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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.

Daniel Smith
Born (1977-10-07) October 7, 1977 (age 41)
Plainview, New York
OccupationWriter, professor
Notable worksMonkey Mind (2012)


Early yearsEdit

Smith was born and raised in Plainview, New York.[1] He attended Brandeis University, where he studied English and Russian literature.[2][3] He wrote a humor column for the school's paper, The Justice, and was a member of its improv comedy troupe.[2] He graduated in 1999.[2][4]


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.[5] It later appeared in the 2002 collection The Best American Science and Nature Writing.[6] Smith helped to edit the 2007 anthology The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly.[7]

His first book, 2007's Muses, Madmen and Prophets: Hearing Voices and the Borders of Sanity, explores the history and science of hearing voices.[8] His 2012 memoir Monkey Mind recounts the circumstances that led to his lifelong, 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.[5][9] Monkey Mind was a New York Times bestseller,[10] and was included on Oprah Winfrey's 2013 list of 40 Books to Read Before Turning 40.[11]

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.[3] From 2011 to 2012, he co-hosted the first six episodes of n+1 magazine's The n+1 Podcast.[12] He was a guest on The Colbert Report in 2007;[13] on NPR's Talk of the Nation in 2012;[14] and on WTF with Marc Maron in 2012.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Smith lives in Brooklyn, New York.[8]



  • Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Hearing Voices and the Borders of Sanity. Penguin. 2007.
  • Associate editor, The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly (2007, Doubleday)
  • Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety (2012, Simon & Schuster)

Essays and reportingEdit

Selected TV appearances and radio broadcastsEdit


  1. ^ Marion Winik, “’Monkey Mind’ is a perfect 10,” Newsday, July 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Theresa Gaffney, “Anxiety expert Daniel Smith ’99 lectures on ‘Monkey Mind’,” The Brandeis Hoot, March 21, 2013.
  3. ^ a b “Profiles: Daniel B. Smith,” College of New Rochelle. Accessed June 24, 2014.
  4. ^ Margarita Tartakovsky, “Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety,” Psych Central, July 2012.
  5. ^ a b Ben Greenman, “Panic Buttons,” New York Times, September 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Natalie Angier, editor, The Best American Science and Nature Writing, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002, pp. 234-54
  7. ^ Robert Vare, editor, The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly, New York: Doubleday, 2007, p. 645.
  8. ^ a b Rachel Signer, “’You’re Writing a Fucking Memoir’: Daniel Smith on his New Book ‘Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety’,” Construction, September 19, 2012.
  9. ^ Alec Solomita, “The Wound-Up Nerd Chronicle,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2012.
  10. ^ Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, New York Times, August 12, 2012.
  11. ^ Sara Nelson, “40 Books to Read Before Turning 40: Monkey Mind,”, July 30, 2013.
  12. ^ Archive: Daniel Smith, n+1. Accessed June 24, 2014.
  13. ^ The Colbert Report, Comedy Central, season 3, episode 80, June 14, 2007.
  14. ^ John Donvan, host, “’Monkey Mind’: When Debilitating Anxiety Takes Over,” Talk of the Nation, NPR, July 5, 2012.
  15. ^ “Episode 333 – Daniel Smith,” WTF with Marc Maron, November 8, 2012.
  16. ^ Online version is titled "Wolves and swords for the Kosciuszko Bridge".