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Anand Giridharadas

New York Times Columnist & Author


He is a New York Times columnist, writing the biweekly “Letter from America.” He is the author, most recently, of The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, about a Muslim immigrant’s campaign to spare from Death Row the white supremacist who tried to kill him (optioned for movie adaption by the director Kathryn Bigelow). In 2011 he published India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking, about returning to the India his parents left.

His datelines include Italy, India, China, Dubai, Norway, Japan, Haiti, Brazil, Colombia, Nigeria, Uruguay, and the United States. He has also written for The Times's arts, business, and travel pages, and its Book Review, Sunday Review, and magazine.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he was raised there, in Paris, France, and in Maryland, and educated at the University of Michigan, Oxford, and Harvard. He worked briefly as a consultant for McKinsey & Company in Mumbai, before becoming a journalist in 2005, reporting from that city for the International Herald Tribune and The Times for four and a half years. He was appointed a columnist in 2008. He first interned for The New York Times at age 17, writing two articles on money and politics under the tutelage of Jill Abramson.

He appears regularly on TV and the radio in the United States and globally, including on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Morning Joe, and The Daily Show. He has given talks on the main stage of TED and at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, the University of Michigan, the Aspen Institute, Summit at Sea, the Sydney Opera House, the United Nations, the Asia Society, PopTech and Google. He has received honors from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism at Yale, and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award. He is a Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute.

Giridharadas lectures on a wide range of topics, bringing a special cultural take to his subjects, whether it’s the prospects for America’s future or the rise of the non-Western powers or the relationship between humans and our technologies. He tailors his lectures to his audiences, and can address such topics as the nature of the present American (and Western) predicament; the revolutionary change underway in India; how technology is changing what it means to be human; the future of journalism and writing; and how emerging countries will change what it means to be “modern.”


The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas

Anand Giridharadas, author of the accomplished India Calling, has released his intriguing new book entitled The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas (2014). In this speech for college audiences, literary groups and others, Giridharadas discusses his book and the themes of racism, immigration and learning what it means to be a “true American.” He tells the story of the fateful encounter between Mark Stroman, a racist ex-con in Dallas who went on a killing spree targeting men he wrongly thought were Arabs after 9/11, and Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi-born convenience-store clerk who was shot by Stroman, but survived. The True American is a deeply moving exploration of the American dream and its many dimensions, making us all question how – or whether – we choose what we become.

The Future of Leading

We live in a world that is changing what it means to lead. In this gripping presentation, Anand Giridharadas draws on his reporting around the world, interviews with leaders, and analysis to reveal how old ways of leadership are being overthrown and replaced by new methods. He will talk about the shift from leading by doing to leading by catalyzing, from power over others to power with them and from top-down to bottom-up. Giridharadas also discusses how technology and social media are changing the old power equations and what it means to be a leader in a world in which people want to be part of communities and have a say in what is offered to them by companies, governments, and more. He will explore how globalization creates a need for new leadership qualities favored in a multicultural world. This includes empathy for other cultures, being comfortable with incompatible truths and the ability to speak in multiple voices and registers. By sharing reflections on what it means to think like a truly global leader, Giridharadas helps audiences transcend a narrow Western lens. Are you prepared to lead in this new world?

The Origins of Innovation

The reigning picture of innovation in people’s minds is a couple of geeks with an idea in Silicon Valley and a big, wealthy venture capital firm to back them. But the where, who, what, and how of innovation is changing, and the picture is becoming more complicated. Anand Giridharadas has traveled the world speaking with innovators and the people they serve. In this important talk, he argues that the most important innovation is happening far from the Valley. Instead, it is taking place in the developing world, where people are inventing low-cost products such as $100 heart surgeries to refrigerators that don’t require electricity to $2,500 cars from Tata and more. He also speaks about how social innovation is a new frontier along with its promise and limitations. Giridharadas uses his expertise to discuss the most urgent problems our country faces as a wakeup call to innovate its way out of the prospect of decline. Finally, he explores the need for innovation, the challenge of innovating better conversations and the new forces that are making it possible for anyone, anywhere, to innovate—with all the promise that implies some perils, too.

Thinking Globally: How to Transform Your Business

Does your business have a burning desire to transform into a global enterprise? Whether you are a manager, leader, executive, etc., then this compelling talk will provide you with all of the right tools to succeed. Anand Giridharadas’ lectures on the need to think globally in today’s society and tackles the question of if one is not born global, how can this feat be achieved? Having reported from India, China, Norway, Haiti, Brazil, Colombia, Nigeria, and the United States, Giridharadas can draw very personally from his own powerful experiences of going into alien communities, fitting in and making people trust him. Through inspiring, applicable stories, he encourages businesses to learn to think globally with helpful exercises, travel suggestions, book suggestions and how to read them and proposing different frameworks for your company. In this customizable speech, Giridharadas also offers a world tour of some of the major changes around the world and how your business can adapt to them.

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