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Jacob Weisberg

Editor-in-Chief, The Slate Group

Prominent writer on politics and policy; successful pioneer in online journalism.

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Biography

Jacob Weisberg is one of America's most prominent writers on politics and policy and a successful pioneer in online publishing.

He is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of The Slate Group, a new division of The Washington Post Company tasked with developing a family of Internet-based publications through start-ups and acquisitions. The flagship publication is Slate magazine.

While serving as Slate’s Editor (2002-2008), Jacob saw the online magazine turn a profit. He greatly expanded its content, broadened its advertising base, and launched several new initiatives. In 2008, Slate won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence Online.

Jacob oversaw the launch of The Big Money (2008-2010), a website dedicated to economic analysis and commentary with user tools.

Jacob is the author of several books, including The Bush Tragedy, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2008, and the Bushisms series. With former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, he co-wrote In an Uncertain World, which was published in 2003. His first book, In Defense of Government, was published in 1996.

Jacob joined Slate shortly after its founding in 1996 as Chief Political Correspondent, at a time when you still had to explain the Internet to some people, let alone the idea of an Internet magazine. Previously, he worked as a writer and editor at The New Republic and covered politics for New York magazine.

Jacob writes a bi-weekly column for Newsweek. He has also been a Contributing Writer for The New York Times Magazine, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a reporter for Newsweek in London and Washington, as well as a weekly editorial-page columnist for the Financial Times.

He is a frequent commentator on National Public Radio.

Innovations at Slate

Partnerships. Under Jacob's leadership, Slate established two innovative relationships in 2008 that extend its brand to reach new audiences with new offerings:

  • Slate took the Doonesbury Town Hall site under its domain, though Gary Trudeau still controls its content. Doonesbury is now carried on Slate and the magazine plans to work with Trudeau to develop features.
  • In a first-ever co-producing deal with NPR, Slate co-produced the Day to Day newsmagazine show, contributing stories by Slate staff.

Expanded content. Slate also began covering new areas under Jacob's leadership, adding a regular TV columnist and music feature, a travel section, and increasing coverage of technology and business, art and architecture, food and wine. Slate also launched Slate V, a video podcast source.

About Slate. Slate is a daily online magazine that offers fresh angles on stories in the news and innovative entertainment coverage, with a signature wit and irreverence. Pushing the boundaries of convention, Slate publishes provocative commentary on topics such as politics, culture, business and technology.

The Slate Group
The Slate Group includes Slate, The Root, an online magazine for African-American audiences, and Foreign Policy. The Slate Group is owned by The Washington Post Company.

Credentials

  • Editor-in-Chief, The Slate Group
  • Author of several books, including The Bush Tragedy, a NYT bestseller
  • Former Columnist, Newsweek
  • Former Editor of Slate and Chief Political Correspondent
  • Former editorial page columnist, Financial Times
  • Frequent commentator, National Public Radio
  • Former Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine
  • Former Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair
  • Graduate, Yale University
  • Rhodes Scholar, New College, Oxford

Books

The Bush Tragedy

Jacob Weisberg

This is the book that cracks the code of the Bush presidency. Unstintingly yet compassionately, and with no political ax to grind, Slate editor in chief Jacob Weisberg methodically and objectively examines the family and circle of advisers who played crucial parts in George W. Bush’s historic downfall.

In this revealing and defining portrait, Weisberg uncovers the “black box” from the crash of the Bush presidency. Using in-depth research, revealing analysis, and keen psychological acuity, Weisberg explores the whole Bush story. Distilling all that has been previously written about Bush into a defining portrait, he illuminates the fateful choices and key decisions that led George W., and thereby the country, into its current predicament. Weisberg gives the tragedy a historical and literary frame, comparing Bush not just to previous American leaders, but also to Shakespeare’s Prince Hal, who rises from ne’er-do-well youth to become the warrior king Henry V.

Here is the bitter and fascinating truth of the early years of the Bush dynasty, with never-before-revealed information about the conflict between the two patriarchs on George W.’s father’s side of the family–the one an upright pillar of the community, the other a rowdy playboy–and how that schism would later shape and twist the younger George Bush; his father, a hero of war, business, and Republican politics whose accomplishments George W. would attempt to copy and whose absences he would resent; his mother, Barbara, who suffered from insecurity, depression, and deep dissatisfaction with her role as housewife; and his younger brother Jeb, seen by his parents as steadier, stronger, and the son most likely to succeed. Weisberg also anatomizes the replacement family Bush surrounded himself with in Washington, a group he thought could help him correct the mistakes he felt had destroyed his father’s presidency: Karl Rove, who led Bush astray by pursuing his own historical ambitions and transforming the president into a deeply polarizing figure; Dick Cheney, whose obsessive quest to restore presidential power and protect the country after 9/11 caused Bush and America to lose the world’s respect; and, finally, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, who encouraged Bush’s foreign policy illusions and abetted his flight from reality.

Delving as no other biography has into Bush’s religious beliefs–which are presented as at once opportunistic and sincere – The Bush Tragedy is an essential work that is sure to become a standard reference for any future assessment. It is the most balanced and compelling account of a sitting president ever written.

Random House (January 15, 2008)

In an Uncertain World

Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington

Robert Rubin and Jacob Weisberg

Robert Rubin was sworn in as the seventieth U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in January 1995 in a brisk ceremony attended only by his wife and a few colleagues. As soon as the ceremony was over, he began an emergency meeting with President Bill Clinton on the financial crisis in Mexico. This was not only a harbinger of things to come during what would prove to be a rocky period in the global economy; it also captured the essence of Rubin himself — short on formality, quick to get into the nitty-gritty.

From his early years in the storied arbitrage department at Goldman Sachs to his current position as chairman of the executive committee of Citigroup, Robert Rubin has been a major figure at the center of the American financial system. He was a key player in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. With In an Uncertain World, Rubin offers a shrewd, keen analysis of some of the most important events in recent American history and presents a clear, consistent approach to thinking about markets and dealing with the new risks of the global economy.

Rubin's fundamental philosophy is that nothing is provably certain. Probabilistic thinking has guided his career in both business and government. We see that discipline at work in meetings with President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, Chinese premier Zhu Rongji, Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, Newt Gingrich, Sanford Weill, and the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We see Rubin apply it time and again while facing financial crises in Asia, Russia, and Brazil; the federal government shutdown; the rise and fall of the stock market; the challenges of the post-September 11 world; the ongoing struggle over fiscal policy; and many other momentous economic and political events.

With a compelling and candid voice and a sharp eye for detail, Rubin portrays the daily life of the White House-confronting matters both mighty and mundane — as astutely as he examines the challenges that lie ahead for the nation. Part political memoir, part prescriptive economic analysis, and part personal look at business problems, In an Uncertain World is a deep examination of Washington and Wall Street by a figure who for three decades has been at the center of both worlds.

Random House (November 18, 2003)

Topics

Jacob 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.

Politics and Policy

Online Publishing