The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

The nature of work is evolving—now is the time to embrace it and equip yourself with the knowledge to thrive well into the future.

Host of Plain English | Bestselling author of Hit Makers and On Work | Staff writer at The Atlantic

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Lavin Exclusive Speaker

The world of work is changing on a global scale. Should you implement a four-day work week? How is ChatGPT creating an intellectual revolution? And how can you prepare for what’s to come? Derek Thompson, author of national bestseller Hit Makers and long-time staff writer at The Atlantic, has the answers. In economics, politics, and business, Derek tackles the big questions that matter to you. Derek’s analysis and forecasts have made him a fixture in the twenty-first-century conversation about work. In On Work, he covers a range of topics—from how mass automation could change society, to what he calls “workism” and its effects on modern-day America. As host of the popular news podcast Plain English, news analyst at NPR, and author of the widely popular newsletter “Work in Progress”, Derek effectively dissects the complexities of the world and distills them into accessible insights. “There is a lot of noise out there,” Derek says. “My goal is to cut through the headlines, loud tweets and hot takes, to give clear viewpoints and memorable takeaways.”

“Derek Thompson has long been one of the brightest new voices in American journalism. With Hit Makers, he becomes one of the brightest new voices in the world of non-fiction books.”— Daniel H. Pink

Derek Thompson is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about issues ranging from the consumer habits of millennials to the economics of entertainment. He offers a fresh, sharp, and clear voice amidst the chaos of new technology and the changing world. He effectively dissects the biggest technological, economic, political, and cultural trends of the moment, and interprets what they might mean for our futures. Original and prescient, his writing has earned him a Best in Business Award for Columns and Commentary from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. “My job is to notice when I’m curious, and to notice when I’m confused, and to turn those noticings into words,” Derek says, “and to hope that people enjoy reading the crystallization of a quietly shared curiosity.”

Derek’s hit podcast Plain English does precisely as the name promises. He breaks down the weekly headlines into plain English, cutting the misinformation and confusion. Work in Progress, Derek’s newsletter on work, technology, and how to solve some of America’s biggest problems, has attracted a large audience looking to get ahead and prepare for the future. In his landmark cover story “A World Without Work,” Derek offered a wide-ranging exploration of the future of artificial intelligence and employment, and how Americans might cope with a jobless future.

His latest release, On Work: Money, Meaning, Identity, is unique in its position. Spanning the history of labor and the future of work, Derek’s commentary and analysis made him a core voice in the conversation around work.

In his debut book Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction, Derek shows us why blockbuster success isn’t a matter of chance, but a fascinating intersection of power, network, science, art, and sheer brilliance—making some ideas disappear, and others explode. Since its release, Hit Makers has been hailed by critics as a “wonderful book … [filled with] solid research, ready wit, and catchy aphorisms” (USA Today) and “a fun, thought-provoking take on the strange turns of cultural fortune” (Publishers Weekly). To bestselling author Adam Alter, it’s “a bible for anyone who’s ever tried to promote practically anything, from products, people, and ideas, to books, songs, films, and TV shows.”

He is the recipient of several honors, including the 2016 Best in Business award for Columns and Commentary from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He’s a weekly contributor to NPR’s national afternoon news show “Here and Now” and a regular guest on CBS, the BBC, and MSNBC. He has also appeared on Inc and Forbes’ “30 Under 30” round-ups and Time magazine’s “140 Best Twitter Feeds.”


Derek was a dream to work with. He brought such energy to the Summit stage and shared a sincere interest in the work we do—he even came to the reception!

Oregon Business Council

Derek was great! Reviews on his presentation were outstanding and he was a pleasure to work with.

Great American Media Services

Speech Topics

ChatGPT and Generative AI
"This Thing Is Larval"The Unfathomable Potential of ChatGPT and Generative AI

“When we look at generative AI, what are we actually looking at?” asks Derek Thompson. A bestselling author and staff writer at The Atlantic, Derek argues that although we may think we know what ChatGPT is, its full potential is so huge that we can’t even begin to grasp it yet. He draws on examples from history—the steam engine, the lightbulb, the Promethean rise of fire as a tool—to show how this technology will revolutionize how we play and work in ways that we can’t foresee.

Derek’s sharp eye and years of covering technology let him cut through the hype to offer a look at the reality and mind-expanding implications of this technology. For instance, he points out that although many of us are just using generative AI as a toy that can help us make art or music, its potential for play will also dramatically alter the way we work. With his signature curiosity and engaging style, Derek helps us understand the beginning stages of generative AI that we’re in right now, giving us a sense of where we’re going and what the future of AI may look like. “This thing is larval,” he says. “And it might become anything.”

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Consumer Behavior
Hit MakersThe Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

Why do things become popular? Why do certain songs, apps, games, films, and cultural figures rise to blockbuster-levels of prominence, while others wither in obscurity? If you think the answer’s simple, think again—and start listening. In this absorbing keynote—based on his instant national bestseller Hit Makers—Derek Thompson reveals, for the first time, the complex blend of psychology, marketing, and economics that makes major hits take off.

This keynote is customizable to your industry—any industry. Derek shatters myths about quality and taste, reveals crucial insights into networks and audience, and traces popularity from our deepest human needs to the savviest of today’s media manipulators. With great energy and a fine sense of humor, Derek offers ideas you can use now to not only make great, lasting products, but products people hear about. Attention is our most valuable commodity—so don’t pass up his indispensable take on what we like, why we like it, and how culture actually happens.

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Politics & Society
Politics as EntertainmentHow American Politics Became a Surreal Reality Show

In his prescient, national bestselling book Hit Makers, Derek Thomson predicted that the future of politics would be entertainment. Ever since then politics has become more and more like reality TV. With politician-obsessed media and media-obsessed politicians, the political realm seems to take after Hollywood and the world of entertainment. With the same clear-eyed insight that defined Hit Makers, Derek can show us how we got ourselves into this situation, and how we can still get ourselves out—back to a political system where our representatives forefront our best interests.

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