Reich was born with multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (Fairbanks disease). He is 4 feet 10.5 inches (148.6 cm) tall. He has at times frankly discussed this fact about himself, often with humor. He once appeared with the 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) Conan O'Brien in a sketch on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
He taught at Brandeis University, Harvard University, and the University of California at Berkeley. From 1973 to 1974 he served as law clerk to Judge Frank M. Coffin, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and from 1974 to 1976 was Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, Robert Bork. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed him Director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Federal Trade Commission.
- Anderson Cooper, "Interview with Andy Borowitz, Robert Reich," (On Subject of FDA Approval of Growth Hormone for Short Children), CNN, June 24, 2003.
- Mark Leibovich, "The True Measure of a Man: Robert Reich Rises Above the Height Issue in His Run for Governor," Washington Post, March 14, 2002. Available at http://www.shortsupport.org/News/0296.html