Bill Smoot grew up in Maysville, Kentucky. He graduated from Purdue University where he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Purdue Exponent. He received his PhD in philosophy from Northwestern University. He has taught a variety of subjects in the humanities for forty years at levels ranging from sixth grade to graduate school. He has published scholarly articles, essays, and short fiction in such periodicals as Western Humanities Review, The Nation, Crab Orchard Review, and The Literary Review. He currently teaches humanities classes at the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California. He is the author of Conversations with Great Teachers (Indiana University Press, 2010).