Barbara Ehrenreich (b. 1941)

American journalist, essayist, and novelist. Born in Butte, Montana, the daughter of a copper miner, Ehrenreich studied physics at Reed College and cellular biology at Rockefeller University, where she earned a Ph.D. Opting for a life of social activism rather than science, she campaigned against the war in Vietnam and became a committed socialist, union organizer, and journalist. In addition to many articles, she has published a novel, Kipper’s Game (1993), and many works of nonfiction, including The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed (1990), Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001), and most recently, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (2009). In 1998 the American Humanist Association named Ehrenreich the Humanist of the Year. See also barbaraehrenreich.com.