Author of two books: Beautiful Boy and Clean

David Sheff is the author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and his latest, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy.



Beautiful Boy is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestseller that recounts Sheff’s harrowing struggle to help his son Nic overcome his methamphetamine addiction. Following its publication, Sheff met countless people struggling to prevent drug use and abuse and survive addiction—their own or a loved one’s. These encounters led Sheff on a ten-year mission to determine why America is losing its war against drugs and so many of its children in the process.



His search culminated with Clean, a myth-shattering look at drug use and treatment. Based on the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, Clean’s premise is that drug use is preventable and addiction is a preventable, treatable disease. Sheff rejects the stigmatization of drug use and calls for a new approach that treats use and addiction for what it is: a health crisis that is costing America $600 billion a year (in healthcare costs, crime, lost productivity, and more) and killing 350 people a day—more than any disease other than cancer and heart disease. This revolutionary work offers clear and cogent counsel for parents, schools, and communities, as well as addicts themselves.

David Sheff frequently speaks to schools, community groups, and conferences devoted to understanding mental health about effective methods to prevent drug use and abuse and about addiction on high school and college campuses. He argues that by addressing addiction, we take serious action against a host of other problems created and exacerbated by addiction, such as gun violence, domestic abuse, and any other mental illness-related issue. His ongoing research and reports on the science of addiction earned him a place on Time magazine’s list of
the world’s most influential people.

A renowned journalist, Sheff is a contributing editor to Playboy and has written for The New York Times, Wired, Fortune, and Rolling Stone, among many others. His article, “My Addicted Son,” which appeared in The New York Times Magazine and led to Beautiful Boy, won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Advancing the Understanding of Addictions from the American Psychological Association. He has conducted seminal interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, nuclear physicist Ted Taylor, Congressman Barney Frank, Steve Jobs, Ansel Adams, Thomas Friedman, the founders of Google, Tom Hanks, Betty Friedan, Keith Haring, Jack Nicholson, Carl Sagan, Larry Ellison, Salman Rushdie, and many others. He also wrote an award-winning documentary about John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and a radio special about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sheff’s other books include Game Over, hailed as “the bible of the videogame industry” by The Wall Street Journal; China Dawn, which discusses the Internet revolution in China; and All We Are Saying, a Literary Guild Selection book based on his 1980 interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which The New York Times called ”a fascinating, detailed glimpse into the workings of a musical genius” and People hailed as “the most revealing portrait of John Lennon’s career.”

  • Drugs, Guns & Violence: How Addiction Feeds Every Other Issue
  • Addiction in the Family? You’re Not Alone
  • Letting Go: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction
  • What We Do & Don’t Know About Treatment: Making Informed Choices When Confronting Addiction
  • Prevention: What Works & What Doesn’t
  • An Evening of Addiction, Hope, & Redemption with Nic & David Sheff

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