Early life and education 
Born in 1956 on a farm in Bloomington, Illinois, he studied American history at Yale University and Gandhi's independence movement at Andhra University in India. His family was so poor that he was forced to hitch a ride in a pig truck in order to get to Yale from Bloomington.
Early career 
Ashbrook worked in Alaska as a surveyor and dynamiter of oil fields to help pay for college. After leaving for Asia, he produced English-dubbed kung fu films in Hong Kong where he spent a decade as a foreign correspondent in India, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. His first newspaper job was at the South China Morning Post. During the late 1980s, Ashbrook became foreign editor for The Boston Globe.
As a correspondent Ashbrook covered the "refugee exodus from Vietnam and the post-Mao opening of China, and has covered turmoil and shifting cultural and economic trends in the United States and around the world, from Somalia and Rwanda to Russia and the Balkans."
Ashbrook was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University during which time he decided to leave the Globe in 1996 and create an Internet startup with college friend Rolly Rouse. This company eventually became homeportfolio.com. Ashbrook wrote a book called The Leap: A Memoir of Love and Madness in the Internet Gold Rush about his experience in Internet entrepreneurship.
On Point 
Below Ashbrook describes On Point:
"In ballet, “on point” means up on your toes. In war, it’s the lead soldier on patrol. In conversation, it’s the heart of the matter. That’s where we strive to be every day with our listeners — up on our toes, out front, at the heart of what’s going on. Here at On Point, we’re looking to create a different kind of conversation about the country and the world we live in — about who we are, and where we’re going. Maybe it’s the kind of national conversation you’ve always wanted. Fast, fun, serious, surprising. Open to everyone. And above all, unflinchingly honest. With voices from all over the planet. Fresh voices. Passionate voices. On Point was born in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, when the country was looking for answers and impatient with old certitudes. We still carry that urgency today: to test, challenge, and probe. And while we do it, to celebrate the people, arts and ideas that make life a joy..."
On Point is a two-hour radio program, airing five days per week, Monday through Friday.
Ashbrook oversees a staff of 10 who assist with research and show preparation - typically compiling information relating to the topics to be discussed on the following day's program for Ashbrook to take and read.
Personal life 
Tom Ashbrook has a wife, a daughter, and two sons. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
Livingston Award for National Reporting - 1996
- Soroff, Jonathan. "Soroff On: Tom Ashbrook". The Improper Bostonian. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "On Point Website".
- Weiss, Joanna (28 September 2005). "Pardon the interruption". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-03-21.(subscription required)
- "On Point Website".
- SOROFF, JONATHAN. "Soroff On: Tom Ashbrook". The Improper Bostonian.
- Riley, Colin (2007-11-16). "WBUR’S "ON POINT" HOST TOM ASHBROOK ON SIX-WEEK MEDICAL LEAVE". BU Today. Retrieved 2008-01-04.