David McWilliams

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David McWilliams

“I’ve always thought what is complicated is rarely important and what is important is rarely complicated”

David McWilliams is an economist, author, journalist, documentary-maker and broadcaster. He is Adjunct Professor of Global Economics at the School of Business Trinity College Dublin. David is ranked 5th most influential economist in the world.


He has devoted his entire professional life to the objective of making economics as widely available and easily understandable on as many platforms and to as many people as possible –and is having a laugh doing it.

As a result, he co-founded the world’s only economics and stand-up comedy festival Kilkenomics – described by the FT as “simply, the best economics conference in the world”.


He also founded Ireland’s leading literary and ideas shindig, the Dalkey Book Festival. The WEF at Davos debased their currency profoundly by making him a Young Global Leader a few years back.


As well as writing a weekly economics column in the Irish Times, he is active on social media and was named Ireland’s “most influential Twitter user” in 2016. David uses new ways to explain our economic world for example Punk Economics and a new venture with the FT, Punk FT, deploy cartoons to make economics digestible for normal, non-nerdy, punters.


David has written four bestsellers The Pope's Children (Macmillan 2006) which became the bestselling nonfiction ever published in Ireland The Generation Game (Macmillan 2007),  Follow the Money, (Gill 2009) The Good Room (Penguin 2012)


His latest book Renaissance Nation: How The Pope’s Children Rewrote the Rules for Ireland was published by Gill in 2018. 

His writing style is described by Bloomberg’s head of economics Stephanie Flanders, as having “a great knack for bringing a complex economics story to life. He is also funny. In economics, that’s a rare and persuasive combination.”


Once upon a time, David had a few real jobs, working extensively in the public and private sectors. He was an economist in the International Relations Department of the Irish Central Bank; Chief European Economist at UBS, Europe’s largest bank; and Head of Emerging Markets Research at Banque Nationale de Paris.


Praise For The Pope’s Children


“A highly entertaining antidote to the usual gloom mongers of Ireland's opinion-mongers...a hedonistic story of success”

The Guardian


Praise for Follow the Money


“This is a vivid, witty and provocative book”

Richard Bruton, Irish Independent


Praise for The Good Room


McWilliams has a great knack for bringing a complex economics story to life. He is also funny. In economics, that's a rare and persuasive combination”

Stephanie Flanders, Irish Times


“A gifted and often courageous polemicist who has done more to popularize the debate about economics in Ireland than anyone else”

Irish Independent


“McWilliams makes a compelling argument for the need for a different approach to Irish and European economic management ... [A] realistic, pragmatic call for innovative policies that take account of proven economic theory”

Sunday Business Post


Rights Sold

The Pope's Children Macmillan (Ireland, UK and Commonwealth) which became the The Generation Game Macmillan (Ireland, UK and Commonwealth

Follow the Money, (Gill) (Ireland, UK and Commonwealth)

The Good Room (Penguin) (Ireland, UK and Commonwealth)

Renaissance Nation: How The Pope’s Children Rewrote the Rules for Ireland (Gill Ireland, UK and Commonwealth)