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David Wann specializes in the topic of sustainable lifestyles and designs. His bestselling book, Affluenza, is now available in nine languages. It is part of a trilogy of books on the topic of sustainability. Simple Prosperity is the second book in the series, and the third book is titled The New Normal.

Simple Prosperity explores 17 forms of wealth that don't involve money, planning a lifestyle that can provide twice as much satisfaction for half the resources we use now.

The New Normal makes the prediction that production and consumption will no longer be what constitutes a valuable society. It requires a shifting of the paradigms that keep us from reaching our real, full potential as a sustainable culture.

David's passion for sustainability is what motivates him. He co-designed the cohousing neighborhood in Golden, Colorado (where he lives and helps to manage), and is the President of the Sustainable Futures Society and a Fellow of the National Simplicity Forum. For more than a decade, he worked for the U.S. EPA as a policy analyst. David also produced Designing a Great Neighborhood, an award-winning TV documentary about the Holiday neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado

David has won the Timothy Wirth Sustainable Development Award and an award from the Colorado State Department of Public Health and Environment for his career contributions in writing and filmmaking.

Full Profile

    In nine books, 25 TV programs and videos, and more than 200 presentations and speeches, David Wann’s overall goal is to help define the meaning of “sustainable lifestyle.” Since over-consumption at current rates is economically unsustainable, psychologically numbing, socially chaotic, and biologically impossible, we need to reinvent our lifestyle, including expectations, habits, and ways of meeting our needs (such as diet, mobility, community and social connections, energy use, work and play.) This cultural change is not about what we give up but what we get back: clarity, purpose, cooperation, trust, and empowerment. “Changing our culture is like changing a radio station from one with poor reception to one that′s clear,” he says. “We still use the same radio but we′re on a different frequency, a different station that we can hear more clearly. A sustainable lifestyle is that clear station, delivering twice the satisfaction for half the resources.”

    Simple Prosperity, the book he has just completed for St. Martin’s Press, highlights the “mother lode” of abundance that remains untapped in our daily lives: efficiency, precision, essential connections with land and people, health and wellness rather than just more “wealth and hellness.” Throughout history and across all cultures, human needs are exactly the same; what changes are the methods of meeting the needs. As Wann points out in the best-seller Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, we are neglecting what really matters in favor of possessions, appearances, speed, power, and control. Simple Prosperity, a sequel to Affluenza, offers a pathway to clarity, sanity and security through better design, policy, and a more sensible lifestyle – attributes that will reduce our compulsion to consume more than “enough.”

    Wann is president of the Sustainable Futures Society, a board member of the Cohousing Association of the U.S., and the recipient of various lifetime achievement awards for his work on sustainability. He’s been a passionate gardener for 25 years and coordinates a neighborhood garden in the cohousing community in which he has lived for 11 years. He is editor of the book Reinventing Community and coauthor of Superbia! 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods; and producer of Building Livable Communities for then-VP Al Gore’s office. He has also produced several other programs on communities and neighborhoods, including the award-winning TV programs Placemakers and Designing a Great Neighborhood, which appeared on Free Speech TV, Lime TV, and PBS stations.

    In the TV program Sustaining America’s Agriculture, narrated by Raymond Burr, Wann explores the difference between conventional and sustainable farming, demonstrating how organic agriculture results in better health and happiness, less pollution and energy consumption, and stronger communities.

    He is currently at work on the book Value Shift, in which he suggests ways that our decisions can be based on biological and anthropological realities. For example, why is the mainstream American diet dominated by energy-costly meat when the human body evolved to digest a wide variety food? Why do we tolerate life in isolated houses on “life support systems” when we evolved as a socially cooperative species? Why do we work in jobs that don’t deliver a sense of purpose and don’t contribute to a sustainable culture, when meaning is essential to human happiness?


David Wann Speaker Videos Back to top

David Wann: Creating a New Normal


David Wann talks about sustainability and keeping our planet healthy. "What I'm calling for here is a cultural revolution," David says, "because that's the only thing that ever works in the long run to change civilization's path." He then explains how a culture shift can help that revolution.

One is consumer disobedience, where we as consumers can exercise our right to say no to what we're urged to spend our money on and where to spend it. Another is what he calls "anthropolicy," a policy based on what humans actually need.

David then talks about the kind of technology that will best benefit us by stating, "I think the kind of technology we want is inspired by nature and fits into nature like a hand fits a glove."

