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Adam O'Brien

Adam O'Brien - Editor

New York, NY, United States

I'm a New York City-based editor specializing in commercial nonfiction, and have worked on several NYT-bestselling titles.

Overview

I'm an editor based in NYC, specializing in both short and long form commercial nonfiction.

I specialize in "memoirs" in a broad sense: personal memoirs, business memoirs, collections of humorous personal essays, even travel memoirs. A few of the books I've worked on in this category are Drew Barrymore's WILDFLOWER, Rainn Wilson's THE BASSOON KING, sportscaster Joe Buck's forthcoming LUCKY BASTARD, and MAKE IT HAPPEN by Lisa Sugar, founder of the popular media website Popsugar.

I also specialize in narrative nonfiction, encompassing an array of topics from bestselling authors. Examples of books I've worked with are Daniel Levitin's A FIELD GUIDE TO LIES, Sean Carroll's THE BIG PICTURE, and Maria Goodavage's newly published SECRET SERVICE DOGS.

Working with a variety of New York Times-bestselling books, I've come to know not only how to work in these specific genres, but the best ways to get to the ultimate goal of an editor: how to take the what you want to write, recognize what the reader wants to read, and work with you to bring the two together.


If you're interested in working with me, please drop me a line with a few paragraphs explaining what you are writing about, your relationship with the subject, and the approximate length. From there, we can talk more about the details as well as your editing needs!

Services
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Humor & Comedy
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs Entertainment Politics & Current Affairs Social & Behavioral Sciences Travel

Work experience

Editorial Assistant

Penguin Books

March, 2015 – Present (over 1 year)

Work with several NYT-bestselling authors in nonfiction, spanning genres such as memoir, science, humor, and current affairs.

Temporary Production Coordinator

Abrams Books

October, 2014 – February, 2015 (4 months)

Editorial Intern

Public Affairs Books

August, 2014 – December, 2014 (4 months)

Intern

Perseus Books Group

June, 2014 – August, 2014 (2 months)

Portfolio (17 selected works)

Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States

Maria Goodavage

In an age fraught with terrorism, United States Secret Service canine teams risk their lives to safeguard the president, vice president, their families, visiting heads of state, and a host of others. Unprecedented access to these heroic dog teams has allowed a fascinating first-time-ever look at a very special breed of heroes.Wherever the president goes, there will be dogs. They’ll be there no... read more

In an age fraught with terrorism, United States Secret Service canine teams risk their lives to safeguard the president, vice president, their families, visiting heads of state, and a host of others. Unprecedented access to these heroic dog teams has allowed a fascinating first-time-ever look at a very special breed of heroes.Wherever the president goes, there will be dogs. They’ll be there no... read more

Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away

Lisa Napoli

The dramatic relationship between Ray Kroc, the man who amassed a fortune as chairman of one of America’s most controversial and iconic companies—McDonald’s—and the passionate woman, his wife, Joan, who then gave that fortune away.Beginning in the 1950s, salesman Ray Kroc presided over the transformation of a successful burger stand into an international brand where millions of people eat each... read more

The dramatic relationship between Ray Kroc, the man who amassed a fortune as chairman of one of America’s most controversial and iconic companies—McDonald’s—and the passionate woman, his wife, Joan, who then gave that fortune away.Beginning in the 1950s, salesman Ray Kroc presided over the transformation of a successful burger stand into an international brand where millions of people eat each... read more

The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Sean Carroll

*An instant New York Times Bestseller*"You will be enthralled." — Wall Street Journal"Suceeds spectacularly." — Science"A tour de force." — Salon.comAlready internationally acclaimed for his elegant, lucid writing on the most challenging notions in modern physics, Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bea... read more

*An instant New York Times Bestseller*"You will be enthralled." — Wall Street Journal"Suceeds spectacularly." — Science"A tour de force." — Salon.comAlready internationally acclaimed for his elegant, lucid writing on the most challenging notions in modern physics, Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bea... read more

Wildflower

Drew Barrymore

Award-winning actress Drew Barrymore shares funny, insightful, and profound stories from her past and present told from the place of happiness she's achieved today. Wildflower is a portrait of Drew's life in stories as she looks back on the adventures, challenges, and incredible experiences of her earlier years. It includes tales of living on her own at 14 (and how laundry may have saved her l... read more

