improving the User Experience of (User Experience) Conferences

March 27 2014

I’m finishing up work on a talk for An Event Apart Seattle about what happens after the conference is over [update: that presentation is here]. At first this might seem like an odd session to have, but it’s reflective of a fundamental problem of all events: events are intense short… read more

What does a good father do?

March 26 2014

What does a good parent do for their children? What specifically, if anything, can only a father do for a child? It’s an easy question to ask, but complex to answer. Much of what we have in our minds about what good parents do, or don’t do, is based on… read more

How To Convince Your Boss To Try New Things

March 25 2014

Status quo is a powerful beast. No matter the organization, once people are in powerful roles they tend to want to change as little as possible out of fear of losing that power. Despite all of their rhetoric about progress and change, most bosses are hard to convince to try… read more

How do *you* eat Pho?

March 18 2014

I rarely write about food here, but eating and cooking are two of my favorite things. Pho, Vietnamese rice noodle soup, is a pleasure I discovered more than a decade ago, when I went gluten-free for a time and struggled to eat anything anywhere. I’ve always loved noodles and it… read more

How Remote Work Improves Diversity

March 18 2014

A good question about The Year Without Pants: & The Future of Work from Sibylle, in a comment: I was wondering how you think Automattic’s model would work for a more diverse workforce. The culture you describe in the book is very much centered on young, male, tech-savvy, western-socialised software… read more

Free Webinar: Future of Work & The Year Without Pants (3/27)

March 17 2014

Next Thursday Citrix will be hosting me with a live webinar about remote work and The Year Without Pants. It’s completely free, and I promise it will be fun. Date: Thursday Mar 27, 2014 | 10:00 AM PDT Hosted by: Citrix Register here If you’ve read the book and have… read more

Signed copy of The Year Without Pants to First 10 commenters

March 14 2014

Hi folks. Its been a long time since I gave things away. Some of you subscribe directly by email (“Get Posts Instantly” in the sidebar) or RSS to every single post. That’s swell of you. As a small token of thanks you get the first shot at this. I won’t… read more

Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem & The Myths of Innovation (

March 13 2014

This essay in the NYTimes, Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem by Yiren Lu, is a kaleidoscopic essay on culture divide, and the angst of being smart, young and successful in Silicon Valley. It’s a well written but strange essay in that she seems unsure about where she lands on many of the issues… read more

The First Time I Saw The Web

March 12 2014

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the web, here’s my story. I was a senior at CMU in ’93/’94 and for my computer science classes I spent many long hours in the computer labs, called clusters, working on programming projects or doing other schoolwork. Many of my friends hung… read more

The Three Writing Mindsets

March 12 2014

I write nearly every day and I have the hypothesis that there are three writing mindsets. Put simply: Raw. When I wake up from a dream, or share a meal with someone interesting, I have a surplus of ideas in my head. Often they’re strange, sometimes they’re interesting, occasionally they’re… read more

Remote work @ by the numbers (Infographic)

March 11 2014

[Update: I learned a lesson about infographic spam after posting this] Here’s a quick visual rundown on remote work and WordPress. They got a handful of things wrong: P2 and IRC should have been listed as communication tools WordPress is not strictly owned by Automattic (the company that runs to call it… read more

Have we reached the death of the author? (Publishing and Poverty)

March 07 2014

I’m a fan of Melville house, a young, savvy publishing company founded in 2001 in Brooklyn, NYC. They have a lively twitter feed, they publish interesting books, and generally seem wise about what books and book publishing mean in this technological age. But a recent article of theirs titled Publishing… read more

Why Fathers And Children Don’t Get Along

March 06 2014

My next book is a departure and a risk. If you want to understand why, read the goal of my life explained. I’ve been asking questions about fathers and sons my entire life, which makes it no surprise I’ve had a difficult relationship with my father. He is not an… read more

Famous programmer Leaves Google Because of Remote Work Ban

March 05 2014

Yahoo is a curious poster child for banning remote work, as they’re not a company that’s doing very well. Yet Google has strict policies against it too, as the recent post by famous programmer Tim Bray explained: As of March 17th I’ll be an ex-employee. It’s an amicable separation in… read more

The Goal of My Life Explained (tattoo included)

February 26 2014

In my first book I put a simple photo on the author page at the end. It showed a shelf near my desk that I’d cleared. My goal, since 2003 is to fill this shelf with books I’ve written. This is an odd thing to do I realize, but I… read more

What If Managers Didn’t Get Paid More?

February 26 2014

One of the many surprises from The Year Without Pants is that Automattic, makers of, doesn’t pay employees more when them become a team leader. They consider being a leader a role, not a job. One of the fun experiments this enabled for me while I worked there was to… read more

FAQ about The Year Without Pants (with satisfying answers)

February 25 2014

It’s been a great few months for my 5th book, The Year Without Pants, my book about my year at a 100% distributed company. Thanks for spreading the word and helping it find its way. The book was named an best book of 2013, was covered by Forbes,… read more

Should you ban Woody Allen’s films?

