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Derek Thompson (journalist)

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Derek Thompson
Born (1986-05-18) May 18, 1986 (age 38)
McLean, Virginia, U.S.
  • Journalist
  • podcaster
Alma materNorthwestern University

Derek Kahn Thompson (born May 18, 1986)[citation needed] is an American podcaster and journalist. A self-described progressive,[1] he is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction.

Early life


Derek Thompson was born in McLean, Virginia, the son of Robert Thompson and Petra Kahn.[2][3] Before graduating from high school, he appeared in several theatrical productions at the Folger Shakespeare Theater[4] and the Shakespeare Theater.[5] After attending the Potomac School, Thompson graduated from Northwestern University in 2008.[6][7]



Thompson has been a writer at The Atlantic since 2009.[8] Starting in November 2021, Thompson began hosting a weekly headline podcast entitled Plain English, part of The Ringer Podcast Network.[9] In 2018, he became the host of the technology and science podcast Crazy/Genius, which was nominated for an iHeartMedia Best Podcast Award in its first year.[10]

Thompson has written two cover stories for the magazine. The first, "A World Without Work", is a widely referenced[11][12] essay on the meaning of work and automation's threat to the labor force. The second was a lengthy profile of X, the research and development division of Alphabet.[13]

In 2017, Thompson published his first book, Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction. It was a national bestseller[14] and winner of the American Marketing Association's Leonard L. Berry Marketing Book Award for the best marketing book of 2018.[15]

Personal life


As of 2018, Thompson and his wife reside in Washington, D.C..[16]


  1. ^ Thompson, Derek (August 12, 2022). "A New Way to Think About Racism in America". "Plain English with Derek Thompson" podcast at approximate timecode 4:22. Apple Podcast.
  2. ^ "Bob Thompson Obituary". Legacy.com.
  3. ^ "Petra Kahn Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved September 9, 2022.
  4. ^ "For Grandy, No More Gopher". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ "Fleshing Out King John". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ "Career Day: Finding Their Calling - Potomac School". www.potomacschool.org. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  7. ^ "Author Derek Thompson Returns to NU to Discuss New Book". The Daily Northwestern. May 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Derek Thompson Author Page". TheAtlantic.com.
  9. ^ Thompson, Derek (November 11, 2021). "Introducing 'Plain English with Derek Thompson'". The Ringer. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  10. ^ "iHeartMedia Podcast Awards".
  11. ^ "Derek Thompson - A World Without Work". YouTube.
  12. ^ "Challenges loom as tech takeover grows". CBS.com. June 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "Google X and the Science of Radical Creativity". TheAtlantic.com. October 10, 2017.
  14. ^ "Hit Makers". Penguin Random House.
  15. ^ "The Leonard L. Berry Marketing Book Award". AMA.org.
  16. ^ "How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town". TheAtlantic.com. October 15, 2018.