Arthur C. Brooks

Arthur Brooks is Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Arthur C. Patterson Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School. Before joining the Harvard faculty in July of 2019, he served for ten years as president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the world’s leading think tanks.

Brooks is the author of 11 books, including the national bestsellers “Love Your Enemies” (2019), “The Conservative Heart” (2015), and “The Road to Freedom” (2012). He is also a columnist for the Washington Post, host of the popular podcast “The Arthur Brooks Show,” and subject of the 2019 documentary film “The Pursuit,” now available on Netflix. He gives more than 100 speeches per year around the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Brooks began his career as a classical French hornist, leaving college at 19, touring and recording with the Annapolis Brass Quintet and later the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In his late twenties, while still performing, he returned to school, earning a BA through distance learning at Thomas Edison State College, and then an MA in economics from Florida Atlantic University. At 31, he left music and earned an MPhil and PhD in public policy analysis from the Rand Graduate School, during which time he worked as an analyst for the Rand Corporation’s Project Air Force.

Brooks then spent 10 years as a university professor, becoming a full professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in his seventh year out of graduate school and occupying the Louis A. Bantle Chair in Business and Government. During this decade, Brooks published 60 peer-reviewed articles and several books, including the textbook “Social Entrepreneurship” (2008).

In 2009, Brooks became the 11th president of AEI, also holding the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Free Enterprise. Under his leadership, the Institute more than doubled its annual revenues, deepened its outreach to leaders across the ideological spectrum, and expanded its research portfolio to include work on poverty, happiness, and human potential. During this period, he was selected as one of Fortune Magazine’s “50 World’s Greatest Leaders” and was awarded six honorary doctorates.

Originally from Seattle, Brooks currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife Ester Munt-Brooks, who is a native of Barcelona. They have three children, Joaquim, Carlos, and Marina.

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Arthur & AEI


Arthur Brooks became president of the American Enterprise Institute on January 1, 2009, in the wake of the global financial crisis and the election of President Obama. He is the 11th president in the organization’s 77-year history. AEI has grown considerably since 2009, doubling donated funds and increasing staff size by more than 50 percent. Brooks launched a series of highly successful entrepreneurial ventures designed to enable AEI’s world-class scholars to reach larger audiences and exert more influence over policy and conventional wisdom. He also oversaw AEI’s Capital Campaign, allowing AEI to purchase and restore a historic six-story building in downtown Washington, DC.


Described by NBC News as “the Republican Party’s poverty guru,” Arthur has helped make poor and vulnerable Americans a key focus for AEI and for the conservative movement. AEI scholars have emerged as an unrivaled source for creative thinking on poverty, opportunity, and free enterprise.


After a decade at the helm of AEI, Brooks assumed a position as Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Arthur C. Patterson Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School in summer 2019. At Harvard, Brooks’ work focuses on developing leadership practices and policies that encourage entrepreneurship, enhance human happiness, and promote the well-being of those at all levels of society. As president emeritus of AEI, Brooks also works to expand AEI’s partnership with Harvard and other universities around the country.

The American Enterprise Institute is a nationally recognized think tank based in Washington, DC, whose scholars and supporters are committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening free enterprise. A private and nonpartisan nonprofit, AEI is dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics, foreign policy, and social welfare.

AEI scholars and scholarship are found throughout the media, on Capitol Hill, and around the country, serving leaders and the public by highlighting the most important issues of the day. Here’s some of the latest from AEI scholars.

The Latest

Confessions of a Catholic convert to capitalism

Capitalism is under fire everywhere, but especially so in some corridors of Catholic thought. In this long-form essay, Arthur explains how his Catholic faith drives his belief in the free enterprise system.

Other Books


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Are free markets fair?

Some people think that free markets aren’t fair simply because a lot of people get rich while other people don’t get rich, but that’s not the real definition of fairness …

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