Hi, I'm Catherine.
I am passionate about learning and experiencing new things, understanding first principles, and using my background as a science journalist to help people question their assumptions, make positive changes in their lives, and see mundane things (e.g. phones, vitamins, The Container Store) in a new, oddly philosophical, light. The more fun I can have while doing so, the better.
Journalism and books
As a freelance journalist, my work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Parade, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Self, Medium, Health Magazine, and Outside, among others. (Check out the Clips page for samples.)
My newest book, HOW TO BREAK UP WITH YOUR PHONE (Ten Speed Press, 2018), is being published in 26 countries and translated into 18 languages. It reveals some of the many ways in which our phones are affecting our productivity, creativity, relationships, memory, attention spans, and sleep—and provides a personalized plan for how to take back your life from your device without giving it up completely. (For more info, please visit the book's website, phonebreakup.com.) I'm also the founder of The JOMO Project (i.e. The Joy of Missing Out), which is dedicated to the art and science of stressing less and living more—think of it as self-help for skeptics.
My last book, VITAMANIA: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food (Penguin Press, 2015) is a lively look at the history of vitamins and supplements, as well as an investigation into the future of the food, from phytochemicals to epigenetics.
A graduate of Yale University and UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, I'm also a recipient of a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Reporting, a two-time Société de Chimie Industrielle fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, an ASME nominee, a 2013 resident at the Mesa Refuge, a fellow in both the Food and Medical Evidence Boot Camps at the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, and winner of the Gobind Behari Lal prize for science writing. My previous books also include Mindfulness: A Journal, the parody travel guide 101 Places Not to See Before You Die (HarperPaperbacks, 2010) and The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook (HarperCollins, 2009).
speaking, creative consulting & productivity workshops
I travel around the country speaking, consulting, and leading workshops on how individuals and corporations can set better boundaries with — and best practices for — their devices in order to maximize creativity and productivity, and improve mental health. These engagements can be customized based on audience size and area of interest, but in general I begin with a presentation about why it is essential that we reconsider our relationships with our devices, discuss the effects that phone time/constant connectivity is having on our physical and mental health, and provide concrete, hands-on exercises designed to help people and companies create personalized definitions of a "healthy relationship"—and plans for how to achieve them. For more information, visit my WME speakers page.
Diabetes and educational consulting
In addition to writing and speaking, I also use my background in nutrition and diabetes (I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 22 years old) to consult for companies that are focused on nutritional education, low-carb diets and/or diabetes. I particularly enjoy bringing the patient point of view to product development, and creating educational material that provides comprehensible, accurate and useful information to people at the moments when they need it.
I enjoy writing reported personal essays about things I finds funny odd, or uncomfortable (or all three), including—but not limited to—eating roadkill, "winning" Flywheel, sampling moonshine, limiting my diet to things that I have Vitamixed, basing travel entirely on the recommendations of strangers, and investigating the horror that is partner yoga.
I'm originally from NYC, and lived in the Bay Area (Oakland) for several years. I currently live in Philadelphia—which inspired me to create a Hamilton-themed walking tour app of the city. Because really: someone had to do it.