A career journalist, Greg O’Brien’s latest book, an international award winner, “On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s” is the first book written by an investigative reporter embedded inside the mind of Alzheimer’s, chronicling the progression of his own disease. Lisa Genova, author of the best-selling Alzheimer’s novel, Still Alice, whose screen version won an Academy Award, wrote the foreword. “If you’re trying to understand what it feels like to live with Alzheimer’s…then you need to read this book,” she observed.
On Pluto has won the Beverly Hills International Book Award for Medicine, the International Book Award for Health, was an Eric Hoffer International Book Award finalist, as well as a finalist for USA Best Book Awards. It has been translated into Mandarin for distribution in China, into Italian for distribution in Italy, and a foreign edition is distributed in India.
O’Brien was diagnosed several years ago with Alzheimer’s after a series of brain scans and clinical tests, and after serious head traumas that doctors say unmasked a disease in the making. Alzheimer’s—a disease that can take 20-to-25 years to run its serpentine course—took O’Brien’s maternal grandfather, his mother, and his paternal uncle, and before his father’s death, he, too, was diagnosed with dementia. O’Brien, who carries the Alzheimer’s marker gene APOE-4, is the subject of the short film, “A Place Called Pluto,” directed by award-winning filmmaker Steve James, online at livingwithalz.org. NPR’s “All Things Considered” has run a series of pieces about O’Brien’s journey, online at npr.org/series/389781574/inside-alzheimers, and PBS/NOVA took a trip to Pluto in its groundbreaking Alzheimer’s documentary, Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped, (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/can-alzheimers-be-stopped/).
He also is co-host with New York Times Best-Selling author David Shenk of the podcast, “The Forgetting,” produced and distributed by WGBH-TV in Boston and NPR (https://www.npr.org/podcasts/690359048/the-forgetting). The podcast is starting its second season.
O’Brien, who has spoken nationally and internationally on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, serves on the Board of Directors of the distinguish UsAgainstAlzheimer’s in Washington, DC, is an advocate for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund of Boston, and has served on the national Alzheimer’s Association Advisory Group for Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Over his career, O’Brien has written for national and regional media, among them: Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, Boston Metro, New York Metro, Philadelphia Metro, Time, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Providence Journal, Cape Cod Times, Boston Irish Reporter, Runner’s World, Reader’s Digest, Associated Press, has consulted on PBS/NOVA scripts, and others.
In addition, O’Brien was a founding managing partner of Community Newspaper Company, created by Fidelity Investments in 1991. Community Newspaper Company, one of the largest newspaper companies in New England, was then sold to the Boston Herald, then GateHouse Media, which recently acquired Gannett, publisher of USA Today and scores of other newspaper and media. The expanded GateHouse Media company now operates a combined 260 daily newspaper operations, along with community weekly newspapers, more than any U.S. news publisher. In addition, O’Brien was editor & publisher of Cape Cod Publishing Company, a group of seven community newspapers that were part of Community Newspaper Company.
He lives in Brewster on Outer Cape Cod where he and his wife of 42 years, Mary Catherine, raised their three children: Brendan, Colleen and Conor.
Visit Greg’s blog, On Pluto: Reflections From Beyond