Many of the examples David uses in his presentation come from his experiences in Harmony Village, the cohousing neighborhood he designed and helped build, and the people who are his neighbors.

David Wann: Saturday Morning Keynote


David Wann: Building Sustainable Communities



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


"Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic" is a David Wann program that addresses the symptoms, causes and the cures for affluenza—the social disease that affects our culture, communities, health, environment, economies, and our families.

The program "The New Normal: Creating an Affordable Civilization" highlights 33 high-leverage collective actions that can thrust our dysfunctional society into a new era where production and consumption are no longer the primary goals of a valuable civilization.

In the "Neighborhoods on Purpose" program, David shares with the audience how to create a neighborhood culture in any neighborhood. David uses his experience as a longtime resident of Harmony Village cohousing community, which he helped design and now helps manage.

"The Zen of Gardening: How to Grow a Gardener" is a program where David shares with the audience the tools, tips, and techniques of creating and maintaining a garden. He uses his personal experience as a vegetable, fruit, and ornamental grower to help the audience understand the positive impact of growing a sustainable garden.

David′s message is down to earth and at the same time, upbeat. He talks about alternatives that are compelling because the conditions that create and support our current lifestyle are changing. He also plays music (humorous songs), shows slides and occasionally shows clips of films that he has produced.

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic
David Wann presents the symptoms, causes, and cures for the social disease – affluenza – that impacts our health, families, communities, culture. Economy, and environment. This presentation updates the material in the best-selling book, Affluenza, that he and coauthors are now revising, and includes discussion grounded in the book’s study guide and affluenza diagnostic test.

The New Normal: Creating an Affordable Civilization
Highlights 33 high-leverage, mostly collective actions that can propel our dysfunctional society into a new anthropological era in which production and consumption are no longer obsessive-compulsive goals. With the flip of a paradigm switch, the era will be characterized by the real wealth of cultural richness, efficiency, time affluence, cooperation, health, expression, ecological design, and biological restoration – providing twice the satisfaction for half the resources per capita that we now consume. Includes music, slides, and discussion.

Neighborhoods on Purpose
The author of several books on sustainable neighborhoods (Reinventing Community and Superbia!) and producer of 6 videos and TV programs on New Urbanism, Smart Growth, cohousing, and sustainable communities (including one produced for then-VP Gore’s office and another that is now streaming on the Netfix website) David Wann shares his perspectives on how healthy, diverse, walkable neighborhoods can meet essential human needs directly, providing a high quality of life. Wann is a 15-year resident of Harmony Village cohousing community, which he helped design and now helps manage. Audiences learn how they can create a neighborhood culture, in any neighborhood. Includes slides and audience participation.

The Zen of Gardening: How to Grow a Gardener
David Wann is a Master Gardener and 30-year veteran of vegetable, fruit, and ornamental growing. Author of The Zen of Gardening and producer of the TV documentary, Sustaining America’s Agriculture, he presents tips, tools, and techniques with a dry sense of humor appropriate to the dry region where he gardens.

He uses 16 rules of thumb as philosophical footing, including:

1. If at first you don’t succeed, keep planting. Wipe the slate clean by burying the evidence or hauling it to the compost pile. Your Brussels sprouts may be covered with aphids from stem to stern, but nobody needs to know that. The spinach looks anemic? Now you see it, now you don’t. Lupine seeds never came up? Plant right over ‘em.

2. Think like a plant. Plants aren’t engineers, and they don’t know anything about last frost dates, inches of rain, or number of days to maturity. They just want to grow. Put them in the right places, and learn to read the signs of their vitality. Use your intuition. Weave together crop history, weather, plant vitality, and a cupful of compost to meet a plant’s needs.

3. Garden with all your senses. You may not be able to see a billion microbes in a handful of soil, or smell subtle chemical messages constantly being sent from plant to plant, but you can see a glow on the leaves of a healthy stand of chard. You can smell the richness of a well-rotted bucket of compost, taste the season’s first crunchy snow peas, and feel the feathery leaves of an asparagus plant.



