About David H. Freedman

You can contact me at: dhfreedman@gmail.com

Twitter: @dhfreedman (healthcare, public health, policy, technology, business, behavioral science, more)

Facebook: david.h.freedman

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/dhfreedman

I’m a science journalist and author. I’m a contributing editor at The Atlantic, and I contribute off and on to a number of publications, including Politico and Scientific American. I’m the author of five books. I also sometimes collaborate with or consult to various academic medical centers and other non-profits and public-service organizations, usually on content and publishing projects relating to improving health systems and public health. I co-founded and for a while ran an online magazine about global healthcare.

This website mostly comprises excerpts from some of my published articles and my books, with an occasional blog-style post thrown in.

I’ve long been primarily a science, technology and business writer, with a special focus on health-related issues, including healthcare systems, public health, health-related behavior change, health-related industries, and health and healthcare policy. As you can see from the excerpts that I’ve posted on this site, I’ve written for a lot of different publications at one time or another, and especially for The Atlantic. Here’s a sampling: Politico, The New York Times, Scientific American, Discover, Newsweek, Science, The Columbia Journalism Review, Forbes, MIT Technology Review, Self, The Boston Globe, Wired, The Harvard Business Review, The Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Health, The Boston Globe Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and many more. I’ve also written five books, and I’m working on a sixth.

I live in the Boston area. My byline usually reads “David H. Freedman.” The “H.” is there to distinguish me from various well-known David Freedmans who are not me, including the animator/producer, the late Bible scholar, the North Carolina defense lawyer, the law/boxmaking writer, the neuroscientist, the Trump administration’s ambassador to Israel, the psychiatric epidemiologist, the Australian racehorse owner, the blacksmith, the cricketer, the late gag-writer, the accountant, and the radio-station manager (whom I met when he was mistakenly installed in my hotel room). There are even several people of note who go by “David H. Freedman,” including an international labor researcher who wrote a book on employment, a Michigan lawyer, and a U.S. Army officer. I am not any of them, either. And no matter what Google tells you, I am most definitely not David A. Freedman, the late great Berkeley statistician, whom I interviewed at his home shortly before he passed away, and whose photo, book credits, and level of deceasedness Google routinely interchanges with mine.

My last book was called WRONG: Why experts keep failing us–and how to know when not to trust them. It’s about all the forces that push experts, be they top scientists, high-powered consultants, pop gurus, financial whizzes or journalistic pundits (like me), into misleading us with flawed advice, and discusses ways to tell good expert advice from the dubious stuff.  I wrote about the subject for The Atlantic for the lead feature of the magazine’s annual “Brave Thinkers” issue in November, 2010, and substantial articles about the book ran in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, and many other publications internationally.  I’ve spoken about the book on numerous radio and television programs in the U.S. and elsewhere.  It’s published by Little, Brown, and you can learn more about it here, and find it on Amazon here.

My previous book was A Perfect Mess, published in January, 2007, and co-authored with Eric Abrahamson; the paperback came out in January, 2008.  It’s about how disorganization and messiness can be good things. The New York Times wrote a feature article about me and the book, and CBS Sunday morning did a segment on me. You can learn more about the book here, and find it on Amazon here.

I’m the author of three other books–on the U.S. Marines, computer crime, and artificial intelligence–and you can learn more about my books, and browse some of my articles, elsewhere on the site. My work has also appeared in various collections of science writing, and in the Norton Reader.


9 thoughts on “About David H. Freedman

  1. […] ‘The End of Temptation.’ The article, The Perfected Self, is written by author and journalist David Freedman. In it he talks about B.F. Skinner’s theories of behavior modification to address the obesity […]

  2. Christina Quinonez says:

    I’m curious about your background in the sciences. Are you a scientist? What makes you passionate enough about science to want to write critically about it?


    • No, I’m not a scientist, just a journalist. I’ve always loved science, which makes it hard to even say why–I’m baffled why many people don’t love science. I wouldn’t really say that I write very critically about science, rather I’d say I’m interested in the aspects of science that make it difficult to progress rapidly, steadily or reliably. I think that sounds critical to non-scientists because they don’t understand that’s just the nature of science. Most scientists don’t find my work to be particularly critical of science, they themselves say these things all the time. I am, however, very critical of most science journalism, which tends to focus on those science stories that are least likely to hold up over the long term, and that in the case of health can mislead people into failing to do the things they need to do to live longer and healthier lives.

      • Gina Pera says:

        David wrote: “I am, however, very critical of most science journalism, which tends to focus on those science stories that are least likely to hold up over the long term, and that in the case of health can mislead people into failing to do the things they need to do to live longer and healthier lives.”

        Yes. Thank you.

  3. Michelle Her says:

    Hello Mr. H. Freedman, I am a college student from MCTC located in Minnesota. I’m doing a research paper on one of your article, “How Junk Food Can End Obesity.” I just wanted to ask, when’d you create your ” About ” post from MM/DD/YYYY. Who is it sponsor of the article, if there’s one?

    • Hi Michelle. Not sure I understand your first question, “When’d you create your ‘About’ post from MM/DD/YYYY?” Do you want to try to ask it in a clearer way? As for your second question about sponsorship, I think perhaps you’re asking me if some food company or industry group paid me to write it. If that’s what you’re asking, the answer is no, I’ve never received any money from any food company or food industry group, not for that article or anything else. Does that answer your question, or were you asking something else? — Dave

  4. lorentjd says:

    Hi, David.

    Your essay “The War on Stupid People” was provocative. It reminded me of “Coming Apart” by Charles Murray in the sense that your essay highlighted a key source of the growing privilege gap. That gap worries me. I think we are on a trajectory where a growing and substantial number of people will simply be unemployable. I think your idea of government subsidizies to discourage automaton is unlikely to be adopted. Perhaps a guaranteed basic income is the solution but, even there, there will likely be tremendous opposition to such a program (as happened recently in Switzerland where the voters rejected such a plan with over 75% of votes against the proposal). That all being said, those with high intelligence would be well served to be more humble about the unearned privilege we enjoy.

  5. Jennifer Cisney-Crowe says:

    I am using your article The Perfected Self to write an argumentative Essay on Behavior Modification and B.F. Skinner. Are there any sources you would recommend for this Essay? What would I say about you in a Annotated Bibliography for your accomplishments that are not included in this web page?

    • storyadmin says:

      Glad to hear my article might be helpful for your essay. B.F. Skinner himself wrote a number of books on the science of modifying behavior, and the one I’d recommend is “About Behaviorism.” You can also find some material that might be helpful at abainternational.org, though most of it is aimed at people in the field. Most of what’s written elsewhere about behavior modification is from people who misunderstand the field, and they often know almost nothing about it. A frequent claim, for example, is that the field was “discredited” decades ago by Noam Chomsky, an absurdly wrong notion; another is that behavior modification tries to make people “like” or “dislike” certain things or behaviors by associating them with pleasant or unpleasant sensations, also wrong. I think the information about me on the website is fine for your bibliography. Good luck!

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