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Parallel Lines


Half white, half Wong


Christopher Wong Michaelson is a humanities scholar who teaches in business schools at the University of St. Thomas and NYU; a critic of capitalism who believes business can and often does make the world better; a tenured professor with 25 years of experience working with business leaders; a philosopher who has called Leo Tolstoy the first moral psychologist and Mary Shelley the first AI ethicist; an ivory tower scholar who has written about love in The New York Times, fantasy football in The Athletic, religion in The Forward, and political humor in McSweeney's; an ethics expert who has tantrums on the tennis court; an occasional podcaster; a half-Chinese Jew who teaches in a Catholic institution; a husband and father who sometimes acts like a child; and a reluctant workaholic whose new book (with Jennifer Tosti-Kharas), Is Your Work Worth It? (forthcoming from PublicAffairs), examines the place and priority of work worth doing in a life worth living.

After earning his Ph.D. in philosophical ethics and aesthetics from the University of Minnesota, Christopher joined the New York office of Price Waterhouse (now PwC) as one of the first five consultants in a business ethics practice in 1998. A few years into his business career, he accepted a full-time faculty position at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, teaching corporate ethics while keeping a foot in practice. For a while he was PwC's only one-day-a-week employee, working on ten editions of its Global CEO Survey and as its first Strategy Officer to the World Economic Forum before leaving in 2016.

Christopher went from Wharton to NYU's Stern School of Business in 2005, where he has continued on the Business and Society faculty teaching professional responsibility and corporate governance. After moving home to Minneapolis, he also joined one of the largest business ethics faculties in the world at the University of St. Thomas in 2008, where he is now the Opus Distinguished Professor of Principled Leadership and Academic Director of the Melrose and The Toro Company Center for Principled Leadership. He is currently President of the Society for Business Ethics, affiliate faculty with the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics, an academic fellow of the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, on several editorial boards, and the host of Work in Progress with Christopher Wong Michaelson.

After being raised in a world in which might was white and Wong felt wrong, he can now appreciate and even have fun with his multiracial heritage that is half white, half Wong. He lives with his wife, three kids, and two dogs near an urban lake in Minneapolis, the City of Waters.

Christopher Wong Michaelson headshot
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