Jonathan Rauch is one of the country’s most versatile and original writers on government, public policy, and gay marriage, among other subjects. A senior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington and contributing editor of The Atlantic, he is the author of six books and many articles and has received the magazine industry’s two leading prizes — the National Magazine Award (the industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize) and the National Headliner Award. Major topics of his writing and speeches include:
Why America’s politics and government are in such trouble, the subject of his bestselling Atlantic cover article “How American Politics Went Insane” and his book Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working
Freedom of speech and thought, the subject of his book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought
Why midlife malaise hits so many people — and chimps! — and how we can all do more to help, the subject of his popular Atlantic cover article “The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis”
Gay and lesbian rights, the struggle for marriage equality, and the growing debate about religious liberty, the subject of many articles and his 2004 book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America
Jonathan is also the author of a memoir, Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul, and books on Japan and financial-system reform. He has written many articles, on everything from government and public policy to introversion to animal rights, for publications including The Atlantic, National Journal, The New Republic, The Economist, Reason, Harper’s, Fortune, Reader’s Digest, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times newspaper and magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Slate, Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Public Interest, The Advocate, The Daily, and others. He has appeared as a guest on many radio and television shows, including NBC’s Meet the Press and NPR’s NewsHour.
Jon takes pride in being a thoughtful, dynamic, and well prepared speaker, focused on giving sponsors outstanding value for money and communicating important and often counterintuitive ideas to his audiences in a direct, personal way. His keynote speech for the American Academy of Home Care Physicians was rated as “phenomenal” by the sponsor.
Other sponsor reactions:
“America is built on the willingness to explore, not ignore, our disagreements about crucially important issues. As a Christian ministry that strongly advocates traditional man/woman marriage, Summit Ministries desires to engage in fruitful dialogue with those who disagree. Jonathan Rauch agreed to meet with our staff, donors and assembled Christian activists to make the case for same-sex marriage. His presentation was clear, compelling, and honest. It helped our group move beyond a ‘agreeing to disagree’ mindset to dig into the key issues, underlying assumptions, and future implications of the civil unions and same-sex marriage debate.” (Jeff Myers, Ph.D., President, Summit Ministries)
"Jonathan Rauch created personal connections with a lecture hall full of students and prompted them to think and consider. I have never had so positive a reaction to a speaker from students, nor so much enjoyed the time I spent as host." (Nathan Griffith, Professor of Political Science, Belmont University)
“Jonathan Rauch served as our American Values guest speaker at NC State University in March 2012. Rauch was a terrific speaker who completely captured the audience weaving politics, history, social science, and personal narrative in a completely captivating way. His talk prompted many further discussions within our campus community throughout the semester. Additionally, he was a model of professionalism and courtesy. It was a great experience having him as our speaker.” (North Carolina State University)
“Jonathan has keynoted three of our annual economic conferences over the past twenty-one years. We’re always impressed by the quality of Jonathan’s presentations, his insight, and delivery. He is always interesting and informative, and holds the crowd’s attention with his cogent analysis of topical events. We look forward to having him back in the future.” (Northern Economic Consulting)
“Jonathan Rauch was a featured speaker on Caregiving at our conference on Alzheimers and Cargiving. He did an excellent job and the audience was fortunate to hear and discuss issues with him.” (Cleveland Clinic/Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health)
“Your talk at our retreat was great, I heard nothing but wonderful comments. Your bravery in sharing and commitment to advocacy for caregivers is inspiring.” (Dr. Steve Landers, VNA Health Group)
How American Politics Went Insane
Lots of Americans think politics has become a circus and our government has broken down. What they don't realize is that well-intentioned efforts to clean up politics are a major cause of the problem. In this sweeping, boldly revisionist talk, Jonathan Rauch — author of the breakthrough book Political Realism and the bestselling Atlantic magazine cover article "How American Politics Went Insane" — ranges from Tammany Hall to the halls of today's Congress to explain how we threw the baby out with the bathwater, and how to get the baby back by re-empowering politicians to do the hard work of politics.
Why Free Speech Is the Only Safe Space for Minorities
Hate speech is vile. But protecting hate speech empowers minorities, and censoring or suppressing it ultimately victimizes them. A lifelong gay-rights advocate and author of the classic book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, Jonathan Rauch draws upon his own story and the life of legendary civil-rights leader Frank Kameny to explain why freedom of speech is minorities' best friend, and why efforts to eliminate hate speech so often backfire. Along the way, he tells an unforgettable tale about the power of marginalized voices and LGBT Americans' transformative struggle for equality.
