Darrell M. West

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Darrell M. West
Darrell M. West.jpg
Darrell M. West in 2006
Born (1954-10-06) October 6, 1954 (age 65)
Alma materMiami University, Indiana University
OccupationAuthor, political commentator

Darrell West (born October 6, 1954) is an American author, political scientist, and political commentator. West is the vice president and director of governance studies and director of the center for technology innovation at the Brookings Institution.[1] He holds the Douglas Dillon Chair in governance studies, and has written about technology policy, mass media, and campaigns and elections in the United States. He is Editor in Chief of the Brookings technology policy blog, TechTank.[2]


He was born in Richmond, Indiana and grew up on a dairy farm outside of Eaton, Ohio. His father was Robert M. West and his mother was Jean E. West. His siblings include Kenneth West of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Joanne Shaver of College Corner, Ohio, and Shirley Mitchell of Eaton, Ohio. He graduated from Eaton High School in 1972 and went on to earn a B.A. from Miami University (Ohio) in 1976 and a Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University in 1981.[1] He taught at Brown University from 1982 to 2008.[1][3] He was the director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University.[1] The spring 2008 semester was his final semester at Brown University after 26 years on the faculty.[3]


His book Digital Government is the winner of the Don K. Price award for best book on technology[4] and his co-authored book Cross Talk won the Doris Graber Award for best book on political communications.[5]

His books include Brain Gain: Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2010) (winner of ForeWord Review Book of the Year Award for Political Science), Digital Medicine: Health Care in the Internet Era (Brookings Institution Press,2009; co-authored with Edward Miller), The Next Wave: Using Digital Technology to Further Social and Political Innovation (Brookings Institution Press, 2011), Digital Schools: How Technology Can Transform Education (Brookings Institution Press, 2012), and Going Mobile: How Wireless Technology Is Reshaping Our Lives (Brookings Institution Press, 2015).

His book Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust (Brookings Institution Press, 2014) looks at the 1,645 billionaires in the world today and how "wealthification" is affecting politics and society. It goes inside the world of the ultra-wealthy and examines the role of Sheldon Adelson, Michael Bloomberg, David and Charles Koch, George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Donald Trump, as well as international billionaires around the globe. He argues that the growing political engagement of the supra-wealthy raises important questions about influence, transparency, and government performance.[6] It was named by the Washington Post as one of the best political books of 2014 and was the winner of the Foreword Review Book of the Year Silver Award for Political Science.

His book Megachange: Economic Disruption, Political Upheaval, and Social Strife in the 21st Century (Brookings Institution Press, 2016) examines the large and dramatic shifts that take place on a regular basis in today's world. Domestically, we see megachange at work in the new attitudes towards same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization, Obamacare, Trumpism, and border security. Globally, we have seen the rise and collapse of the Arab Spring, the spread of ISIS-fomented terrorism, the Brexit vote, and the fracturing of international alliances. Many of the social and political forces that used to anchor domestic and global politics have grown weak. Extremism in one part of the world can reverberate far from the original source. With megachange becoming the new normal, our domestic and global institutions require updates so we can cope with the massive economic, political, and social tidal waves of change.

His book The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation (Brookings Institution Press, 2018) looks at the impact of emerging technologies on work, education, politics, and public policy. It argues we need to rethink the social contract and move toward lifetime learning so people are trained for a world of dislocation. If leaders don't make the right choices, developed nations could end up facing serious economic and political disruptions. Harvard University Professor Larry Summers says "this book is the best guide yet to come out" and Steve Case, the chairman and CEO of Revolution writes "West explores how emerging technologies will change the way we live. He provides interesting insights on how to think about the future of AI, robotics and the Internet of Things." Northwestern University Professor Ben Page warns "Humans, plan ahead!", while MIT Professor Andrew McAfee says "if you want a concise, clear-eyed, evidence-based, and up-to-the-minute overview of the future of work, this is the book for you."

His book Divided Politics, Divided Nation: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era (Brookings Institution Press, 2019) draws on his personal story of growing up in a conservative rural community, teaching in the liberal Ivy League, and working in the heart of the D.C. establishment to analyze the economic, cultural, and political aspects of polarization. He draws on 40 years of conversations with family members, friends, and colleagues to discuss life among conservatives and liberals, and why each is angry with the other. George Stephanopoulos of ABC News says "readers will gain a unique understanding of our contemporary divisions from the stories he tells." Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post writes that the author "discovers surprising insights about life in conservative and liberal America." Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia calls it a "perceptive, readable book" from someone who has "lived in both red and blue worlds, understands each, and sprinkles his book with personal stories that enliven his narrative." Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina recommends the book as "a riveting account, part memoir and part analysis, that explains how we descended into our current social and political quagmire and gives helpful suggestions for finding our way out."

Recently, he was honored by Public Administration Review for having written one of the 75 most influential articles since 1940. This was for his 2004 article "E-Government and the Transformation of Service Delivery and Citizen Attitudes".[7]

In 2015, his project on financial inclusion was named by philanthropist Bill Gates as one of the top five "good news stories" of the year. Writing on December 18, 2015 at his personal blog, Gates said that "mobile banking exceeds our optimistic projections" and is "one of the best tools we've ever seen for helping people lift themselves out of poverty".[8]

In 2018, The Washington Post reported that West has spoken at various events hosted by Huawei since 2012 and that Huawei has financially supported West's research.[9]



  1. ^ a b c d "Darrell M. West". Brookings Institution. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  2. ^ Fred Dews (2014-03-05). "TechTank Blog Launches". Brookings.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  3. ^ a b Roehrkasse, Alexander (2008-04-03). "Darrell West leaving for Brookings". The Brown Daily Herald. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-09-16. External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "Digital Government". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2008-09-16. External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "Graduate Faculty". A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy. Retrieved 2008-09-16. External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ Darrell M. West (2014-09-18). "Billionaires". Brookings.edu. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Gates, Bill. "The Top 6 Good-News Stories of 2015". gatesnotes.com.
  9. ^ Stone Fish, Isaac (December 7, 2018). "Huawei's surprising ties to the Brookings Institution". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 4, 2018.

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