rien davidshenk.com: essays & articles
david shenk

public speaking
about david
contact david
I have contributed to scores of magazines, newspapers, websites, and radio broadcasts since 1989. Here are some of the pieces that I hope stand up over time. (Most of the print pieces are high-resolution scans of the original publication). - d.s.


"The Forgetting"
A public radio podcast on dementia, co-hosted with Greg O'Brien


"A Thankless Task"
A short essay on book acknowledgements


"The Selfish Bit"
A review of James Gleick's The Information


David Shenk, Contributor
My ongoing dispatches for TheAtlantic.com

(Subscribe to them here).


"Welcome to the Body-Wide Web"
Nature Biotechnology, March, 2006


"Is There A Genius In All of Us?"
BBC News Magazine, January 17, 2011


"Misplaced Hopes for Curing Alzheimers"
Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2015

"The Success Myth"
Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2010


"Sound Bites"
Brown Alumni Magazine, January/February, 2010


"The Survivalist Returns"
Slate, February 6, 2007

"The E Decade: Data Smog 10 Years Later”
Slate, July
, 2007

"The Survivalist”
September, 2006
(The #1 most-read story in Slate for all of 2006.)


"Does the 'Gifted' Label Get In the Way of Developing Real Potential?”
New York Times
Learning Network Essay, March 12, 2010

"The Memory Hole”
New York Times
Op-Ed, November 3, 2006

"A Growing Web of Watchers Builds a Surveillance Society”
New York Times,
January 25, 2006

"Life At Hyper-Speed"
New York Times
Op-Ed, September 19, 1997


Euphoric Hamantaschen
March 20, 2008

"Tea Loyalties”
February 21, 2008

"If You Build It...”
May, 2006

"Imitation of Life”
April, 2005

national geographic

Definition and sourcing of "data smog"
In 2004, my original term was added to the OED,
earning me a tiny speck of immortality

national geographic

"Watching You: The World of High-Tech Surveillance”
National Geographic,
November, 2003

the new republic

"Hating Gates: The Culture of Microsoft Bashing”
Cover story for The New Republic, January, 1998

CIO magazine

"Buckle Up: Safety Instructions for a Speedy Life”
CIO Magazine, March 1, 2000


"Think-tank Warfare
A critique of CNN’s "Crossfire,” on the occasion of the show’s 15th anniversary.
Salon, June, 1997

the nation

Cover story for The Nation, March 22, 1999.

"Technorealism: A New Way to Think about Technology, Politics, and Culture”
The Nation, April 6, 1998

the american scholar

"Toolmaker, Brain Builder”
A review of Feng Hsiung Hsu’s Behind Deep Blue: Building the Computer that Defeated the Chess Champion
The American Scholar,
Spring, 2003

I wrote a column for SPY called "Ethics, Inc” from 1994-1996.
Here are all eleven columns:
• "Investing in Our Youth,” July/August, 1994
• "Dumber Indemnity: Coming to Term,” Sept./Oct, 1994
• "Re-education Through Labor,” Nov./Dec., 1994
• "Sustainable PR,” Jan./Feb., 1995
• "Human Cargo,” March/April, 1995
• "The Sourcer’s Apprentice,” May/June, 1995
• "Fecal Soup,” July/August, 1995
• "Winston Smith, Call Your Office,” Sept./Oct., 1995
• "Rulers of the Game,” Nov./Dec., 1995
• "Detain Long and Prosper,” Jan./Feb., 1996
• "Pushing the Envelope,” March/April, 1996

time canada
Profile of Peter St. George-Hyslop

Time Canada, May 26, 2003

technology review
"Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut”
Technology Review, May/June, 1997

"To Mac or Not to Mac”
Technology Review, March/April 1998

"Stealing Calm: An Ode to Radio”
Technology Review,
July/August, 1998

"More is Less”
Wired Magazine
the atlantic
"Behold the Toys of Tomorrow”
The Atlantic online, January 7, 1999
(This is a link, not a download).

encyclopedia of international media & communication

"Information Overload, Concept Of”
Encyclopedia of International Media and Communications, Vol. 2, 2003

"Death of a Comic”

An appreciation of Phil Hartman, in the wake of his murder on May 28, 1998, published in Feed magazine the following day

CV magazine

"Flying High With Dan Quayle”
One of my earliest pieces — a report from Air Force Two that I think still stands up rather well. CV Magazine, June, 1989

cleveland plains dealer
"Political Aims Will Stay Bush’s Hand”
Op-ed for The Cleveland Plain Dealer shortly before the First Gulf War, 1991.
(Hands down, the dumbest thing I’ve ever published).
(If you have any problem opening these PDF scans, download a free copy of Adobe Reader here).
books : essays/articles : public speaking : about david : contact david : home