Dan Gardner is a journalist, author, and lecturer. And consultant. And an advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada.
Trained in law (LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, class of ’92) and history (M.A., York University, ’95), Dan first worked as a policy advisor to the Premier of Ontario. In 1997, he joined the Ottawa Citizen. In the years that followed, he travelled widely, researching long features about drugs, criminal justice, torture and other challenging issues. Later, he was a national affairs columnist until he left the newspaper in 2014. Dan’s writing at the Citizen won, or was nominated for, most major prizes in Canadian journalism, including the National Newspaper Award, the Michener Award, the Canadian Association of Journalists award, the Amnesty International Canada Media Award for reporting on human rights. In 2015, Dan was editor of Policy Options, Canada’s premier magazine of public policy, published by the Montreal-based Institute for Research in Public Policy.
In 2005, Dan attended a lecture by renowned psychologist Paul Slovic. It was a life-changing encounter. Fascinated by Slovic’s work, Dan immersed himself in the scientific literature. The result was a seminal book on risk perception, Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear. Published in 11 countries and 7 languages, leading researchers, including Slovic, praised the book’s scientific accuracy and lucid analysis of how psychology and social processes interact — causing us to fear what we should not and not fear what we should.
Dan’s second book, Future Babble, delved more deeply into psychology to explain why people continue to put so much stock in expert predictions despite the repeated — and sometimes catastrophic — failure of efforts to forecast the future. Again, Dan was delighted that his book garnered the praise of leading researchers, including Harvard’s Steven Pinker, who said it should be “required reading for journalists, politicians, academics, and those who listen to them.”
Both books resulted in invitations to give talks worldwide. Dan has lectured for Google, Siemens, Zurich Insurance, Khosla Ventures, major hedge funds and investment banks, and many more corporations and governments.
Finally, there is Superforecasting, co-written with Wharton psychologist Philip Tetlock, which examines the remarkable results of Tetlock’s latest research program. Superforecasting was released in late September, 2015, and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. It is published by Crown in the United States, Random House in the United Kingdom, and McClelland and Stewart in Canada. There will also be German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Dutch, Finnish, Hebrew, Czech, Romanian, Polish, and Vietnamese editions.
In February, 2016, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that “Dan has accepted an offer to work with the Prime Minister’s Office. His work will focus on advising the prime minister and his senior staff on analyzing complex information to arrive at better decisions. In other words, Dan is being asked to put the methodology described in his book, Superforecasting, to work for PMO.”