Nitze Senior FellowsSophie Delaunay
T. R. Reid
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
David E. Sanger
Edward P. Jones
Thomas Penfield Jackson
Benjamin L. Cardin
Paul H. Nitze Senior Fellow 2010-11
Nicholas Thompson is a senior editor at The New Yorker, and a contributing editor at Bloomberg Television. Prior to The New Yorker, Thompson was as a senior editor at both Wired and Legal Affairs, as well as an editor at Washington Monthly. He has written about politics, technology, and the law for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, amongst others.
He wrote The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War, a widely acclaimed narrative of the two Americans who held positions of great influence throughout the Cold War. In the unique position of being both author and grandson of his book’s subject, Thompson was granted unprecedented access into the lives of these men. According to The Washington Times, it “may be the most important political biography in recent memory.” Walter Isaacson stated that “The key to understanding modern American foreign policy is appreciating the complex 60-year friendship between George Kennan and Paul Nitze.” According to Isaacson, “Nicholas Thompson brilliantly captures their divergent personalities, clashing poitics, and intellectual bonding.” In November 2009 he appeared on the Colbert Report to discuss his book.
Thompson's three visits, all in spring 2011, included public lectures "Does Social Media Cause Social Upheaval?" (focusing on the "Arab Spring" of unrest in North Africa and the Middle East), "Lessons from Paul Nitze and George Kennan for American foreign policy" (about the subject of his book, but speculating on what Nitze's and Kennan's positions would be on some current foreign policy issues), and "The Future of Journalism: Lessons from Wired, The New Yorker, and The Atavist" (about his reasons for optimism about the future of long-form, narrative reporting, even in an age of tablets and mobile devices).
Thompson makes a weekly appearance on CNN International’s “World Business Today,” discussing the week in technology and has appeared often on every major cable and broadcast news network discussing this topic. Thompson also discusses the state of world affairs as a panelist on CNNI’s “Connect the World” with Becky Anderson. He was the featured guest in a November 2009 episode of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” to discuss his book.
The New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in leading thinkers to address the changing conditions and problems of the 21st century, named Thompson its Schwartz Fellow for 2002-2003. As the Schwartz Fellow, Thompson wrote about the influence of open-source software as well as the ways that information technology was changing West Africa.
The multi-talented Thompson is also a fingerstyle guitarist. Discovering this passion during his college days, he often played on the L Train after moving to New York, before succumbing to wrist problems. He has put out three albums, most recently Lend Me Your Ears (2003).