|Alma mater||Oberlin College,
University of California, Berkeley
|Notable awards||Kavli Science Journalism Award for Magazine Writing
Samuel Johnson Prize
Steve Silberman is an American writer for Wired magazine and has been an editor and contributor there for 14 years. In 2010, Silberman was awarded the AAAS “Kavli Science Journalism Award for Magazine Writing”. His featured article “The Placebo Problem” discussed the impact of placebos on the pharmaceutical industry.
Silberman’s 2015 book, Neurotribes, about autism and neurodiversity was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize. Silberman’s Wired article “The Geek Syndrome”, which focused on autism in Silicon Valley, has been referenced by many sources and has been described as a culturally significant article for the autism community. By contrast, Silberman’s viewpoints on autism have been criticized by Autism Speaks for downplaying the difficulties faced by ‘low-functioning’ autistic people. Silberman’s Twitter account made Timemagazine’s list of the best Twitter feeds for the year 2011.
Silberman moved to San Francisco in 1979, drawn by three factors: so that he could live “a gay life without fear”; because of the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Grateful Dead, and others; and so he could be near the San Francisco Zen Center.
Silberman studied with Allen Ginsberg at Naropa University in 1977. After Silberman interviewed Ginsberg for Whole Earth Review in 1987 the two became friends and Ginsberg invited Silberman to be his teaching assistant the next term at Naropa University. The Beat Generation are a regular subject in Silberman’s writings. Silberman lives with his husband Keith, a middle-school science teacher, to whom he has been married since 2003.
Silberman’s 2015 book Neurotribes documents the origins and history of autism from a neurodiversity viewpoint. The book has received mostly positive reviews from both scientific and popular media. In a review published in Science-Based MedicineHarriet Hall, MD also known as The SkepDoc described Neurotribes as “the most complete history of autism I have seen” and recommends it as “a welcome ray of clarity, sanity, and optimism”. In The New York Times Book Review, Jennifer Senior wrote that the book was “beautifully told, humanizing, important”; the Boston Globe called it “as emotionally resonant as any [book] this year”; and in Science, the cognitive neuroscientist Francesca Happé wrote, “It is a beautifully written and thoughtfully crafted book, a historical tour of autism, richly populated with fascinating and engaging characters, and a rallying call to respect difference.” It was named one of the best books of 2015 by The New York Times, The Economist,Financial Times, The Guardian, and many other outlets. Some other reviews were less positive, for example Dr. James C. Harris of Johns Hopkins University criticized Neurotribes as a book that pushes an agenda, saying that Silberman misrepresented Leo Kanner as somebody that had a negative view towards autistics and their parents, rather than, as Harris argued, an advocate for individualized treatment for every child.
Source: Steve Silberman – Wikipedia