Contact Us

WWSG Exclusive

Jennifer Burns

Associate Professor of History at Stanford University, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Author of Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right

One of the nation’s leading historians, Jennifer Burns offers unique insights into the history of ideas in politics, economic policy making, and the conservative movement. Jennifer is a seasoned teacher with a knack for making complex ideas understandable, and her talks will take you back to your favorite college class. At once entertaining and educating her audiences, she covers foundational issues of American political debate through profiles of the country’s most famous thinkers, giving listeners new perspectives on perennial questions about capitalism, markets, and government. Professor Burns’ latest book, Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative was just awarded one of the Best Books of 2023 as chosen by The Economist.

Check Availability

Fee Range: Inquire for Details

Featured Videos

Speech Topics

Is capitalism ethical? This question has been debated for centuries and remains relevant today. Capitalism is the dominant economic system in the world. Examining its ethical implications helps us understand its effect on individuals, communities, and the environment. This opens the door for informed conversations about its benefits and drawbacks. In this discussion, Burns poses the age-old question and challenges audience members to contemplate their values in relation to today’s shifting financial climate.

Jennifer Burns introduces historical perspective through her expertise of Ayn Rand, who advanced a new and deeply influential defense of capitalism on ethical grounds. Drawing on her exclusive research, Burns traces the remarkable life of this writer who fled Soviet Russia and emerged as one of America’s most famous—and hated—public intellectuals. Burns explains how Rand’s legacy shaped libertarians and the conservative movement across the twentieth century and into the present. Audiences will leave with a fresh perspective on this perseverant and important question.

The return of inflation to the United States after decades of stable prices has stirred new interest in the nation’s foremost thinker on inflation: the Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman. As the author of Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative, Jennifer Burns is the leading expert on his theories and achievements.

Nearly twenty years after his death, Burns’ insight gives audiences a new perspective on today’s inflation debate by tracing the history of ideas and economic policy making. Jennifer Burns also covers critical episodes in the nation’s financial history that illustrate the potential problems and repercussions we face today. Audiences leave this talk enlightened with a deeper understanding of inflation and domestic economics through the historical lens that Jennifer Burns so succinctly provides.

Milton Friedman, a Nobel prize winning economist, said “A society that puts equality…ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.” Tracing the history of his ideas and economic policy making, Jennifer Burns covers critical episodes in the nation’s financial history through the lens of Friedman’s ideas and life.

Friedman was famous for arguing that capitalism and freedom went together, asserting that the spread of capitalism around the world would lead to political openness and democracy. This optimistic vision, first articulated at the height of the Cold War, became widely influential in the 1980s and 1990s. It shaped both domestic politics within the United States and the broad “Washington consensus” that guided development policy across the world.

Less well-known is the story of how Friedman’s ideas on the relationship between economic and political freedom evolved as he traveled outside the United States and watched globalization unfold in the last years of his life.

Drawing on research from her biography of Friedman, Burns revisits this iconic debate. How did Friedman understand the tensions between free markets and democracy? Nearly twenty years after his death, why have these questions re-emerged? In an era of renewed challenge to liberal democracy, what remains of Friedman’s vision and his longstanding influence on the political right?


Jennifer Burns is an Associate Professor of History at Stanford University and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is the author of Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative, the first full biography of America’s most renowned economist. Milton Friedman was named one of The New York Times’s 33 Nonfiction Books to Read This Fall, a most anticipated fall book by the Chicago Tribune and Bloomberg, and a best book of 2023 by Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution blog. It was hailed by NPR as “more than a biography of one controversial person, it’s an intellectual history of twentieth century economic thought,” while Project Syndicate called it “a tour of the broader debate about capitalism.”

She is also the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, the first biography of the iconic author based upon exclusive access to her personal papers. Goddess of the Market was named a Bloomberg News 2009 Top Nonfiction Book.

Burns has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times. She has been interviewed by NPR’s Marketplace, CNN’s book TV, and the EconTalk podcast, and was a featured guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

In addition to numerous talks at colleges and universities, she has spoken to leading financial firms, done historical briefings for policymakers, and keynoted at Hoover’s annual Monetary Policy Conference. Prior to teaching at Stanford, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia. She holds an M.A. and PhD. in American History from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a graduate of Harvard College.


The WWSG team are super responsive and flexible. I will definitely work with them again to find speakers for my next event.

Delia Setiawan, Ernst & Young LLP


Thanks again for all your help. Your entire team there is truly stellar.

Vice President of Communications; American Property Casualty Insurance Association


We always enjoy working with WWSG, and we thank you and your team for your diligence, thoroughness, and professionalism. Planning is already underway for next year's event (no rest for the weary). We hope to have every opportunity to work with you again in the near future.

David R. Cape, EVP of Business Development at Texas American Resources Company


The team at WWSG is certainly at the top of the scale. Building a long-term relationship with the client has really set WWSG apart and we clearly saw that with our partnership. WWSG found creative ways to build the partnership which results in a win-win for all.

Erik Qualman, Top Technology and Motivational Speaker, #1 Bestselling Author & Futurist


Everything was buttoned up, from the initial outreach to the event execution and post follow-up. I have a great team of representatives from WWSG to work with, first class experience.

Raylene Wetzel, American Century Investments


“After 20 years in the lecture series business, WWSG has become a valued partner. We produce over 24 speaking events a year and have worked with dozens of agencies. We appreciate WWSG’s unparalleled professionalism, integrity, and creativity in suggesting speakers that are unique to the speaker circuit."

Sue Swan, Co-Founder of The Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California


I hope to work again and again with Worldwide Speakers Group on the selection of our keynote and endnote speakers for our annual conference and other events. Our representative and her associate were terrific from my first communication to them until our speaking-event concluded... It is easy to see why many of the top speakers in the country work with Worldwide Speakers Group.

Gina Cohen, Chief Marketing Officer & Vice President of Communications for The National Recreation and Park Association


They provide us well-prepared and informed speakers who understand our expectations and unique format. With WWSG, we know that the speaker fees are fair and trust that the event will be a success.

Sue Swan, Co-Founder of The Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California


The consistent professionalism and quality for the way Worldwide Speakers Group handles events shows that they think of each detail and every contingency beforehand.

Newt Gingrich, Distinguished Leader, Visionary, & Political Vanguard; 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate; Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (1995-1999); Best-Selling Author


All timing and logistics were seamless, and the client was super engaged and thankful. I’m happy to report that we have another WIN for WWSG! Let’s build on the momentum together!

Josh Linkner, Five-Time Tech Entrepreneur, Hyper-Growth CEO, Two-Time NY Times Bestselling Author, Venture Capitalist, and Keynote Speaker

Speaker Resources

Speaker News

Check Availability

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Subscribe to the WWSG newsletter.

Check Availability

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Speaker List
Share My List