David Lefer

  • Director of the Innovation and Technology Forum, Industry Associate Professor

David Lefer is an Industry Associate Professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, where he directs the Innovation and Technology Forum. His academic work focuses on invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Lefer also serves as an adjunct professor for the National Science Foundation's Innovation-Corps program, teaching scientists, engineers, and inventors how to turn their ideas into viable startups using the Lean Startup method. A startup co-founder himself, he served as COO of Scigus, Inc., where he helped secure a multimillion-dollar defense contract to build high-powered, solid-state microwave emitters for the US Navy and oversaw the venture as Project Manager. Previously a journalist, he worked as a reporter for the New York Daily News, the China News in Taiwan, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Newsday and as a producer for the PBS talk show The Digital Age and CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown.

Lefer has also written two highly acclaimed books. He collaborated with Sir Harold Evans on They Made America, the bestselling book on American innovation which was made into a four-part PBS series and featured on the History Channel. Fortune magazine named the book one of the top 100 business books of the past 75 years. Lefer's newest book, The Founding Conservatives, about the birth of the American right during the Revolutionary War, was published by Penguin in 2013 and was hailed by the Kirkus Reviews as "Groundbreaking history not to be missed—a book to quote and to keep, as the material is rich enough to merit rereading."

Authored/Edited Books

The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution:


They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, Two Centuries of Innovators: