David Allyn

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David Allyn, Ph.D. (born April 30, 1969) is CEO of Oliver Scholars, an organization that serves high-achieving students who face socioeconomic barriers to success.

Books and articles[edit]

He is the author of four books, including Make Love, Not War[1][2] and I Can't Believe I Just Did That,[3][4][5] and has served as a faculty member at Princeton University and a visiting scholar at Columbia University at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy.[6] He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the New School.[7] His essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine and other publications. While an undergraduate at Brown University, Allyn co-authored a book on transferring from one college to another. He and his co-author (later wife) were profiled in The Washington Post and featured on CNN. He has also published articles in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly,[8] The Journal of American Studies,[9] Teachers College Record,[10] The Advocate, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, The Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle. As an expert on the 1960s, Allyn has appeared on Vh1,[11] The History Channel.,[12] and CNN.[13]


Allyn's play "Buying In" was a Semifinalist for the 2017 Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. His play Commencement was selected for the Baltimore Playwrights Festival.[14] and won a Writers Digest award.[15] His play Punctuated Equilibrium received a staged reading by the Hangar Theatre Lab in Ithaca, NY.[16] His play Writers Colony appeared in the Fresh Fruit Festival in New York City,[17] and Baptizing Adam[18] won the James H. Wilson Award for Best-Full Length Play. According to the New York Times, Allyn is "a wicked observer of self-conscious people at their less than best."[6]


Allyn's original concepts include "social courage,"[19][20] used to describe bravery in interpersonal contexts; "tactical empathy,"[21] denoting the deliberate use of perspective-taking to achieve certain desired ends; "mission mirroring,"[22] the phenomenon that occurs when mission-based organizations become plagued by the very problems they were created to solve; and "sexual optimism (pessimism),"[23] the view of human sexuality as benign (or dangerous).


Allyn is the stepson of the late John Wallach, founder of the nonprofit organization Seeds of Peace.[24] Allyn graduated from the Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. He holds a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. From 1996–1999, he taught at Princeton University. In 2014 he was named CEO of The Oliver Scholars Program. In February 2016 he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). His daughter Jordan attends Barnard College.[7]


  1. ^ Tiger, Lionel (March 19, 2000). "Turned In, Turned On". New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Book Reviews". Peace & Change. Peace History Society and Peace and Justice Studies Association. 27 (4): 641–667. 2002. doi:10.1111/1468-0130.00249. ISSN 1468-0130. 
  3. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: I Can't Believe I Just Did That: How (Seemingly) Small Embarrassments Can Wreak Havoc in Your Life-And What You Can Do to Put a Stop to Them by David Allyn, Author Jeremy P. Tarcher $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58542-257-9". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13. 
  4. ^ Parmar, Neil (May 1, 2004). "Self-Conscious? Get Over It". Psychology Today. Retrieved January 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ Gizowska, Eva (May 9, 2004). "Mind I'm so sorry, but do you mind reading this? Are you self-conscious, easily embarrassed, endlessly apologising?". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Morris, Bob (January 11, 2004). "The Age of Dissonance; Red-Faced to Meet You". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b http://oliverscholars.org/our-staff
  8. ^ http://nvs.sagepub.com/cgi/rapidpdf/0899764010370869v1
  9. ^ David Allyn, "Private Acts/Public Policy: Alfred Kinsey, the American Law Institute and the Privatization of American Sexual Morality," Journal of American Studies, Volume 30, Issue 03, December 1996, pp 405–428
  10. ^ Volume 107, Number 7 (2005)
  11. ^ http://variety.com/2008/scene/markets-festivals/sex-the-revolution-1200522571/
  12. ^ http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1230048/
  13. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4767830/
  14. ^ http://www.citypaper.com/calendar/event.asp?whatID=144917
  15. ^ http://www.writersdigest.com/2009-annual-competition-winners/annualwinners78_play
  16. ^ http://www.hangartheatre.org/index.php?page=the_wedge
  17. ^ Haagensen, Erik (July 15, 2009). "Writers Colony". Backstage. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  18. ^ Weber, Bruce (August 30, 2002). "A Study of Lonely Souls, One of Them With a Gun". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  19. ^ Allyn, David (2004). I Can't Believe I Just Did That. New York: Tarcher/Putnam. pp. 94–95. ISBN 1585423610. 
  20. ^ "Why Social Courage Should Be Taught in the Classroom". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  21. ^ "The Tao of Doing Good (SSIR)". ssir.org. Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  22. ^ Allyn, David (2010). "Mission Mirroring: Understanding Conflict in Nonprofit Organizations". Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 40: 762–769. 
  23. ^ Allyn, David (2000). Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution, An Unfettered History. New York: Little, Brown. 
  24. ^ http://www.seedsofpeace.org/node/1866