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    About James Flanigan

    James Flanigan

    James Flanigan, business columnist for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other publications, has covered national and international business and economics for 46 years. He has focused on every aspect of business and finance and examined in major articles the economies of countries stretching from Europe to Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa... cont. »

    Appearance Schedule

    November 23, 2010
    @ 11:30 AM
    Physicians Well Being Luncheon
    Torrance, CA

    More dates coming soon...

    Speaking Engagements

    James Flanigan is available for interviews, book signings, and speaking engagements. Please contact Mr. Flanigan for more information.

James Flanigan's new book now available

Author makes grieving a preparation for living

By Dolores R. Leckey
Published by St. Anthony Messenger Press, $11.95

This book is different from many accounts of grieving and remembrance after the loss of a loved one, yet Grieving With Grace, subtitled “A Woman’s Perspective” asks and answers the really big questions that the widowed often have.

Read it here.

Transcript of 4th of July Speech

My subject on this Independence Day morning is the schools, our public schools. The history of the 233 years and more of the United States of America can be seen in many critical ways in the history of our public schools.

In the beginning, not surprisingly, Thomas Jefferson had a grand plan. It was for a comprehensive American school system. It was to guarantee mass literacy for all citizens—although admittedly only white citizens. Second, also it was to guarantee that all children, whatever their background, could get higher education so as to ascend to leadership for the new country.


James Flanigan Interviewed by MuniNetGuide

“MuniNetGuide recently turned to James Flanigan, seasoned journalist and author of Smile Southern California, You’re the Center of the Universe: The Economy and People of a Global Region (Stanford General Books), who shared his insights on the economic volatility of the region.”

Read the interview here.

Smile Southern California Featured on the

“Los Angeles, a city brimming with immigrants, may hold many lessons on diversity and tolerance for the rest of the United States. In an excerpt from his book, “Smile Southern California, You’re the Center of the Universe,” James Flanigan explains what makes this region so unique.”   Read about it here. 

Webcast of 3/24/09 Milken Institute Event

milken-instituteJames Flanigan appeared at the Milken Institute on March 24, 2009, to speak about why Southern California remains one of the most economically vital and innovative regions in the country. View a webcast replay of the event.

REVIEW: ‘Smile, Southern California, You’re the Center of the Universe’

By James Srodes
The Washington Times
March 1, 2009

Those who have read financial journalist James Flanigan over his 40-year career recognize his hallmark. It is an intense curiosity not just about what is happening, but why it happens that way, and what is likely to occur next.

As the title of “Smile, Southern California, You’re the Center of the Universe” suggests, Mr. Flanigan would have us believe that Southern California is what America is likely to become — perhaps even must become — as it evolves into a more interdependent yet still pre-eminent position in the global marketplace. This is not local boosterism gone wild. Mr. Flanigan’s career as a financial journalist and columnist for Forbes, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times has taken him into executive suites all over the world.

A first reaction might be that this is a book that has been overtaken by events. Between the time the author did his interviews and research and Stanford University got around to printing the book, California has been stricken by the same economic catastrophe that has swamped the world and its most visible giants in the high-tech, entertainment and finance sectors have been badly wounded. At the moment, the state itself now has the lowest credit rating among the 50 states because its governor and legislature are deadlocked in a struggle over impending budget deficits. If Standard and Poor’s ranks California no better than Louisiana as a credit prospect, then why bother with the place at all? (more…)

Smile Southern California, You’re the Center of the Universe

bookcoverThirty-five years ago, a billboard announced to the world: “Smile Los Angeles! You’re the Center of the Universe.” Hyperbolic at the time, today, this exaggeration comes close to reality. While Southern California is not at the literal center of the universe, it is nevertheless an eye-popping illustration of our globalizing world.

Over the course of forty years of reporting, author James Flanigan has written about Southern California for such publications as Forbes and the New York Times. In Smile Southern California!, Flanigan provocatively distills his experiences with and knowledge of the region, arguing that Southern California is an economic model for the United States and the world. With clarity and precision, Flanigan examines numerous pillars of the region’s growth, including dynamic entrepreneurship; the rapid growth of international trade,; the harnessing and development of new technologies; and the evolution of the entertainment industry. He assesses the achievements of the region’s people, businesses, and institutions. The text highlights the influx of immigrants to Southern California, and discusses these people’s role in building local businesses and bringing capital to the region. Flanigan concludes the book by looking past the boundaries of today and into to the economic opportunities and challenges of tomorrow–for Southern California and America.

Throughout the book, Flanigan weaves in numerous interviews that bring to life the economic forces that he describes. Most valuable are the stories that he shares of businesspeople–well and less known–who demonstrate where our economy stands and where it is heading.

Smile Southern California! delivers more than a “pat on the back” for the inhabitants of Los Angeles and its environs; it offers an insider’s view on Southern California, valuable insights for readers with an eye on the economy, and an exciting story full of real people and triumphs to boot!

Reviews of James Flanigan’s ‘Smile Southern California’

“Thanks to this lively investigation by one of the nations most highly regarded business reporters, we can better understand how off-shore investment, technology, decentralization, can-do entrepreneurialism and sheer panache have created one of the strongest economies on the planet as well as a working model for American competition in a global age.” –Kevin Starr, University of

“Few experts understand Southern California’s dynamism better than Jim Flanigan. He’s poured all that understanding into this book and given us a great read about one of the world’s most important economies.” –Michael Milken, Chairman, The Milken Institute

“The author is a recognized journalistic authority on the topic. This study offers a refreshing view of Southern California, painting biographical narratives on a background canvas of important economic data.” –William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (more…)

‘Slumdog’ for Today…

slumdog_posterI was thinking that the big Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire” is the perfect picture to speak to this terrible time in the world economy not only because it recalls the Busby Berkeley musicals that cheered gloomy masses in the 1930s Depression, but because it exemplifies the energy and ambition of India and other developing countries today. It reflects the strongest global trend of our times, economic and social development.

Of course energy and ambition, not to mention economic development, are on hold right now. And one may hear doubts that the poor–and the rich–economies can recover economic growth anytime soon. But I believe otherwise. The vast societies of India and China and others that have been arduously trying to create better living standards in recent decades will take a beating for a time but they won’t cease or deny their dreams. They are not about to say “Oh, a better life was but an illusion and we must now return to the hard realities of centuries.” No, not at all. Rather, they will endure hardships as they have for generations but continue with risen hope because they see the promise of the new economies. They see how advances of technology, from the coming of computers and the Internet to modern medicine and bioscience, have made even their lives better. (more…) © 2009 | Entries (RSS)

Order James Flanigan’s recently released book “Smile Southern California, You’re the Center of the Universe” at, Borders, Barnes & Noble and other fine booksellers.