Amity Shlaes

Renowned Economic Thinker & Leading Presidential Historian

“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.”

—John Royall,
 President & CEO, Gulf Publishing Company

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 & CEO of the Coolidge Foundation, and teaches at New York University’s Stern School of Business in the MBA program.

Known as the conservative Doris Kearns Goodwin, Shlaes is the author of three New York Times best-sellers, 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), The Greedy Hand, and Coolidge, which 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. 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.

Shlaes has written for Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal, where she was an editorial board member, as well as for The New YorkerFortuneNational ReviewThe New Republic, and Foreign Affairs. She has appeared on PBS’s News Hours with Jim Lehrer, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Fox News’ Glenn Beck, ABC’s Good Morning AmericaCharlie Rose, CNBC’s Kudlow, contributes to Public Radio International’sMarketplace, and appears on Bloomberg radio. She chairs the jury of the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Book Prize and has won both the Hayek and the Bastiat Prize for Journalism. Shlaes is a trustee of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation.

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. 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.

Praise for Amity Shlaes’ Speeches and Lectures

“Amity Shlaes’s electric sessions are long remembered by our clients; her facts and wisdom couldn’t be more relevant to investment today.”

—Jason deSena Trennert, Strategas

“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.”

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

“Amity Shlaes recently provided a wonderfully informative and entertaining afternoon exploring the Great Depression and the lessons learned during the Nation’s prolonged recovery. Her book The Forgotten Man brought the period to life and has made its insights very relevant to today’s economic landscape. Her presentation is equally relevant and revealing.”

— Richard Varner, Education Chairperson, Southern California Chapter of the World President’s Organization, (WPO)

“We were very happy to host Amity Shlaes on the topic of her bestseller, Coolidge.  Her passion and dedication to the subject was evident, and she did a fantastic job of bringing our 30th President to life for her audience – many of whom were likely learning about him for the first time.  It was a great program.”

—The Federalist Society, Long Island Lawyers Chapter

“Amity Shlaes spoke on a topic that could not have been timelier. She delivered an engaging, lively, and informative lecture. Her interest in us made this a very successful event.”

— Leon Tabak, Department of Computer Science, Cornell College

“In her talk, Amity Shlaes opens the mysterious ‘black box’ surrounding that most perplexing topic – the Great Depression. Mixing charming anecdote with sweeping economic analysis she told us what is vital for policymakers who would ‘govern’ the economy: predictable laws protecting private property, a stable banking system providing capital for creditworthy borrowers, and a non-confiscatory tax system. . . Anyone interested in good economic policy ought to hear what she has to say.”

— Greg Bell, Lieutenant Governor of Utah

“Amity Shlaes is a sharp and controversial speaker who will provoke an audience to think and to ask hard questions. Her clear reasoning crystallizes for the public the most important economic decisions of the Roosevelt era and the present day as well.”

— William Glenn Gray, Purdue University

“Amity Shlaes has the gift to relate to everyone in the room. The positive feedback from our students about her talk was overwhelming. And her event was one of our largest Distinguished Speaker events ever.”

— Laura Frazier, Williams College of Business, Xavier University

“Amity Shlaes is a dynamic and interesting speaker who also has the ability to tease out historical nuggets that bring her historical subjects to life.”

—Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation

“Amity gave an insightful lecture that really held student attention.  She was also engaging with the select students that got to have one-on-one time with her.“

—Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Chair, Department of Economcis and Finance

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Praise for Coolidge

“[Shlaes’s] biography is thus both timely and important. . . The Coolidge years represent the country’s most distilled experiment in supply-side economics – and the doctrine’s most conspicuous success. That success is the central Coolidge legacy, brought home with telling authority in Ms. Shlaes’s work. This book’s time is propitious. As the nation faces a looming economic crisis wrought in large measure by mounting public debt, the Coolidge experiment offers insights into what an alternative course might look like. Ms. Shlaes has given us a detailed examination of that alternative course.”

