October 4, 2022
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Tom Leung’s Nerdy Approach to Politics and Policy

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Tom Leung with friends

Tom Leung with his friends Logan Powell and Dan Sacco at their twenty-year reunion.

(NFH, by the way, is just one of a few “passion projects” Leung works on when he’s not at Google or spending time with his wife, Wendy, and their two children, Ryan and Brandon. He also cofounded a nonprofit called Of the People, which he describes as Yelp for first-time political candidates, as it helps voters discover and learn about candidates. He also volunteers as his children’s football coach and is a part-time career coach.)

On Nerds for Humanity, Leung’s guests come from across the country and the political spectrum, and include MAGA supporters like his own brother, Peter Leung. About chatting with his brother, Leung said: “We are clearly disagreeing about almost everything, but there is still a baseline of respect for each other.”

Leung said he tries to challenge his guests respectfully, as well as keep arguments grounded in facts. “I was very animated by our previous president and my discomfort with him,” Leung said. “His approach was opposite from a nerdy approach: it was emotional, tribal, and divisive, and his arguments and positions did not seem logically consistent or based on data.”

Even as a young kid growing up in New Jersey, the son of immigrant parents from Hong Kong, Leung became fascinated with politics—a trait he thinks was passed down from his mother, whose family served in the Chinese nationalist party in the early 1930s. When he came to Bowdoin, he majored in history and economics, wrote political opinion pieces for The Bowdoin Orient, and did a thesis about the modern Chinese communist party’s economic reforms after World War II.

After graduation, he went into consulting, then earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. “I got bit by the tech bug in 1999 and have been in tech ever since—start-ups, Microsoft, and now at Google.”

He says his wide-ranging interests—technology, politics, his family, humanity!—keep him humming. “Part of the reason why I am generally happy is I have a diversity of pursuits and stimulations: work, family, hobbies, and volunteer stuff. You can still be a liberal arts student even decades after getting that sheepskin from Camp Bobo!”



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