The Happiness U-Curve: Why Life Turns Around in Middle Age, and How to Survive the Transition
Midlife crisis, like the Seinfeld show, is often literally about nothing. Yet it seems unshakable for those experiencing it. Society treats it as a joke or a cliché, yet it is natural, normal, and lays groundwork for surprising happiness and wisdom in late adulthood. Drawing on cutting-edge psychology, neuroscience, and even economics, while also tapping his own experiences and those of dozens of interviewees, Jonathan Rauch — author of the major Atlantic magazine cover article "The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis" and a major new book on happiness and age — explains why even chimps get midlife malaise, and how humans can cope with it far better than we do.
[APR 2017] “It was awesome. Jonathan was great. The formal talk was great; both the informal talk with students preceding it, and the dinner with students afterwards, were terrific. I heard strong positives from talk attendees, and enthusiastic responses from the students in the conversation and at dinner.” – Michael P. Harvey, Professor of Business Management, Washington College
[APR 2017] “Jonathan Rauch's lecture was engaging, informative, and witty - and most importantly, a powerful and unique message desperately needed on today's college campuses.” – Andrew Zeller, President of Purdue Graduate Student Government, Purdue University
[FEB 2017] “We had wonderful reviews from those in attendance. I told Jonathan I thought he was the best speaker we’ve had in the eight years I’ve been with the Club – and I meant it. Thanks so much for everything.” – Laura Edwards, Assistant Director, The Economic Club of Memphis at the University of Memphis
[NOV 2016] "It is easy to cling to speech restrictions by choosing comfort and conformity over offense and diversity. It allows a society to fortify itself from outside perspectives and subjugate those that are different from the norm. However, this strategy ultimately leaves only space for those in the majority while pushing those in the minority to the fringe.
Jonathan Rauch challenged Princeton students to defy that easy path of 'safe' spaces and instead promote free speech of all types on campus.
Citing the importance of free speech in the gay rights movement and for those continually fighting for minority rights today, Rauch urged students to have a “thick skin,” start a dialogue with those they are offended by, and use offensive speech as a way to start a dialog and convince others that the speech was wrong or demeaning. He did not shrink away from the most persuasive arguments against free speech – including the serious harm they can cause to people (examples include the insistence on conversion therapy and increased hate crimes after the election due to campaign rhetoric). Instead, Rauch challenged students to argue against damaging speech, and not fall into the temptation of asking for speech codes, since those can – and have – been used to silence the same minorities that many want to protect today through safe spaces and speech codes. Overall, the event was very engaging, intellectually challenging, and even emotional for those who attended, as everyone discussed important issues of rights, the consequences of speech, and past discrimination." – Sofia Gallo and the Open Campus Coalition, Princeton University
[SEP 2016] “The event went incredibly well, and Jonathan was outstanding on the panel. His arguments are precise and impacting, yet he presents them in a conversational manner. I will highly recommend him to others who organize campus lectures.” – Todd Nesbit, Senior Lecturer for Department of Economics, Ohio State University
[APR 2016] “Jonathan Rauch is one of the leading thinkers of our time and brought it all to fully and deeply engage with our program and our audience. His stature helped us easily fill the room to capacity. Early audience reviews included descriptions like "brilliant," "one of the more courageous commentators out there," and "I don't think I've ever seen such an attentive crowd." If you want to offer up an immersion in cutting-edge thinking before the rest of the world catches on and follows behind - in a presentation that both entertains and challenges - Jon's your guy. That's only if we can't convince him to move to town and join us for everything we ever do.” – Liz Joyner, Executive Director, The Village Square
[APR 2016] “I have hosted 15 world class scholars and public intellectuals as speakers at CSU Chico over my 16 year career as a professor here. Jonathan Rauch’s visit and presentation were among the very best. He was extremely substantive and engaging, using his own life story to explore the controversial topic of the chilling of free speech on American campuses today. No less importantly, no speaker that I have hosted treated our students more generously or respectfully. Jonathan went out of his way to listen to their voice and engage their concerns.” - Alan Gibson, Professor of Political Science, CSU Chico