Seth Mnookin (born April 27, 1972) is an American writer and journalist.
Mnookin is the author of three non-fiction books.
His first book, Hard News : The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media (Random House, 2004) grew out of reporting he did as a senior writer at Newsweek in 2002 and 2003. It uses the Jayson Blair plagiarism and fabrication scandal to conduct a broader examination of the troubles during the Howell Raines administration at the New York Times. It was named a Washington Post "Best Of" book for 2004 and was listed as one of the London Independent’s list of the Top 50 books ever written on the media. It received overwhelmingly positive reviews from New York Magazine ("richly dramatic, hugely entertaining"), Entertainment Weekly ("vigorous, purposeful prose and a killer knack for building suspense"), the Los Angeles Times ("two terrific books in one: a riveting thriller...and a Shakespearean tragedy"), and The Washington Post ("hard to put down...reads like a thriller"), among other places, and the book prompted Hunter S. Thompson to say Mnookin was "one of the best and brightest journalists of this ominous, post-American century". A notable negative review was from The New York Times itself, which called the book "tedious" and said it "elevates trivial details to novelistic significance."
Feeding the Monster
In the fall of 2004, Vanity Fair assigned Mnookin a story on the Boston Red Sox. He began covering the team right before they won the 2004 World Series, and ended up spending more than a year living with the team and was given a key to Fenway Park His book, "Feeding the Monster: How Money Smarts and Nerve Took a Team to the Top" (Simon & Schuster), chronicled the history of the team from 2001 to 2006, the first half-decade of the John W. Henry-Tom Werner ownership, and includes details about Theo Epstein's abbreviated departure from the team in late 2005. It was published in the summer of 2006, and it entered The New York Times Hardcover Bestseller List for Nonfiction at #8. After Epstein left the Red Sox for the Chicago Cubs, he made an apparent reference to the book when he talked about the difficulty of dealing with "the monster" of fan and ownership expectations for a championship team every year.
The Panic Virus
In 2011, Mnookin published "The Panic Virus: The True Story of the Vaccine-Autism Controversy" (Simon & Schuster). "The Panic Virus" looks at the history of the controversy over vaccines and autism, going back to a retracted 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield through the current day. It is heavily critical of several public figures, including Jenny McCarthy, Oprah Winfrey, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. "The Panic Virus" was named one of The Wall Street Journal's Top Five Health and Medicine books of the year. The New York Times called it a "tour de force" and wrote that "[p]arents who want to play it safe, but are not altogether sure how, should turn with relief to this reasoned, logical and comprehensive analysis of the facts." Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Michael Shermer said it "should be required reading at every medical school in the world. ... a lesson on how fear hijacks reason and emotion trumps logic. … A brilliant piece of reportage and science writing." "The Panic Virus" was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize in the "Current Interest" category. It won the New England Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association's Will Solimene Award for Excellence.
Mnookin began his career in the mid '90s as a rock critic at a webzine called Addicted to Noise. His interviews with Morphine's Mark Sandman helped cement Sandman's reputation as being a contentious interview subject, and he was featured in the 2012 documentary "Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story." He later worked at The Palm Beach Post, The Forward, and Brill's Content. Mnookin has written for many newspapers and magazines, including GQ, New York, Wired, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. He is a contributing editor at Download the Universe, an online science e-book review founded by Carl Zimmer.
Mnookin participated in coverage of the April 19, 2013, manhunt for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that ended the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings, following the brothers from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Watertown, Massachusetts.
Mnookin grew up Jewish in Newton, Massachusetts and is a graduate of Newton North High School and Harvard University. During the 1990s, Mnookin struggled with overcoming heroin addiction, an experience he recounted in an article at Slate.com. His mother, the poet Wendy Mnookin, has also written about his heroin addiction and subsequent recovery.
- "Faculty and Staff | MIT Grad Program in Science Writing". Sciwrite.mit.edu. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "Seth Mnookin". Vanity Fair. 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- By Seth Mnookin (2012-08-29). "The Panic Virus". Blogs.plos.org. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Powers, William (2004-11-15). "Hard News: The Scandals At The New York Times And Their Meaning For The American Media - New York Magazine Book Review". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "Nightmare on 43rd Street". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "Reviews/Press". Seth Mnookin. 2004-11-10. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Mnookin, Seth. "One Miracle Season". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "Theo Epstein's 'monster' now haunts Ben Cherington - ESPN Boston". Espn.go.com. 2012-06-14. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Landro, Laura (2011-12-20). "Healing Reads: The Year's Five Best Books - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Shermer, Michael (2011-01-08). "Book Review: The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- February 21, 2012 (2012-02-21). "2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists announced - latimes.com". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "The Beat Noir Sound of Morphine". Web.archive.org. 2000-08-18. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "That Morphine Magic - Page 1". Web.archive.org. 2000-08-18. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Allen, Bennett. "Exclusive Video: Morphine Documentary Opens at Full Frame Festival". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Seth Mnookin (2001-10-13). "Derek Jeter's Swinging Years: Profiles". GQ. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Mnookin, Seth (2011-07-24). "How the New York 'Times' Came Back From the Brink - New York Magazine". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- Mnookin, Seth (2013-03-28). "Universal's CEO Once Called iPod Users Thieves. Now He's Giving Songs Away". Wired.com. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
- Seth Mnookin (2011-06-10). "An early cure for parents’ vaccine panic". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
- By Seth Mnookin (2012-04-26). "Unnatural selection - Books - The Boston Globe". Articles.boston.com. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
- "About". Download The Universe. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
- Seth Mnookin's website
- Review of Hard News
- Archive of Vanity Fair articles
- Slate article about overcoming addiction
- Salon article about overcoming addiction
- Wendy Mnookin's Salon article about Seth's heroin addiction