Arianna Huffington is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen books on topics ranging from feminism to corporate America to politics. She co-founded The Huffington Post in 2005. In 2016, Huffington departed from The Huffington Post to launch Thrive Global, a start-up company dedicated to health and wellness.
A student of the University of Cambridge, Huffington received her Master’s in Economics. While in college, she held prestigious positions like the President of the renowned debate organization named The Cambridge Union. Post her Master’s she continued staying in London and pursuing her passion for writing. In 1974, she published her first book titled ‘The Female Woman‘ which critiqued trends in women’s liberation movement. She eventually moved to California with Republican politician Michael Huffington, whom she married in 1986 (divorced 1997).
Huffington then entered politics. She started her political and journalistic career as a Republican and an advocate for small governments and limited welfare. She significantly contributed to the conservative journal National Review, and in 1994 she worked on her husband’s campaign for a U.S. Senate seat that he, unfortunately, did not win.
Huffington also wrote news for the TV show Politically Incorrect, which Bill Maher hosted. In the late 1990s, Huffington’s stand in the political spectrum began shifting to the left slowly. It all started with her opposition to U.S. intervention in the civil wars in former Yugoslavia. She later became very active in several progressive causes, including efforts to combat global warming. In 2003, fueled by her drive to change the world for the better, she ran in California’s gubernatorial race as an independent but ended up withdrawing her candidacy later.
She has always liked experimenting, and this showed in the genres of books that she wrote. It ranged from biographical to nonfiction and even some political books. Some of them were famed, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, The Sleep Revolution, On Becoming Fearless, How to Overthrow the Government, Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Ordinary Citizen, and others. The wide variety of titles and innumerable subjects demonstrates how she was always acquiring knowledge on various forefronts. This curiosity led her to conquer different fronts of entrepreneurship.
In 2005, she was one of the Co-Founders of Huffington Post. However, soon after, in 2011, Huffington sold the site to AOL for more than $300 million. She found herself in the position of President and Editor-In-Chief of the company’s Huffington Post Media Group.
Huffington herself has been widely recognized in various media outlets, making appearances on Time magazine’s 100 lists and Forbes’ special rundown of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”
An incident in 2007 changed the course of her life forever. Huffington was making phone calls and checking her email when she passed out at her desk due to over-exhaustion. She awoke in a pool of blood with her daughter standing above her. Ever since, she has been very vocal about the importance of getting a full night’s rest.
“Huffington Post was only a two-year-old baby when I collapsed,” says Huffington, noting that the company had not yet achieved the influence and readership that it has today.
After realizing the importance of sleep, she started to see a difference in her work style, and that’s when, she says, “her business began to grow.” The more fully recharged and connected you are, Huffington contends, the more clearly you can look ahead. And “for me [looking ahead] was making sure that Huffington Post was a global company,” she said at an interview with CNBC. Looking ahead also meant knowing when the time had come for her to leave the media company, which she did in 2016.
“I see some people stay in one place because it’s convenient or it’s comfortable. But they’re missing out on their passion,” says Huffington. “My passion is to help people live lives with less stress … so thinking I could take that risk, and do it, and follow my new dream was something I wouldn’t have done if I was simply operating on survival.”
When Arianna Huffington stepped down from her role at the Huffington Post to start her new company, Thrive Global, she said the goal of her new business was to help a generation “avoid the burnout that all too often comes with success today.” According to Huffington, Thrive Global was born, “in response to the need to take control of our lives, offering new strategies and tools, based on the latest science, to address the unintended consequences of technology, and to end the global epidemic of stress and burnout.”
The company, called Dopamine Labs (it was later renamed to Thrive Global), was founded in 2015. Her vision was to bring similar technologies that social media giants like Facebook used to boost engagement to a broader range of human productivity applications.
From Huffington’s perspective, most health problems in the U.S. are rooted in behavioural issues rather than biological ones. “100 years ago, people died from infectious diseases… Now most people are dying from behaviours,” said Huffington in an interview, quoting Boundless Mind co-founder Dalton Combs. Thrive Global tackles the grassroots issue through a combination of live events and digital platforms dispensing pop psychology and celebrity advice.
According to Huffington, her secret to success is, “I would say, what I tell my two millennial daughters. When they prioritize their well-being, they will be more creative, more productive and more effective in whatever career path they choose. They also will realize that success is not just defined by career but by living a full life outside work and nurturing your body, mind and soul.”