David Wann Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    "Sam Houston State University was so fortunate to have Dave Wann come to our campus for two days of discussions, small group interactions, keynote addresses, and presentations. As he participated as a co-author of Affluenza in our Bearkats Read To Succeed common reader program (for 2,500 freshmen), Dave proved to be approachable, knowledgeable, and intellectually thoughtful with our faculty, staff, and students."
    Keri L. Rogers, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

    "David was a keynote and workshop speaker at our annual Bridging the Gap conference and shared his perspectives about the need for cultural change in the world′s affluent nations; sustainable communities, and "biologic" in school curricula. In doing so, David gave everyone a lot to think about and did a great job in compelling everyone to reconsider their own paradigms. In both the content of his messages and the way in which he conveyed them, he showed himself to be a first class presenter."
    James MacDonald, Deputy Headmaster, Yokohama International School

    "David Wann recently spoke to an audience of 200 or more Metro State College students and professors about the symptoms and cures for affluenza. This topic resonated with the students, many of whom are well aware of the economic challenges that lie ahead in their careers, consumer choices, and quality of life. David opened with a lively, very amusing song, then spoke about how our current lifestyle unsustainable at the individual and cultural scale. He offered various solutions for meeting our needs more precisely and efficiently, leaving the students with a sense of curiosity and empowerment. About twenty or more students remained after the presentation to ask questions, always a good indicator of a successful presentation."
    Brooke Dilling, Associate Director of Student Activities, Metropolitan State College of Denver

    "When David Wann’s best-selling book Affluenza was first published he spoke to a standing-room only audience of over 250 at the Tattered Cover, one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. As he spoke about the pitfalls of lifestyles built on materialistic values, the crowd was clearly engaged, evidenced by an extremely lively question and answer period. At the time, David was writing a weekly column for the Denver Post, and his comments struck a chord with an audience of both faithful and new readers of his work. He′s not afraid to challenge mainstream thinking, and always offers alternatives for addressing the challenges we face."
    Jeff Lee, Coordinator of the Author Series co-presented by the Tattered Cover Book Store & the Rocky Mountain Land Library

    "The Blue Sage Center for the Arts, a non-profit organization that supports the arts and humanities, recently hosted David Wann to speak as part of our Lecture Series. We were anxious to hear him speak about ways to make our community more sustainable. About 100 people attended his lecture/presentation, and many people later came up to me and expressed their appreciation for having him here. The following day David joined a discussion with locals who are concerned with the future development of the North Fork Valley. We had a lively discussion and David′s pioneering experience with creating sustainable communities and his suggestions were much appreciated. I highly recommend David as an engaging, knowledgeable speaker!"
    Steve Lyons, Chairperson for The Blue Sage Center for the Arts Lecture Series, Paonia, Colorado

    "In the last three years Dave Wann has consistently challenged and inspired my political science classes (often more than 100 students) to think about the impact of consumerism in our lives and environment and also to see signs of hope through restoring the bonds of community life. The latter is especially important because too often young people are very aware of ecological problems but don’t know how to respond. Dave’s creative multi-media media guest lectures include slides of cutting edge communities that are hospitable to people and the environment, clips from documentary films he has produced, excerpts from his books, and even his guitar as he sings a song called “Waking Up from the American Dream.” Student engagement is very high and there are always lots of questions for Dave both during his presentations and after class."
    Harvey Bishop, Professor of Political Science, University of Colorado

    "I invited David to give a guest lecture at Front Range Community College on the topic of affluenza, and he came through with a variety of topics that were relevant to the course and stimulating to the class. His style was spontaneous and lively, and he engaged the students interactively, answering questions and asking for their own opinions. I am using his book, Affluenza, next semester when the class covers environmental ethics and plan on inviting him back to share his thoughts on this topic."
    Diane Hergott, Professor, Front Range Community College




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    "Sam Houston State University was so fortunate to have Dave Wann come to our campus for two days of discussions, small group interactions, keynote addresses, and presentations. As he participated as a co-author of Affluenza in our Bearkats Read To Succeed common reader program (for 2,500 freshmen), Dave proved to be approachable, knowledgeable, and intellectually thoughtful with our faculty, staff, and students."
    Keri L. Rogers, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

    "David was a keynote and workshop speaker at our annual Bridging the Gap conference and shared his perspectives about the need for cultural change in the world′s affluent nations; sustainable communities, and "biologic" in school curricula. In doing so, David gave everyone a lot to think about and did a great job in compelling everyone to reconsider their own paradigms. In both the content of his messages and the way in which he conveyed them, he showed himself to be a first class presenter."
    James MacDonald, Deputy Headmaster, Yokohama International School

    "David Wann recently spoke to an audience of 200 or more Metro State College students and professors about the symptoms and cures for affluenza. This topic resonated with the students, many of whom are well aware of the economic challenges that lie ahead in their careers, consumer choices, and quality of life. David opened with a lively, very amusing song, then spoke about how our current lifestyle unsustainable at the individual and cultural scale. He offered various solutions for meeting our needs more precisely and efficiently, leaving the students with a sense of curiosity and empowerment. About twenty or more students remained after the presentation to ask questions, always a good indicator of a successful presentation."
    Brooke Dilling, Associate Director of Student Activities, Metropolitan State College of Denver

