Jim Holt

Jim Holt

Formal First Name
1954 - present

Jim Holt is a prominent philosopher, author, and essayist, who has written on string theory, time, infinity, numbers, humor, logic, and the truth, among other topics. Jim has contributed to The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The American Scholar, and Slate. His book Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for general nonfiction and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review. In 1997, he was editor of The New Leader, a political magazine. Jim is now at work on a book about free will, weakness of will, self-knowledge and happiness.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • Finalist "Why Does the World Exist?", 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award

  • "Why Does the World Exist?", Best Books of 2012, The Philosophers Magazine


  • When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought (2018)

  • Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story (2012)

  • Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes (2008)


  • Jim hosted a weekly radio spot on BBC Wales called "Living in America, with Jim Holt" for 10 years.

  • He has appeared on William F. Buckley's Firing Line, NBC News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, and had a brief appearance in an episode of Billy on the Street.