The Info List - Walter Isaacson

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Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson
(born May 20, 1952)[2] is an American writer and journalist. He is the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., and University Professor of History at Tulane University. He has been the chairman and CEO of Cable News Network (CNN) and Managing Editor of Time. He has written biographies of Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Kissinger.


1 Early life and education 2 Career

2.1 Media 2.2 Writing 2.3 Government

3 Positions 4 Honors 5 Bibliography 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Early life and education[edit] Isaacson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Irwin and Betty Lee (Seff) Isaacson.[3] His father was a “kindly Jewish distracted humanist engineer with a reverence for science” and his mother was a real estate broker.[4] Isaacson attended New Orleans' Isidore Newman School, where he was Student Body President. He attended Deep Springs College
Deep Springs College
for the Telluride Association
Telluride Association
Summer Program (TASP) before graduating from Harvard University
Harvard University
in 1974, where he majored in History and Literature. At Harvard, Isaacson was the president of the Signet Society, member of the Harvard Lampoon, and resident of Lowell House. He later attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar
Rhodes scholar
at Pembroke College, where he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and graduated with First-Class Honours.[1][2] Career[edit] Media[edit] Isaacson began his career in journalism at The Sunday Times of London, followed by a position with the New Orleans
New Orleans
Times-Picayune. He joined Time magazine
Time magazine
in 1978, serving as the magazine's political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media before becoming the magazine's 14th editor in 1996.[5][6] Isaacson became chairman and CEO of CNN
in July 2001, replacing Tom Johnson, and only two months later guided CNN
through the events of 9/11.[7][8] Shortly after his appointment at CNN, Isaacson attracted attention for seeking the views of Republican Party leaders on Capitol Hill regarding criticisms that CNN
broadcast content that was unfair to Republicans or conservatives. He was quoted in Roll Call
Roll Call
magazine as saying: "I was trying to reach out to a lot of Republicans who feel that CNN
has not been as open to covering Republicans, and I wanted to hear their concerns." The CEO's conduct was criticized by the left-leaning[citation needed] Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) organization, which said that Isaacson's "pandering" behavior was endowing conservative politicians with power over CNN.[9][10] In January 2003, he announced that he would step down as president at CNN
to become president of the Aspen Institute.[8] Jim Walton replaced Isaacson as president of CNN.[7] Isaacson served as the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute
Aspen Institute
from 2003 until 2017, when he announced that he would step down to become a professor of history at Tulane University
Tulane University
and an advisory partner at the New York City financial services firm Perella Weinberg Partners.[11] In November 2017, the Aspen Institute
Aspen Institute
named Dan Porterfield, the president of Franklin and Marshall College, as Isaacson's successor.[12] In March 2017, Isaacson launched a podcast with Dell Technologies called Trailblazers, which focuses on technology's effects on business.[13] Writing[edit] Isaacson is the author of American Sketches (2009), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003) and Kissinger: A Biography (1992). He is the co-author, with Evan Thomas, of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).[1][14] On October 24, 2011, Steve Jobs, Isaacson's authorized biography of Apple Computer's Jobs, was published by Simon & Schuster, only several weeks after Jobs' death. It became an 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 up until shortly before his death, and on conversations with friends, family members, and business rivals of the entrepreneur.[15][16][17][18][19] In October 2014, Isaacson published The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, which explores the history of the key technological innovations that are prominent in the digital revolution, most notably the parallel developments of the computer and the Internet. It became a New York Times
New York Times
bestseller.[20] Writing for the New York Times, Janet Maslin described the author as "a kindred spirit to the visionaries and enthusiasts" who Isaacson wrote about.[21] He is the editor of Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness (2010, W. W. Norton).[2][22] His biography of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
was published on October 17, 2017, to positive reviews from critics.[23][24] In August 2017, Paramount Pictures won a bidding war against Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
for the rights to adapt Isaacson's biography of da Vinci. The studio bought the rights under its deal with Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions, which said that it planned to produce the film with DiCaprio as the star.[25] Government[edit]

