Joris Luyendijk is a regular contributor to the Guardian. After half a decade in the Middle East as a correspondent, he was brought by the Guardian to London to investigate the culture of the city. Breaking the code of silence dominating the city, he found over 200 bankers and banking staff ready to talk freely about all the taboo subjects — the first investigation of the city of its kind.
The resulting book was a sensation in his native Netherlands, selling over three hundred thousand copies in under a year while the English edition of Swimming with Sharks met with high praise from, among others, the Financial Times. Now published in the United States as Among the Bankers: A Journey Into the Heart of Finance. Translations are due for fifteen more countries, including China, Japan, and France.
He is a writer who is unafraid to spend years researching a topic, for instance, by learning Arabic in order to study youth culture among poor Egyptian students in Cairo. An anthropologist by training, he is widely praised for his ability to render complex subjects accessible to a wide audience without dumbing down, and to bring his irreverent humor to even the most controversial and complex issues.
Lately his focus has been on morality and finance, the culture in big banks, the political response to the financial crash of 2008 and the danger for regulators, academics and journalists of being 'captured' by the industry they are assigned to. However he has retained a keen interest in the Middle East and Islam, particularly their representation in Western mass media — the subject of an earlier book.
Having worked in journalism himself for almost twenty years and building on the sociological law that 'perceptions are real in their consequences' he has written extensively on how media shape our understanding of the world we live in. This applies to the Middle East and Islam as much as to the world of finance or the EU — another area of interest.
Joris was invited to give evidence to the parliamentary committee on banking standards set up after the Libor scandal. Other forums he has appeared include:
OECD (Paris, France)
Kilkenomics (Kilkenny, Ireland)
The European Parliament (Brussels, Belgium)
Apart from his work for the Guardian, he has published in The Observer, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Welt, Die Neue Zürcher Zeitung and a wide range of Dutch and Flemish newspapers and magazines. He has extensive television experience and has appeared on MSNBC, BBC, Al-Mustaqbal and a wide range of national broadcasters across Europe.
Blunt and mischievous as only the Dutch can be, thorough yet with a light touch and forever open to the possibility that he is wrong — these are the hallmarks of Joris' writing and speaking. Bringing a unique anthropological approach to his subjects he offers insights and analyses that are as unusual as they are enlightening.
Joris tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.
An outsider's perspective on the world of finance
Few sectors in society are more important than finance, and few are as badly understood. A complete outsider himself, Joris immersed himself in the world of banking, interviewing over 200 bankers and banking staff in the City of London, Europe's financial center. The good news is that bankers are not evil. But there is also bad news...
Morality in the Corporate World
After the diesel emissions scandal, the Panama Papers and the series of scandals to hit the global financial sector, the issue of ethics has made a long deserved come-back. Joris has interviewed no less than 200 bankers and banking staff on morality in finance: why do some organizations lose their moral compass? Is it enough to obey the rules? Is it possible to go beyond in today's corporate environment? Why does society make such conflicting demands of banks, insisting on profits on the one hand but blaming bankers for acting on incentives on the other - even when bankers stay within the law?
Making Sense of Islam
Having studied Arabic and Islamic studies, Joris lived in the Middle East for six years. Drawing on his own experiences he seeks to answer the question that has been on everyone's mind for the past fifteen years at least: how to make sense of the world' fastest growing religion: Islam. Is this a religion of peace, a religion of war, or is the truth far more interesting than that?
Can we still trust the news media? Having worked as correspondent in the Middle East for five years, Joris talks about his own lively and sometimes life threatening experiences around dictators, stone throwers, occupiers and terrorists to explain why there is such a gap between reality as you find it on the ground, and the way reality is represented in the mass media. The problem in today's media is not just fake-news. Far more important yet hardly discussed in accessible form is the need to use of frames to render the world comprehensible. These frames are, however, inevitably biased, skewed and very easy to manipulate by parties on the ground.
Innovation in Journalism
For well over a decade now Joris has been at the forefront of innovation in journalism. He is the author of the renowned Guardian Bankingblog where banking insiders conducted a two year long online conversation with other insiders as well as ordinary readers. Joris believes strongly in the power of information and the natural thirst for knowledge among most ordinary people. What Joris does not believe is that classical news media do a good job in meeting that demand for insight rather than just facts. He has very clear ideas on where to go next and loves to share them.
The 2016 word of the year was 'post-truth politics'. Arguing that the populists and the liberal elites have far more in common than either likes to admit, Joris has been doing a lot of work on populists and all the good reasons people vote for them. He has also done a lot of work on the very good reasons never to vote for them. Currently Joris is conducting an online experiment in the Netherlands to bring populist voters in conversation with people from the so-called 'liberal bubble'. Joris' book about the experiment is due out across Europe in the Spring of 2017.