Meghan Daum is an author and editor with a biweekly column on Medium. She has published six books, including her forthcoming, The Problem With Everything: My Journey Through The New Culture Wars, a poignant and powerful account of today’s social and political landscape.
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Daum took a close look at her like-minded liberal friends whose ideologies she often shared and made a startling realization – these same friends had lost the ability to think critically about the causes they supported or views they espoused. Her seminal new book examines our country’s most intractable problems with clear-eyed honesty instead of exaggerated outrage. With passion, humor, and most importantly nuance, Daum tries to make sense of the current landscape, touching on everything from Trump’s presidency to the #MeToo movement, identity politics to intersectionality, and beyond.
A prolific writer, Daum was an op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times from 2005 to 2016 and has written for numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and Vogue. Her work has been included in The Best American Essays and she has contributed to public radio’s Morning Edition, Marketplace, and This American Life. Daum’s collection of original essays, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, won the 2015 PEN Center USA Award for creative nonfiction and her first book, the essay collection My Misspent Youth, is considered a classic of its genre. Daum is also the editor of The New York Times bestseller, Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids as well as the author of the novel The Quality of Life Report, and Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, a memoir.
Daum was born in California in 1970 and was raised primarily on the east coast. She is a graduate of Vassar College and the MFA writing program at Columbia University, where she is currently an adjunct faculty member. A recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, Daum was the 2017 Bedell Distinguished Visiting Writer in the Nonfiction MFA Program at the University of Iowa and has taught at conferences including Aspen Summer Words and the Virginia Quarterly Review Writers’ Conference. She also teaches private workshops at her home in New York City.
- The Problem With Everything
Politics and Current Events
- GenX Versus Millennials
How we are different and why we need each other.
- Personal Essays, Memoir and Opinion Writing
How to write honestly, fearlessly, and like no one’s watching (or tweeting). How to express an opinion without asking everyone to agree.
- Confessing Versus Confiding in Personal Writing
How to be vulnerable without being raw.
- Childlessness By Choice (Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed)
Beyond “childfree”: imagining a full life without children, apology, or rhetorical gimmicks. Why parenthood doesn’t equal adulthood and how childless adults can be crucial role models for kids.
- Identity Politics, Free Speech and the Search for Nuance Amid the New Culture Wars
- Generational Divides Within Feminism
This book is the eloquent testament of a card-carrying feminist who abhors the stranglehold that political correctness has placed on intellectual life in America. As such, it is to be applauded—and I do.”
— Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments and The Odd Woman and the City
Meghan Daum’s brilliant, captivating, and infuriating new book examines the fault lines between the feminism of her own Generation X and that of millennials. As I read The Problem with Everything, I occasionally paused to reconsider some of my own most closely-held truths, to yell out loud at the author, and—most of all—to admire her scorching wisdom and wit. Unsettling, urgent, and amazing.”
— Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Long Black Veil
Meghan Daum’s observations will stand in the future as a perfect encapsulation of how social media has transformed educated people’s sense of what it is to be moral in the 2010s. More to the point, this book shines a light on us right now, a brighter and more revealing one than anything on the Twittersphere.”
— John McWhorter, author of Words on the Move and The Language Hoax
Meghan Daum has a world-class BS detector. In elegant, incisive, often hilarious prose, she calmly applies it to the confusion and narcissism threatening so many of our most feverish, social media-driven debates. From the shifting terms of “fourth-wave” feminism to the paradoxes of privilege and the myopia of tribalism, The Problem with Everything probes a liberalism under assault from all fronts and in danger of falling apart from within. Nothing escapes Daum’s scrutiny—least of all herself.”
— Thomas Chatterton Williams, author of Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race
Just when you thought feminist iconoclasm had gone into retreat or extinction, The Problem With Everything arrives, slicing through the intellectual murk of outrage culture and edgy online wokeness. Daum is a virtuoso at rueful insights and self-interrogation, willing to risk upending things in the knowledge that ‘safe spaces’ and safe ideas advance none of us.”
— Laura Kipnis, author of Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus
The Problem with Everything has the brutal honesty and rawness that will leave you examining your own thoughts and beliefs about the culture we are living in today. It forces you to ask yourself the question: whose side am I really on, and why do I have to choose one? I love how this book pushes me to think harder and be smarter.”
— Chelsea Handler, author of Life Will Be The Death of Me . . . and you, too!
. . . among the best personal essayists of a searching, cynical generation thats lucky to have her.”
— The New York Times
There is no doubt Daum is a brilliant, incisive essayist. I would follow her words anywhere.”
— The New York Times Book Review
. . . Daum’s powers as one of the most exacting, mercilessly candid, deeply funny and intellectually rigorous writers of our time are on glorious display.”
— Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
Thank goodness The Unspeakable exists to keep you company.”
— Entertainment Weekly
. . . her prose is shot through with elegant and very funny observations.”
— Boston Globe
. . . a slightly more restrained David Sedaris… Meghan Daum comes off as humorously dysfunctional and occasionally deranged.”
— Mother Jones
. . . delightful and radiantly intelligent.”
— Los Angeles Review of Books
Triumphant . . she manages to broach each controversial topic — be it cream of mushroom soup casserole or her mother’s death — with an enviable exactitude that will have you thinking that you couldn’t have said it better yourself. (You couldn’t have.)”
— Los Angeles Magazine
Meghan Daum might just be the new Joan Didion: a whip-smart, incisive, and often hilarious cultural commentator whose personal essays will stand the test of time. Better pay attention.”
— Refinery 29
. . . fiercely intelligent . . . it’s impossible not to wince, laugh — and relate.”
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