Ben Stein graduated from Columbia University in 1966 with honors in economics. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1970 as valedictorian of his class by election of his classmates. He also studied in the graduate school of economics at Yale. He has worked as an economist at The Department of Commerce, a poverty lawyer in New Haven and Washington, D.C., a trial lawyer in the field of trade regulation at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., a university adjunct at American University in Washington, D.C., at the University of California at Santa Cruz and at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.
At American University, he taught about the political and social content of mass culture. He taught the same subject at UCSC, as well as about political and civil rights under the Constitution. At Pepperdine, he has taught about libel law and about securities law and ethical issues since 1986. In 1973 and 1974, he was a speech writer and lawyer for Richard Nixon at The White House and then for Gerald Ford. (He did NOT write the line, "I am not a crook.").
He has been a columnist and editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal, a syndicated columnist for The Los Angeles Herald Examiner and King Features Syndicate, and a frequent contributor to Barrons, where his articles about the ethics of management buyouts and issues of fraud in the Milken Drexel junk bond scheme drew major national attention. He has been a regular columnist for Los Angeles Magazine, New York Magazine, E!Online, and most of all, has written a lengthy diary for twenty years for The American Spectator.
He currently writes a column for The New York Times Sunday Business Section and has for many years, a column about personal finance for Yahoo!, is a commentator for CBS Sunday Morning and for Fox News. He has written, co-written and published thirty books, including seven novels, largely about life in Los Angeles, and twenty-one nonfiction books, about finance and about ethical and social issues.