Bob Woodward Profile

  • Responsible for breaking the Watergate Scandal, he is considered by his peers “the most celebrated journalist of our time” and perhaps “the best investigative reporter of all time.”
  • A keen observer with the ability to uncover secrets and extract confessions, he is a living story book and one of the most well-positioned reporters in the world of Washington politics.
  • Since the 1970s he has continued to define excellence in investigative reporting, receiving nearly every journalism award in existence.
  • Over the course of four decades he has maintained his position at the top of the media ladder, publishing twelve #1 non-fiction best-selling books, more than any other American contemporary author.
  • Bob Woodward gained international attention when he and Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal in 1973. Since then, he’s worked to shine a light on the inner-workings of secret government. Woodward’s factual, non-partisan revelations to readers and speech audiences provide a view of Washington they’ll never get elsewhere. Woodward has written about the last nine U.S. presidents and chronicled how the power of the presidency has evolved. He is author of 20 bestselling books – 14 went to #1 – more than any contemporary nonfiction writer. His bestseller, Fear: Trump in the White House, is the deepest dive ever made into the first months of any American president. His 20th book, Rage, went behind the scenes of the Trump presidency like never before. His 21st book will look at the final days of the Trump presidency and the early days of Biden’s presidency. In his speeches, Woodward looks at the expanding powers of the presidency and the important lessons that can be learned from the presidents he’s covered. He can also assess the role of the media and how well it is (or isn’t) doing its job. Audiences will be awe-struck by insights from this living journalistic legend. Currently associate editor for The Washington Post where he’s worked since 1971, Bob Woodward has won nearly every American journalism award including two Pulitzers.

    Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wished he’d recruited Woodward into the CIA, “He has an extraordinary ability to get otherwise responsible adults to spill [their] guts to him…his ability to get people to talk about stuff they shouldn’t be talking about is just extraordinary and may be unique.” Therein lays the genius talent of Bob Woodward.

    No one else in political investigative journalism has the clout, respect, and reputation of Woodward. He has a way of getting insiders to open up in ways that reveal an intimate yet sweeping portrayal of Washington and the political infighting, how we fight wars, the price of politics, how presidents lead, the homeland security efforts, and so much more. His work is meticulous and draws on internal memos, classified documents, meeting notes and hundreds of hours of recorded interviews with most of the key players, including the president. This is why Fear: Trump in the White House sold more than 1.1 million copies in its first week in September 2018 – breaking the 94-year first-week sales record of its publisher Simon & Schuster – and nearly 2 million copies in hardback, ebook and audio in the first four months.

    As a speaker, Woodward pulls the curtain back on Washington and its leaders to captivate audiences with stories that are sometimes surprising, at times shocking, and always fascinating. He blends stories that are both up to the minute and from the past (to provide historical context). Woodward speaks as he writes – crisp and concise – and helps people get behind the spin to understand what’s really going on in the halls of power in an age of 24-hour news, social media, and snarky politics.

    Professionally, Bob Woodward is currently associate editor for The Washington Post where he’s worked since 1971. He has won nearly every American journalism award, and the Post won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for his work with Carl Bernstein on the Watergate scandal. In addition, Woodward was the main reporter for the Post’s articles on the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks that won the National Affairs Pulitzer Prize in 2002.

    Bob Schieffer of CBS News said “Woodward has established himself as the best reporter of our time. He may be the best reporter of all time.”Lloyd Green wrote in a review for The Guardian that Fear “depicts a White House awash in dysfunction, where the Lord of the Flies is the closest thing to an owner’s manual.” The Weekly Standard called Woodward “the best pure reporter of his generation, perhaps ever.” In 2003, Al Hunt of The Wall Street Journal called Woodward “the most celebrated journalist of our age.” In listing the all-time 100 best non-fiction books, Time magazine has called All the President’s Men, by Bernstein and Woodward, “Perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history.”

    Woodward has co-authored or authored 14 #1 national best-selling non-fiction books. They are: All the President’s Men (1974) and The Final Days (1976), both Watergate books, co-authored with Bernstein; The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court (1979) co-authored with Scott Armstrong; Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi (1984); Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-87 (1987); The Commanders (1991); The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House (1994); Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (1999); Bush at War (2002); Plan of Attack (2004); State of Denial: Bush at War Part III (2006); Obama’s Wars (2010); Fear: Trump in the White House (2018); and Rage (2020). Woodward’s other national bestselling books are: The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat (2005), The Choice (1996), Maestro: Greenspan’s Fed and the American Boom (2000), The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 (2008), The Price of Politics (2012), and The Last of the President’s Men (2015). Newsweek magazine has excerpted six of Woodward’s books in headline-making cover stories; “60 Minutes” has done pieces on eight of his books; and three of his books have been made into feature films.

    In November 2017, the online learning portal MasterClass released “Bob Woodward Teaches Investigative Journalism.” In it, Woodward reveals the lessons he’s learned during his career, teaching students what truth means, how to uncover it, and how to build a story with it.

