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JONATHAN RAUCH, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, is the author of eight books and many articles on public policy, culture, and government. He is a contributing writer for The Atlantic and recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book, published in 2021 by the Brookings Press, is The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth, a spirited and deep-diving account of how to push back against disinformation, canceling, and other new threats to our fact-based epistemic order.

In 2018, he published The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, a lauded account of the surprising relationship between aging and happiness. Other books include Denial: My 25 Years Without a Soul, a memoir of his struggle with his sexuality, and Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America, published in 2004 by Times Books (Henry Holt). His most recent ebook is Political Realism: How Hacks, Machines, Big Money, and Back-Room Deals Can Strengthen American Democracy (Brookings, 2015). Although much of his writing has been on public policy, he has also written on topics as widely varied as adultery, agriculture, economics, gay marriage, height discrimination, biological rhythms, number inflation, and animal rights.

His multiple-award-winning column, “Social Studies,” appeared from 1998 to 2010 in National Journal. Among the many other publications for which he has written are The New Republic, The Economist, Reason, Harper’s, Fortune, Reader’s Digest, Time, The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Slate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Public Interest, National Affairs, The Advocate, The Daily, and others.

In his 1994 book Demosclerosis—revised and republished in 2000 as Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working—he argues that America’s government is becoming gradually less flexible and effective with time, and suggests ways to treat the malady. His 1993 book Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought (published by the University of Chicago Press; expanded in 2013) defends free speech and robust criticism, even when it is racist or sexist and even when it hurts. In 1992 his book The Outnation: A Search for the Soul of Japan questioned the then-conventional wisdom that Japan was fundamentally different from the West.

In 1996, with Robert Litan, he also co-authored a report for the U.S. Treasury Department on the future of the financial-services industry (American Finance for the 21st Century). In 1995 he spent a year as a visiting writer for The Economist magazine in London, and in 1997 he returned as guest editor of the Christmas special issue.

Rauch was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated in 1982 from Yale University. He went on to become a reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina before moving to Washington in 1984. From 1984-89 he covered fiscal and economic policy for National Journal. In 1990 he spent six months in Japan as a fellow of the Japan Society Leadership Program.

In addition to the National Magazine Award, his honors include the 2010 National Headliner Award, one of the industry’s most venerable prizes. In 1996 he was awarded the Premio Napoli alla Stampa Estera for his coverage, in The Economist, of the European Parliament. In 2011 he won the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association prize for excellence in opinion writing. He has also won two second-place prizes (2000 and 2001) in the National Headliner Awards. His articles appear in The Best Magazine Writing 2005 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004 and 2007. He has appeared as a guest on many television and radio programs. He does not like shrimp.