Walter B. Pitkin

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Walter B. Pitkin
BornFebruary 6, 1878
DiedJanuary 25, 1953
EducationUniversity of Michigan
OccupationAuthor, professor

Walter Boughton Pitkin (February 6, 1878 – January 25, 1953) was an American author and university professor. He taught at Columbia University for 38 years, and he authored more than 30 books, including the 1932 best-selling book, Life Begins at Forty.


Pitkin was born on February 6, 1878 in Ypsilanti, Michigan.[1][2] He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1900, and he attended the Hartford Seminary before studying in Europe at the Sorbonne University, Munich University and Berlin University.[1][2]

Pitkin and his wife Mary Gray Pitkin had five sons: Richard G., John G., David B., Robert B., and Walter B Pitkin Jr. The elder Pitkin later married Katherine B. Johnson. They resided in Los Altos, California.[1] Pitkin died on January 25, 1953 in Palo Alto, California, at age 74.[1][2]


Pitkin was a lecturer in philosophy and psychology at Columbia University (1905–09), and professor in the Columbia University School of Journalism (1912–43).[3]

Pitkin authored more than 30 books over the course of his career,[2] including Life Begins at Forty (New York, Whittlesey house, McGraw-Hill, 1932) and The Psychology of Happiness. His A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity was translated into fifteen languages. Pitkin was a member of the New Realism school in philosophy, writing on its relation to biology.


  • How To Write Stories, (1923)
  • The Art Of Rapid Reading, (1929)
  • The Psychology Of Happiness, (1929)
  • A Short Introduction To The History Of Human Stupidity, (1932)
  • Life Begins At Forty, (1932)
  • More Power To You!, (1933)
  • Let's Get What We Want!, (1935)
  • Capitalism Carries On, (1935)
  • Making Good Before Forty, (1939)
  • On My Own, (1944)
  • The Best Years: How to Enjoy Retirement, (1946)

Source: [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Walter B. Pitkin Is Dead; Write 'Life Begins at 40'". Lansing State Journal. January 27, 1953. p. 24. Retrieved February 6, 2020 – via
  2. ^ a b c d "Walter Pitkin, Famed Writer, Dies in Palo Alto". Oakland Tribune. January 26, 1953. p. 4. Retrieved February 6, 2020 – via
  3. ^ "Entries in the Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers". Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
  4. ^ "Author - Walter Boughton Pitkin". Author and Book Info.

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