Speaking to the World
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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Author
No one delivers stories that shape our times like Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and filmmaker Ron Suskind. His books on Bush and Obama revealed, during the terms of both Presidents, all the key conclusions that now define both administrations and their eras. He did the same with his seminal New York Times opus — appearing the weekend before the 2020 election — defining the Trump Presidency and predicting the "inciting of insurrection" by Trump that ransacked Congress and horrified the world. Rachel Maddow calls Suskind's insight and reporting "intensely prophetic." The legendary journalist, with sources atop both parties, the U.S. government, Corporate America and among foreign leaders, provides actionable information — about where we stand and where we're headed — that is unmatched. Read More >
At the same time, NPR calls him “a master storyteller with the lyricism of a poet.” The fact that he is both – an indefatigable investigator and lyrical narrator – is what makes Mr. Suskind so stunningly unique; and makes his works, in print and in movies, among the era’s most consequential and deeply affecting.
Take the year 2020 as an example: As he was sounding his historic red alert about the Trump Presidency for the New York Times, he was also inspiring and co-producing Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up – Netflix most watched movie ever — that would engage and enliven hundreds of millions across the globe about the urgency of Climate Change.
At the same time, he was launching a company, BongoMedia, that is transforming journalism with a proprietary platform – called “the conversation catcher” — for reporting otherwise inaccessible stories by safely capturing off-the-record material and presenting it as compelling, not-for-attribution, written and video content. His debut of the platform in a multi-media event in the New York Times — capturing 40 doctors talking among themselves during initial battles with the beast of Covid — is considered one of the signature stories of the pandemic. “The story allowed me and my hospital’s board of directors fully understand what we were really up against,” said Dr. Steve Corwin, head of New York Presbyterian, the nation’s largest hospital. “And it deeply moved me.”
It did the same for the vast public. Mr. Suskind has been doing this for three decades, with prize-winning stories, books, and films that have shaped the nation’s views about:
Historians cite Mr. Suskind as among America's most consequential storytellers of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. He has received numerous honorary doctorates, taught at Harvard, as the Senior Fellow for Ethics, Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, where he created the class, Public Narrative and Justice. He holds five patents for digital engagement technologies, created a suite of apps, called Sidekicks, and invented a therapeutic model for treating autism, “Affinity Therapy,” that allows therapists to harness a patient’s deep interests to augment learning and emotional health.
Among our finest stage performers, Mr. Suskind was the co-host of Life 360, a ground-breaking newsmagazine co-produced by PBS and ABC, and created an NPR podcast, Freak Out and Carry On, with the historian Heather Cox Richardson that mapped the first, defining year of the Trump Presidency. He frequently appears on network and cable television, and regular contributor to the Rachel Maddow Show and to PBS’s NewsHour with Judy Woodruff. On CBS’s The Late Show a few days before the 2016 election, Stephen Colbert credited Mr. Suskind’s seminal 2004 New York Times story as inspiring him to create, The Colbert Report hosted by a character exuding truthiness. “I owe you nine years of my life,” Mr. Colbert said. “I’ll take half that in cash,” Mr. Suskind replied, and then proceeded to be the first to publicly describe Mr. Trump’s methodology as that of a mobster, who had just threatened the American people: “You have a very nice Democracy, here,” he said. “Be a shame if something bad happened to it.” Read Less ^
TEDTalk: The Worthwhile Life
What Trump’s “Special Bond” With Supporters Means Now – and Beyond His Presidency | PBS NewsHour
Ron Suskind's Amazing Story of Connecting With His Son | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Confidence Men: Obama and Bipartisan Leadership
Jewish Values for Challenging Times
Character Driven Leadership
Summoning Heroes in Each of Us
What Can I Do?
Presenting the World: Gender and Finance
Life Animated Trailer
The Digital Age will be a short-lived moniker, says Pulitzer Prize-winner Ron Suskind. We’ve arrived at what he calls the "Age of Content," when social media networks — stretched across the globe in just the past ten years – can now be assembled and activated by powerful content. Stories – they are what drives change. It’s how Donald Trump, sending out edgy content almost every day, held the world’s attention and got elected; why Joe Biden’s poll numbers go up and down; and how Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, inspired and co-produced by Mr. Suskind, drove more productive discussion on climate change than has been seen in decades. The hundreds of millions worldwide who gathered watch Netflix biggest movie ever – a dark satire using the metaphor on an onrushing asteroid to sound an alarm on the climate crisis — are now tied together in a network for a next movie by McKay and Suskind, which will direct them to action. Read More >
Mr. Suskind, among our most versatile creators of content – who also holds five patents on “digital engagement technologies” – reveals the secrets of how to construct and deliver stories that drive engagement, connection to others and vast networks of change. Read Less ^
Ron's sixth book, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, examines his family's twenty-year journey with youngest son, Owen. Having lost his speech at the age of three, Owen used animated Disney movies to make sense of himself and the world. By memorizing these iconic movies and parroting their dialogue, he learned how to communicate and express himself, prompting his family members to create elaborate stage sets to re-enact these films and “speak Disney” along with him. Owen emerged into adulthood with a unique skillset; along the way, he created a method to help other parents and medical experts reach kids with autism. This deeply personal but universally resonant presentation, in which Ron shares stories of Owen's unique journey from quiet solitude to animated communication, showcases an adventure of the human heart — culminating in a memorable father/son appearance on Comedy Central’s annual autism fundraiser, Night of Too Many Stars. The Suskind motto–your passion is your pathway–now guides educators, therapists and parents in tapping the deep potential in all of us.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist and New York Times Bestselling Author Ron Suskind has spent the majority of his career examining and writing about leadership. He is the author of signature investigations of leadership across decades for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and four bestselling books on U.S. presidents that shaped history. Ron knows leadership—both good and bad. For Ron, successes and failures of leadership are best told through stories that reflect both situation and aspiration—what was the challenge, what was hoped for, what was achieved. And, looking back, what were the lessons learned (many leaders never learn any). In this talk, Ron shares some of these incredible stories and what he learned about leadership from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama to Dwight Eisenhower, from storied Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill to “tough-love” Fed Chairman Paul Volcker to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Failures of leadership, Suskind tells us, are often borne of failures of imagination. And the victories...imagination, as well. If you are a leader or just aspire to be one, this talk is for you.
