AWNY Interview with Author & Adopted Aussie – Anna Akbari

2015-12-07-14-35-19-1Anna Akbari is a sociologist, writer, and entrepreneur and she is presenting at our next AWNY event on January 24 (more information on the event is listed below). Anna has lived in both Australia and NYC and we caught up with her recently to talk about her recently published book and what she misses about Australia.

Where are you from? How long have you been here?

I grew up in Iowa, but I’ve lived a lot different places since leaving there in high school to go to a performing arts boarding school in Michigan (I studied theater there). I spent most of my adult life in NYC (the Village and Hell’s Kitchen), with chunks of time spent on Nantucket, and most recently California. I’ve also lived in the Dominican Republic, Ireland, Spain and Australia! I was in Australia for most of 2016: Byron Bay, Margaret River, Bondi, Avalon and the Sydney northern beaches — I now consider it my second home and can’t wait to go back next year 🙂

Where do you currently live? 

I’m currently in Los Angeles, in Venice. I love Venice; it’s quirky, diverse, creative, and beachy — everything I look for in a place! But I’m fortunate enough to travel regularly, so Venice is a great launching off point (particularly to Australia!).

What do you do?

This has never been a simple question for me to answer! I’ve taken a rather nontraditional career path. I usually try to sum it up by saying I’m a sociologist (that’s what my PhD is in), and I formerly taught at NYU and Parsons, but now focus on entrepreneurial ventures (Sociology of Style and HVCK), writing, and speaking.  My new book, Startup Your Life: Hustle and Hack Your Way to Happiness is out this month.

How did you get in to your work?

A lot of school, an experimental path, and non-stop hustle! A lot of the work I’ve done has centered around a search for identity, which has always been a personal quest of mine. I think we do our best work when we are personally invested — there’s more at stake.

What are the differences to working in Australia?

One interesting difference I’ve noticed is that Australians are more like to pick up the phone and call. Americans shy away from phone calls, but I love the directness of just picking up the phone and engaging directly — without having a set time, scheduling, etc. It’s refreshingly old school. I want to integrate back in the American culture.

Anything you miss about Australia?

So much! Love the food, the international/cosmopolitan population, the embrace of travel, the great surf spots (and the surfers!), WA in general! I want to take a road trip around the entire perimeter of WA, and possibly the southern coast, around the Great Australian Bight. So much left to explore there!

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?

Oh goodness – so many!! I used to host some pretty wild karaoke parties. Some were pants-optional (for Valentine’s Day), we had an annual Santaoke holiday karaoke party, and we had various taxidermy mascots (a deer, a wild boar) that accompanied the singers. They were classic, colorful New York events.

When you need retail therapy, you run to…

I do most of my shopping online, but I love small boutiques – there are some great ones in Australia and nice local designers: Magali Pascal (Parisian designer but with a flagship boutique in Sydney), Viktoria & Woods, Jac + Jack.

Join AWNY for this presentation where Anna Akbari, PhD demonstrates how to reach personal fulfillment in all areas of life by using the same strategies that power Silicon Valley’s greatest startups. Let her help you game the system as you hustle and hack your way to happiness.

Event details:

Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Time: 6pm arrival for a 6:30pm start
Location: WeWork Times Square, 1460 Broadway, New York, NY, 10034
Tickets: $25 for members | $35 for non-members
(Price includes a copy of Anna’s book)
RSVP for the event here

What is an AWNY/AAA Member? Find out more about membership and benefits.


ANNA AKBARI, PHD is a sociologist, writer, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Sociology of Style and a partner in HVCK innovation consultancy. She holds a PhD in sociology and has taught at NYU and Parsons. She is a frequent public speaker, contributor, and media personality on CNN, The Atlantic, The Financial Times, New York Observer, New York Daily News, DailyWorth, Above the Law, and The Huffington Post.

“You can be the startup CEO of your own life, and Anna Akbari teaches you how in this indispensable guide. Her personal tales and time-tested advice inspire and motivate – it’s the extra push you need for living your best life.”

—Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest and New York Times bestselling author of Financially Fearless

“If you’re looking for a reset – professional or personal – Anna Akbari is the guru for you. Embracing the revise-as-you-go ethos of the tech world, she’ll help you find the right fit, even if it means a misfire or two first. Even better, you’ll enjoy the ride.”
—Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth

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