Wall Street Journal

“History has paid little attention to the achievements of Coolidge because he seemed to be unduly passive. Yet Amity Shlaes, as his biographer, exposes the heroic nature of the man and brings to life one of the most vibrant periods in American economic history.”

— Alan Greenspan

“Calvin Coolidge – the tight-fisted, reticent New Englander – hasn’t ranked high in the Presidential pantheon. Amity Shlaes’s new biography carries a different and highly relevant message: The need for fiscal discipline, the power of saying no, the capacity of a reserved and modest man to draw upon resources of personal conviction and unquestioned integrity to take forceful action. Read Coolidge, and better understand the forces bearing on the President and Congress almost a century later.”

— Paul A. Volcker

“Why the 1920s roared is a question that grows timelier with every new glum economic report. In Calvin Coolidge, Amity Shlaes finds the human piece that solves the puzzle.”

— James Grant, author of Bernard Baruch: The Adventures of a Wall Street Legend

“Dorothy Parker and Sinclair Lewis taught America to mock Calvin Coolidge, but in this marvelous book that is in many respects as subtle and powerful as Coolidge himself, Amity Shlaes blows that injustice out of the water. Her masterly command of economics, policy, and personal portraiture illustrates the times, talents, character, and courage of the consummate New Englander and his gracious wife. When you read of the death of their son, you will be linked to them forever. If you have a free intelligence you will see past Coolidge’s natural modesty to his greatness. And if you have a heart you will come to love the Coolidges for their unadorned humanity.”

— Mark Helprin, author, Winter’s Tale

“A story with plenty of echoes today. Alice Roosevelt Longworth, doyenne of the Washington salons, first disdained Coolidge, then admired him. After reading Coolidge, every reader will, too.”

— Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize winner, author Iron Curtain

“Everyone who aspires to political office from the president on down must read this magnificent  masterpiece. Even Boswell would have been impressed.”

— Steve Forbes, Forbes magazine

“In Coolidge, Amity Shlaes provides a much-needed fresh look at Calvin Coolidge, a man and president long subject to unflattering caricature.  Her success in doing so comes from thorough and persistent research that rewarded her with revealing materials long hidden in the shadows in libraries, archives, and manuscript collections. In my opinion, all students of the American presidency are in Shlaes’s debt for this scholarly work.”

— Jerry L. Wallace, Retired Senior Archivist, National Archives

“To read Amity Shlaes’s well-crafted biography is to understand why Reagan so admired the famously reticent man whom Shlaes calls ‘our great refrainer.’”

— George F. Will

“Amidst today’s economic hardships and an uncertain future, Shlaes illuminates a path forward – making Coolidge a must-read for policymakers and citizens alike.”

— Paul Ryan

Praise for The Forgotten Man

“Amity Shlaes is among the most brilliant of the young writers who are transforming American financial journalism.”

— Paul Johnson, author of Modern Times

“Amity Shlaes not only manages to keep you wide awake, she also sets your blood to boiling. Even if you don’t always agree with her conclusions, she defines the debate over what we ought to do and gets you thinking constructively about the problems she identifies.”

New York Times

“If the spectacle of modern Washington makes you wince, and if you wonder how that city came to be such an unseemly maelstrom of grasping factions, this book explains the present by precisely locating its genesis in the past. In 1936, to be precise, President Franklin Roosevelt then accurately boasted that he had fashioned a ‘new relationship between government and people.’ Americans just now need what Amity Shlaes has brilliantly supplied, a fresh appraisal of what the New Deal did and did not accomplish. She demonstrates that it did not bring about economic recovery, but it did invent modern American politics – the systematic and unending creation of interest groups dependent on government benefits. And she recognizes heroes – Wendell Willkie, for one – who, thanks to her, are unsung no more.”

— George F. Will

“A well-written and stimulating account of the 1930′s and its often dubious orthodoxies… Ms. Shlaes rightly reminds us of the harmful effect of Rooseveltian activism and class-warfare rhetoric.”

Wall Street Journal