Jennifer Michael Hecht is a poet, philosopher, historian and commentator. She is the author of the bestseller Doubt: A History, a history of religious and philosophical doubt all over the world, throughout history. Her new book is Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It, out from Yale University Press. Her The Happiness Myth brings a historical eye to modern wisdom about how to lead a good life. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won Phi Beta Kappa’s 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “For scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.”
Publisher’s Weekly called her poetry book, Funny, “One of the most original and entertaining books of the year.” Her first book of poetry, The Next Ancient World, won three national awards, including the Poetry Society of America’s First Book award for 2001. Her new poetry book called Who Said, just came out from Copper Canyon in November 2013. Hecht has written for Politico, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New Yorker. She holds a Ph.D. in the history of science/European cultural history from Columbia University (1995) and now teaches a course called “Poets and Philosophy” in the MFA program at the New School in New York City.
Hecht has also published in many peer-reviewed journals, including;The Journal of the History of Ideas, Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society, French Historical Studies, The Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, and has delivered lectures at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Cal Tech, Columbia University as well as The Zen Mountain Monastery, Temple Israel, Saint Bart’s Episcopal Church, and other institutions of learning and introspection. Hecht has been featured on many radio programs, including On Being with Krista Tippet, Leonard Lopate Show, the BBC, Speaking of Faith, Talk of the Nation, and Brian Lehrer. In 2010 Hecht served as one of the five nonfiction judges for the National Book Award. She is a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities. She has appeared on Hardball on MSNBC, the Discovery Channel, and The Morning Show. She lectures widely.