David Gelles

Expert on Mindfulness in the Workplace & New York Times Business Reporter

David Gelles is a business reporter for the New York Times and the author of Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business from the Inside Out (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). He has practiced meditation for 15 years since studying it in India and spent two years traveling the U.S. unearthing stories of the uses of mediation in business. In his mindful talks – his TEDx Talk is a perfect example – Gelles reveals what business leaders around the country are already discovering: meditation is a secret key to fostering a happier, more productive workplace. An eloquent and dynamic keynote speaker, he has given mindfulness talks at TEDxBerkshires, Renaissance Weekend, Wisdom 2.0, Authors At Google, and SXSW, and appears frequently on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNBC, NPR, and the BBC. As a business reporter at the New York Times, he covers mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and Wall Street, and can also speak on those topics. The hottest issue he currently speaks about is the rising role (voluntary and involuntary) CEOs have assumed in the national conversation of today’s ever-changing political climate.

In Gelles’s “When CEOs Speak Out: Business, Politics and the Culture Wars Companies” talk, he explains how business leaders are getting drawn into the political fracas whether they like it or not. From Nike to Salesforce, Patagonia to Merck, Delta to Amazon, big brands are having to take a stand on social justice, climate change, gun violence and more. Against this backdrop, CEOs have assumed a newly important role in our national conversation, emerging not just as business executives, but as cultural and political forces, too.

Gelles’s “Mindful Work” talks, based on his book, merge his 15 years of meditation practice with his work as a business journalist. He tells audiences why one of the most surprising and promising trends in business today – from small companies to multinational corporations – is the growing influence of Eastern wisdom on Western business, specifically mindfulness in the workplace. At first, the notion of yoga and meditation in the office seems like the province of Silicon Valley startups where employees bring their dogs to work and play football in the lobby. But in recent years, mindfulness has gone mainstream. Many of America’s largest companies, such as General Mills, Target, Google, and Aetna, have built extensive programs to foster mindful practices among their workers. He shares engaging stories that take audiences from meditation retreats in Bodh Gaya to neuroscience labs mapping mindfulness on an EEG, form Eileen Fisher’s integration of mediation, Pilates, and yoga into office life to Patagonia CEO Yvon Chouinard’s focus on mindful consumption and sustainability.

Gelles reveals what employees and employers are discovering – and psychologists and cognitive scientists have confirmed – the tangible benefits of mindfulness. For workers, meditation lowers stress, increases mental focus, and alleviates depression. For companies, a more mindful workforce is more productive. Gelles’s revelatory talks show the profound impact mindfulness can have on the world of work, and he teaches audiences how to become more mindful themselves.

Before joining the Times in September 2013, Gelles spent five years with the Financial Times. At the Financial Times, he covered tech, media and M&A in San Francisco and New York. In 2011 he conducted an exclusive jailhouse interview with Bernie Madoff, shedding new light on the $65 billion Ponzi scheme.

David Gelles lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Praise for David’s Talks

“David captivated the WorldPost’s Future Series conference attendees with his dynamic and compelling talk about how mindfulness is the future of the workplace. A world-class speaker, moderator, and panelist, he revealed how meditation and the mindfulness movement is transforming the business world and why we should all pay attention, or rather be ‘present’ or parish.”

—Dan Katz, Chief of Staff to Arianna Huffington

“David’s talk to the Learning Technologies Conference was a great combination of research, insight and brilliant story telling. He illustrated the benefits of practicing mindfulness at work, in terms of productivity and well-being. The audience left both inspired and with a clear view of the role of mindfulness in well-being and as a key to smarter, more focused learning.”

—Donald H. Taylor, chairman, Learning Technologies Conference

“David Gelles’ keynote presentation on Mindfulness at Work was incredibly insightful with meaningful, practical tips on how to implement Mindfulness from the laboratory bench to our patients’ bedside, from our corporate desks to our customers outside. David included relevant examples within the field of Oncology and we had nearly 200 attendees from around the world attend the program, the majority of which rated the program as ‘Inspiring,’ ‘Great!’ and ‘Excellent!’”

—Novartis’s American Oncology Congress breakfast

“David was a total pro throughout our engagement. He was quick on his feet and able to pivot to ensure we got the content we wanted.”

—Horizons: JFF’s National Summit

“Invigorating.” “Fantastic.” “Engaging.” “I felt inspired listening to these stories. I myself am an entrepreneur. So it really resonates with me more than anything.” “What I learned is that through mindfulness we can learn how to react or respond to challenges in our daily life.”

—Audience feedback from

LESA 2016 (Leadership Energy Summit Asia, Kuala Lumpur)

“David Gelles help us set a mindful tone for CECP (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy) Summit. I know our attendees gathered many insights that they will take back to their offices to influence their corporate culture.”

—Sara Adams, CECP Summit

Praise for Mindful Work

“Brimming with insights and backed up with solid research, Mindful Work takes us to the front lines of a revolution that is transforming the business world.”

—Arianna Huffington

“This stunning new book is by far the most insightful, practical guide to mindfulness and meditation. Gelles, who has deep experience with mindfulness, takes us inside leading companies like Google, General Mills, Aetna, and Patagonia to show how meditation is transforming workplaces. Mindful Work could change your life.”

—Bill George, Harvard Business School,

former CEO of Medtronic, and author of True North

“Mindfulness in the workplace is a real trend and few are as well equipped to explain it as David Gelles. He expertly conveys how companies incorporate mindfulness principles into their cultures and offers practical tips to managers on how to do the same.”

—Reid Hoffman, co/founder & chairman, LinkedIn and co-author of The Alliance

“Gelles deftly shows the power of mindfulness to change individuals, businesses and our world for the better. Mindfulness is a practice we need to embrace, and we cannot be afraid to follow this path.”

—Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO, Salesforce

“This carefully researched, heart-fully written, and delightfully readable book tells one of the most interesting true stories of our time: the fascinating and sometimes messy coming together of the wisdom world and the corporate world.”

—Chade-Meng Tan, Jolly Good Fellow of Google,

author of Search Inside Yourself

“Gelles has done a masterful job of capturing the ‘mindfulness movement’. His candid analysis and his dialogue with people from all facets of this movement paint a wonderfully clear view of a potent proposition for living and working in better ways.”

—Scott Kriens, Chairman, Juniper Networks, and Director, 1440 Foundation

“In this compelling book, Gelles describes how apparent paradoxes can resolve into a business culture where taking a breath is part of making a buck.”

—Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together

“In this wise and revealing work, David Gelles explains how Eastern wisdom is transforming the Western workplace. Smart, hopeful and inspiring, this is a book with a wide reach and a clear focus.”

—Mark Epstein, author of The Trauma of Everyday Life and Thoughts without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective

“A delightful, authoritative, and provocative guide to the new world of mindfulness at work. David Gelles covers the story from the inside out, giving readers exactly what they need to assess whether mindfulness is for them — and, if so, how to forge ahead. Give this book your full attention.”

—Daniel Goleman, author of Focus and Emotional Intelligence