Doris Kearns Goodwin writes insightful books on the US Presidency (JFK, LBJ, FDR and Lincoln, so far), telling each president's personal story against the backdrop of history.

Why you should listen

Doris Kearns Goodwin is one of the great popularizers of presidential history. Her books on Lyndon Johnson, the Kennedys, and the wartime Roosevelts all became best-sellers, thanks to her ability to tell a truly human story around these larger-than-life men and women.

Her latest book, Team of Rivals, follows Abraham Lincoln, a brilliant young country lawyer, as he rises to the US Presidency and draws his former political opponents into his circle of advisors. (The book is the basis for Steven Spielberg's next film.)

Goodwin nurses a parallel fascination for baseball, the subject of her beloved memoir Wait Till Next Year. In 2007, she was a finalist candidate for the presidency of Red Sox Nation.

What others say

“Chronicling Lincoln's life in this way was a huge undertaking, one for which Goodwin is ideally suited. [She has] a rare understanding and sympathy for the demands of the presidency.” — Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, Seattle Times

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s TED talk

Doris Kearns Goodwin on the TED Blog

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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What we can learn from past presidents: Doris Kearns Goodwin on TED.com

October 7, 2008

Looking at vast political trends through the lens of a single story, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about what we can learn from American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson. Listen for stories of decision, doubt and resolve, from people of great power and great character. To sum up, she shares a moving memory […]

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TED2008: What is life?

February 28, 2008

(Unedited running notes from the TED2008 conference in Monterey, California. Third session.) Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, introduces the session with a 3-minutes talk on how America perceives the rest of the world and how the news shape the way the US sees the world. She pulls up a map of the number […]

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Quotes from Doris Kearns Goodwin

I shall always be grateful for this curious love of history, allowing me to spend a lifetime looking back into the past, allowing me to learn from these large figures about the struggle for meaning for life.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
TED2008 • 416K views Oct 2008
Inspiring, Beautiful
Years of concentration solely on work and individual success meant that in his retirement [Lyndon Johnson] could find no solace in family, in recreation, in sports or in hobbies. It was almost as if the hole in his heart was so large that even the love of a family, without work, could not fill it.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
TED2008 • 416K views Oct 2008
Inspiring, Beautiful