Daniel Smith (born October 7, 1977) is an American journalist and author of the 2012 memoir Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety. He has written articles and essays for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, n+1, Harper’s Magazine, New York, and others.
Smith was born and raised in Plainview, New York. He attended Brandeis University, where he studied English and Russian literature. He wrote a humor column for the school’s paper, The Justice, and was a member of its improv comedy troupe. He graduated in 1999.
Smith worked as a staff editor for The Atlantic, and published his first major article there in 2001. The article, “Shock and Disbelief,” was about electroshock therapy, and would become the center of a libel suit against Smith and the magazine. It later appeared in the 2002 collection The Best American Science and Nature Writing. Smith helped to edit the 2007 anthology The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly.
His first book, 2007’s Muses, Madmen and Prophets: Hearing Voices and the Borders of Sanity, explores the history and science of hearing voices. His 2012 memoir Monkey Mind recounts the circumstances that led to his life-long, occasionally crippling struggles with anxiety and its related symptoms. While primarily experiential, it also touches on the history of anxiety in literature, science and philosophy. Smith was praised for the book’s sympathetic, humorous and entertaining tone. Monkey Mind was a New York Timesbestseller, and was included on Oprah Winfrey’s 2013 list of 40 Books to Read Before Turning 40.
Smith holds the Mary Ellen Donnelly Critchlow Endowed Chair in English at the College of New Rochelle, and he has also taught at Bryn Mawr College. From 2011 to 2012, he co-hosted the first six episodes of n+1 magazine’s The n+1 Podcast. He was a guest on The Colbert Report in 2007; on NPR’s Talk of the Nation in 2012; and on WTF with Marc Maron in 2012.
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