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Michael Sandel
Political Philosopher 
 Professor, Harvard University
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Michael Sandel
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Harvard political philosopher and bestselling author Michael Sandel challenges audiences to examine the ethical dilemmas we confront in politics and in our everyday lives. One of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers, Sandel has been described as “the most relevant living philosopher,” “a rock-star moralist" (Newsweek), and “the most famous teacher of philosophy in the world.” (New Republic)

Sandel’s legendary course "Justice" has enrolled over 15,000 students and was the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on public television. It has been viewed by millions of people around the world, including in China, where China Newsweek named him the “most influential foreign figure of the year.” 

In his New York Times bestseller Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, Sandel takes readers on a fascinating journey of moral reflection and shows how reasoned debate can illuminate democratic life. Translated into 27 languages, Justice has sold over two million copies worldwide and inspired public debate about the ethical and civic questions of our time.

In his latest bestseller, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Sandel invites readers to rethink the role that money and markets should play in our lives. One of Foreign Policy’s "20 must-read books” of the year, reviewers have called it “brilliant, easily readable, and often funny,” an “eloquent argument for morality in public life.”

Sandel served for four years on the President's Council on Bioethics, exploring the ethical implications of new biomedical technologies. This prompted him to write The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering, a book about the moral quandaries that arise when we seek to perfect our children and ourselves. His other books include Democracy’s DiscontentLiberalism and the Limits of Justice, and Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics.

Sandel’s lectures have been the subject of television series on PBS and the BBC. His ongoing BBC radio series, “The Public Philosopher,” engages audiences in debates about the big philosophical questions lying behind the headlines. He has appeared on The Colbert Report, the Today ShowMorning Joe, and Charlie Rose.

Described by The Guardian as “the man who is currently the most effective communicator of ideas in English,” Sandel’s books and online lectures have brought him “the kind of popularity usually reserved for Hollywood movie stars and NBA players.” (China Daily) His recent lecture tours have taken him across five continents and packed such venues as St. Paul’s Cathedral (London), the Sydney Opera House, and an outdoor amphitheater in Seoul, Korea, where 14,000 people came to hear him speak.

Full Bio >
  • Sandel on Morning Joe (2012)
  • TED Talk: The lost art of democratic debate (2010)
  • Global lecture tour (2015)
  • "What Money Can't Buy" (2012)
  • Michael Sandel on The Colbert Report (2011)
  • Sandel's Justice class at Harvard (2013)
  • One on One with Professor Michael Sandel (2012)
  • Sandel on Today Show (2012)
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Speaking Topics
Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?

Topics Include:

  • Justice for All
  • Doing the Right Thing in Public and Private Life
  • What Do We Owe One Another as Citizens?
  • Reasoning Together About Hard Moral Questions
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Hard Questions, Big Ideas: How To Think About Moral and Ethical Dilemmas in a Global Age

Topics Include:

  • Globalization and Its Discontents
  • Economic Inequality 
  • Is Globalization Good For Democracy?
  • Capitalism, Democracy, and the Common Good
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The Lost Art of Democratic Argument: What’s Become of Civility?

Topics Include:  

  • Restoring Civility to Democratic Politics  
  • Why Is Politics Today So Bitter and Partisan, and What Can We Do About It? 
  • Does Religion Belong in Politics?
  • The Role of Faith in Public Life
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Markets, Morals, and Civic Life

Do bankers deserve to make hundreds of times what school teachers earn? Is the free market fair?  What have we learned from the financial crisis? What is the real cost of economic inequality? What is the role of markets in achieving the public good? Join Michael Sandel, Harvard political philosopher and author of the New York Times best seller Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? for a lively discussion of markets, democracy, and the big ethical questions that confront American society today.

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Topics Include:

  • Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature
  • The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering
  • What’s Wrong with Designer Children, Bionic Athletes, and Genetic Engineering?
  • The Case Against Perfection: The Brave New World of Genetic Engineering
  • Are There Limits to Health?
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Financial/Business/Corporate Ethics

Topics Include:

  • What’s the Right Thing To Do?
  • Contending With Disagreement
  • Moral Dilemmas at Home and Abroad
  • Leadership and Moral Argument
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Teaching and Education

Topics Include:

  • Moral Education
  • Civic Education
  • Can Ethics Be Taught?
  • Education for Leadership
  • Education for Democracy
  • How to Have Reasoned Argument About Hard Questions 
  • Technology and the Future of Education
  • Will Online Courses Save or Destroy High Education?
Read More >

Professor Sandel’s talks can be presented either as a straight lecture or a participatory session with the audience, regardless of the theme or topic.

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Books & Other Works
  • What Money Can't Buy
  • Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?
  • Justice: A Reader
  • The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering
  • Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics
  • Liberalism and the Limits of Justice
  • Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy
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“It was sensational. He's sensational. Wow. I'm inundated with emails saying how wonderful the evening was. I'm still revelling in the pleasure of the occasion.”
How To Academy
“Sandel engaged our students with verve, passion and grace. His questions and remarks challenged them to examine the fundamental questions of our day, and students continued the debate well into the next day. Kudos to Professor Sandel for a great evening!”
University of Mississippi
“Michael Sandel is a philosopher with the global profile of a rock star. He’s a Harvard professor who doesn’t just lecture in halls, but in stadiums.”
Tim Franks, BBC News HARDtalk
“Dr. Sandel's lecture on the role of ethics and civility in a market-driven society was incredibly dynamic and compelling, and I know our students truly enjoyed participating in such an engaging event.”
George Washington University
“Professor Sandel’s visit to Seoul was a marvelous success. The response to his visit was simply overwhelming. He was like a rock star! Some 4,500 people packed the auditorium for his public lecture. It was the biggest auditorium in Seoul, and I’m sure had we had a bigger one, we would have filled that, too.”
The ASAN Institute for Policy Studies
“Never in my eleven years here at Lakeside have I received so many positive comments about a speaker. The conversations begun during the student lecture continued in classes and hallways throughout the day. Professor Sandel certainly made an impact. That is amazing!”
Lakeside School
“We had a great visit with Michael Sandel – he was gracious and very easy to get along with – the forum where we held his talk was packed and it was very well-received.”
Goucher College
“On behalf of all of us, our heartfelt thanks for an extraordinary night! Michael Sandel's interactive presentation on his new book ‘What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets’ was ever so thought-provoking and inspiring. He has an enormous capacity to make relevant issues of contemporary morality and philosophy and really get us to think about what truly matters. As you could see, our audience was enthralled. His delivery and clarity could not be matched!”
92nd Street Y
“It was a wonderful event! We especially enjoyed the interactive format.”
University of North Carolina @ Wilmington
“Michael Sandel engages audiences on complex issues that impact our most treasured values of freedom, equality and moral responsibility. He demonstrates through thoughtful questioning that even the most difficult issues can be addressed in a rational and respectful manner. The conversations that Michael Sandel is having around the world are creating a moral force for the common good.”
World Affairs Council of Jacksonville
“The professor we all wish we had.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Michael Sandel was simply terrific yesterday. I’m sure you must get a lot of that kind of feedback about him so our praise won’t be a surprise!

The students that met with him during the day were really engaged in the discussion and his book fit right into their current curriculum so the teachers were extremely excited about his appearance. The evening lecture was just as lively and we’ve been getting emails and texts from people all morning about how insightful it was and how the conversation continued on into the evening among those that attended.”
New Albany Community Foundation
“Friday’s event was brilliant. We packed out the hall as expected and had full theatres for the live-stream too which was wonderful. Michael has been a joy to work with and delivered a fantastic lecture.”
Chinese University of Hong Kong
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