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Robert B. Reich

Former Secretary of Labor, economist, and New York Times-bestselling author

  • About Robert B. Reich

    Robert Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Reich has served in three presidential administrations, including Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, for which Time magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. Reich has written over 15 books on the future of work and the new economy, including the bestsellers Aftershock, Beyond Outrage, and Saving Capitalism, which urgently assess the constantly-widening divisions affecting economics and politics today. His most recent bestseller, The Common Good, is a timely and compelling argument to set the common good at the center of economic and political policies.

    In 2013, Reich co-created (with Jacob Kornbluth) the award-winning documentary Inequality for All, a sobering look at economic inequality, and in 2017, his second documentary, based on his book of the same name, Saving Capitalism, became a Netflix original.  He co-founded Inequality Media, an online video channel dedicated to raising awareness of economic inequality. To date, Reich’s videos on economics and politics have been viewed by over 90 million people around the world.

    A sought-after speaker for his expertise on global and domestic economics as well as for his ability to present complex issues with warmth and urgency, Reich has spoken at major lecture series, conferences, and college campuses across the country and around the world. He is a Senior Economics Contributor to CNN, a Newsweek columnist, and his writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Common Good

    With the warmth and lucidity that have made him one of our most important public voices, Robert Reich makes the case for a generous, inclusive understanding of the American project, centering on the moral obligations of citizenship. Rooting his argument in everyday reality and common sense, Reich demonstrates the existence of a common good, and argues that it is what defines a society or a nation. Societies and nations undergo virtuous cycles that reinforce and build the common good, as well as vicious cycles that undermine it. Over the course of the past five decades, Reich contends, America has been in a slowly accelerating vicious cycle–one that can and must be reversed. In order to change course, we must first weigh what really matters, and how we as a country should relate to honor, shame, patriotism, truth, and the meaning of leadership.

    Income Inequality, Populism, and How to Save Capitalism

    For Robert Reich, the most crucial debate we’ll see in the coming years won’t be the traditional debate between left and right. Instead, it will be between authoritarian populism and democratic reform. In the face of widening economic inequality and insecurity, lagging wage growth, and technologies that are already eliminating vast numbers of jobs, many feel powerless and voiceless, and believe that the major institutions of society are no longer functioning in ways that benefit most people. Reich explains the solutions presented by authoritarian populism, which uses xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment scapegoats for existing ills, and the more comprehensive and long-term solutions that would emerge from genuine democratic reform. Only through the latter, Reich argues, do we have the potential to overhaul a broken political-economic system.

    America in the Global Economy

    The global economy provides ample opportunity and immense risks both in America and abroad. While opportunity seems to be growing at an unprecedented rate, with it come daunting questions about the future of America’s economic position on the global stage. Robert Reich explains the forces that are driving the growth of the global economy and draws on his years of experience to map out what our globalized future may look like.

    Navigating the Economic and Political Choices In a World of Changing Information

    In a world where news seems to never stop breaking, it can be hard to know where to start when seeking political change. Robert Reich cuts through the constant noise to highlight what he perceives to be the fundamental issues in America today, and details which policy changes matter the most in a time where numerous issues compete for our attention.

    The Future of Bipartisanship and the Future of America

    Inspired by his documentaries, Inequality for All and Saving Capitalism, this speech features Robert Reich exploring the choices facing America through an examination of the widening inequalities of income, wealth, and political power that have characterized the last thirty years. Reich expertly shows how even in a contentious political climate, restoring equal opportunity is a goal that defies partisanship, making it relevant and urgent for all Americans.

  • Video

  • Praise for Robert B. Reich


    Our event was fantastic! Professor Robert Reich was even more than I had hoped for! He was funny, engaging & genuinely nice.

    W.A. Franke College of Business, Northern Arizona University

    Robert was amazing! Pitch perfect. Engaging, meaningful and Inspirational. The audience never wanted to let him go. Everyone wanted pictures with him and personalized autographs. But he inspired them. He energized them. He has new followers and several people who want to take his class at Berkeley.

    Kaiser Permanente

    The subscribers to our event really enjoyed Robert Reich’s lectures! Here are just a few of their comments: ‘Robert Reich was FANTASTIC!’ ‘One of the best speakers on any topic in any venue that I’ve ever seen.’ ‘Kudos to your team for bringing such a gem of a speaker.’ ‘Robert Reich was the best lecture and speaker we have ever heard.’ ‘Excellent, Excellent, Excellent.’