    "When David Wann’s best-selling book Affluenza was first published he spoke to a standing-room only audience of over 250 at the Tattered Cover, one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. As he spoke about the pitfalls of lifestyles built on materialistic values, the crowd was clearly engaged, evidenced by an extremely lively question and answer period. At the time, David was writing a weekly column for the Denver Post, and his comments struck a chord with an audience of both faithful and new readers of his work. He′s not afraid to challenge mainstream thinking, and always offers alternatives for addressing the challenges we face."
    Jeff Lee, Coordinator of the Author Series co-presented by the Tattered Cover Book Store & the Rocky Mountain Land Library

    "The Blue Sage Center for the Arts, a non-profit organization that supports the arts and humanities, recently hosted David Wann to speak as part of our Lecture Series. We were anxious to hear him speak about ways to make our community more sustainable. About 100 people attended his lecture/presentation, and many people later came up to me and expressed their appreciation for having him here. The following day David joined a discussion with locals who are concerned with the future development of the North Fork Valley. We had a lively discussion and David′s pioneering experience with creating sustainable communities and his suggestions were much appreciated. I highly recommend David as an engaging, knowledgeable speaker!"
    Steve Lyons, Chairperson for The Blue Sage Center for the Arts Lecture Series, Paonia, Colorado

    "In the last three years Dave Wann has consistently challenged and inspired my political science classes (often more than 100 students) to think about the impact of consumerism in our lives and environment and also to see signs of hope through restoring the bonds of community life. The latter is especially important because too often young people are very aware of ecological problems but don’t know how to respond. Dave’s creative multi-media media guest lectures include slides of cutting edge communities that are hospitable to people and the environment, clips from documentary films he has produced, excerpts from his books, and even his guitar as he sings a song called “Waking Up from the American Dream.” Student engagement is very high and there are always lots of questions for Dave both during his presentations and after class."
    Harvey Bishop, Professor of Political Science, University of Colorado

    "I invited David to give a guest lecture at Front Range Community College on the topic of affluenza, and he came through with a variety of topics that were relevant to the course and stimulating to the class. His style was spontaneous and lively, and he engaged the students interactively, answering questions and asking for their own opinions. I am using his book, Affluenza, next semester when the class covers environmental ethics and plan on inviting him back to share his thoughts on this topic."
    Diane Hergott, Professor, Front Range Community College


    Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle (Paperback)
    In his bestseller Affluenza, David Wann and his co-authors diagnosed the debilitating disease of over-consumption. In Simple Prosperity he shows readers how we can overcome this disease by investing in a variety of real wealth sources. To recapture a more abundant and sustainable lifestyle, try:
  • Creating a richer life story through personal growth incentives
  • Forming higher-yield friendships and stronger bonds through social capital
  • Taking preventive healthcare measures to build up wellness reserves
  • Balancing the biological budget through “greener” currency
  • Caring for people, not just cars, to improve your neighborhood wealth index
  • Resolving that pesky carbon conundrum through energy savings
  • Celebrating instead of desecrating! Cultural prosperity futures value the earth as a sacred place

  • In our age of hedge fund hysteria, Simple Prosperity is a new way of investing that will save our sanity and the planet.
    Order Here

    Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic
    In chapters with titles like "Swollen Expectations" and "A Rash of Bankruptcies," Affluenza, from the producer of the award-winning TV specials Affluenza and Escape from Affluenza, uses the whimsical metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done — to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment — by the obsessive quest for material gain. The authors examine the origins, evolution, and symptoms of the affluenza epidemic. But more importantly, they explore cures and suggest strategies for rebuilding families and communities and for restoring and respecting the earth.
    Order Here


    Reinventing Community: Stories from the Neighborhoods of Cohousing
    Order Here

    The Zen of Gardening in the High and Arid West: Tips, Tools, and Techniques
    Drawing from his own considerable gardening experience and expertise, as well as leaning on the wisdom of the people he calls "The Zen Masters of the Western Garden," David Wann gathers a mix of stories, how-to advice, and simple, doable projects that are ideal for gardeners in the high and arid landscapes of the West. The Zen of Gardening in the High and Arid West is a friendly and invaluable guide to such topics as strategic gardening (how to coax fruits and vegetables from a sun-parched garden), pest-proof planting (how to protect those disappearing bulbs), choosing the right varieties of edibles for the region (apples, snow peas, tomatoes, etc.), how to become a seed-starting maniac, a Farmer′s Almanac approach to gardening (plant peas when the first cottonwood leaves appear!), as well as profiles of colorful local gardens and gardeners.

