Andersen was born in Omaha, and is a graduate of Westside High School. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1976, where he served as an editor on the Harvard Lampoon. In 1986, he co-founded Spy magazine with E. Graydon Carter. They sold Spy in 1991 (it died in 1998).
He began his career in journalism at Time, where during the 1980s he was an award-winning writer on politics and criminal justice before becoming, for eight years, the magazine’s architecture and design critic.
Andersen is host and co-creator of Studio 360, the cultural magazine show produced by Public Radio International and WNYC. It is broadcast on 217 stations and distributed by podcast to almost 1 million listeners each week. The show won Peabody Awards for broadcast excellence in both 2005 and 2013.
From 2001 through 2004 he served as a creative consultant to Universal Television, co-creating the Trio channel and helping to shape Universal’s other cable programming.
From 2007 to 2009 he was editor-at-large for Random House, responsible for finding, conceiving, and overseeing non-fiction books. He has been a writer and columnist for New York ("The Imperial City"), The New Yorker ("The Culture Industry"), and Time ("Spectator"). He was fired from New York in 1996 for refusing to kill a banking story that upset a publishing executive. He was also architecture and design critic for Time for nine years. His weighty novels, especially Heyday (2007) and True Believer (2013) have received stellar reviews.
Pound was raised in Lincoln in a lively intellectual environment, his father was Lincoln's most prominent lawyer, his mother a former school teacher who had come to favor what is now called "home schooling" and who shocked her up-scale neighbors by installing a chalk board on the wall in her living room. Pound Middle School in Lincoln is named not for Roscoe, who would serve as Dean of Harvard Law School for two decades, nor for the great linguistics scholar and sportswoman, his sister Louise Pound, or for their third sibling, Olivia Pound, an influential local teacher, but for the family as a whole.
In his undergraduate years at the University of Nebraska, Pound joined the lively circle of botanists around Charles E. Bessey, and after graduating in 1888, he began graduate study in botany and became Bessey's assistant. In 1889 he left to spend a year at Harvard Law School, but returning he rejoined the Sem Bot, the extracurricular professional and social seminar of botanists that surrounded Bessey. With his close friend Frederic Clements, Pound published the second edition of their Phytogeography of Nebraska in 1900. The book showcased the transformation of the study of plant distribution from a kind of floristic tourism to a real science. Pound and Clements were now pulling Bessey, who had called ecology a "fad" in 1899, toward a realization of its possibilities. (see the book by Tobey, cited below)
Pound was now earning his living working locally as a lawyer. He took the bar exam, and by 1893 became a partner with Lionel Burr in Lincoln. He would soon be one of the state's most influential practitioners of corporate law. He would be a solo practitioner for a time, and then worked in the firm of Hall, Woods, and Pound.
Pound was elected Dean of the Nebraska College of Law in 1903. In 1906 he was asked to give the principal address at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in St. Paul, MN. His speech "The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice" offered a harsh attack on outdated formalisms, failures to weigh equity, and the "yoke of commercialism" in the law. He was urging a jurisprudence that could weigh concerns of public policy in new ways. The speech offended convention in a very conventional setting. He was condemned in the discussion that followed his speech, though apparently some of his listeners privately took a much more positive view of what he had said, they did not then rise to defend him.
The reputation Pound gained at that moment, among more socially concerned lawyers, and energies of the moment, including the momentary shock of seeming to be without allies, prodded Pound to seek wider horizons. He would move from Nebraska to the law faculty at Northwestern, and then to the Harvard Law School. He would find many friends along the way, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. His biographer David Wigdor cites his admiration for the social justice views of Lewis Brandeis. Combining in a characteristic way a certain pragmatism about what it is that lawyers do with certain public policy considerations, Powell came to be called the founder of the American school of "sociological jurisprudence." He is much discussed in histories of American law, and he was very influential. He was sometimes also called "the Blackstone of U.S. law."
See: Ronald C. Tobey, Saving the Prairies: The Life Cycle of the Founding School of American Plant Ecology, 1895-1955, 1981.
David Wigdor, Roscoe Pound: Philosopher of Law, 1974.
A Lawyer's Books: Selections from the Roscoe Pound Library. Catalog of an exhibition at the Harvard Law School, June 1-30, 1986.
Peterson was born and raised in Kearney, NE, where his Greek immigrant father ran a 24-hour diner. He attended MIT, but got his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. He led a storied business career. He served as an executive vice-president, and later as Chairman and CEO of Bell and Howell Corporation. He served briefly as Secretary of Commerce in the Nixon Administration. Later, he served as Chairman and CEO of Lehmann Brothers investment bank. He was a co-founder of the Blackstone Group, a private equity and investment management firm that is sometimes termed a hedge fund. In 2008 his net worth was estimated at 2.8 billion dollars.
He has served in a number of government advisory positions and on government commissions that have examined economic and fiscal issues. As a co-founder of the Concord Coalition (1992) and founder of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Peterson has been a leading advocate of the policies of low taxation for the wealthy, strict austerity in government spending, and low labor costs. Through the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Peterson has played a leading role in funding advocacy for those "neo-liberal" policies within the United States.
Peterson has written memoirs and works on public policy that explore the connections between his views and his experiences. His third wife is Joan Ganz Cooney, founder and chairman of the executive committee of the Children's Television Workshop.