Author / Motivational Speaker / Consultant


Multi-careerist Dr. David West Reynolds is a New York Times #1 best-selling author and  21st-century Renaissance Man.

Speaker Programs Available


Accomplishing the Impossible: The Apollo Moon Landings

The Moon used to be a byword for "impossible" but the 1960s Apollo program changed that forever. NASA accepted President Kennedy's challenge to land an astronaut on the moon by 1970 and delivered the impossible on schedule. Along the way 400,000 Americans worked together to build the greatest engineering works the world has ever seen. Dr. David West Reynolds worked with Apollo astronauts and was granted full access to NASA facilities so that he could present a vivid, hands-on account in his book "Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon." This program explains the great adventure—and illuminates the leadership principles that made Apollo successful despite its risky and unprecedented goals.


The Renaissance Career

  Young people today face great pressures to follow a career path that may lead only to a dull and confining box... but if they can avoid the pitfalls and roadblocks the possibilities are limitless. In his own career Dr. David West Reynolds heard over and over again "you can't do that," but from his Ph.D in Archaeology he went on to become a New York Times #1 best-selling Star Wars author and went on to work with NASA, National Geographic, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and many others, wherever his interests led him. His story demonstrates what is possible when you know how to do it. In this talk he provides inspiration, confidence, and specific tools to prepare young people for a fearless and fulfilling career path.


The Archaeology of Star Wars

 When he was finishing his Ph.D in archaeology in 1995, David West Reynolds learned that the desert filming locations of the original Star Wars movie had become lost. Not even the producers of the movie knew where they were anymore! Reynolds decided to use archaeological techniques to track them down. He became the first person to revisit those sites since the movie was made, and even discovered props abandoned in the Sahara desert. This is the exciting and entertaining story of a treasure hunt adventure across Tunisia that succeeded beyond a fan's wildest dreams. This is our most popular presentation and has been delivered at major museums and many other venues across the country. 


The Archaeology of Indiana Jones

This talk is a globe-trotting adventure tracking down the incredible real history and archaeology behind the classic film "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Ordinarily we don't go to Hollywood for good history, and we certainly don't go to Indiana Jones for good archaeology... but "Raiders" is a special case. This movie serves as an excellent popular gateway into surprising and exciting history. Dr. Reynolds spent years following in the footsteps of Indiana Jones, from Cairo to Peru, and in this program he shares the story of his adventures and discoveries. (Optional bullwhip demonstration available where space permits.)


A Walk Through Ancient Rome


Dr. Reynolds wrote the definitive Ph.D dissertation on the Marble Plan, a giant map of the city of Rome commissioned by Emperor Septimius Severus around 200 AD. The surviving fragments of this map allow a remarkably detailed look at the ancient city, and based on his research Reynolds takes the audience on a vivid tour through the Imperial capital at its height in the fourth century AD. Eyewitness accounts from diverse ancient sources bring to life a vision of stunning extremes in both luxury and brutality... and a warning about where modern urban life might be headed.


What Clients Are Saying...

Students raved about his storytelling, his unique experiences, and how personable Dr. David West Reynolds is. 

In an age of cynicism, students of all backgrounds showed how thirsty they are for the optimism Dr. Reynolds conveyed. He inspired them, encouraged them, made them laugh, and embodied how to find joy in exploring the world. 

I recommend him for students of any age, but particularly for students in the early years of college who often are pressured to conform to others’ expectations rather than believe in, and work for, a journey that is right for them.

—Prof. Pedar W. Foss, Depauw University

"From the moment he entered the room, the audience was captivated. David West Reynolds' enthusiasm, passion, and humor were infectious to adults and kids alike. I cannot recommend him enough and look forward to working with him in the future."  

—Abby Cyrus, Adult Programs Manager, Charlestown-Clark Library


He enthralled our audiences with his captivating tales of adventure and scientific exploration. Over the course of five unique talks, Dr. Reynolds was informative, engaging and entertaining as he not only delivered the real history behind Raiders of the Lost Ark but also relayed an uplifting message to learners of all ages to never give up on their dreams. Dr. Reynolds possesses a unique ability to connect with audiences across a varied spectrum of age groups and education levels. He poured himself, mentally and physically, into each performance to create an exceptionally high quality presentation that few could achieve. I would highly recommend Dr. Reynolds and hope that I am fortunate enough to work with him again. 

—Michael Weeks, Roper Mountain Science Center, South Carolina

I can't begin to express the positive impact the event with Dr. David West Reynolds had on me. From time to time I get to read about scholars and other amazing people in the news, but to be able to sit down and talk to a "Renaissance Man" like Dr. Reynolds was just a fabulous experience. This was clearly one of the highlights of my year."

—Morgan C., Drake High School Student, California

I wanted to reach out to thank you for being an advocate, that one voice to express the urgency of following your passions and not falling into the trap of complacency. Your presentations were truly inspiring. You have emboldened me and given me courage to explore and find out where my interests lie while still remaining grounded. Thank you.

—Eric L., University Student, Indiana


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David West Reynolds, Ph.D

(812) 725-7776