Jonathan Cook


I’ve been partnering with Brandtrust as a trusted guide via Emotional Inquiry research since the 1990s, when I shared research results using floppy discs and fax machines. While the technology I use to communicate insights has changed, the foundations of the method have been consistent, because the hopes and fears that motivate human behavior remain the same. My research experience ranges from profoundly personal topics such as religion and home cooking to highly technical subjects such as business finance and pharmaceutical innovation.

When I’m not at work, I focus on my home and family, caring for my children and volunteering in my neighborhood’s community gardens. I am currently working on an oral history of one of the nation’s oldest natural cemeteries.

It’s rare for people to feel that they’ve been listened to, that their wants and needs are truly understood. The pleasure of my work as a researcher with Brandtrust is the chance to slow down and pay close attention to what people have to say. I’m not looking for an answer to a question, but for an understanding of where people are coming from. So, instead of arriving at an interview with an agenda of questions to get through, I meet with people ready to hear what they have to say, to listen to them and travel with them along paths set by their own passions. It’s a wonderfully fluid experience, and pleasurably disorienting for people who are used to having tactical conversations.


  • Culture List: “Psalm for the Wild-Built” by Beck Chambers, The Plodcast and Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022 Film).
  • Bucket Items: Establish a horticultural therapy practice, complete a reference book on emotional diversity and walk the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago.
  • Memorable Facts: I am the author of “Ritual Commerce”, a chapter in the upcoming book “Humanities as a Resource and Inspiration for Humanizing Business” to be published in Autumn of 2023.
  • One Human Truth I Live By: Every object and experience, no matter how small, has the potential to carry profound human meaning.
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