Award-winning actress Drew Barrymore shares funny, insightful, and profound stories from her past and present told from the place of happiness she's achieved today. Wildflower is a portrait of Drew's life in stories as she looks back on the adventures, challenges, and incredible experiences of her earlier years. It includes tales of living on her own at 14 (and how laundry may have saved her l... read more

The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy

Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson’s memoir about growing up geeky and finally finding his place in comedy, faith, and life. For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a be... read more

Rainn Wilson’s memoir about growing up geeky and finally finding his place in comedy, faith, and life. For nine seasons Rainn Wilson played Dwight Schrute, everyone's favorite work nemesis and beet farmer. Viewers of The Office fell in love with the character and grew to love the actor who played him even more. Rainn founded a website and media company, SoulPancake, that eventually became a be... read more

Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop

Nick Offerman

After two New York Times bestsellers, Nick Offerman returns with the subject for which he's known best—his incredible real-life woodshop. Nestled among the glitz and glitter of Tinseltown is a testament to American elbow grease and an honest-to-god hard day’s work: Offerman Woodshop. Captained by hirsute woodworker, actor, comedian, and writer Nick Offerman, the shop produces not only fine han... read more

After two New York Times bestsellers, Nick Offerman returns with the subject for which he's known best—his incredible real-life woodshop. Nestled among the glitz and glitter of Tinseltown is a testament to American elbow grease and an honest-to-god hard day’s work: Offerman Woodshop. Captained by hirsute woodworker, actor, comedian, and writer Nick Offerman, the shop produces not only fine han... read more

Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life

Lisa Sugar

Lisa Sugar has an amazing job. She spends her days creating content about pop culture, must-have handbags and makeup, healthy recipes, and Instagram-worthy sweets. She manages an enormously successful, growing company with employees who love what they do. And her life is just as great at home. She and her husband have three daughters and she’s the number one soccer mom who loves reading bedtim... read more

Lisa Sugar has an amazing job. She spends her days creating content about pop culture, must-have handbags and makeup, healthy recipes, and Instagram-worthy sweets. She manages an enormously successful, growing company with employees who love what they do. And her life is just as great at home. She and her husband have three daughters and she’s the number one soccer mom who loves reading bedtim... read more

The Human Superorganism: How the Microbiome Is Revolutionizing the Pursuit of a Healthy Life

Rodney Dietert PhD

"Eyeopening... Fascinating... may presage a paradigm shift in medicine.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"Teeming with information and big ideas... Outstanding.”—Booklist (starred review)The origin of asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, allergies, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and even some kinds of depression is now clear. Award-winning researcher on the microbiome, professor Rodney Dietert presen... read more

"Eyeopening... Fascinating... may presage a paradigm shift in medicine.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"Teeming with information and big ideas... Outstanding.”—Booklist (starred review)The origin of asthma, autism, Alzheimer's, allergies, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and even some kinds of depression is now clear. Award-winning researcher on the microbiome, professor Rodney Dietert presen... read more

Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain

Douglas Fields

The startling new science behind sudden acts of violence and the nine triggers this groundbreaking researcher has uncoveredWe all have a rage circuit we can’t fully control once it is engaged as R. Douglas Fields, PhD, reveals in this essential book for our time. The daily headlines are filled with examples of otherwise rational people with no history of violence or mental illness suddenly sna... read more

The startling new science behind sudden acts of violence and the nine triggers this groundbreaking researcher has uncoveredWe all have a rage circuit we can’t fully control once it is engaged as R. Douglas Fields, PhD, reveals in this essential book for our time. The daily headlines are filled with examples of otherwise rational people with no history of violence or mental illness suddenly sna... read more

Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, and the Things I'm Not Allowed to Say on TV

Joe Buck

In his debut memoir, Joe Buck talks about his life, his career, and his memorable relationship with his father, legendary sportscaster Jack Buck.Sports fans see Joe Buck everywhere: broadcasting one of the biggest games in the NFL every week, doing the World Series every year, announcing the Super Bowl every three years. They know his father, Jack Buck, is a broadcasting legend and that he was... read more

In his debut memoir, Joe Buck talks about his life, his career, and his memorable relationship with his father, legendary sportscaster Jack Buck.Sports fans see Joe Buck everywhere: broadcasting one of the biggest games in the NFL every week, doing the World Series every year, announcing the Super Bowl every three years. They know his father, Jack Buck, is a broadcasting legend and that he was... read more

