National Geographic Events

Speakers Bureau

Dan Buettner Author, Explorer

Photo: Dan Buettner

Photograph by Gianluca Colla

Photo: Dan Buettner
Photograph by Gianluca Colla

Dan Buettner is an internationally recognized researcher, explorer, New York Times best-selling author, and National Geographic Fellow. He founded Blue Zones®, a company that puts the world’s best practices in longevity and well-being to work in people’s lives.

Buettner’s colossal research effort, funded in part by the National Geographic Expeditions Council and the National Institute on Aging, has taken him from Costa Rica to Italy to Japan and beyond. He has discovered that the way people interact with each other, nourish their bodies, and view their world impacts the extent and quality of their lives.

Buettner’s National Geographic cover story on longevity, “The Secrets of Living Longer,” was one of the magazine’s top-selling issues in history and a made him a finalist for a National Magazine Award. His books The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest (2008) and Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (2010) appeared on many best-seller lists and were both featured on Oprah.

In 2009, Buettner and his partner, AARP, applied principles of The Blue Zones to Albert Lea, Minnesota, and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs by some 40 percent. He’s currently working with Healthways to implement the program in the Beach Cities of Los Angeles and the entire state of Iowa. Their strategy focuses on optimizing the health environment instead of individual behavior change. Writing in Newsweek, Harvard University’s Walter Willet called the results “stunning.”

Buettner has written for Outside, LIFE, and National Geographic magazines and has been profiled in People, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, and USA Today. He also holds three world records in distance cycling and has won an Emmy Award for television production.

Popular Presentations

Blue Zones: Secrets of a Long Life
Traveling the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity and happiness, Buettner identified Blue Zones—places where people have the greatest life expectancy and where more people reach age 100 than anywhere else. Dan debunks the most common myths and offers a science-backed, actionable plan to live longer, healthier lives.

Thrive: Unlocking the Secrets of Happiness
Science shows that where we live—not education, marital status, or wealth—is the biggest, controllable factor that determines our happiness. Working with Gallup, The World Values Survey, and the World Data Base on Happiness, Buettner researched happiness hot spots—places where people report the highest level of well-being or happiness—and distilled down the common denominators in each place. What can governments and individuals do to stack the deck to maximize happiness?

The Making of a Healthy City
Buettner, founder and director of the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project, created a “perfect storm” of health that transformed a city. He tells the fascinating story of how one typically obese American city of 18,000 adopted 28 evidence-based ways to change their environment to live longer and better. They got healthier without thinking about it.

Learn More About Dan

Blue Zones Website

New York Times Magazine: The Enchanted Island of Centenarians

The Guardian: The Island of Long Life

National Geographic Adventure: The Longevity Experiment (June/July 2009)

NPR Interview: The Island Where People Live Longer

National Geographic: Longevity (November 2005)

New York Times: My Dinner With Longevity Expert Dan Buettner (No Kale Required)

New York Times: 12 Tips for Living a Longer Life

Forbes: How One Area Is Helping Its Residents Live Longer

Photo: Dan Buettner

Listen to Radio Interview With Dan Buettner

Boyd Matson Interviews Dan for NG Weekend Radio Show

  • Photo: TEDx logo
    Dan Buettner’s TEDx Talk

    To find the path to long life and health, Dan Buettner and team study the world’s Blue Zones, communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. At TEDxTC, he shares the nine common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them spry past age 100.

  • Photo: TEDMED logo
    Video: Dan Buettner at TEDMED 2011

    Buettner talks about universal lifestyle behaviors that promote longevity, why they’re so hard to adopt in the U.S., and how one town undertook its own Blue Zone experiment, to great effect.

  • Photo: Dan Buettner by Richard Hume
    Video: Thrive: Unlocking the Secrets of Happiness

    Dan Buettner offers universal strategies on how to best achieve that life balance we all seek.

  • Photo: Dan Buettner
    Video: Healthy Cities

    Putting the lessons of Blue Zones and Thrive into practice, Dan Buettner sets out to make cities healthier.

  • Photo: Dan Buettner
    Dateline MSNBC Feature on Blue Zones

    Lessons for a longer life from the Blue Zones.

  • Photo: Blue Zones Logo
    U.S. Town Takes Blue Zones Challenge

    The town of Albert Lea, Minnesota, and its residents have gone through some serious changes in the past year. The town of 18,000 changed a lot, from sidewalks to attitudes, to put to use lessons learned by Dan Buettner as he explored areas of the world he calls Blue Zones, where the people live longer.

