Marshall Brain

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Marshall Brain
Marshall David Brain

(1961-05-17) May 17, 1961 (age 60)
Alma materRensselaer Polytechnic Institute
North Carolina State University
OccupationEntrepreneur, author, public speaker
Known forHowStuffWorks

Marshall David Brain (born May 17, 1961[1]) is an American author, public speaker, and entrepreneur. A college instructor and computer programmer, Brain is the founder of HowStuffWorks and the author of the How Stuff Works book series. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, CNN, Modern Marvels, and in many other media outlets. He was the host of the National Geographic Channel's Factory Floor with Marshall Brain 2008–2009.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Marshall Brain was born in Santa Monica, California.[1] He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York[1] in 1983[3] with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.[4] He was a member of the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity. Brain earned a master's degree in computer science from North Carolina State University (NCSU).[1]

Business career[edit]

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Marshall taught in the computer science department at North Carolina State University for six years.[1] He has written computer programming manuals and has run a software training and consulting company.[5]

Marshall founded the website in 1998[6][7] and ran the site until 2002, when he sold it to The Convex Group, an Atlanta-based investment company owned by former Web MD CEO Jeff Arnold, for around $1 million.[8]

Writing and public speaking[edit]

Brain maintains on his website with, among others, essays on transhumanism and robots and an online science fiction novel on that topic, Manna. Brain argues in his Robotic Nation series that automation will lead to structural unemployment, requiring a basic income guarantee[9] or guaranteed minimum income.[10][11] Continuing the theme of his book Manna, Brain gave an interview in 2015 where he asserted that the coming technological singularity will involve robots displacing more humans from employment.[12]

Personal life[edit]

He resides in Cary, North Carolina with his wife Leigh[7] and four children.[5] He serves on the North Carolina advisory board of DonorsChoose.

Brain is an atheist. His websites Why Won't God Heal Amputees? and God is Imaginary reflect his skepticism of a single god that is omnipotent and omnibenevolent.[citation needed]

Books by Marshall Brain[edit]

Title Publisher ISBN
The Engineering Book Sterling ISBN 978-1454908098
How God Works: A Logical Inquiry on Faith Sterling Ethos ISBN 9781454910619
The Second Intelligent Species BYG Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9852321-7-7
Manna - Two Views of Humanity's Future BYG Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9852321-1-5
Marshall Brain's MORE How STUFF Works John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0-7645-6711-X
What If? John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0-7645-6657-1
Marshall Brain's How Stuff Works John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0-7645-6518-4
How Much Does the Earth Weigh? John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0-7645-6519-2
The Teenager's Guide to the Real World BYG Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-9657430-3-9
Win32 System Services Prentice Hall ISBN 0-13-022557-6
Visual C++ 2 Prentice Hall ISBN 0-13-305145-5
Using Windows NT Prentice Hall ISBN 0-13-091977-2
Motif Programming: The Essentials... and More Digital Press ISBN 1-55558-089-0


Television appearances[edit]

  • Factory Floor with Marshall Brain (2008) – Host
  • Who Knew? With Marshall Brain (2008) – Host
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show (2006) – Himself


  1. ^ a b c d e Official website of Marshall Brain
  2. ^ "The Humanist Hour #134: How "God" Works, with Marshall Brain". The Humanist. January 21, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  3. ^ "Sultan of Stuff", Rensselaer Magazine, June 2002.
  4. ^ CNN interview with Kyra Phillips, CNN, August 15, 2003.
  5. ^ a b Manjoo, Farhad. "Welcome to the machine?" Archived 2006-07-14 at the Wayback Machine, Salon, 18 September 2003.
  6. ^ "50 Best Websites: Information and Reference: HowStuffWorks",, 2002.
  7. ^ a b Guernsey, Lisa. "For One Web Site, Some Explaining to Do", The New York Times, 24 May 2001.
  8. ^ "HowStuffWorks sold to vulture fund",, 2002.
  9. ^ Brain, Marshall, Why and How Should We Build a Basic Income for Every Citizen?.
  10. ^ Brain, Marshall, Robotic Nation.
  11. ^ Glasner, Joanna (2003-08-05), "How robots will steal your job", Wired Magazine.
  12. ^ "Marshall Brain on Singularity 1on1: We're approaching humanity's make or break period". August 14, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2016.

External links[edit]