Austrian-American born and raised in Paris, Felix Marquardt is the author of The New Nomads (coming 8 July, 2021 from Simon & Schuster) which took him four years—instead of the four months he naively thought—to write. He counts a dozen nationalities in his family, has lived in as many countries and held as many jobs. The leitmotif of his trajectory is a focus on ideas and bringing people around them.
Felix started out as a French rap manager/producer and entrepreneur in Search Engine Optimisation. He went on to write speeches for the CEOs of Vivendi and L’Oréal before being hired to run communications for the International Herald Tribune (also known as the IHT, now The New York Times International Edition).
After leaving the IHT, Felix spent a decade and a half advising heads of state, opposition leaders and CEOs of multinationals, including some rather shady ones, in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
He was the co-founder of Youthonomics, a think tank focused on youth empowerment ; the Barrez-vous! movement which encouraged young people in France to pack their bags and see the world ; the pan-European youth movement Europeans Now ; the event series The Atlantic Dinners ; and the anti-Brexit OFOC! (Our Future, Our Choice !) in the UK.
In 2012, the French writer Emmanuel Carrère and journalist Hélène Devynck wrote this story after Felix took them to Davos. The following year, his dinners led Vanity Fair to write this portrait of him. Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter published this one in 2016, Germany’s Die Welt this one in 2019 and France’s Libération this one in 2020. These portraits reflect a trend: in recovery from addiction, Felix became increasingly uncomfortable with and eventually estranged from what had hitherto been his natural milieu: schmoozing, global elites and the techno-utopian verbiage which has become their lingua franca.
In 2020, he started Black Elephant, the natural extension of The New Nomads: a movement and conversations series aimed at transcending the impasse this verbiage of global elites leaves us in and an attempt at paving the way out of the debilitating culture wars currently playing out on a global scale.
Felix’s columns have been published by The New York Times, Financial Times, Guardian, London Times, Newsweek, Time Magazine, etc. He studied at Syracuse and Columbia universities but dropped out without a degree, which he isn’t proud of. He is a convert to Islam, a recovering drug addict, global schmoozer and alcoholic. He eventually came to dislike speaking of himself in the third person but continues to thoroughly enjoy pontificating, especially in presence of one or more of his three children.