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National Geographic Speakers

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Sam Abell
   Photographer Photo of Sam Abell
Lynsey Addario
   Photojournalist Photo of Lynsey Addario
Casey Anderson
   Naturalist, TV Host Photo of Casey Anderson
Peter Athans
   Mountaineer, Filmmaker Photo of Peter Athans
Robert Ballard
   Underwater Explorer Photo of Robert Ballard
Brady Barr
   Reptile Expert, TV Host Photo of Brady Barr
Melina Bellows
   Publisher, Editor Photo of Melina Bellows
Lee Berger
   Paleoanthropologist Photo of Lee Berger
Joel K. Bourne Jr.
   Contributing Writer Photo of Joel K. Bourne Jr.
Steve Boyes
   Conservation Biologist Photo of Steve Boyes
Kobie Boykins
   NASA Engineer Photo of Kobie Boykins
John Bredar
   Senior Executive Producer, National Geographic Specials Photo of John Bredar
Kenny Broad
   Cave Diver, Environmental Anthropologist Photo of Kenny Broad
Dan Buettner
   Author, Explorer Photo of Dan Buettner
Bryan Christy
   Investigative Reporter, Fellow Photo of Bryan Christy
Barry Clifford
   Underwater Explorer Photo of Barry Clifford
Jodi Cobb
   Photographer Photo of Jodi Cobb
Michael Davie
   Filmmaker Photo of Michael Davie
Wade Davis
   Cultural Anthropologist, Author Photo of Wade Davis
Dennis Dimick
   Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine Photo of Dennis Dimick
David Doubilet
   Underwater Photographer Photo of David Doubilet
Sylvia Earle
   Marine Biologist Photo of Sylvia Earle
Andrew Evans
   Travel Journalist Photo of Andrew Evans
John Francis
   Planetwalker, Conservationist Photo of John Francis
Annie Griffiths
   Photographer Photo of Annie Griffiths
David Guttenfelder
   Photojournalist Photo of David Guttenfelder
Charlie Hamilton James
   Photographer, Filmmaker, TV Presenter Photo of Charlie Hamilton James
Kevin Hand
   Planetary Scientist and Astrobiologist Photo of Kevin Hand
Zahi Hawass
   Archaeologist Photo of Zahi Hawass
Fred Hiebert
   Archaeologist Photo of Fred Hiebert
Peter Hillary
   Mountaineer, Author Photo of Peter Hillary
Nizar Ibrahim
   Paleontologist Photo of Nizar Ibrahim
Donald Johanson
   Paleoanthropologist Photo of Donald Johanson
Beverly & Dereck Joubert
   Photographers, Filmmakers, Naturalists Photo of Beverly & Dereck Joubert
Mattias Klum
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Conservationist Photo of Mattias Klum
Robert Kunzig
   Senior Environment Editor, National Geographic Photo of Robert Kunzig
Tim Laman
   Field Biologist, Wildlife Photojournalist Photo of Tim Laman
Frans Lanting
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Writer Photo of Frans Lanting
Albert Yu-Min Lin
   Research Scientist and Engineer Photo of Albert Yu-Min Lin
Greg Marshall
   Biologist, Inventor, Filmmaker Photo of Greg Marshall
Boyd Matson
   Journalist, Adventurer Photo of Boyd Matson
Mireya Mayor
   Primatologist Photo of Mireya Mayor
Pete McBride
   Photographer, Filmmaker, Freshwater Advocate Photo of Pete McBride
Steve McCurry
   Photographer Photo of Steve McCurry
Kim McKay
   Environmentalist, Author Photo of Kim McKay
Mark Moffett
   Ecologist, Photographer Photo of Mark Moffett
Nalini Nadkarni
   Forest Ecologist Photo of Nalini Nadkarni
Michael "Nick" Nichols
   Photographer, Conservationist Photo of Michael "Nick" Nichols
Paul Nicklen
   Photographer, Biologist Photo of Paul Nicklen
Garrett Oliver
   Brewmaster, Author Photo of Garrett Oliver
Børge Ousland
   Polar Explorer Photo of Børge Ousland
Matthieu Paley
   Photographer Photo of Matthieu Paley
Carsten Peter
   Photographer, Filmmaker Photo of Carsten Peter
Bob Poole
   National Geographic Cameraman Photo of Bob Poole
Sandra Postel
   Freshwater Conservationist, Freshwater Fellow Photo of Sandra Postel
Chad Pregracke
   Environmentalist Photo of Chad Pregracke
   Photojournalist and Humanitarian Photo of  Reza
Cory Richards
   Photographer, Climber, 2012 Adventurer of the Year Photo of Cory Richards
Jim Richardson
   Photographer Photo of Jim Richardson
Enric Sala
   Marine Ecologist Photo of Enric Sala
Joel Sartore
   Photographer, National Geographic Fellow Photo of Joel Sartore
William Saturno
   Archaeologist Photo of William Saturno
Paul Sereno
   Paleontologist Photo of Paul Sereno
Brian Skerry
   Underwater Photographer Photo of Brian Skerry
Bryan Smith
   Adventure Filmmaker Photo of Bryan Smith
John Stanmeyer
   Photographer Photo of John Stanmeyer
Zoltan Takacs
   Herpetologist / Toxinologist Photo of Zoltan Takacs
Anand Varma
   Natural History Photographer Photo of Anand Varma
Ed Viesturs
   Mountaineer Photo of Ed Viesturs
Ami Vitale
   Photojournalist Photo of Ami Vitale
Spencer Wells
   Population Geneticist Photo of Spencer Wells
Steve Winter
   Photographer Photo of Steve Winter
Andrew Zolli
   Futurist Photo of Andrew Zolli

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