Journalist, historian, and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of fourteen books. In 2001, Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America became a New York Times bestseller, and has since sold over one million copies. Nickel and Dimed is an examination of working-class poverty that chronicles Ehrenreich's own attempt to live on minimum wage, and is now required reading at more than 600 colleges and universities. In 2005, Ehrenreich's Bait and Switch, also a New York Times bestseller, exposed the ever more prevalent phenomenon of white-collar unemployment. She has just published Dancing in the Streets, A History of Collective Joy.
Ehrenreich studied physics at Reed College, graduating in 1963. Her senior thesis was entitled "Electrochemical oscillations of the silicon anode." In 1968, she received a Ph.D in cell biology from Rockefeller University. Because of her interest in social change, she opted for political activism, instead of pursuing a scientific career.
Ehrenreich has been a columnist at the New York Times and Time magazine, a frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation. Ehrenreich has also written for Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com, and other publications.
In 2004, she received the Nation Institute/Puffin Foundation Prize for Creative Citizenship, given annually to an American who challenges the status quo "through distinctive, courageous, imaginative, socially responsible work of significance."
Ehrenreich is currently an honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. She also serves on the NORML Board of Directors.
Ehrenreich lives near Key West, Florida.
NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from February 9, 2008.
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