Penguin Speakers Bureau

William Deresiewicz, Ph.D.

Author of A Jane Austen Education


William Deresiewicz is an essayist, book critic, and the author of A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter. He writes about higher education, social media, and other issues of society and culture. Bill is a Contributing Writer for The Nation and a Contributing Editor for The New Republic. His reviews of contemporary fiction have also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Slate, Bookforum, and elsewhere. His essays have appeared in The American Scholar and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Bill’s work was nominated for National Magazine Awards in 2008, 2009, and 2011, and for the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing in 2010. His essay “Solitude and Leadership,” which won a David Brooks Sidney Award in 2010, has been widely taught across the military and corporate worlds. His current book project is Excellent Sheep: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education.

Bill was an English professor at Yale from 1998 to 2008. He specialized in 19th-century British fiction and British modernism and also taught courses in the Great Books, South Asian fiction (he lived in India for a year), the literature of friendship, and writing.

Speaking Topics

  • Leadership

    What does being a leader really mean? Why are the best people often stuck in the middle of corporate and other organizational hierarchies while the mediocrities rise to the top? How to keep your soul alive in a bureaucratic environment, and how to bring out the best in the people below you.

  • Elite Education

    Elite colleges and universities have devolved into glorified vocational schools, selling marketable skills instead of teaching our kids how to think. Society suffers, scholarship suffers, but most of all, students suffer. What can we do to return college to its proper role?

  • The Crisis in Higher Education

    Public universities are being starved for funds; the academic job market is in a state of free fall; administrative priorities are badly out of balance. America’s higher-education system was key to building our nation’s prosperity, but now it stands at a crossroads. What’s wrong and what we can do about it.

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More About This Speaker

Featured Book

A Jane Austen Education

"A Jane Austen Education is a testament to the transformative power of literature, a celebration of Austen's mastery, and a joy to read. Whether for a newcomer to Austen or a lifelong devotee, Deresiewicz brings fresh insights to the novelist and her beloved works."


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