"People absolutely loved you and your message. To quote one of the comments, 'Wow, just wow!' You were such a good sport to party with the balloons remaining on the stage and to integrate the student entertainment into your remarks. That made you feel like a part of us and not just a hired speaker. Then on top of that, you told you story in such a compelling way that our membership could take it to heart and apply it to their work. Thank you! I wish we would have had more time for you to sign books for people as there was still a line of folks wanting to speak with you when I had to whisk you away to your workshop. You are truly a professional and it would be my honor to speak with anyone who wishes to know more about you as a keynote speaker. You excel at what you do, and your message is profound."
"It was fantastic! He was fantastic! People loved him and the whole presentation. It was just so great and a nice way to kick off the year. You would think he had studied up on our school for a while the way he beautifully weaved in the type of school and students that we have here. I am so happy we could make it work."
"Ron did an outstanding job and created laughs and tears among the 100 attendees culminating in a standing ovation. He was outstanding."
"Ron was absolutely outstanding! The crowd of 900 was laughing and crying at various points of the speech, and they reacted with a standing ovation. It could not have been better. In fact, educators are such a perfect audience for his message."
"Ron Suskind was AWESOME!!!! Like, probably my favorite of forever. This is a brilliant man, an amazing teacher, an incredible human being. I hope that we can get him to come again!"
"Ron was phenomenal in many ways. He is a phenomenal storyteller and a strong advocate for workers with disabilities. Thank you so much for your recommendation; there were many tears in our audience, as we have staff who have children with autism and also community folks who emailed us and said his speech really hit home. Ron was one of my favorite speakers that we’ve had."
"Thank you so much for recommending Ron Suskind as a speaker for the opening meeting of National Council of Jewish Women, Peninsula Section. The 250 women and men in the room couldn't have been more pleased with his presentation. Ron was funny, informed and so very personable. He connected with his audience on an intellectual and personal level. I would highly recommend him for any future bookings. I also want to thank APB for making my job so easy! I called you at a time when another speaker at another agency had cancelled a few weeks before my event, and you came through for me with the perfect recommendation."
"Thank you for your recommendation of Ron Suskind for our 2016 Mental Health Champions’ Banquet. Ron was engaging, outgoing and congenial, which immediately puts everyone around him at ease. He is so well-informed and knowledgeable in the area of autism, and his speech roused the interest of all attendees! The feedback we received is so complimentary, and he went the extra mile to include our award recipients into his speech, recognizing their struggles and amazing successes! We are so thankful that Ron joined us!"
"Ron was awesome! Our members loved his presentation, lined up for his book signing and his workshop room completely filled with people standing outside. He waited to speak with each person lined up to talk with him after his workshop was completed. He’s definitely a professional and so wonderful to work with."
"Yesterday's luncheon was the perfect presentation to remind me why I volunteer for the Blue Bird Circle. I had two friends attending who have a grandchild with autism, and they were "blown away." Needless to say, I was very proud knowing that our hard work makes a difference! Great luncheon speaker choice!!"
"I want to let you know how well received Ron Suskind was as commencement speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him prior to the ceremony and was seated next to him on the platform. Following his speech, delivered with no notes and even incorporating some of what I had told him about the class minutes before the ceremony, he shook hands with and congratulated each of the students as they came across the stage to receive diplomas. I could hear large numbers of them complimenting him on his talk. As we exited I could also hear many of the parents’ compliments. I am also told that a number of the parents requested his autograph on the commencement program. Everyone I have talked with was very happy with his participation. This may have been the best commencement speech I have experienced in my 28 years at Lewis & Clark College. Thank you."
"A big thank you for recommending Ron Suskind to speak at our event here at Bellevue University. He was everything you said he would be and more! I am still receiving emails from those who attended our event; I keep reading “AWESOME EVENT!” I can’t wait to do it again. I would even make arrangements to book Ron Suskind to return. It was a pleasure to work with you and I hope to work with you in the near future."
"WOW! Ron was excellent and delivered such a powerful story that everyone in the room could certainly relate to. On a personal note, as the proud aunt to a wonderful autistic nephew, I found great value in his message. Please pass along my most sincere gratitude to Mr. Suskind. His presentation was perfect!"
Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism
Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President
The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism
The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill
A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League
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