Richard Munson


Richard Munson is writing a biography of Benjamin Franklin as a scientist, to be released in November 2024 by W.W. Norton. I’m also working on a book about utility scandals, suggesting the rise of racketeering and bribery is a major obstacle to clean energy.

My most recent book was Tech to Table: 25 Innovators Reimagining Food, which profiles entrepreneurs changing how we farm and what we eat, driving solutions to the biggest problems created by industrialized food. My previous book, Tesla: Inventor of the Modern, reveals the man who transformed our world with electric motors, radio, robots, and remote control; the biography has been translated into about a dozen languages. Other publications: From Edison to Enron recounts the history of electricity, Cardinals of Capitol Hill traces the machinations of congressional appropriators who control government spending, and Cousteau: The Captain and His World examines the ocean explorer and filmmaker. Reviews of these and other books can be found at www​.richard​mun​son​.com or on Twitter at @dickmunson.

Munson has worked on clean energy and environmental issues for non-profits, in the private sector, at universities, and on Capitol Hill. He most recently was senior director of the Environmental Defense Fund, where he advanced smart power in the Midwest. He has been senior vice president at Recycled Energy Development (RED), a Chicago-based start-up firm that sought to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by capturing waste energy. In Washington, D.C., he coordinated the Northeast-Midwest Institute and Congressional and Senate Coalitions, bipartisan caucuses that conduct policy research and draft legislation on brownfields redevelopment, energy, environmental, water quality, and manufacturing issues. He also has been a coordinator of Sun Day, Solar Lobby, Environmental Action Foundation, and the University of Michigan’s Pilot Program. 

Munson has received public-service awards from Smart Grid Today, Great Lakes Commission, U.S. Clean Heat and Power Association, and American Small Manufacturers Coalition. He now sits on the boards of the Hinsdale Public Library and Greenleaf Advisors. He’s an emeritus director of Elevate, Illinois Environmental Council, Center for Neighborhood Technology, and Institute for Health Policy Solutions.

Munson is available for interviews via Skolay and his book picks are on Shepherd.