Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of 21 books, including the New York Times best sellers, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001) and Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America (2010). She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Harpers, the Progressive and Time magazine, and has appeared on Oprah, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and The Joy Behar Show, to name a few.

Before becoming an activist, Ehrenreich studied cell biology and physics, graduating with a degree in physics from Reed College in 1963 and a Ph.D. in cell biology from Rockefeller University in 1968. However, after completing her studies, Ehrenreich became involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement and began to question whether she wanted to spend her life at the laboratory bench. Ultimately, she chose to turn her attention to political and anti-war activism. She joined a tiny non-profit in New York City that advocated for better health care for the city’s poor, where part of the job was to put out a monthly bulletin. Before she knew it, she found herself thoroughly enjoying doing investigative journalism.

After the birth of her son, she quit her teaching job at the State University of NY, Old Westbury to become a full-time writer. Her work life settled into three tracks, which continue to this day: journalism, book-length projects, and activism on such issues as health care, peace, women’s rights, and economic justice.

Each of Ehrenreich books changed her life in important and unexpected ways. Nickel and Dimed plunged her into the nascent living wage movement, traveling to union rallies, picket lines and organizing meetings around the country. Curiosity continues to pull Ehrenreich in different directions. She recently published Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, a scholarly book about festivities and ecstatic rituals. Her latest New York Times best seller, Bright-Sided, describes what she calls “the cult of cheerfulness,” which requires Americans to “think positively” rather than to take positive action for change.

Smiley & West The Tavis Smiley Show Tavis Smiley Media