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Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson

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Walter Isaacson is a writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

 and biographer. He is the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute
Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1950 as the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies. The organization is dedicated to "fostering enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues." The...

, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. He has been the Chairman and CEO of CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 and the Managing Editor of TIME. He was appointed by President Obama to be the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors
Broadcasting Board of Governors
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for all non-military, international broadcasting sponsored by the U.S government. It was previously a department within the United States Information Agency until 1999.-Origins:Starting in...

, which runs Voice of America
Voice of America
Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. It is one of five civilian U.S. international broadcasters working under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio...

, Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East "where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed"...

, and the other international broadcasts of the U.S. government.

Early life


Walter Isaacson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. After graduating from New Orleans' Isidore Newman School
Isidore Newman School
Isidore Newman School is a private, nondenominational, co-educational college preparatory school located on an campus in the Uptown section of New Orleans, Louisiana.-History:...

 and a summer at Deep Springs College
Deep Springs College
Deep Springs is a private, all-male , alternative college in Deep Springs, California, in the United States. A two-year college, the institution currently aims for a student body size of 26, though the number is occasionally lower...

 as a participant in the Telluride Association
Telluride Association
The Telluride Association is a non-profit organization in the United States that provides young people with free educational programs emphasizing intellectual curiosity, democratic self-governance, and social responsibility. Students are invited to apply based on academic criteria, such as high...

 Summer Program (TASP), Isaacson attended Harvard College
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

 and earned a B. A.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in history and literature. While at Harvard, Isaacson was a member of the Harvard Lampoon
Harvard Lampoon
The Harvard Lampoon is an undergraduate humor publication founded in 1876 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.-Overview:Published since 1876, The Harvard Lampoon is the world's longest continually published humor magazine. It is also the second longest-running English-language humor...

. He then attended the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College
Pembroke College, Oxford
Pembroke College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, located in Pembroke Square. As of 2009, Pembroke had an estimated financial endowment of £44.9 million.-History:...

 and read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Philosophy, politics, and economics is a popular interdisciplinary undergraduate/graduate degree which combines study from the three disciplines...

.

Career


Walter Isaacson began his career in journalism at The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune
New Orleans Times-Picayune
The Times-Picayune is a daily newspaper published in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.-History:Established as The Picayune in 1837 by Francis Lumsden and George Wilkins Kendall, the paper's initial price was one picayune—a Spanish coin equivalent to 6¼¢ .Under Eliza Jane Nicholson, who inherited the...

/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media before becoming the magazine's fourteenth editor in 1996. He became Chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute
Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1950 as the Aspen Institute of Humanistic Studies. The organization is dedicated to "fostering enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues." The...

 in 2003.

He is the author of American Sketches (2009), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003) and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and he is the co-author, with Evan Thomas
Evan Thomas
Evan Welling Thomas III is an American journalist and author. He currently teaches journalism at Princeton University.-Life and career:Thomas was born in Huntington, New York and was raised in Cold Spring Harbor, New York...

, of The Wise Men
The Wise Men
The Wise Men were a group of government officials and members of the East Coast foreign policy establishment who, beginning in the 1940s, developed the containment policy of dealing with the Communist bloc and crafted institutions and initiatives such as NATO, the World Bank, and the Marshall Plan...

: Six Friends and the World They Made
(1986). He is the editor of Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness (2010, W. W. Norton
W. W. Norton
W. W. Norton & Company is an independent American book publishing company based in New York City. It is well known for its "Norton Anthologies", particularly the Norton Anthology of English Literature and the "Norton Critical Editions" series of texts which are frequently assigned in university...

).

On October 24, 2011, Isaacson's authorized biography of Apple Computer
Apple Computer
Apple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad...

 co-founder Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Steven Paul Jobs was an American businessman and inventor widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc...

 was published by Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

. Because of Jobs' death just weeks earlier (on October 5, 2011), Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs (biography)
Steve Jobs is the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. The biography is written at the request of Jobs by acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson, a former executive at CNN and Time who has written best-selling biographies about Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.Based on more than forty interviews...

became an instant international best-seller, breaking all records for sales of a biography. The book was based on over forty interviews with Jobs over a two year period right up until shortly before his death. Isaacson also drew on conversations with friends, family members, and even business rivals of the entrepreneur whose vision revolutionized computing, music, phones, animated films, and even publishing.

He is the chairman of the board of Teach for America
Teach For America
Teach For America is an American non-profit organization that aims to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation's most promising future leaders to teach for two or more years in low-income communities throughout the United States...

 and of the Broadcasting Board of Governors
Broadcasting Board of Governors
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for all non-military, international broadcasting sponsored by the U.S government. It was previously a department within the United States Information Agency until 1999.-Origins:Starting in...

. He is on the boards of United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

, Tulane University
Tulane University
Tulane University is a private, nonsectarian research university located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States...

, Overseers of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, the Bloomberg Family Foundation, and the Society of American Historians.

In October 2005, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco
Kathleen Blanco
Kathleen Babineaux Blanco was the 54th Governor of Louisiana, having served from January 2004 until January 2008. She was the first woman to be elected to the office of governor of Louisiana....

 appointed Isaacson vice chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority
Louisiana Recovery Authority
The Louisiana Recovery Authority is the governmental body created in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita by Governor Kathleen Blanco to plan for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana...

, a thirty-three-member policymaking board that oversaw spending on the recovery from Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

. In December 2007, he was appointed by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 to the chairman of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership, which seeks to create economic and educational opportunities in the Palestinian territories. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed him vice-chair of the Partners for a New Beginning
Partners for a New Beginning
In his "A New Beginning" speech on June 4, 2009, at Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt, President of the United States Barack Obama stated that "I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and...

, which encourages private-sector investments and partnerships in the Muslim world. He also serves as the cochair of the U.S.-Vietnamese Dialogue on Agent Orange
Agent Orange
Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth...

, which in January 2008 announced completion of a project to contain the dioxin left behind by the U.S. at the Da Nang
Da Nang
Đà Nẵng , occasionally Danang, is a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam; its well-sheltered, easily accessible port and its location on the path of...

 air base and plans to build health centers and a dioxin laboratory in the affected regions.

Isaacson had been working on a biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Steven Paul Jobs was an American businessman and inventor widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc...

 since 2009, the first biography of Jobs written with his full cooperation, with Jobs granting extensive interviews. Pre-orders of the book skyrocketed to the number one position at Amazon.com
Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

 after news of Jobs' death broke. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs (biography)
Steve Jobs is the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. The biography is written at the request of Jobs by acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson, a former executive at CNN and Time who has written best-selling biographies about Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.Based on more than forty interviews...

was published on October 24, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

.

External links