Relentless Spirit: The Unconventional Raising of a Champion

Missy Franklin, D.A. Franklin, Dick Franklin

What does it take to become a champion? Gold medalist Missy Franklin, along with her parents, D.A. and Dick, tell the inspirational and heartwarming story of how Missy became both a legendary athlete and a happy and confident woman, something they accomplished by doing things their own way and making the right choices for their family. At seventeen, Missy Franklin won five medals—four of them ... read more

What does it take to become a champion? Gold medalist Missy Franklin, along with her parents, D.A. and Dick, tell the inspirational and heartwarming story of how Missy became both a legendary athlete and a happy and confident woman, something they accomplished by doing things their own way and making the right choices for their family. At seventeen, Missy Franklin won five medals—four of them ... read more

A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

Daniel J. Levitin

From The New York Times bestselling author of THE ORGANIZED MIND and THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC, a primer to the critical thinking that is more necessary now than ever. We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process—especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin shows h... read more

From The New York Times bestselling author of THE ORGANIZED MIND and THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC, a primer to the critical thinking that is more necessary now than ever. We are bombarded with more information each day than our brains can process—especially in election season. It's raining bad data, half-truths, and even outright lies. New York Times bestselling author Daniel J. Levitin shows h... read more

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

In the ten years since her beloved, groundbreaking Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, New York Times bestselling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal has been quietly at work on this modest but mighty magnum opus, creating a spectacular literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human.Amy Krouse Rosenthal has cultivated a distinct blend of nonlinear memoir, observational h... read more

In the ten years since her beloved, groundbreaking Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, New York Times bestselling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal has been quietly at work on this modest but mighty magnum opus, creating a spectacular literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human.Amy Krouse Rosenthal has cultivated a distinct blend of nonlinear memoir, observational h... read more

Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain

Dana Suskind

*Nominated for the Books for a Better Life Award*The founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, Professor Dana Suskind, explains why the most important—and astoundingly simple—thing you can do for your child’s future success in life is to talk to him or her, reveals the recent science behind this truth, and outlines precisely how parents can best put it into practice. The res... read more

*Nominated for the Books for a Better Life Award*The founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative, Professor Dana Suskind, explains why the most important—and astoundingly simple—thing you can do for your child’s future success in life is to talk to him or her, reveals the recent science behind this truth, and outlines precisely how parents can best put it into practice. The res... read more

The Man Who Wasn't There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self

Anil Ananthaswamy

*Nominated for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award**An NBC News Notable Science Book of 2015**Named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2015**A Book of the Month for Brain HQ/Posit Science**Selected by Forbes as a Must Read Brain Book of 2015* *On Life Changes Network’s list of the Top 10 Books That Could Change Your Life of 2015*In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, a tou... read more

*Nominated for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award**An NBC News Notable Science Book of 2015**Named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2015**A Book of the Month for Brain HQ/Posit Science**Selected by Forbes as a Must Read Brain Book of 2015* *On Life Changes Network’s list of the Top 10 Books That Could Change Your Life of 2015*In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, a tou... read more

The Wonder Trail: True Stories from Los Angeles to the End of the World

Steve Hely

Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make readers want to reach for their backpack and hiking boots. The Wonder Trail is the story of a trip from Los Angeles to the bottom of... read more

Steve Hely, writer for The Office and American Dad!, and recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, presents a travel book about his journey through Central and South America. Part travel book, part pop history, part comic memoir, Hely's writing will make readers want to reach for their backpack and hiking boots. The Wonder Trail is the story of a trip from Los Angeles to the bottom of... read more

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Daniel J. Levitin

“Smart, important, and, as always, exquisitely written.” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness Readers of Daniel J. Levitin’s two previous New York Times bestsellers have come to know and trust his unique ability to translate cutting edge neuroscience into an informative and entertaining narrative. Now Levitin turns his attention to an issue that affects everyone in the digital age... read more

“Smart, important, and, as always, exquisitely written.” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness Readers of Daniel J. Levitin’s two previous New York Times bestsellers have come to know and trust his unique ability to translate cutting edge neuroscience into an informative and entertaining narrative. Now Levitin turns his attention to an issue that affects everyone in the digital age... read more

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