Isaacson at a State Department briefing in 2008

In October 2005, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco
Kathleen Blanco
appointed Isaacson vice chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, a board that oversaw spending on the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. In December 2007, he was appointed by President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
to the chairman of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership, which seeks to create economic and educational opportunities in the Palestinian territories.[26] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
appointed him vice-chair of the Partners for a New Beginning, which encourages private-sector investments and partnerships in the Muslim world.[27] He also served as the co-chair of the U.S.-Vietnamese Dialogue on Agent Orange, 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
air base and plans to build health centers and a dioxin laboratory in the affected regions.[28] In 2009, he was appointed by President Obama to be Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the other international broadcasts of the U.S. government; he served until January 2012.[29] In 2014, he was appointed by New Orleans
New Orleans
Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Mitch Landrieu
to be the co-chair of the New Orleans
New Orleans
Tricentennial Commission, which is planning the city's 300th-anniversary commemoration in 2018.[30] In 2015, he was appointed to the board of My Brother's Keeper Alliance, which seeks to carry out President Obama's anti-poverty and youth opportunity initiatives.[31] In 2016, he was appointed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Mitch Landrieu
and confirmed by the City Council to be a member of the New Orleans
New Orleans
City Planning Commission.[32] He is a member of the U.S. Department of Defense Innovation Advisory Board. In 2018, he was appointed by New Orleans mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell
LaToya Cantrell
to be co-chair of her transition team. Positions[edit] Isaacson is the chairman emeritus of the board of Teach for America. He is on the boards of United Airlines, Tulane University, Overseers of Harvard University, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Institution for Science
Carnegie Institution for Science
and the Society of American Historians, of which he served as president in 2012.[33] Isaacson teaches a course at Tulane called History Of the Digital Revolution - students claim his class is an open seminar filled with discussion about technology, culture, and the progression of society. Honors[edit]

Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson
at TechCrunch Disrupt
TechCrunch Disrupt

In 2012, he was selected as one of the Time 100, the magazine's list of the most influential people in the world.[34] Isaacson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
Royal Society of Arts
and was awarded its 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal.[35] He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society
American Philosophical Society
and an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. In 2014, the National Endowment for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities
selected Isaacson for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. The title of Isaacson's lecture was "The Intersection of the Humanities
and the Sciences."[36] He has honorary degrees from Tufts University, Cooper Union, William & Mary, Franklin University Switzerland, University of New Orleans, University of South Carolina, City University of New York (Hunter College), Pomona College, Lehigh University, Duke University, and Colorado Mountain College, where the school of media and communications is named after him.[37] He was the 2015 recipient of The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal at Vanderbilt University.[38] Bibliography[edit]

The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1451683226) – co-authored with Evan Thomas Kissinger: A Biography (1992, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0671663230) Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0684807614)[39][40] Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0743264747)[41][42] American Sketches (2009, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1439183441) Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
(2011, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1451648539) The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1476708690) Leonardo Da Vinci (2017, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1501139154)[43]

See also[edit]

U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin Partners for a New Beginning


