Award-winning Journalist and columnist
Best-selling Author of The Hospital and other books
Brian expertly unearths the untold stories of America’s issues. His most recent work, The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town, follows the struggle for survival of one small-town hospital, and the patients who walk, or are carried, through its doors. Alexander argues that no plan will solve America’s health crisis until the deeper causes of that crisis are addressed.
Brian Alexander has written for many magazines and newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Science, Outside, Glamour, and Esquire. He was a contributing editor at Wired, covering biotechnology. Brian is currently a regular contributor to The Atlantic.
He is the author of several books, including The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town (2021), and Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town (2017) — both of which won the Ohioana Book Award.
Exclusively represented by BrightSight Speakers bureau, Brian was a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and has been recognized by the John Bartlow Martin Award for public interest journalism administered by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town
Underlying forces within the American economy and society have led to a crisis for America’s rural and small community hospitals. Hundreds are in danger of closing their doors. This was true before the pandemic and it’s true now. But the pandemic vividly displayed how the social and economic inequity endemic in the United States has led to declining health and longevity for both hospitals and their patients.
Americans are faced with two parallel economies, one the “normal” economy, and one the “healthcare economy.” Both are dysfunctional in different ways. The healthcare economy, the largest segment of the American economy, is rapidly consolidating. Wall Street financiers, like private equity funds, are buying up its pieces, from emergency room staffing, to private medical practices. Big hospitals and “health systems” are becoming diversified businesses determined to increase profit margins (even if the hospitals are officially “non-profit”).
But all this movement has left deep fractures exposed by the pandemic and increased interest in moving to a national health system. This will be a big part of the political battles to come.
How America Lost Its Community Mojo
What makes a community? Whether we're talking about a small town, a state, a nation, or the world, "community" implies a set of shared values, what we often call "the social contract." But America's social contract has been severely damaged by a number of forces acting over the past generation and a half. For his book, Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town, Brian Alexander took a deep dive into the story of one small Midwest community, an avatar for many American towns. In this presentation, Brian informs listeners about the history of Lancaster, Ohio, the rise of the post New Deal Town, and how the post-1980 change in American values created such distress in the "all-American town." His audience will learn about government policies, financial practices, and corporate dealing that actually encourage destruction of communities.
How Capitalism Was Saved (And May be Saved Again)
Capitalism is in a crisis. Many people have come to believe that it no longer works for them. This loss of faith has already had serious repercussions, as the 2016 election proved, and as populist revolts around the western world continue to demonstrate. So what happened? And how can faith be restored? Brian Alexander will walk his audience through some little known history of the evolution of American capitalism and business, showing with vivid examples how abuses led to regulations and reforms that helped create the most prosperous era in the history of any nation. Then he will argue for a return to common sense regulation, a new New Deal that, contrary to fears, could actually save capitalism from its worst excesses.
Addiction in the Heartland
Tales from addicts and dealers, treatment and punishment. Over 50,000 Americans are likely to die from overdoses this year, most of them from ODs of heroin, prescription opiates and exotic synthetics like fentanyl. Opiate addiction and death has become a national epidemic, but is especially prevalent in areas hard-hit by economic disruption. How did the pharmaceutical industry help create the epidemic? How might that same industry cash in on it now? What do addicts say about how they became addicts and what reasons do they give? Most importantly, what do about this scourge? Brian Alexander spent months with both addicts and dealers. The current U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has advocated a return to the ways of the 1990s drug wars. Brian argues that there's a better way.
The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town
An intimate, heart wrenching portrait of one small hospital that reveals the magnitude of America’s health care crises.
By following the struggle for survival of one small-town hospital, and the patients who walk, or are carried, through its doors, The Hospital takes readers into the world of the American medical industry in a way no book has done before. Americans are dying sooner, and living in poorer health. Alexander argues that no plan will solve America’s health crisis until the deeper causes of that crisis are addressed.
Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town
The Wall Street Journal: "A devastating portrait...For anyone wondering why swing-state America voted against the establishment in 2016, Mr. Alexander supplies plenty of answers."
The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction
Drawing on real human stories and research from labs around the world, The Chemistry Between Us is a bold attempt to create a "grand unified theory" of love.
America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction'
Gonzo journalism at its funniest and kinkiest, America Unzipped is a fascinating cultural study.
Rapture: A Raucous Tour Of Cloning, Transhumanism, And And The New Era Of Immortality
Brian Alexander takes readers into the surprising stories behind cloning, stem cells, miracle drugs, and genetic engineering.