Bio

Photo by Fred Brathwaite

ZACK O’MALLEY GREENBURG is a senior editor at Forbes, where he covers the business of music & entertainment in his column, The Beat Report. His first book, a Jay-Z biography called Empire State of Mindwas published by Penguin’s Portfolio imprint in 2011. His second book, a business-focused biography of Michael Jackson, will be published by Simon & Schuster on June 3rd, 2014.

Zack has been writing professionally since the age of 14, when he landed a gig reviewing video games for Boys’ Life magazine. A former child actor, he played the title role in the film Lorenzo’s Oil alongside Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon. He retired early to pursue his dream of winning a middle school intramural baseball championship before starting his writing career.

Zack’s first taste of the music business came at Yale, where he majored in American Studies with a concentration in Urban Studies. When he wasn’t busy booking gigs and singing for pop/rock a cappella group Out of the Blue, he profiled artists ranging from Gunther to the Goo Goo Dolls for the Yale Daily News. During his sophomore year, he saw a flyer for an internship at Forbes posted in the newspaper’s offices; he joined the magazine that summer and continued to freelance as a student at Yale.

Two weeks after graduation, Zack joined Forbes as a full-time reporter and has since written over 500 articles for Forbes, Forbes Asia and Forbes.com. His stories on music, business, travel and sports have taken him from the back rooms of New York’s Apollo Theater to the rail yards of Omaha to the diamond mines of Sierra Leone–and, most terrifying of all, the bleachers of Fenway Park.

Along the way, Zack has interviewed luminaries from all walks of life–including Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, 50 CentAkon, Russell SimmonsSteve WozniakJustin BieberTimbalandAfrika BambaataaMac Miller, Richard Branson, T.I., Wiz KhalifaDr. RuthSwizz Beatz, Lil Jon, Fab 5 FreddyMr. T, Skrillex, Ludacris and Bill Gates (sort of) – as well as a host of non-famous mutual fund managers, musicians, CEOs and billionaires. He also helped arrange a ukulele duet between Jon Bon Jovi and Warren Buffett.

Zack’s first book, a unauthorized, business-focused biography of Jay-Z titled Empire State of Mind, was published by Penguin/Portfolio in March 2011 and is now on its third printing (more info on the book here). Though Jay-Z told Zack that the book was “horrible,” a lot of other people seem to have liked it–including hip-hop pioneer Fab Five Freddy, rap historians Dan Charnas and Jeff Chang, and Zack’s boss’s boss’s boss, Steve Forbes, who wrote the foreword to the book’s paperback edition. Empire State of Mind also received received high marks from media outlets including the Financial Times, CNN, the New York Times and Bloomberg News, which called it “one of the year’s best rock books.”

Aside from the book and Forbes, Zack has written for The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Vibe, McSweeney’s Internet TendencyAOL/Huffington Post and others. He has also served as an expert source for BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Reuters, MTV, NPREntertainment TonightGood Day New York, CBS’s 60 Minutes and other print, web, radio and video outlets. Zack has appeared as a guest speaker at Yale College, Harvard Business School, Howard University, Berklee College of Music, Year Up Boston and Georgetown University.

He lives in New York City with his fiancée; together, they enjoy anthropomorphizing their cats, memorizing/forgetting/making up song lyrics, and having their Halloween costumes written about by Mashable and Time.com.

To inquire about Zack’s availability, see the contact page. Also, follow him on Twitter.

Zack reveals how he first started writing about music for Forbes:

Zack talks about Jay-Z’s rise as a businessman on Bloomberg TV’s Game Changers:

Zack O'Malley Greenburg is a Forbes senior editor and author of the Jay-Z biography Empire State of Mind. His second book, Michael Jackson, Inc, will be released by Simon & Schuster's Atria imprint in June. Zack covers the business of music in The Beat Report at Forbes, where he's tackled topics from public pension fund scandals to Justin Bieber's career as a venture capitalist. He's also written for the Washington Post, Vibe, Sports Illustrated and McSweeney's; appeared as a guest speaker at Yale, Harvard, Georgetown and SXSW; and served as an expert source for BBC, NPR, MTV, VH1 & 60 Minutes. Full bio here.


Speaking Engagements

Zack is available for speaking engagements related to music, business and media, as well as his books, Empire State of Mind and Michael Jackson, Inc. To inquire about his availability, please click here.

Links

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