Arthur Brooks


“The best advocates are often converts. So it is with Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute.” – Mona Charen, columnist, political analyst and author


Arthur C. Brooks has been president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) since January 1, 2009. Previously, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. Throughout his career, Arthur has conducted research on the connections between culture, politics and economic life, and has published hundreds of articles and 10 books on subjects ranging from the economics of the arts to military operations research.

Similar to his areas of study, Arthur’s career path was varied and unconventional. Born in 1964, Arthur grew up in Seattle in a family less interested in free enterprise than in the arts. At age 19, he dropped out of college to pursue a career as a professional French hornist. Arthur performed with the Annapolis Brass Quintet, toured with famed jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd, and spent several years with the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In Barcelona in 1991, he married Ester Munt-Brooks.

In 1992, Arthur and Ester moved to the U.S., where Ester taught languages and Arthur returned to college at night while teaching music during the day. He studied economics, math and languages, eventually earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics and a Ph.D. in public policy. Over the course of his studies he became interested in the work of scholars Charles Murray, Michael Novak, James Q. Wilson, Irving Kristol, and Milton Friedman. (Arthur later learned that all of these scholars had one institution in common: The American Enterprise Institute.) Arthur became persuaded that free enterprise was the path to the best life for the most people, and left the music business to dedicate himself to studying this system.

After finishing his doctorate, Arthur spent 10 years as a university professor, teaching economics, nonprofit management, and social entrepreneurship. He published dozens of academic journal articles on technical topics, but also began to write frequently for the pages of the Wall Street Journal and other major popular publications. He also published the books Who Really Cares (which exposed the truth about who really gives to charity, and who doesn’t), Gross National Happiness, and the graduate business textbook Social Entrepreneurship.

At the end of 2008, he left academia to join AEI as the institution’s eleventh president. Since then, he has worked with AEI’s 60 scholars and 140 staff in the day-to-day fight for better policy based on the ideals of America’s Founders. He speaks widely on behalf of AEI and the free enterprise movement all around the United States and world, and continues to write books and articles. In June 2010 he published The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future, which former Vice President Dick Cheney called “the playbook for the resurgence of the free enterprise movement.”

Arthur and Ester currently reside in Bethesda, Maryland, with their three children Joaquin, Carlos, and Marina.