    Woodward was born March 26, 1943 in Illinois. He graduated from Yale University in 1965 and served five years as a communications officer in the U.S. Navy before beginning his journalism career at the Montgomery County Sentinel (Maryland), where he was a reporter for one year before joining the Post.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Bob Woodward is an American journalist and author who reported on the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post. His coverage greatly contributed to the Post’s 1973 Pulitzer Prize.

      Born in Illinois on March 26, 1943, Bob Woodward is a journalist and acclaimed non-fiction author who has worked for The Washington Post since 1971. Woodward was working as a reporter for the paper when he was tipped to a burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. With fellow journalist Carl Bernstein, Woodward eventually connected the break-in to the highest levels of the Nixon administration. The Washington Postwas awarded the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage—one of two Post Pulitzers won through Woodward’s contributions—and Woodward and Berstein became synonymous with investigative journalism.

      Early Life
      Bob Woodward was born Robert Upshur Woodward in Geneva, Illinois on March 26, 1943, to Jane and Alfred Woodward. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1965, he enlisted into the U.S. Navy and served a five-year tour of duty. Following his discharge from the Navy, Woodward landed a reporting position at the Montgomery County Sentinel in Maryland. He left the newspaper the following year for a position at The Washington Post. The transition would soon prove to be a wise career move for the young journalist.

      Watergate Coverage
      Only months into his new position, in 1972, Woodward encountered one of the biggest stories of his career: Tipped to a burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., he and fellow Post reporter Carl Bernstein were called on to investigate. Woodward eventually connected the break-in to the highest levels of President Richard Nixon’s administration. The Woodward-Bernstein team’s coverage of the scandal amassed several Post stories, which were initially denounced but later confirmed by the White House’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler. “I would apologize to the Post, and I would apologize to Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein,” Ziegler stated in May 1973, adding, “They have vigorously pursued this story and they deserve the credit and are receiving the credit.”

      Woodward and Bernstein soon became synonymous with investigative journalism, receiving wide acclaim for their journalistic work. In addition to breaking the story, their in-depth reporting and powerful writing sparked one of the greatest political upsets in American history: Nationwide news coverage; investigations by the House Judiciary Committee, Senate Watergate Committee and Watergate Special prosecutor; and, ultimately, President Nixon’s resignation and the criminal conviction of many others.

      In 1973, The Washington Post received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its Watergate coverage. The following year, Woodward and Bernstein published a non-fiction book about Watergate, All the President’s Men(1974). They followed with a Nixon-focused piece in 1976, The Final Days.

      Later Works
      More than four decades since the Watergate scandal erupted, Woodward has never rested his laurels on his early 1970s fame. In 2001, he met with wide acclaim for his in-depth coverage of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, which was printed in The Washington Post and led to another big win for the paper: the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

      In addition to continuing his career at The Washington Post (now as an associate editor), Woodward has published 17 best-selling non-fiction books. He co-authored 1979’s The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court, about Chief Justice Warren E. Burger; a book about the tragic life of comedian John Belushi, Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi; The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987, about former CIA Director William J. Casey; and Obama’s Wars, an analysis of America’s fight against terrorism under President Barack Obama, among various other works.

      More recently, in September 2012, Woodward released The Price of Politics, a non-fiction book on the fiscal policy conflict between President Obama and Republicans in Congress.

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    Bob Woodward's Speech Descriptions

    Perhaps the most well-positioned journalist in Washington D.C., Bob Woodward provides the depth and breadth of information needed to gain perspective into today’s current state of affairs, both at home and abroad. With a talent for tracking down and tapping into inside sources, Woodward’s vast knowledge extends beyond the other end of the rabbit hole. The reporting legend’s timely insights on vital issues from war to fiscal policy yield valuable lessons for leaders across numerous sectors as well as those who are responsible for choosing them and holding them accountable.

    Now reporting on his tenth American president, Bob Woodward’s remarkable perspective is unmatched in journalism. The two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter takes audiences on a journey as only he can. From Nixon to the present, Woodward provides firsthand insights from having penetrated the White House, the Supreme Court, the CIA, the Pentagon, the Congress. He analyzes the successes and messes of the presidents he’s covered and offers important lessons - about governing, about presidential leadership during economic, military, and national crises, about the expanding powers of the presidency, and about the role of the media. Woodward’s content is tailored to the interests of the audience and is an in-depth, non-partisan, fact-driven analysis of America’s current state through the lens of history. In the time since he uncovered the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein in 1973, Woodward has worked to shine a light on the inner-workings of secret government. In all, he has written 20 nonfiction bestsellers – 14 of which went on to become #1; more than any modern-day author. Woodward is currently at work on his 21st book about the final days of the Trump presidency and the handoff to Joe Biden.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Bob Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Our event with Bob Woodward was fabulous!! We were able to fill our nearly 600 seat auditorium, with about 80 guests in overflow areas. Not bad for a weekday morning. Mr. Woodward was personal and engaging, fast on his feet and connected well with each of our audiences – a real pro!”
    – Michael Hicks, Wayne State University

    “Compelling is the first word that comes to mind to describe your remarks during our Stainton Society Brunch. You truly had everyone sitting at the edge of their seats and totally engrossed in your every word. Thank you for your graciousness and your willingness to meet our guests and to pose for so many pictures. I have never seen our members line up, as they did, to meet our guest speaker. You certainly were the person to be seen with on that Sunday. We received so many compliments and congratulations on our choice of speaker, Bob Woodward. You have made my task difficult for next year to present a speaker that will match your caliber.”
    – Barbara A. Deaney, Assistant Director of Development, The Stainton Society

    “Bob Woodward was a smashing success and everyone was on the edge of their seats during his remarks. I and several others noted that not one person coughed during his remarks and I find that to be an interesting observation, it also indicates how compelling he was.”
    – Barbara Deaney, Shore Memorial Hospital

    “He was terrific and very insightful. The best event attendance in the history of the event (59 years). It was a real winning event!!”

