Selected Work

Attitude Adjustments

Jessica Lamb-Shapiro's Promise Land: My Journey Through America's Self-Help Culture

Originally published Dec/Jan 2104 in Bookforum

In Promise Land, Jessica Lamb-Shapiro recounts her efforts to conquer one of her multiple phobias by attending a support group called Freedom to Fly. The group’s course, led by a psychologist, met at the Westchester airport and culminated in a round-trip flight to Boston.

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The Repurposed PhD

Finding Life After Academia--and Not Feeling Bad About It

Originally published November 3, 2013 in The New York Times

ON a recent Sunday afternoon, a monthly meeting convened around a long table in a Whole Foods cafeteria on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. As people settled in, the organizer plopped down a bag of potato chips and tackled housekeeping matters, like soliciting contributions. But she did not insist.

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Birth of a Genre

Originally published Summer 2013 in Dissent

Makepeace Hatfield, the heroine of Marcel Theroux’s 2009 novel Far North, is one of the last survivors of a Siberian settlement. Her father was an early settler: an American Quaker who fled a decadent world for a frontiersman’s life.

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I Change, You Change

Self-help memoirs take on not the exceptional challenge, but the everyday one.

Originally published January 20, 2013 in The New York Times Book Review

About halfway through her new memoir, “Data, a Love Story,” Amy Webb pauses to address the reader. Up to this point, the author’s online hunt for a husband has yielded little but farcically bad dates.

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