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Adam Davidson

Co-founder of Planet Money, award-winning journalist, and author of The Passion Economy

  • About Adam Davidson

    Ever since his Peabody Award-winning This American Life episode, “The Giant Pool of Money,” which broke down the 2009 financial crisis, Adam Davidson has become the go-to writer for entertaining, accessible, and comprehensive primers on how complicated economic trends affect our everyday life. In his book The Passion Economy, Davidson illuminates how the 21st-century economic paradigm offers new ways of making money, fresh paths towards professional fulfillment, and unprecedented opportunity.

    Drawing on case studies of average people who have found ways to combine the things they love with their careers (as well as current academic research), Davidson shows us how the economy of scale has given way to an economy of passion—and why that’s a good thing. He now also hosts The Passion Economy Podcast, where he unearths stories from regular people who have cracked the code to success in our new economic reality.

    In lively, funny, and enlightening presentations, Adam Davidson explains the new rules for thriving in the 21st-century economy as he answers major questions on complex economic issues such as international trade, financial and monetary policy, and the changing nature of work. He also offers customized presentations on individual industries and their new roles in the context of the current historical moment and global changes.

    In 2023 Davidson guest-hosted a three-part series by Freakonomics Radio on “How to Think About A.I.” The series cuts through the noise surrounding Artificial Intelligence. Opening his first episode Davidson says: “I’ve spent months now talking to as many smart people as I can find about A.I., and I learned a lot. The main thing, the big headline: nobody knows where A.I. is heading.” Throughout the series and in his keynotes on the topic, Davidson provides a clear, easily understandable overview of the transformative power of A.I.—from the general nuts and bolts to the specific impact on individual industries.

    Adam Davidson is a contributing writer at The New Yorker. Previously, he was economics writer for the New York Times Magazine. Davidson co-founded and ran NPR’s Planet Money, served as NPR’s international business and economics correspondent, and has been a frequent contributor to This American Life, where he received a Peabody Award, a DuPont-Columbia Award, and a Polk Award for his work on “The Giant Pool of Money.”

    His work has appeared in The AtlanticHarper’sGQ, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. He is currently working on launching a course on passion storytelling for business with the education startup Maven. He also served as a technical consultant to Adam McKay, the co-writer and director of the Academy Award-winning film The Big Short (and later, Davidson’s cohost on Gimlet Media podcast Surprisingly Awesome). He is a graduate of the University of Chicago.

    Contact us for more information about booking Adam Davidson for your next event.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Passion Economy: The New Rules For Thriving In the Twenty-First Century Economy

    We are not doomed. The Economy is not broken. It just works differently than it ever has before. And that is great news for entrepreneurs, students, and others with passion and curiosity. More than ever before in human history, our current system allows people to focus their working lives on those things they love most and to find customers who love them, too; we simply need to learn the new rules. Davidson is a lively, funny speaker whose presentation is packed with substantive information (based on the work of an advisory team of economists and business school professors at MIT and Harvard) that entertains as it inspires.

    AI and the future of work and business

    Adam Davidson is an expert at demystifying complex, crucial issues and he applies these skills to the most complex issue of our time: the rise of AI. His talk is geared towards curious laypeople—from college students to business decision-makers—who know that AI is likely to transform their careers and business and need a clear framework to understand this new revolutionary technology. AI, he explains, will create massive new winners and, yes, a bunch of losers, as it rewrites our economic rules.

    Your Industry Is Being Transformed (Because All of them Are). Here's How.

    Automation, global trade, shifting international allegiances, a rapidly changing workforce. Every industry is going through a massive transformation. Each has its own story and each is connected to the same set of macro forces. Adam Davidson can work with you and other industry experts to create a customized presentation that places your industry in the context of transformative historical, global change.

    The Economy, Explained

    Adam Davidson is among the country’s leading explainers of the economy. He has been economics writer for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and he founded NPR’s Planet Money. He’s received numerous awards, including the Peabody and Polk, for his clear, fun, smart explanations of complex economic issues, including international trade, financial and monetary policy, the changing nature of work, and most other major economic questions. His talks are deeply substantive but also entertaining and lively.

  • Video

  • Praise for Adam Davidson


    He was fantastic – the audience was really engaged and a lot of people thought that the topic was inspiring and that he was engaging and easy to relate to, an overall fantastic presentation.

    Greater Des Moines Partnership

    Adam was a fantastic keynote speaker! Our attendees absolutely loved him! Adam was able to not only make connections between the many wonderful concepts in his book and the world of our attendees, he was able to brilliantly riff off the audience’s reactions, leveraging stories and experiences from his impressive background in ways that went well beyond our expectations. Truly, he has a gift and I cannot recommend him strongly enough as a speaker.

    Supporting Strategies

    Adam’s presentation was a crowd favorite. As the first speaker of the morning, he got people laughing and thinking right out of the gate, which set the right tone for our two-day conference. His ability to deliver high quality insights and get our very niche crowd examining their businesses in new ways was pretty incredible. He’s such a talent and also personally so delightful.

    Business of Home

    We had very fruitful discussions through the seminar, and Adam’s keynote was much appreciated, like a booster to our thoughts. He was really the perfect fit.


    Praise for The Passion Economy

    Exuberant. . . With his distinctive voice Davidson winningly blends case studies of fervent, enthusiastic believers – creators of amazing ice cream, expensive pencils, menswear – with a set of counterintuitive rules so that work lives and our deepest passions can merge to make people better off financially, and personally.

    National Book Review

    Adam Davidson is a master storyteller. . . An engaging mix of Michael Lewis-style reporting and a Shark Tank-like focus on how to succeed in business, [The Passion Economy is] an upbeat spin on what's ahead for us in the new, gig-and-hustle environment.

    Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader

    Move over Malcolm Gladwell. In The Passion Economy Adam Davidson upends the conventional thinking about how to succeed in our topsy-turvy, seemingly unforgiving post-industrial economy by sharing the stories of regular people who followed their dreams. You won't soon forget the wisdom Davidson conveys in these pages.

    William D. Cohan, author of House of Cards

    Adam Davidson is one of America’s most accomplished business journalists — and this book reminds us why. With a reporter’s eye and a storyteller’s grace, he has traveled the country to find regular people who have cracked the code of the modern economy. Reading their stories will reveal the secrets of successful careers. It might even restore your faith in the American Dream.

    Daniel H. Pink, author of When and Drive

    The Passion Economy is exactly what everyone needs today: examples of how to thrive in an economy that can seem overwhelming, and crystal-clear explanations of how to succeed. The book is an enormously fun, exciting adventure story that takes us from the wineries of Napa to the laboratories of Google to far-off chocolate makers. This is the book about how to live (and work) a more passionate life.

    Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
  • Books by Adam Davidson

  • Media About Adam Davidson

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Adam Davidson travels from Vermont

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