    Cambridge Speakers Series

    Note-free eloquence, clarity, intelligence, moral centeredness, charm, humor, analysis, passion…Dr. Robert Reich was VERY impressive, and it was an extraordinary visit for which our students are very grateful. He was also gracious, praising the preparedness of our students and how much he enjoyed his time at University of Sound.

    University of Puget Sound

    Bob did a great job. He was perfect for the group and for where public education is right now. His presentations was invigorating and he really connected with people. He is a genuine human being.

    Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents

    We really enjoyed having Professor Robert Reich with us in Half Moon Bay. He was a lively and wonderful addition to the program. His greatest success (besides humor and wit!) was in speaking directly to the audience as a peer, tailoring his remarks to the crowd and making a true connection to the subject matter.

    Institutional Investor Forums

    Professor Reich was the epitome of ‘wow!’ His session was standing room only.

    Association for Financial Professionals

    Robert Reich was just delightful. Following his remarks, he did about 30 minutes of Q&A from the audience. Everyone on the Library Board seemed very pleased and the feedback from the audience at the program has been positive. All in all a great success!

    Transylvania County Library

    Praise for The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It

    Robert Reich is one of the most important voices in America, fighting for an economy that works for all people and not just those at the top. Understanding what is happening in our country is critical if we want to fix it and Robert Reich is an exceptional teacher.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders

    Robert Reich is one of our country’s most insightful commentators on politics and economics. Both a diagnosis and a call to arms, The System shows how our economy and our democracy are rigged to work for the wealthy and well-connected. Change is possible - if we are willing to fight for it.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren

    In this book Robert Reich exposes the con job of America’s present manic hyper-capitalism. He exposes a ‘system’ that is defined less by free markets than by elite capture. He shatters the myths about rising tides and boats and slices of pie and whatever else those hackneyed people say, propelled by the insight that while money may not be a zero-sum situation, power is. And when America’s plutocrats use money to capture power to make sure that they monopolize future money, rage swells, human potential withers on the vine, and the soul of the country changes.

    Anand Giridharadas, author, Winners Take All

    Praise for Tales of a New America

    His insights…are critically relevant to the debate over competitiveness. Reich’s diagnosis is compelling.

    Business Week

    An elegantly written exposition and critique of contemporary American political mythology and a fervent plea for a new one.

    Village Voice

    Reich’s analysis, driven by the specific sources of our competitive disadvantage relative to the Japanese, is quite original….Reich’s imagery is frighteningly on the mark. He asks us, correctly, I think, to consider a new intellectual and emotional framework for everything from interpersonal to economic to security dealings….His shift of the debate beyond quick-fix management devices and annual policy choices is path-breaking.

    Washington Monthly

    Mr. Reich’s work is more than a broadside against liberal fiddlers. It is also a bold attempt to understand the basic cultural myths that determine how policy makers weave their individual programs into a ‘story’ that resonates with voters.

    Wall Street Journal

    Robert Reich’s agenda remains…a vigorous and welcome redefinition of modern liberalism. He seeks nothing less than a redefinition of our national myths in ways which make sense in the current world. The reigning myths of the Reagan era lie in shambles after his searching probe.


    Praise for The Resurgent Liberal

    If liberal politics is to make a comeback. It will be with the realworld prescriptions of Robert Reich.

    Kevin R. Philips, author of The Politics of Rich and Poor

    Liberalism is, I think resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are becoming so painfully aware of the alternative. The other reason is the commitment of clearheaded, lucid, and compelling advocates like Bob Reich.

    John Kenneth Galbraith

    Praise for The Future of Success

    Reich writes in ways unusual for an economist; he is self-effacing, witty and more interested in exploring the world’s complexities than in uncovering unvarying laws.

    The New York Times Book Review

    A well-researched and documented analysis of the present state of working life in America.

    The Plain Dealer

    A valuable work. . . . Reich has a talent for mastering economic and social complexities and making them easy for the layperson to grasp.

    The Wall Street Journal

    Reich is a big thinker and a great writer.

    The Washington Post

    Praise for The Common Good

    Against the grain of much liberal thinking . . . Reich’s proposals would make a good starting point for a new progressive political project.

    Michael J. Sandel, The New York Times Book Review

    Reich’s lucidly defining and empowering call for revitalized civic awareness—complete with an enticing list of recommended reading and discussion guide—is an ideal catalyst for book-group conversations.


    Very timely . . . Reich’s work is an important call for reform that should appeal to a wide audience disaffected with the status quo.

    Library Journal (starred review)

    Brief but well-argued . . . a provocative essay.

  • Books by Robert B. Reich

  • Media About Robert B. Reich

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  • Robert B. Reich travels from Berkeley, CA

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