^ a b c Robin Pogrebin, "At Work and at Play, Time's Editor Seeks to Keep Magazine Vigorous at 75", New York Times, March 9, 1998. ^ a b c Millie Ball, "Steve Jobs' biographer is hometown son Walter Isaacson," The Times-Picayune, December 11, 2011. ^ "Family of Sid Salinger". Sid Salinger. Retrieved February 1, 2015.  ^ National Endowment for the Humanities: " AWARDS & HONORS: 2014 JEFFERSON LECTURER: Walter Isaacson" retrieved August 30, 2016. ^ William C. Skinner (4 May 2016). "Q&A with Walter S. Isaacson". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 5 July 2016.  ^ Paul D. Colford (15 November 2000). "Moving up the Ladder Big Time". New York Daily News. Retrieved 5 July 2016.  ^ a b Cook, John (January 21, 2003). "CNN's turmoil continues over identity, ratings". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 17, 2016.  ^ a b "CNN: Head of news network to step down". The Chicago Tribune. January 14, 2003. Retrieved March 17, 2016.  ^ Eason Jordan (15 August 2001). "New CNN
Chief Trying to Please GOP Elite". FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting). Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. Retrieved 18 January 2015.  ^ Associated Press
Associated Press
(6 August 2001). "New CNN
chairman meets with GOP critics". USA Today. Retrieved 18 January 2015.  ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2017/03/15/walter-isaacson-leaving-the-aspen-institute.html.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ Thompson, Krissah (2017-11-30). " Aspen Institute
Aspen Institute
names Dan Porterfield, president of Franklin and Marshall College, as its new leader". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-15.  ^ " Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson
Is Getting Into Podcasting With a Series About Technology". Retrieved 2017-07-01.  ^ "Walter Isaacson". Author page. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 19 May 2017.  ^ Rene Lynch, " Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
biography: Release date moves up, skyrockets to No. 1", Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2011. ^ Brad Stone, "Jobs Is Said to Assist With Book on His Life", New York Times, February 15, 2010. ^ Eyder Peralta, " Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs
Authorizes Biography; It's Due Out Early 2012", NPR, April 11, 2011. ^ Kara Swisher, "New Jobs Bio Cover Is All Apple With Pub Date of November", All Things Digital, August 15, 2011. ^ Walter Isaacson, "The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs," Harvard Business Review, April 2012. ^ Rachel Pickering (29 October 2014). "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson". Maroon Weekly. Campus Press LP. Retrieved 18 January 2015.  ^ Janet Maslin (8 October 2014). "Heralds of the Digital Tomorrow". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015.  ^ Janet Maslin, "The Scale of Einstein, From Faith to Formulas," New York Times, April 9, 2007. ^ "Bookmarks reviews of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
by Walter Isaacson". LitHub. Retrieved October 19, 2017.  ^ Isaacson, Walter (2017-10-17). Leonardo da Vinci. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781501139154.  ^ http://deadline.com/2017/08/leonardo-dicaprio-to-play-leonardo-da-vinci-paramouint-walter-isaacson-appian-way-movie-deal-1202147317/ ^ "President Bush Meets with U.S.-Palestinian Public-Private Partnership", White House press release, December 2007. ^ "Partners for a New Beginning", state.gov, April 26, 2010. ^ Plan addresses Agent Orange
Agent Orange
legacy in Vietnam - World news - World environment NBC News ^ "President Obama More Key Administration Posts" Archived November 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., White House press release, November 18, 2009. ^ Alex Woodward, "Mayor Landrieu unveils New Orleans' tricentennial group," Best of New Orleans, December 1, 2014. ^ My Brother's Keeper Fact Sheet ^ New Orleans
New Orleans
Times-Picayune, " New Orleans
New Orleans
Native Walter Isaacson Appointed to CPC" [1] ^ SAH, Executive board ^ Madeleine K. Albright, "The World's 100 Most Influential People: 2012", Time, April 18, 2012. ^ "2013 Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Medal Presentation To Walter Isaacson", RSA United States, October 2013. ^ Chris Waddington, "Best-selling biographer Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson
will deliver prestigious Jefferson Lecture in 2014" Archived February 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Times-Picayune, January 28, 2014. ^ http://isaacsonschool.org/ ^ "Connect your passion to something that matters, Issacson urges Vanderbilt graduating seniors".  ^ Maslin, Janet (3 July 2003). "Review of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson". NY Times.  ^ "Review of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson". Kirkus Reviews. 4 July 1983.  ^ Maslin, Janet (9 April 2007). "Review of Einstein: His Life and Times by Walter Isaacson". NY Times.  ^ "Review of Einstein: His Life and Times by Walter Isaacson". Kirkus Reviews. 10 April 2007.  ^ Kafka, Alexander C. (12 October 2017). "Review of Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson". The Washington Post. 

External links[edit]

Aspen Institute
Aspen Institute
biography of Walter Isaacson Appearances on C-SPAN Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson
on Twitter

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 46911882 LCCN: n83038709 ISNI: 0000 0001 2131 2482 GND: 113438370 SUDOC: 063806258 BNF: cb134841423 (data) BIBSYS: 90338082 NDL: 00468802 NKC: hka2010598