David Sheff

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David Sheff
Born Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Residence Inverness, California
Education University of California, Berkeley
Occupation Writer
Known for
  • Vicki Sheff (m. 1978–1988)
  • Karen Barbour
Children Nic, Jasper, Daisy
Website davidsheff.com

David Sheff is an American author of the New York Times best-selling books Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy and the memoir Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction. In 2009, Sheff was included in the Time Magazine Time 100, The World's Most Influential People,[1] and Beautiful Boy was named the best nonfiction book of the year by Entertainment Weekly. The book also won the Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers Award"[2] for nonfiction and was an Amazon Best Book of the Year (2008). He was awarded the 2013 College of Problems on Drug Dependence (CPDD) Media Award, and 2017 American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Media Award.


Sheff, a journalist, has written for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Wired, Fortune, and National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His interview subjects have included John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Steve Jobs, Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring, David Hockney, Jack Nicholson, Ted Taylor, Carl Sagan, Betty Friedan, Barney Frank, and Fareed Zakaria, among others. In addition to Beautiful Boy, Sheff wrote the books Game Over, China Dawn, and All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He has also been an editor of New West, California, and other magazines.[3]

Beautiful Boy was based on Sheff's article, "My Addicted Son," that first appeared in the New York Times Magazine. The article won an award for "Outstanding Contribution to Advancing the Understanding of Addictions" from the American Psychological Association.

Personal life[edit]

Sheff is on the advisory boards of the Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program "designed to help colleges and universities promote emotional well-being and mental health programming, reduce substance abuse and prevent suicide" among their students.[4] He is also an honorary board member with the International Bipolar Foundation.[5]

Sheff graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.[3] Originally from Boston, MA,[3] Sheff lives in Northern California with his wife, Karen Barbour, an artist, illustrator, and author of children's books. He has three children, Nic, Jasper, and Daisy Sheff. Nic Sheff has also written a memoir recounting his years of addiction in the book Tweak.[6]

He is from a family of Russian Jewish descent.[7]


  1. ^ Volkow, Dr Nora (30 April 2009). "The 2009 TIME 100 - TIME". Time. 
  2. ^ "Barnes & Noble: Discover Great New Writers Award". 
  3. ^ a b c David Sheff's home page Author's bio
  4. ^ "The Jed Foundation Partners with the Clinton Foundation, Facebook & MTV - JED". JED. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  5. ^ "Honorary Board | International Bipolar Foundation". ibpf.org. Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  6. ^ McGrath, Charles (26 February 2008), A Twice-Told Tale of Addiction: By Father, by Son, The New York Times, retrieved 16 January 2009 
  7. ^ Sheff, David (2009-01-06). Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0547347928. 

External links[edit]