John Thomas Grinder, Jr. (born January 10, 1940) is an American linguist, author, management consultant, trainer and speaker. Grinder is credited with co-creating Neuro-linguistic programming, with Richard Bandler. He is co-director of Quantum Leap Inc., a management consulting firm founded by his partner Carmen Bostic St. Clair in 1987 (Grinder joined in 1989). Grinder and Bostic St. Clair also run workshops and seminars on NLP internationally.
Grinder graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. degree in psychology in the early 1960s. Grinder then entered the United States Army and served as a captain in the US Special Forces in Europe during the Cold War; following this he went on to work for a US intelligence agency. In the late 1960s, he returned to college to study linguistics and received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1971.His dissertation, titled On Deletion Phenomena in English, was published by Mouton in 1976.
In the early 1970s, Grinder worked in George A. Miller’s laboratory at Rockefeller University. After receiving his doctorate, Grinder took a full-time position as an assistant professor in the linguistics faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). He engaged in undergraduate and graduate teaching, and research. His research focused on Noam Chomsky’s theories of transformational grammar specializing in syntax and deletion phenomena. He published several research papers with Paul Postal on the syntactical structures relating to “missing antecedents” or missing parasitic gaps for the pronoun. They argued that the syntactic structure of a deleted verb phrase (VP) is complete.Edward Klima, doctoral adviser to both Postal and Grinder at UCSC, became involved in the early development of generative semantics.
Grinder co-authored, with Suzette Elgin, a linguistics text book titled A Guide to Transformational Grammar: History, Theory, Practice. In 2005, Grinder published Steps to an Ecology of Emergence with Tom Malloy and Carmen Bostic St Clair in the journal Cybernetics and Human Knowing.