Author Profile

Matt Richtel

Matt Richtel

Matt Richtel is a best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times based in San Francisco. His work focuses on technology, science and the impact of heavy technology use on our culture, personal lives and on our brains.

In 2010 he won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, for his series of articles on the hazardous use of cell phones, computers and other devices while driving. His non-fiction thriller A Deadly Wandering explored these issues, was a New York Times bestseller and was named a best book of 2014 by various publications, including The San Francisco Chronicle, and Christian Science Monitor. The New York Times Review of Books said A Deadly Wandering “deserves a spot next to Fast Food Nation and To Kill a Mockingbird” as required reading in schools and added “to say it may save lives is self-evident.” Matt speaks to a wide range of audiences about the compulsive, even addictive, nature of interactive technology; he uses accessible neuroscience and entertaining anecdote to help audiences learn to take advantage of their devices and not be enslaved by technology’s seductive power. Matt is the author of four acclaimed, tech-centric thrillers, including, most recently, The Doomsday Equation. He grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University.

An avid tennis player and rotten (but aspiring) song writer, he lives in San Francisco with his wife, Meredith, a neurologist, and their two children.

"Fantastic - interesting, insightful and engaging. As evidenced by the lively discussion that followed, Mr. Richtel proved he excelled at both substance and style."
-- Susan P. Baker, MPH Professor, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

"You overwhelmed our participants, you overwhelmed me. Thanks to you I am curbing my frenetic need to text and digitally communicate at once."
-- Sheri Prupis, Director,, Educational Technology Initiatives (NJEDGE), consortium of academic & research groups in New Jersey

"A colleague said: Matt was a ball of thoughtful but infectious creative energy. Beyond any specific information that intrigued and informed the students, his accessibility impressed itself on all. "
-- Luke Fernandez, Director of Technology Outreach, Weber State University

"Matt was one of the best closing speakers we have had for our GHSA Annual Meetings. When we select a closing luncheon speaker, we look for someone who will motivate attendees to stay throughout the conference as well as someone who can summarize many of the key issues. Matt was perfect at both of these tasks."
-- Barbara Harsha, Executive Director, Governors Highway Safety Association

"I rated (the speech) higher than excellent. Some of the responses on the feedback forms: ‘Superb speaker. Excellent topic. Very refreshing'; ‘Very good choice of speaker + subject - everyone has got an opinion on this!!'; ‘Fun and exciting'; ‘Brilliant, thought provoking talk.'"
-- Gerry Grenier, Staff Director, Publishing Technologies, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

"Matt is a wonderful, dynamic speaker and a pleasure to work with! He presented three programs for our school district, and he carefully tailored each for the different audiences. The first program was an assembly for roughly 500 high school students about the effects of technology on the brain, the fallacy of multitasking, and the perils of distracted driving. His passion for the subject, combined with his depth of scientific information, made for a riveting assembly. The second program was a discussion with 22 journalism students about his career as a writer and reporter. This was a very personal program, and he connected with the students and both encouraged and inspired them. They were absolutely thrilled to hear his stories and advice. The third program was an adult education program, based on Matt's reporting that is now compiled in A Deadly Wandering. This, too, was an engaging, informative and powerful program. Many parents expressed their gratitude for both the parent ed program and that their students had had an opportunity to hear similar information during their assembly. We hope to have Matt return to our school district again and again."
-- Julie Moll, Piedmont High School District

"Matt Richtel is an enthusiastic and passionate committed to the science, behavior, and dangers of distracted driving. While presenting at the Washington Traffic Safety Conference he kept the audience engaged and spellbound. His ability to tell the story paints a realistic picture of the consequences related to distracted driving, while describing the impacts of modern connectivity. It was clear that many conference attendees were charmed by his fun, informative, and interactive presentation. Matt's presentation was a great way to conclude a powerful conference. "
-- Darrin Grondel, Director, Washington Traffic Safety Commission

"The meaningful impact he had on students, faculty, and staff cannot be overstated."
-- Erin Muggli, Project Manager, Office of the Provost, Boise State University

"Engaging and provocative. He gets the audience to ask questions, reassess their assumptions, and most of all, to think. The perfect first-year read. "
-- David Jenemann, Acting Dean, Honors College, University of Vermont

"Powerful and compelling sprinkled with just the right amount of wit. Matt connects wonderfully with audiences. Matt's handling of the Q&A highlighted his gift as an intelligent communicator. I was particularly impressed by Matt's ability to make those around him feel appreciated for what they were dong for him and his willingness to do whatever we asked of him.  To summarize; very professional, engaging and genuine.  A pleasure to work with."
-- Stephen Cummins, Director, University Public Engagement , California State University, Chico

"A fantastic conversation "
-- Alyson Geller, Organizer, Jewish Community Center, Marin, CA

"A powerful impact....Your events were the most well-attended of any we have had in a number of years. Your keynote was in our largest auditorium--holding about 900 students--and it was full. But I think more importantly, students weren't just attending, they were listening and engaging. "
-- Elizabeth Zold, Assistant Professor of English, Winona State University

For more about Matt and his works, go to

Reviews of A Deadly Wandering

As 'instructive social parable,' A Deadly Wandering deserves a spot next to Fast Food Nation and To Kill a Mockingbird in America's high school curriculums. To say it may save lives is self-evident.
-- The New York Times Review of Books, Editor's Choice

Keen and elegantly raw--like a tooth-- crackingly crisp photograph that bleeds at the edges - [the] story surrounding this disaster is not just a morality tale about testin and driving, but also a probe sent into the world of technology, examining the way it is outstripping our capability to keep up with it, and how we as a culture are feeding bullets into the techno-gun and playing with it.
-- Christian Science Monitor,

Videos featuring Matt Richtel

Matt Richtel Discusses A DEADLY WANDERING at NODA 2014

Matt Richtel: "A Deadly Wandering" | Talks at Google

Distracted Driving Q and A with Matt Richtel

A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel