Chief sportswriter at Harvard Magazine for 26 years, Craig Lambert covered all 41 of Harvard’s varsity teams, the most sports of any American college. (Harvard Magazine is the bimonthly alumni publication of Harvard University, going to 250,000 Harvard graduates, faculty, and staff.) He profiled outstanding athletes including future Olympians, NCAA champions, and pros like National Football League (NFL) quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and National Basketball Association (NBA) guard Jeremy Lin. (Fitzpatrick started for nine NFL teams, more than any other quarterback, and Lin was the first Asian American to win an NBA championship.)
Before joining Harvard Magazine as a staff writer and editor in 1988, Lambert published sports stories in national magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Town and Country. At Harvard Magazine, he also served as arts editor, and in addition covered academic research and a wide range of stories on Harvard University, its students and graduates. His hundreds of published pieces include dozens of magazine cover articles.
One such, for example, “The Professionalization of Ivy League Sports,” gave an overarching view of how Ivy athletics evolved over the second half of the twentieth century. Another, “One Hundred Days of Triumph,” on a valiant scientist’s attempt to teach college chemistry despite a crippling neurological disease, was one of five finalists for the National Magazine Award in Feature Writing, the first time a university magazine was so honored. Yet another, “The Harvard Powers of Hollywood,” broke the story of the then little-known but profound influence Harvard graduates wield in the film and television industry.
As a youth, Lambert played a wide variety of sports and games, including baseball, football, basketball, badminton, and bowling, all on a recreational, sandlot basis. He even pitched horseshoes. As a Harvard freshman, he became a coxswain for the crew; later in life, Lambert took up rowing in racing shells and competed as an oarsman in all types of boats, from single sculls to coxed eights. He competed three times in the world’s largest crew race, the Head of the Charles Regatta. “I raced at the lowest end of the highest end of the sport,” he recalled in his book Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing (Houghton Mifflin, 1998), which distilled his decades of rowing experience. The New York Times Sunday Book Review reviewed it favorably.
Lambert still maintains a lifelong passion for tennis, at both recreational and tournament levels. A “slightly better-than-average club player,” his first serve is his sole bona fide weapon. “I’m only in trouble,” he explains, “when the serve comes back.”
Lambert belongs to both the Cambridge Boat Club and the Cambridge Tennis Club, as well as the Harvard Varsity Club. Since 1996, he has produced and emceed the Boat Club’s Sunday Night Suppers, a popular speaker series of four events per year. He also served as principal online writer for Universal Tennis Ratings, an innovative method of rating tennis players worldwide on a single, highly reliable scale that is now owned in part by the Tennis Channel.
The author has done ample amounts of public speaking. In the 1980s, the speakers’ agency Brian Winthrop International in New York City represented him and his program, “The Macho Mystique,” which satirized stereotypes of masculinity in magazine advertising, using actual advertising images. With this show, he entertained college students on campuses from Virginia to Vermont. Later, Lambert gave another humorous talk with images, “How Harvard Changed Comedy,” for audiences at Harvard Clubs from San Diego and Chicago to suburban Connecticut. He’s done many author events on both coasts during tours for his two books.
Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day (Counterpoint, 2015), Lambert’s second book, explains how businesses and organizations have offloaded onto consumers uncompensated work via developments like self-service checkout. Reviewed on the cover of The New York Times Sunday Book Review, the book received extensive worldwide coverage on television, radio, in print, and on the internet; it sells worldwide in six languages.
Lambert earned his A.B. degree at Harvard College and received his Ph.D., also from Harvard, in sociology. His doctoral dissertation, “Image Channels: The Production and Control of Television Entertainment,” was based on field research at Tandem Productions, Norman Lear’s sitcom production studio in Hollywood.
The author and his yellow Labrador retriever, Thalia, live happily in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Also by Craig Lambert:
Op-Ed essay, “Our Unpaid, Extra Shadow Work”
The New York Times Sunday Review, October 29, 2011