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2010 Pulitzer Prize-Winner

For Related Coverage in

National Reporting

“Richtel’s compassionate and persuasive book deserves a spot next to Fast Food Nation and To Kill a Mockingbird in America’s high school curriculums.

- New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)



On the last day of summer, an ordinary Utah college student named Reggie Shaw fatally struck two rocket scientists while texting and driving along a majestic stretch of highway bordering the Rocky Mountains. A Deadly Wandering follows Reggie from the moment of the tragedy, through the police investigation, the state's groundbreaking prosecution, and ultimately, Reggie's wrenching admission of responsibility. Richtel parallels Reggie's journey with leading-edge scientific findings on the impact technology has on our brains, showing how these devices play to our deepest social instincts and answers some of the defining questions of our time: What is technology doing to us? Can our minds keep up with the pace of change? How can we find balance? A propulsive read filled with surprising scientific detail, riveting narrative tension, and rare emotional depth, A Deadly Wandering is a book that can change—and save—lives.


Hardcover: 368 pages

Publisher: William Morrow (August 1, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062443275

ISBN-13: 978-0062443274


“Richtel’s compassionate and persuasive book deserves a spot next to Fast Food Nation and 

To Kill a Mockingbird in America’s high school curriculums. To say it may save lives is self-evident.”

   - New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)


“Keen and elegantly raw. ... Not just a morality tale but a probe sent into the world of technology. ... Richtel draws all the characters with a fine brush, a delicacy that treats misery both respectfully and front-on.”

- Christian Science Monitor (One of the 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year)


“Americans are addicted to their technology, putting us on a modern day collision course with very real consequences.

Matt Richtel brilliantly tells the story of the aftermath of a deadly distracted driving crash.

His portrait is riveting. I could not stop reading, and neither will you.”

- Ray LaHood, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation


“A portrait of our digital age that will deeply frighten you and cause you to reevaluate many common aspects of your ‘connected’ life. ... An extraordinarily important book that everyone—and I mean everyone—should read.”

         - Douglas Preston, co-author of The Monster of Florence


“A masterpiece of reporting, insight, and empathy. ... A beautiful, cautionary tale that reads like a novel,

and that we disregard at our risk.”

- Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers


“A Deadly Wandering is more than a page-turner. It’s a book that can save lives.”

- Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows


“Matt Richtel’s riveting book is narrative nonfiction at its finest. ... This book should be placed in every school and legislative chamber in the country.”

- Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah

“This book does that most amazing of feats: it makes cutting-edge scientific research feel relevant to the choices we make every time we get in a car, sit at a desk, or talk to our friends and family.”

- Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit

“A gripping book. ... This is human drama and the latest knowledge about obsessive technology

woven together in memorable style.”

- Ralph Nader, author of Unsafe at Any Speed


“A compelling, highly emotional, and profoundly important story.”

- Kirkus Reviews (Starred; a Best Book of the Year)


What does Matt have in common with John Stewart, Jay Z and Steven Sondheim?

All named among The Best of Fresh Air.

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