Anahad O’Connor

Anahad is an author and reporter who writes about health and fitness for The New York Times.

Anahad was born and raised on Manhattan’s lower east side, the second youngest in a family of seven.  After graduating from the High School for Leadership and Public Service in 1999, he went on to Yale University, where he studied neuroscience and obtained a degree in psychology.  

Before joining the Times in 2003, he traveled the country by bicycle, building homes for low-income families and working with Habitat for Humanity. At the paper he started out writing about psychology for the Tuesday science section, and launched a weekly column, which addresses questions on health from readers and explores and investigates medical myths and curiosities. In his career at the Times he has been a correspondent for the paper’s Metropolitan section, traveling the state to write about politics and life in the suburbs, and has covered business, politics and foreign news.  

Anahad has published four books, including the bestselling Never Shower in a Thunderstorm: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths about Our Health and the World We Live In, which was published in 2007, and The 10 Things You Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them, which made the New York Times Bestseller list in 2010.  

Anahad currently lives in New York City.  

A short recent talk with Anahad:

What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
Outside of work I am very much a science geek as well as a wine and fitness buff. I devour books and shows about space and the universe, I love visiting museums and planetariums, and I generally find at least an hour a day (or sometimes two) to squeeze in a strength training workout or a session at my martial arts dojo, where I practice kickboxing and submission grappling. I also like to take advantage of the culture in New York – restaurants, parks, and shows, among other things – and I’m very much into wine. I collect and drink everything, though my favorites are Cabernet Franc, Barolo, and anything from France’s Burgundy region.

What are you most excited to do, learn, or see during your upcoming trip to France as part of the program?
I am particularly excited about meeting the French Young Leaders, getting their perspectives and keeping in touch. Of course, I’m also thrilled to be getting a unique look at France. I’m sure it will be an eye opening experience and exploration.

 When you were 10 years old, what job did you imagine yourself having?
When I was 10 years old I wanted to be either a baseball player or a nuclear chemist. Baseball was my favorite sport (go Yankees!). And Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist, was my idol. I found it intriguing that this man helped unleash a ferocious power on Earth, and then spent the rest of his life trying, in some ways, to put the genie back in the bottle, or at least see that it was used for good. He was also a philosopher and quite a genius, which made me think that nuclear chemists were cool.