February 23 2014

The resurfacing of Woody Allen’s past is sad from many perspectives, amplified by how a daughter and a family are still struggling, very publicly, to deal with events that took place decades ago. I’ll leave the conclusions for you to draw, as my question in this post is a practical… read more

Webcast: When The Dog Eats Your Slides: How To Overcome Tough Presentation Situations
January 28, 2014
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Webcast: The Myths of Innovation: Remixed and Remastered
October 13, 2010
With the release of the new paperback edition of the classic bestseller, The Myths of Innovation, Berkun is back with new stories, advice and inspirations based on the true history and present of innovation. Scott will share lessons and insights ...

Webcast - Confessions of a Public Speaker
December 02, 2009
For leaders, managers and anyone who speaks and expects someone to listen, Scott Berkun shares an insider's perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone. Loosely based on his third book, Confessions of a Public Speaker, this fun, interactive...

Webcast: How progress happens: the down and dirty truths and secrets that make innovation possible
March 19, 2009
Talking about innovation is easy--making change happen in organizations is ridiculously hard. But there are things we can learn from the history of technology, political revolution and change, and there is a playbook we can reuse to help us avoid ...

"Not many how-to books can both inform and entertain. Berkun has written such a book."
--George Slaughter, Technical Communication, Volume 58, Number 3, August 2011

"Myths of Innovation is strongly recommended for anyone interested in innovation and creativity especially as it applies to practical applications."
--Martin P. Wilson, Solidus

"Warning: Reading this book will make you analyze the next 100 speakers you hear! While doing this you should improve your own skill sets but it will make those speeches tuff to sit through!"
--Nick Schale,

"All in all, a meaningful and fun read, even if you think you’ll never do any public speaking. Watch might open your mouth and find yourself on a Committee or making a report to your work group. Or worse yet, Chairman of a Board! This book will ease your fears and give you great tools to help any speaking task."
--Babette Bloch, Golden Gate Computer Society (GGCS), March 2010

"The author has a warm, involving style with an anecdotal approach...Anyone who is nervous about speaking in public (ie every-one!) would benefit from reading this book. "
--Roger Bernau, ACT Apple User Group Incorporated

"The work is a great read, and should be considered for anyone's bedside reading list."
--Robert M. Slade, Internet Review Project

"The book is easy reading, full of tips, and provides valuable advice to both the beginner and more experienced speaker; well worth reading. "
--Craig Strachan, NetGalley

" "
--Jerry Pournelle, Chaos Manor, The User's Column, April 2010, Column 357

"Confessions of a Public Speaker is one of my favorites in 2010."
--Diane Danielson,

"Wonderfully written! Most public speaking books are written by speaking experts who, if I were to guess, are not authors by nature."
--Andrew Dlugan, Six Minutes

"...well worth the read. Not a how-to but more of a how-I type of book; more reading for leisure than reading for training but if that’s what you want, very definitely worth your £££ or $$$"
--Dr Simon Raybould, Curved Vision

"Confessions of a Public Speaker is something different, with the inside and personal story of a great public speaker, that is entertaining, inspiring and stuffed full of tips of the nature of public speaking and what makes a great public speaker."
--Jason Clark, Deep Church

"Quite simply this is the best book on public speaking I have ever read."
--Craig Linton, Fundraising Detective

"In sum, this book is a must have for the shelf of any public speaker alongside other classics like Slide:ology..."
--Matthew McCullough,

"I have been reading Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker (O’Reilly, 2009) for literally two months now. It isn’t that it is hard to read, or boring, as it is neither of these. In fact, the reason is that I keep finding things I want to follow up, or to try out myself, and in doing so I frequently set the book down and actually went out and did things. That is the highest form of praise I can give for Confessions."
--Jeffrey Osier-Mixon, Jeff's Open Source Resource

"Very interesting..."
--Helen Raptis and Dave Anderson, AM Northwest

"The book is easy to digest, the content is top-notch, and the text is just as long as it needs to be to make its point--just like a great talk, and just like a good blog post, so I'll stop here. If you want to improve your public speaking, pick up a copy of this book right away."
--Adam Machanic,

"If you are among the many who have the responsibility to speak in public, whether to a group of colleagues or to a cavernous hall of conventioneers, this book will not only help to prepare you, but will entertain you in the process."
--Michael L. Kleper, The Kleper Report on Digital Publishing

"If you get only one good tip from this book, it's worth it. "
--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

"Sound advice."
--Jay Cross, Internet Time Blog