Amity Shlaes

Syndicated Columnist, Political Economist, & Leading Presidential Historian

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Amity Shlaes Speaker Biography

Renowned Economic Thinker, Syndicated Columnist & Leading Presidential Historian

Amity Shlaes, a sought-after keynote speaker who places the current economy in the context of the past has given speeches and lectures covering a wide range of topics to financial institutions, corporations, colleges, universities, and historical societies. She writes a syndicated column for Forbes, is Chairman and CEO of the Coolidge Foundation, and serves as Presidential Scholar at the King’s College, a Christian college based in New York.


Known as the conservative Doris Kearns Goodwin, Shlaes is the author of four New York Times bestsellers, The Forgotten Man Graphic Edition, Coolidge (debuted at number three on the Times nonfiction list, was a Times “Editor’s Choice,” and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan named it a book of the year), The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books to read during a financial crisis), and The Greedy Hand. Coolidge is a comprehensive biography and reassessment of President Calvin Coolidge (president from 1923 to 1929) whose style of management discipline can be applied to today’s fiscal crisis. In her latest, Great Society: A New History, Shlaes offers a powerful companion to her legendary history of the 1930s, The Forgotten Man, and shows that in fact there was scant difference between two presidents we consider opposites: Johnson and Nixon.


A long-time columnist for Bloomberg and the Financial Times, Shlaes commenced her career at The Wall Street Journal, where she was an editorial board member. Over the years she has published as well as in The New Yorker, Fortune, National Review, The New Republic, and Foreign Affairs. She has appeared on PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Fox News’ Glenn Beck, ABC’s Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, CNBC’s Kudlow, contributes to Public Radio International’s Marketplace, and Bloomberg radio. For the past five years she has chaired the jury of the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Book Prize and has won both the Hayek (2009) and the Bastiat Prize for Journalism (2002).


Coolidge is both follow up and precursor to her much lauded The Forgotten Man, a book that continues to spark discussion and debate. In Coolidge she delivers a brilliant and provocative reexamination of America’s thirtieth president and the enormous economic growth he helped to produce. After a divisive period of government excess and corruption, Coolidge restored national trust in Washington and achieved what few other peacetime presidents have: he left office with a federal budget smaller than the one he inherited.

Keynote Speaker

In her Coolidge talks, Shlaes shows that the restraint that sometimes earned him ridicule was in fact his greatest strength: he reduced the federal budget during this time in office even as the economy grew, wages rose, taxes fell, and unemployment dropped. Her speeches reveal the lessons that financial institutions, municipal governments, politicians, corporations, insurance companies, philanthropic organizations, and educators can take away from Coolidge’s vastly under-rated presidency.


Shlaes graduated magna cum laude from Yale and studied at the Free University in Berlin on a DAAD fellowship. Yale named her to its “Who’s Been Blue,” list of most distinguished alumni. She lives with her family in New York.

Amity Shlaes Speaking Topics

Great Society: A Revisionist Look at 1960s Idealism and What it Means Today

The idea of socialism is taking on a renewed glow in this country. In the 1960s, socialism also enjoyed a degree of popularity, as did its compromise, the welfare state. Social democratic principles were the basis of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Ronald Reagan made a career of opposing those principles. In her most recent bestseller, Great Society: A New History, Amity Shlaes argues that policies for social planning which were implemented in the name of the collective hurt both the nation and the individual. The result of these collective projects was a new Silent Majority. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has called the book “accurate history that reads like a novel.” In this presentation, Amity discussed her new book and gave us insight into our own struggles with these resurgent principles and especially with the good-hearted people who demonstrated bad judgement.

The President Who Said ‘No": The Five Economic Lessons of Coolidge and the Solutions for Today’s Economic Problems

How Both Johnson and Nixon Shackled Millions in Government Dependence

Donald Trump's Forgotten Man—and the Conflict between Slow Growth and Fast Growth

Amity Shlaes Books

Great Society: A New History
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The Greedy Hand: How Taxes Drive Americans Crazy and What to Do About It
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The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression
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Amity Shlaes Videos

Amity Shlaes Speaker Testimonials

“Amity Shlaes was an excellent speaker for the Women’s Global Leadership Conference, the largest conference for women in the energy industries. She was able to speak to the economic issues confronting the industry. But more impressive was her ability to give business cases and tell personal anecdotes that related to the professional women in attendance. She was an excellent opening keynote and stage setter for our event.”

- Gulf Publishing Company 
 | John Royall, President and CEO

“Ms. Shlaes’ presentation at The New York Hedge Roundtable was extremely well received by the membership as her discussion of government overreach in the poultry and utility industries during the 1930s is similar to the transformational changes currently occurring in the hedge fund industry in the form Dodd-Frank regulations. The membership was very engaged throughout Ms. Shlaes’ presentation that offered thought-provoking solutions that reversed government overreach during the 1930s and potentially in the future for the financial services industry. The NYHFR was honored to have Ms. Shlaes, a tireless advocate of free markets and limited government, speak to our membership.”

- | New York Hedge Fund Roundtable

“Amity Shlaes is a thought-provoking, gifted speaker who also went out of her way to be accessible, engaging, and personable with attendees at The Research Bureau’s annual meeting.”

- The Research Bureau | Roberta R. Schaefer, Ph.D., President & CEO

“Amity Shlaes spoke to a sold-out crowd at the National Historic Landmark, Charles Gates Dawes House and the event was a smashing success. Ms. Shlaes is not only a first-rate speaker; she is also a first class intellectual. Her talk was brilliant. Her insightful and highly entertaining remarks enthralled our audience.”

- Evanston History Center | Jenny Thompson, PhD, Director of Education

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Great Society: A New History
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