Zachary Karabell

Authority on Future Trends, Geopolitics and the Changing Global Economic System; Author of “The Leading Indicators” and “Inside Money”
  • Delivers in-depth insights on specific policy issues as they relate to both the American and global economy
  • Offers an optimistic, big-picture analysis of current domestic and global trends using key data points and hard-hitting insights
  • Non-partisan expert who challenges common assumptions, from global economics to the future of American innovation

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In a world full of noise, Zachary Karabell brings a unique perspective as both a doer and thinker who has the pulse on the major trends shaping our world today. The author of more than a dozen books on business, economic trends, and history, and a prolific commentator in both print and on television, he has helped manage, advise, and invest in companies globally. With a career ranging from China to the Middle East to the United States, he has watched the world evolve over the past twenty years and speaks to the forces that will shape our world, and your business, now and in the years to come. Named one of the World Economic Forum’s “Global Leaders for Tomorrow,” his prolific, award-winning writing career, illustrious background on Wall Street, and PhD from Harvard give him a unique, multifaceted perspective of what’s going on in the world, from politics and the economy to international relations. His expertise is regularly sought-after by top national media, and he is a contributor for POLITICO, CNBC, and MSNBC. He is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau.

Zachary Karabell is edgy, upbeat, at times humorous, and always provocative as he offers audiences hard-hitting insights on the current global environment. With a bright personality and a quick wit, he presents a positive view of what’s to come and shows that optimism is a vital ingredient in capitalizing on current opportunities. In spite of multiple domestic and global challenges, Karabell sees a world that continues to be buffeted and moved by technology, demography, and a rapidly growing global middle class. These changes are accelerating, not halting and not reversing, and they provide incredible opportunities for those willing to understand them and design strategies to meet them, and massive risks to those who are not. From the interconnectedness of the world’s financial markets all the way down to how government policy affects American business, he addresses the trends that will most affect our businesses and lives in the years to come and challenges common assumptions in the discussion of global trends. 

Karabell was the head of global strategies at Envestnet, a publicly traded financial services firm. Prior to that, he was the executive vice president and chief economist at Fred Alger Management and president of Fred Alger and Company. A recognized authority on the emergence of China in the global economy, he served as the portfolio manager of the China-U.S. growth fund, which won a five-star designation from Morningstar. He was executive vice president of Alger’s Spectra Funds, which launched the Spectra Green Fund based on the idea that profit and sustainability are linked, and served as the former vice chairman of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. 

He is the author of 13 books including Inside Money: Brown Brothers Harriman and the American Way of Power, exploring the history of the legendary private investment firm Brown Brothers Harriman and its central role in the story of American wealth.

His previous books include The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World—tackling the limitations of metrics like GDP and inflation and taps into the power of data to answer the important questions about our economy—and The Last Campaign, which won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award for “Best Non-fiction Book of the Year.” Karabell is a contributing editor for Politico and Wired magazine. He previously wrote “The Edgy Optimist” column for Reuters and the Atlantic. He has contributed to the Daily Beast, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Newsweek, TIME magazine, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the New Republic, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and Foreign Affairs.

The founder of the Progress Network at New America and president of River Twice Capital and River Twice Research, Karabell sits on the board of New America and PEN America, is a senior advisor for Business for Social Responsibility, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Speaker Video

Zachary Karabell: A Glass Half Full Look at the Future

Are Our Economic Indicators Useless

Zachary Karabell: Leading Indicators

What’s Going on in the World Economy? In this deep dive, world economics expert Zachary Karabell analyzes the current domestic and global economic environment and the impact on our organizations and society. With key data points and eye-opening insights, he looks at the multi-decade transformation the economy is in — for example, the emergence of the middle class around the world and the movement to service economies — and brings a unique perspective to the discussion of what audiences can expect in their near-economic future. From the interconnectedness of the world’s financial markets all the way down to how fiscal policy affects American business, Karabell addresses the trends that will most affect our economy and lives in the years to come.

The Leading Indicators. Every day we are bombarded with numbers that purport to tell us whether we are doing well or badly. These numbers — GDP, inflation, unemployment — rule much of the world and shape whether we buy a home, start a business, and spend money individually or nationally. But should they? All of these were invented a century ago and using them to navigate our lives today is like using a 1950s road map to get where we need to go. Instead, every person and every business should start with questions and, using the unparalleled power of big data, craft their own indicators to help guide decisions. In this talk, Karabell offers a clear and comprehensible overview of how these numbers shape our world, how that leads us astray, and how we can all do better by unlocking the data at our fingertips.

Sustainable Excellence. Drawing on his book of the same title, Zachary Karabell demonstrates why companies that use sustainability as a core aspect of their strategies have powerful competitive advantages in the business landscape. At its heart, sustainability is about efficiencies and understanding the world as it evolves — knit together by technology and emerging centers of commerce and labor. Companies that strive to decrease their use of natural resources and reduce their environmental impact benefit from reduced costs and deeper connections to markets and consumers. In this presentation, Karabell shows how sustainable excellence is a key to success.

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