Professor, podcaster, author, public speaker, and unapologetic lover of a graph, Scott Galloway is a man on a mission to educate and elucidate the world of business to his listeners, and to confront the big power corporates with his straight talking and prodigiously informed commentary on the world as he sees it.
I first came across Scott by watching — and many times rewatching — his talk accompanying his second book ’The Algebra of Happiness’ in 2019, moving on to follow his takes on life strategies via Prof G Media newsletters, pundit appearances on CNN and Bill Maher, and his regular podcasts ‘The Prof G Pod‘ and ‘Pivot’, alongside journalist Kara Swisher. A self-described introvert, he contradicts with a confident and thought-provoking public persona, owning up to accountability whenever he’s called out, and with his own brand of self-deprecating and occasionally profane humor.
Raised by a single mother in Los Angeles, with a crystal clear intention to support his family, Scott, in possession of a vigorous intellect and an equally impressive work ethic, carved a journey from UCLA graduate via Berkeley to Wall Street analyst, company founder, investor, board member, broadcaster, and professor at New York University’s prestigious Stern School of Business.
Labeled the ‘Howard Stern of the business world’ by The New York Times, he manages to make big tech and money talk sound sexy, and excels in sharing his expertise with us laymen without patronizing or preaching. Amidst the data and dollar signs, he somehow also reveals his own vulnerabilities, talking openly and emotionally about the problems young men face today. He is provocative and confrontational but, unusually for a pundit, it seems not so much for the sake of attention, but to elicit important talking points and initiate progressive conversation.
He is scrutinized by analysts when sharing his stock market predictions on ‘Pivot’, another reason us regular human beings are so mindful of his considered perspective, a key insider sharing valued secrets. Part philosopher, part political agitator, he is not scared to publicly call out power (see his Twitter wars with tech founders such as Elon Musk and Adam Neumann) and can be relied on to consistently speak his truth.
Although his successes have now comfortably positioned him within the wealthier classes — he is a prosperous and bona fide golden ticket holder of the American dream — Scott has retained the swagger and punk attitude to not rest on his laurels and sail into the sunset of smug academic accomplishment. On the contrary, he is zealous in his commitment to share his encyclopedic knowledge of all things finance, and to expose where necessary the capitalistic system which he is so thankful for, thus lending a hand to the everyman with aspirational dreams as a thought leader and co-conspirator.
Here, as he releases his latest book ‘Adrift: America in 100 Charts’, he is the latest subject of our ‘Who the F*** Are You?’ profile.
Who the f*** are you?
Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern. I’m an author, podcaster and help raise two boys.
How are you feeling right now?
A little hungover, went out with college friends last night.
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in Westwood, raised by a single mother who lived/died a secretary. My childhood was remarkably unremarkable. Nothing that bad, nothing that good — except for mom who was the light of my life.
What excites you?
I get excited when I’m about to see my boys (I travel a lot), and when people respond positively to my content. I’m desperate for other people’s affirmation, and a bit of a narcissist so the feedback is (too) rewarding for me.
What scares you?
That I’m “found out.” Very real impostor syndrome, think people believe I’m more impressive, and a better person than I really am.
What is your proudest achievement?
My boys (they’re lovely) and election to the faculty at NYU Stern — have taught 5,500+ students over the last 20 years.
What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
Achieve economic security, it was such a grind…for so long.
Who was your greatest mentor, and what did they teach you?
I’ve had several. I don’t make any decision of importance without speaking to several people and getting their feedback.
Who are your fictional and real-life heroes?
Muhammad Ali, Madeline Albright, Aswath Damodaran (great teacher/colleague). People who demonstrate excellence, are fearless and patriotic.
What is your favorite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
What music did you love aged 13, and do you still love it now?
Tom Petty then/now/always.
What is the most inspiring book you have ever read?
John Irving novels had a big impact on me. My mother and I read them together when I was in high school. Gave me a sense for how strange and wonderful people and the world are. I’d like to think they made me less prone to judgment.
What is a movie that left a lasting impression on you?
‘The English Patient’. So much of what happens to us, good or bad, is not our fault.
What is your favorite word or saying?
Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems.
What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
Generous, father, citizen.
And finally, a quickfire five favorites …
Learn more about Scott and his books, shows, and talks on his website.