Whitman, David 1955–

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Whitman, David 1955–

(David deFreudiger Whitman)

PERSONAL: Born May 12, 1955, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Jules I. (an attorney) and Elizabeth (a homemaker; maiden name, deFreudiger) Whitman; married; children: one daughter. Education: Amherst College, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1978.

ADDRESSES: Home—Washington, DC. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Walker Books, 104 5th Ave., New York, NY 10011.

CAREER: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, senior case writer at John F. Kennedy School of Government, 1978–82, research coordinator at Institute of Politics, beginning 1983; U.S. News and World Report, Washington, DC, joined staff c. 1985, became senior correspondent, senior writer, and contributing editor. Has taught journalism classes at George Washington University.


(With Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.) The President as Policymaker: Jimmy Carter and Welfare Reform, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1981.

The Optimism Gap: The I'm Okay-They're Not Syndrome and the Myth of American Decline, Walker (New York, NY), 1998.

Contributor to magazines, including Society, New Republic, and Atlantic Monthly, and to newspapers, including New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

SIDELIGHTS: In The Optimism Gap: The I'm Okay-They're Not Syndrome and the Myth of American Decline, David Whitman argues that Americans have become cynical about the world largely because of how the media hypes bad news in order to make sales and, secondly, because psychologically, people tend to have a more positive view of themselves and local communities than they do of the rest of the world. He backs up these claims with thorough research into government and academic studies, opinion polls, and journal articles. In his book, Whitman concludes that Americans should be more optimistic about the future because the world is not as bad a place as perceived, and that individuals can try to be more positive by seeking out a common sense of purpose among all people and by reducing unrealistic expectations of how the world should be.

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Whitman, David 1955–

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