Blog Post

Learning from three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Friedman

By: Natalie Gochnour

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman is a world class talent. It was our privilege to host him at the inaugural Kem C. Gardner Policy Symposium this month. I attended the event and enjoyed a dinner with him the night before. I’d like to share a few insights from the experience.

You can’t spend time with Tom Friedman without feeling enlarged. His expansive mind takes your brain places it wants to go. And, while I learned many things, I want to share an observation about the man. This guy “walks the talk.” He writes in his new book, Thank You for Being Late, about the importance of the golden rule in an era of acceleration. His point is that how we treat people matters now more than ever.

Learning from three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Friedman

Friedman exemplifies this message. I found all his interactions with our team –the initial phone call invitation, the making of travel arrangements, his politeness while signing books, his interaction with community leaders – to be completely gracious and professional. He was the consummate gentleman as we spent an evening and fast-paced morning together. I find it so refreshing that an uber-talented thought leader is also a fine human being. I thank Tom Friedman for that.

The second observation concerns Tom Friedman’s gift. Others have characterized it as the ability to translate