Michael L. Ray

Professor Emeritus, Marketing
+1 (650) 723-2762

Michael L. Ray

The John G. McCoy–Banc One Corporation Professor of Creativity and Innovation and of Marketing, Emeritus

Academic Area:

Research Statement

Professor Ray has published in the fields of marketing, the behavioral science approach to marketing communication, consumer information processing, and new paradigm business. His current focus is on individual and organizational experiences in developing creativity, innovation, and generative leadership within sustainable organizational and world environments.


Michael L. Ray is a social psychologist with extensive experience in marketing communication and in developing generative work environments for companies and individuals. He has produced over 100 publications including 10 books, among them two of the first books in the field of consumer information processing and two that helped establish and develop inquiry into new paradigm business. His best-selling Creativity in Business (with Rochelle Myers) was named, one of the nine “Greatest Business Books Ever Written” by Inc. magazine. The Path of the Everyday Hero (with Lorna Catford) garnered the title of the best business self-help book of the year, and The Creative Spirit (with Daniel Goleman and Paul Kaufman) was the companion book to the PBS series of the same name, which was inspired by his Stanford course, Personal Creativity in Business. His most recent book, The Highest Goal: The Secret that Sustains You in Every Moment received a Fast Company Reader’s Choice Award. He is at work on Conversations on the Basics in collaboration with teachers of his creativity course. He lectures and consults to organizations and groups worldwide and has served as a director of a major retailer, a food company, a catalog company, a start-up airline, a national cable systems company, an advertising agency, and four nonprofit organizations.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Northwestern University, 1967
  • MA, Northwestern University, 1965
  • MS, Northwestern University, 1962
  • BS, Northwestern University, 1961

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1967
  • Visiting Professor, Australian Graduate School of Management, 1980
  • Visiting Research Associate, Marketing Science Institute, 1972-1973
  • Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard University, 1972-1973
  • Instructor, Northwestern University, 1963-1967

Professional Experience

  • Special Projects Research Supervisor, Foote, Cone & Belding, Inc., 1961-1965
  • Associate to Product Managers, Topco Associates Inc., 1960-1961
  • Advertising Production Manager and Assistant to Sales Representatives, Patterson Publishing Co., 1958-1959



Book Chapters

Working Papers

Service to the Profession

  • Fellow, World Business Academy
  • Member, American Psychological Assn.
  • Member, Assn. for Consumer Research, Committee on Research Development
  • Trustee, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology

In the Media