On the Power of Inquiry with Legendary Investigative Reporter Bob Woodward

September 13, 2018

 GSA Ink | Contributed by CEO, Theresa Beenken

Legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward’s newest book Fear, Trump in the White House debuts at #1 on Amazon’s Charts and is set to make its mark on the NY Times bestseller list. In less than a week it has already become one of the top-selling books of the year. 

A few members of our team had the privilege to meet Bob this spring in Boston and hear first-hand his experiences as Woodward-Bernstein investigating Nixon/Watergate and his thoughts on the need for improved strategic thinking for the Trump administration. 

As someone passionate about Encouraging Curiosity, I was especially keen to hear him speak about the importance of us all being ‘wise consumers of news’.

For those interested in uncovering truths & connecting with people, Woodward offers insights into the power of inquiry:

1. ‘Be on the surface respectful but never stop the inquiry, and strive to find the best obtainable version of the truth. Go verify.’

2. ‘To get to the bottom of things – that takes time.’ The media and the news moves so fast in today’s era. Woodward espouses the importance of taking time.

3. Consider the power source connection: “Great stories have to do with power: How are people using power? Abusing power?”

4. ‘Follow the things that are concrete.’ He speaks too of the importance of documentation; acquiring documents and documenting your own research. Listen to people with firsthand knowledge. “Look at the written record, look at the paper trail, follow the money, follow the things that are concrete. You have to go through the checklist of procedures.”

5. Speak directly to those involved: Want to get people to talk with you? People will be more receptive if you explain the context of your investigation – here’s what I’m working on, here’s how I want to present the information, I also want to understand how you were involved.  Then ‘shut up and listen – let the silence suck out the truth. The approach is to talk to people, then go back, then go back again. Talk to more people. Get more questions.’  


As a keynote speaker – For audiences interested in current events, the law, politics, leadership, and critical thinking, Bob Woodward is sure to add a combination of prestige, accessibility and timely insights to your event. Not an opinion journalist, Bob’s investigative work draws on information from those inside the White House and is backed up with recordings, meeting notes, and official documents. His goal is to share the best obtainable version of the truth with audiences.

His presentation ‘The State of the American Presidency‘ provides a behind-the-scenes examination of what’s really going on and what it means for your organization. 


Interested in Bob’s work, but can’t bring him in as a speaker? 
Find a copy of his newest book, read this timeless article on his investigative techniques, take his MasterClass, or catch him on his media tour throughout North America including this in-depth interview with TODAY: