July 11, 2009
Born in 1939 in New York City, Mr. Gilder attended Exeter Academy and Harvard University. At Harvard, he studied under Henry Kissinger and helped found Advance, a journal of political thought, which he edited and helped to re-establish in Washington, DC after his graduation in 1962. During this period he co-authored (with Bruce Chapman) a political history, The Party That Lost Its Head. He later returned to Harvard as a fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Politics and editor of the Ripon Forum. In the 1960s Mr. Gilder also served as a speech writer for several prominent official and candidates, including Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney, and Richard Nixon.
In the 1970s, as an independent researcher and writer, Mr. Gilder began an excursion into the causes of poverty, which resulted in his books Men and Marriage (original version 1972) and Visible Man (1978); and hence, of wealth, which led to his best-selling Wealth and Poverty (1981). Mr. Gilder pioneered the formulation of supply-side economics when he served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute’s Economic Roundtable, as Program Director for the Manhattan Institute, and as a frequent contributor to A.B. Laffer’s economic reports and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. In the 1980s he also consulted leaders of America’s high technology businesses. According to a recent study of speeches, Mr. Gilder was President Reagan’s most frequently quoted living author. In 1986, President Reagan gave George Gilder the White House Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. In 1996 he was made a Fellow of the International Engineering Consortium.
The investigation into wealth creation led Mr. Gilder into deeper examination of the lives of present-day entrepreneurs, culminating in many articles and a book, The Spirit of Enterprise (1986). The book was revised and republished in 1992. That many of the most interesting current entrepreneurs were to be found in high technology fields also led Mr. Gilder, over several years, to examine this subject in depth. In his best-selling work, Microcosm (1989), he explored the quantum roots of the new electronic technologies. A subsequent book, Life After Television, published first as a Whittle Communications monograph and then published by W.W. Norton (1992), and updated and republished in 1994, is a prophecy of the future of computers and telecommunications. This book is a prelude to his forthcoming book on the future of telecommunications, Telecosm (expected in 2000).
Mr. Gilder is a founder of and contributor to Forbes ASAP, and a contributing editor of Forbes magazine. He is a frequent writer for The Economist, the Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Over the past several years, he has dismissed many of the most touted new technologies–from HDTV and interactive television to 3DO game machines and CD-I multimedia, from TDMA wireless and Nextel cellular compression to pervasive ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) networks. Embraced instead: All-optical networks, smart radios, Qualcomm digital wireless, Stratacom frame relay, mediaprocessors, Netscape browsers, and Sun’s Java programming language.
George Gilder lives in Tyringham, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Mountains, where he is an active churchman, sometime runner, and with his wife Nini, parent of four children.