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The science to well-being with the Statistician with a Soul” Nic Marks

July 27, 2020


Nic was once described as a “Statistician with a Soul” because of his unusual combination of ‘hard’ statistical skills and ‘soft’ people skills, he draws on scientific evidence to show that everyone benefits when businesses take happiness seriously. Nic founded Friday Pulse an innovative tech business based in London to be the catalyst in changing the world of work for the better.


After studying Mathematics, Economics and Management at the University of Cambridge, Nic gained postgraduate qualifications in Operational Research at Lancaster University and Organizational Change at the University of Surrey, also completing a three-year practical training in Counselling and Psychotherapy along the way. 


In 2001 he founded the Centre for Wellbeing at the London-based think tank the New Economics Foundation. Nic and his team produced a stream of ground-breaking reports including the Happy Planet Index, Five Ways to Wellbeing and National Accounts of Wellbeing. In 2008 they were awarded the “Betterment of Humankind Award” from the International Society for Quality of Life Studies for their work on wellbeing in public policy.


Nic was an advisor to the UK Government Office for Science on the Wellbeing Foresight Programme and has written over 20 publications. In 2010 Nic was invited to speak at the prestigious TED global conference. His TED talk has now been watched well over a million times, and he authored one of the original three TEDbooks, entitled ‘A Happiness Manifesto’. Nic was named as one of the Top Ten Original Thinkers by the UK’s Institute of Directors magazine and his work was listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s Seven Most Powerful Ideas in 2011.


Nic is an in-demand public speaker, giving talks at a wide range of events from keynotes at HR conferences to an exclusive Virgin Unite gathering on Necker - Richard Branson’s private island - though undoubtedly his favourite recent talk was in a circus tent at the Wilderness music festival.




  • Nic started out working in the public health field and over time started refining his skills working with the U.K. government and companies to help their employees.
  • His priority to help to communicate health and happiness statistics to relay data in a meaningful way on how to live a better life.
  • “Friday pulse” is about using KPIs to show how you measure staff engagement levels. It places an emphasis on how people “feel” and aim to have more good weeks than bad weeks and try to help with resilience in the workplace.
  • Nic encourages people to be more open with people when they are working. Playing to their strengths, acknowledging their efforts and working on frustrations before they fester.
  • Connect, being fair (balance), empowerment (delegation/autonomy), challenge, inspiration are examples of things organisations can do to help the happiness and well-being of their employees.
  • Nic talks about staff morale in the time of Covid.
  • Nic talks about the Happy Planet Index.
  • Nic’s definition of happiness is feeling good and feeling well.
  • Nic likes starting the morning slowly and eases into the day
  • The top three things that make Nic’s heart sing is that he walks every day for an hour on his own to reflect and ponder, he likes dancing and being with people especially deep friendships, and being altruistic.
  • Nic’s fantasy meal would alternate between salmon and salad or sausage and mash potato.
  • Walking would be his non-negotiable thing he makes sure he does every day.
  • Nic likes clever, improvised comedy and humour to make him laugh.
  • Nic’s fantasy dinner guests would include his 80-year-old big-hearted friend Riccardo, Tim Minchin, Sandi Toksvig, and his wife Zoe.
  • Jason Mraz “Have it All” and Leonard Cohen songs would be his theme songs


  • The Strange Order of Things – Antionio Demassio
  • Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts



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