Wade Davis is an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. Named by National Geographic as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet, and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” Davis’s work as an anthropologist and botanical explorer has taken him throughout the world from the forests of the Amazon to the mountains of Tibet, from the high Arctic to the deserts of Africa, from Polynesia to the grasslands of Mongolia. Widely recognized as one of the most compelling storytellers of our time, his presentations, illustrated by his exquisite photographs, are a wild and moving celebration of the wonder of the human spirit, as expressed by the myriad of cultures he has encountered in a lifetime of travel, exploration, and ethnographic research.
Davis is the author of 17 bestselling books including The Serpent and the Rainbow, which was later released as a feature film, and Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest, which won the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize, the top literary award for nonfiction in the English language. Davis has written for National Geographic, Newsweek, Outside, Harpers, Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail, and many other international publications.
His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight hour documentary series produced and written for National Geographic, Grand Canyon Adventure (IMAX 3D), and Earthguide, a 13part series on the environment produced and written for Discovery. As a photographer Davis has curated several major exhibits including “The Lost Amazon,” Museum of Natural History Smithsonian, and “No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World,” Annenberg Space for Photography. His own work has been widely published and exhibited.
A professional speaker for 25 years, Davis has lectured at more than 200 universities and captivated corporate clients such as Microsoft, Shell, Fidelity, Bayer, BristolMyers, Hallmark, Bank of Nova Scotia, MacKenzie Financials, and many others. His many TED talks have been seen by millions of viewers. In 2009 he delivered the Massey Lectures, Canada’s most prestigious public intellectual forum.
Davis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society; the Explorer’s Medal (the highest award of the Explorer’s Club); The Lowell Thomas Medal; the David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration (the most prestigious award for botanical exploration), and the $125,000 Lannan Foundation Prize for Nonfiction.
Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world’s indigenous cultures.
In a monumental work of history and adventure, ten years in the writing, Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept on climbing on that fateful day.