    – Tracy Baum, Los Angeles Jewish Federation

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    Books by Bob Woodward:

    The Last of the President’s Men

    Bob Woodward exposes one of the final pieces of the Richard Nixon puzzle in his new book The Last of the President’s Men.

    Woodward reveals the untold story of Alexander Butterfield, the Nixon aide who disclosed the secret White House taping system that changed history and led to Nixon’s resignation. In forty-six hours of interviews with Butterfield, supported by thousands of documents, many of them original and not in the presidential archives and libraries, Woodward has uncovered new dimensions of Nixon’s secrets, obsessions and deceptions.

    The Last of the President’s Men could not be more timely and relevant as voters question how much do we know about those who are now seeking the presidency in 2016—what really drives them, how do they really make decisions, who do they surround themselves with, and what are their true political and personal values?

    The Price of Politics

    The Price of Politics chronicles the inside story of how President Obama and the U.S. Congress tried, and failed, to restore the American economy and set it on a course to fiscal stability. It spans the three and a half tumultuous years beginning just before Obama’s inauguration in early 2009 and lasting through the summer of 2012.

    Woodward pierces the secretive world of Washington policymaking once again, with a close-up story crafted from meeting notes, documents, working papers and interviews with key players, including President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

    At the center of The Price of Politics is a high-stakes personal and political struggle between the president and the speaker. The Price of Politics takes the reader through the electric 44 days during the summer of 2011 with day-by-day, often hour-by-hour, accounts as the two attempt a “grand bargain” to cut entitlement spending and increase tax revenue.

    As they struggled through the most intense moments of the crisis, each contended with powerful conflicts in his own party. At the prospect of serious budget cuts, Obama told Woodward, “Our friends on the left would howl and act as if we had dismantled the New Deal.” In the House, Boehner was looking over his shoulder, worrying that his second-in-command, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, was undermining him in concert with extreme conservative House members and others with ties to the anti-tax Tea Party. At the same time, Boehner described the president as “moaning and groaning and whining and demanding. Threatening. He was pretty desperate.”

    The Price of Politics shows why the grand bargain was never reached, and how the president, the speaker and the Congress settled for stopgap measures that delayed any serious deficit reduction until 2013.

    With extensive documentation and firsthand accounts, Woodward reveals how the broken relationship between the White House and Capitol Hill drove the U.S. economy to the edge of the fiscal cliff, where it remains.

    Obama’s Wars
    In Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward provides the most intimate and sweeping portrait yet of the young president as commander in chief. Drawing on internal memos, classified documents, meeting notes and hundreds of hours of interviews with most of the key players, including the president, Woodward tells the inside story of Obama making the critical decisions on the Afghanistan War, the secret campaign in Pakistan and the worldwide fight against terrorism.

    At the core of Obama’s Wars is the unsettled division between the civilian leadership in the White House and the United States military as the president is thwarted in his efforts to craft an exit plan for the Afghanistan War.

    “So what’s my option?” the president asked his war cabinet, seeking alternatives to the Afghanistan commander’s request for 40,000 more troops in late 2009. “You have essentially given me one option…It’s unacceptable.”

    “Well,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates finally said, “Mr. President, I think we owe you that option.”

    It never came. An untamed Vice President Joe Biden pushes relentlessly to limit the military mission and avoid another Vietnam. The vice president frantically sent half a dozen handwritten memos by secure fax to Obama on the eve of the final troop decision.

    President Obama’s ordering a surge of 30,000 troops and pledging to start withdrawing U.S. forces by July 2011 did not end the skirmishing.

    General David Petraeus, the new Afghanistan commander, thinks time can be added to the clock if he shows progress. “I don’t think you win this war,” Petraeus said privately. “This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”

    Hovering over this debate is the possibility of another terrorist attack in the United States. The White House led a secret exercise showing how unprepared the government is if terrorists set off a nuclear bomb in an American city—which Obama told Woodward is at the top of the list of what he worries about all the time.

    Verbatim quotes from secret debates and White House strategy sessions—and firsthand accounts of the thoughts and concerns of the president, his war council and his generals—reveal a government in conflict, often consumed with nasty infighting and fundamental disputes.

    Woodward has discovered how the Obama White House really works, showing that even more tough decisions lie ahead for the cerebral and engaged president.

    Obama’s Wars offers the reader a stunning, you-are-there account of the president, his White House aides, military leaders, diplomats and intelligence chiefs in this time of turmoil and danger.

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