Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich Sigrid Estrada

Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of sixteen previous books, including Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land Is Their Land, Dancing In The Streets and Blood Rites. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.
“A simply brilliant, hilarious satirist.”—The Baltimore Sun
“It would be hard to find a wittier, more insightful guide to the last three decades than Ehrenreich. Arguing with her is part of the pleasure of reading her.”—Laura Shapiro, Newsweek



  • Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt and hear the introduction from Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America, a sharp-witted knockdown of America's love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realism.

  • Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich's book Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. The bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed goes back undercover to do for America's ailing middle class what she did for the working poor, and enters the world of the white-collar unemployed.



  • Barbara Ehrenreich Sigrid Estrada

Q & A

Where are you from?
Butte, Montana

Who are your favorite periodicals?
I read the New York Times and the Washington Post every day, and subscribe to Harper's, the New Yorker, The Nation, The Progressive, Scientific American and Discover. The last two are the ones I usually read first.

Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Ah, so many of them! As a child, I read all the classics - Sir Walter Scott, Poe, Bullfinchvëcompulsively, then in my teens moved on to Dostoyevsky, Conrad, Kafka, as well as tons of sci fi. All these gave me an ear for the language and a sense of all the doors that can be opened with it.

Which teacher had the biggest impact on your life?  
Maybe Mr. Conway in 10th grade Chemistry (Lowell High School, Massachusetts), for insisting that if we live in this world, we should know it works. Or maybe Mr. Trett in high school English (University High School, Los Angeles), for teaching me how to write an essay.

What are your hobbies and outside interests?
I love kayaking when I can get down to the Florida Keys. I know where to find sharks and I just sit there perfectly still till I see that dorsal fin cutting through the water, then I pursue it. Best of all is coming across a dolphin or pod of them. They toy with you - jumping up on one side of the kayak, then popping under you to come up on the other side.

What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
My dad said, "Always ask why."

What is something most people don't know about you?
I'm very strong, especially quads, calves, lats and triceps.

What are your secret indulgences?
Dogfish Head 90-minute infused India Pale Ale and historical series on TV - especially "Rome."

Where do you write?
At home, where I can wear sweatpants all day and take housecleaning breaks.



The Snarling Citizen

Barbara Ehrenreich

There are no pieties, liberal or conservative, in Ehrenreich's world. Fiercely funny and militantly uncompromising, The Snarling Citizen contains something to offend almost everyone, from...


Blood Rites

Barbara Ehrenreich

In Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich confronts the mystery of the human attraction to violence: What draws our species to war and even makes us see it as a kind of sacred undertaking? Blood Rites takes us on an original journey from the elaborate human sacrifices of the ancient world to the carnage and holocaust of twentieth-century "total war." Sifting through the fragile records of prehistory, Ehrenreich discovers the wellspring of war in an unexpected place--not in a "killer instinct" unique to the males of our species but in the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experience of predation by stronger carnivores. Brilliant in conception, rich in scope, Blood Rites is a monumental work that will transform our understanding of the greatest single threat to human life.


Nickel and Dimed

Barbara Ehrenreich

Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity.Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for...



Barbara Ehrenreich

A sharp-witted knockdown of America’s love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realismAmericans are a “positive” people—cheerful,...