Ben Wildavsky

Ben Wildavsky is a senior fellow in research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. Previously, he was education editor of U.S. News & World Report, where he was the top editor of America’s Best Colleges and America’s Best Graduate Schools. Below, Wildavsky, author of The Great Brain Race, tells us more about himself.

Q. What’s the last habit you tried to kick?

A. Eating dessert.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A. A newscaster.

Q. Where would we find you at 10 a.m. on a typical Saturday?

A. On my way to synagogue.

Q. What do you do to clear your mind?

A. I like to walk, and I like to watch TV shows like “Glee.”

Q. What do you wish you had the nerve to do?

A. Things like bungee-jumping or skydiving, but also speaking extemporaneously more.

Q. What music have you listened to today?

A. I listened to some great music coming over from my hotel – it was a British folk trio. They come out of a long folk tradition, but they’re doing very modern things with it. My mother was a folkie and I inherited some of that.

Q. What is your favorite word?

A. Onomatopoeia.

Q. If you could take only one more journey, where would you go?

A. Israel.

Q. What profession would you like to practice in your next life?

A. I’m happy with what I do now.

Q. What teacher or professor changed your life?

A. I was fortunate to have some wonderful English teachers in my teens – a woman in England named Ilid Landry, and Rebecca Lawrence, in California.

Q. Who is the one person living or dead you would most like to meet for dinner?

A. My parents have both been dead for many years. I’d like to meet them for dinner.

To read about Wildavsky’s talk on globalization and higher education, click here.

*Photo by Aaron Salcido.


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