    For gardeners of the high plains and mountains who are "meteorologically and topographically challenged," who routinely grapple with wild weather swings, high elevations, and scarcity of water, Wann offers inspiration and invaluable practical advice for success in the garden. Wann also shows how gardening can offer "a Zen exercise in mindfulness, discipline, and the joy of being right in the moment."
    Order Here


David′s message is down to earth and at the same time, upbeat. He talks about alternatives that are compelling because the conditions that create and support our current lifestyle are changing. He also plays music (humorous songs), shows slides and occasionally shows clips of films that he has produced.

Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic
David Wann presents the symptoms, causes, and cures for the social disease – affluenza – that impacts our health, families, communities, culture. Economy, and environment. This presentation updates the material in the best-selling book, Affluenza, that he and coauthors are now revising, and includes discussion grounded in the book’s study guide and affluenza diagnostic test.

The New Normal: Creating an Affordable Civilization
Highlights 33 high-leverage, mostly collective actions that can propel our dysfunctional society into a new anthropological era in which production and consumption are no longer obsessive-compulsive goals. With the flip of a paradigm switch, the era will be characterized by the real wealth of cultural richness, efficiency, time affluence, cooperation, health, expression, ecological design, and biological restoration – providing twice the satisfaction for half the resources per capita that we now consume. Includes music, slides, and discussion.

Neighborhoods on Purpose
The author of several books on sustainable neighborhoods (Reinventing Community and Superbia!) and producer of 6 videos and TV programs on New Urbanism, Smart Growth, cohousing, and sustainable communities (including one produced for then-VP Gore’s office and another that is now streaming on the Netfix website) David Wann shares his perspectives on how healthy, diverse, walkable neighborhoods can meet essential human needs directly, providing a high quality of life. Wann is a 15-year resident of Harmony Village cohousing community, which he helped design and now helps manage. Audiences learn how they can create a neighborhood culture, in any neighborhood. Includes slides and audience participation.

The Zen of Gardening: How to Grow a Gardener
David Wann is a Master Gardener and 30-year veteran of vegetable, fruit, and ornamental growing. Author of The Zen of Gardening and producer of the TV documentary, Sustaining America’s Agriculture, he presents tips, tools, and techniques with a dry sense of humor appropriate to the dry region where he gardens.

He uses 16 rules of thumb as philosophical footing, including:

1. If at first you don’t succeed, keep planting. Wipe the slate clean by burying the evidence or hauling it to the compost pile. Your Brussels sprouts may be covered with aphids from stem to stern, but nobody needs to know that. The spinach looks anemic? Now you see it, now you don’t. Lupine seeds never came up? Plant right over ‘em.

2. Think like a plant. Plants aren’t engineers, and they don’t know anything about last frost dates, inches of rain, or number of days to maturity. They just want to grow. Put them in the right places, and learn to read the signs of their vitality. Use your intuition. Weave together crop history, weather, plant vitality, and a cupful of compost to meet a plant’s needs.

3. Garden with all your senses. You may not be able to see a billion microbes in a handful of soil, or smell subtle chemical messages constantly being sent from plant to plant, but you can see a glow on the leaves of a healthy stand of chard. You can smell the richness of a well-rotted bucket of compost, taste the season’s first crunchy snow peas, and feel the feathery leaves of an asparagus plant.


David Wann: Creating a New Normal


David Wann talks about sustainability and keeping our planet healthy. "What I'm calling for here is a cultural revolution," David says, "because that's the only thing that ever works in the long run to change civilization's path." He then explains how a culture shift can help that revolution.

One is consumer disobedience, where we as consumers can exercise our right to say no to what we're urged to spend our money on and where to spend it. Another is what he calls "anthropolicy," a policy based on what humans actually need.

David then talks about the kind of technology that will best benefit us by stating, "I think the kind of technology we want is inspired by nature and fits into nature like a hand fits a glove."

Many of the examples David uses in his presentation come from his experiences in Harmony Village, the cohousing neighborhood he designed and helped build, and the people who are his neighbors.

David Wann: Saturday Morning Keynote


David Wann: Building Sustainable Communities