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Doris Kearns Goodwin
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Doris Kearns Goodwin

Offering context for our turbulent times and showing how today’s leaders can learn from the past.

Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning Author

Expertise In:

  • Leadership
  • American Politics
  • U.S. Current Events
  • Media and Journalism
  • Patriotism

Audience & Industry

  • Associations
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Corporations
  • Lecture Series
  • Women's Events

Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Goodwin is the author of seven critically acclaimed and New York Times best-selling books, including her most recent, Leadership in Turbulent Times, which incorporates her five decades of scholarship studying Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.

Well known for her appearances and commentary on television, Goodwin is seen frequently in documentaries and on television news and cable networks and late-night talk shows. In 2020, she serves as the executive producer for History Channel’s six-hour, three-night miniseries event, “Washington,” which delves into the lesser-known details of America’s first president and shows the arc of his development as a leader.

Goodwin’s interest in presidential leadership was inspired by her experience as a 24-year-old White House Fellow, working directly for President Johnson in his last year in the White House, and later assisting him in the preparation of his memoirs.

Goodwin graduated magna cum laude from Colby College. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Government from Harvard University, where she taught Government, including a course on the American Presidency. Goodwin lives in Boston. She was the first woman to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room in 1979, and is a devoted fan of the World Series-winning team.

Featured Videos

Doris Kearns Goodwin's Speech Topics

Inspiring and Motivating Employees in Turbulent Times

Through custom-tailored video addresses and fireside chats presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times #1 bestselling author Doris Kearns Goodwin calls upon her deep knowledge and understanding of previous crises to illustrate how leaders motivated and inspired their teams: How they walked the fine line between acknowledging brutal facts and providing hope and reassurance; pivoted to meet changing conditions, communicated clear plans, set targets, demonstrated resilience, and encouraged activities to reduce tension and replenish energy. These valuable lessons from the past provide insights and a road map for how we can remain motivated, agile and hopeful as we face and persevere through this global pandemic, our own rendezvous with destiny.

Leadership in Turbulent Times: Virtual Fireside Chat or Lecture

As the United States and the world grapple with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s “historian-in-chief” Doris Kearns Goodwin reflects upon our shared past to put into context this defining moment in our nation’s history: A crisis so daunting, so deadly and economically damaging that it has completely upended our everyday lives. Not since the Great Depression and World War II have we experienced such collective hardships. Drawing from her most recent book, Leadership In Turbulent Times, Goodwin transports us back to that era to provide perspective and analysis as she helps us understand how President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leadership created a triple alliance among government, business and the American people that helped us endure sacrifices, achieve an astonishing productivity, and initiate systemic changes that ultimately showed our resilience and helped us persevere and triumph. History provides lessons. History provides solace. History provides hope.

Election 2020: What's Next?

World-renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin delves deeply into our 200-year history of presidential elections that brings us to 2020: A deeply divisive, logistically challenging and extremely expensive presidential campaign cycle, significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and punctuated by relentless polling, atypical communications and uncertainty about how ballots might be cast. Accompany Goodwin on a virtual trip back to a simpler time—when conventions chose candidates and general election campaigns lasted only three months—to understand the transformation that has produced today’s eternal campaigning, endless fundraising, unproductive debates and polarizing rhetoric. Through rich stories of past primaries, fractured parties, campaign promises and policy outcomes, former candidates and present-day hopefuls, Goodwin examines the path to the presidency and poses the engaging question: Might our election process need an overhaul? Can we instead evaluate our candidates by the standards of a leadership index that would reveal the strength of their teams, their ability to grow, to learn from mistakes and to overcome adversity—qualities that can apply to leaders in every field and all of us in our everyday lives.

Team of Rivals: The Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln

Based on her longtime best-selling and award-winning book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin presents audiences with essential, object and fresh lessons in leadership, political acumen and management strategy. By deeply examining Lincoln’s leadership style and keen understanding of human behavior, Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln’s political genius by explaining his skillful navigation of the "team of rivals" he constructed to achieve not only political success, but also victory in the Civil War. Underestimated as both an effective orator and leader, this ordinary and extraordinary leader surprised both his colleagues and critics as he rose to political prominence, and today is remembered as one of the greatest presidents of all time. Goodwin, whose Team of Rivals was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s award-winning film Lincoln, also shares stories about her involvement in the hit film that saw Daniel Day-Lewis so convincingly bring Abraham Lincoln to life for millions of moviegoers.  

No Ordinary Time: Three Leaders Who Shaped the American Century: Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt

Spanning 100 years of history, bestselling author Doris Kearns Goodwin takes audiences on the ultimate journey through some of the most momentous decades in American history – the industrial revolution, the rise of the robber barons, the Progressive Era, the Great Depression, and two World Wars. With an uncanny gift for both depth and detail, Goodwin masterfully weaves together a striking number of dramatic and complex story lines drawing from her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II (1995) and her bestselling book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism to provide an intimate, comprehensive and ultimately unforgettable portrait of the era’s three extraordinary leaders – Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt – along with the scintillating cast of characters, who together transformed the country.  

Works by Doris Kearns Goodwin

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Doris Kearns Goodwin

No Ordinary Time (opens in a new tab)

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Doris Kearns Goodwin

Team of Rivals (opens in a new tab)