Investigative journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney has worked in some of the most dangerous and unlikely corners of the world. His work blends narrative non-fiction with ethnography. Currently, he is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2016-17 Scripps Fellow at the Center for Environmental Journalism in Boulder, Colorado. “What Doesn’t Kill Us” is his most recent book; other works include “The Red Market” and “A Death on Diamond Mountain.”
Carney was a contributing editor at Wired for five years and his writing also appears in Mother Jones, Men’s Journal, Playboy, Foreign Policy, Discover, Outside and Fast Company. His work has been the subject of a variety of radio and television programs, including on NPR and National Geographic TV. In 2010, he won the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for his story “Meet the Parents,” which tracked an international kidnapping-to-adoption ring. Carney has spent extensive time in South Asia and speaks Hindi.
What Doesn’t Kill Us traces our evolutionary journey back to a time when survival depended on how well we adapted to the environment around us. Our ancestors crossed the Alps in animal skins and colonized the New World in loin cloths. They evaded predators and built civilizations with just their raw brainpower and inner grit. But things have changed and now comfort is king. Today we live in the thrall of constant climate control and exercise only when our office schedules permit. The technologies that we use to make us comfortable are so all encompassing that they sever the biological link to a changing environment. Now we hate the cold and the heat. We suffer from autoimmune diseases. And many of us are chronically overweight. Most of us don’t even realize that natural variation–sweating and shivering–is actually good for us.