Cody Delistraty is a writer and editor from Spokane, WA. He works as the culture editor at The Wall Street Journal‘s magazine, WSJ., where he edits and writes stories on books, art, technology and compelling cultural trends across the Journal—on the Magazine, Style News and A-hed desks.

He is currently writing a nonfiction book, The Grief Cure, which explores the history, science, technology and business of modern grief. It will be published by Harper.

He holds degrees in history and politics from N.Y.U. and Oxford, and he was named one of the best young writers of the year by British Vogue.

You can find him at delistraty (at) gmail (dot) com. His literary agent is Caroline Eisenmann at Frances Goldin.


  1. Andrzej says

    Hi Cody. Read your article “Working Hard at being happy” in The Week. Good article, thank you. I believe a little more study into “happiness”, especially into eastern philosophy, would make it more rounded. Try the Dalai Lama’s excellent book entitled, “The Art of Happiness”, in which he explains how the Buddhists in the east have essentially been studying how to consciously and purposefully make oneself happier for thousands of years. This is in direct conflict with your statement that “happiness, in the east, should not be actively pursued.” They have done so for thousands of years, it is here in the West that we focus on what’s wrong with people instead of building upon what’s right. He (and other Buddhist writers, try “The Joy of Living” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Eric Swanson) make a crucial distinction between pleasure and happiness. In the West we mistake pleasure for long-term happiness. The Dalai says something like he can imagine getting pleasure out of the act of strangling a particularly difficult person, but he doubts that it will result in long-term happiness. What happens in Western culture is that we confuse short-term pleasure with happiness, and, as you rightly point out, ad-executives and politicians take selfish and non-altruistic advantage of that to the detriment of the rest of us. The Buddhists agree with Jesus, Hillel, and Confucius, even Aristotle…the secret is simple; do unto others as you would have them do to you. “Altruism is the answer,” to quote Matthieu Ricard. The Dalai Lama says that even if you don’t believe it will work, if you decide to act altruistically, for the benefit of others, you will be happier. And if you’re happier, you become more altruistic, which will make you happier. Experience demonstrates that this approach works (again, they have been working at it for thousands of years). Is Oprah, who is pretty happy, that way because she has nice things, or does she have nice things because of all of the emotional energy she puts out for others? Even someone who is well-paid, they are well-paid because of what they do for others.

    Anyway, I think you have a great start, but if you want to look into the matter of happiness further, I have done quite a bit of research, in both literature and practice/experience.

  2. Dear Cody
    Accidentally I dropped on your article “The Intelligence of Plants” (in the Paris Review).
    Just great! We are seriously to learn looking in a much different way towards the world around us, and towards ourselves.
    Thx for that.

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  5. needleofjustice says

    Also very fond of On Coincidence via Aeon. Curious if you are influenced by Douglas Adams? The flavor of your writing doesn’t sound like it, but the way you blend the sentimental with the pragmatic when dealing with science and life is so very Douglas, that it nearly made me cry, as if rediscovering an old friend. Thank you!

  6. Jantzen Breed says

    Hi, Cody. I read your article “On Coincidence” in the 12 July 18 edition of Arts & Letters Daily. Loved it — one of most engaging pieces I’ve ever read on the Internet. I sent the link to several friends. What a delight, discovering a writer I wasn’t familiar with.

  7. Hi Cody, I’d love to tell you about an interesting exhibition that’s coming up in Paris, send me an email if you’d like to talk more about it. Best lwilliams ‘at’ communicart.fr

  8. JBDUQUESNE says

    Hello Cody, I read your article about Camille Claudel in Frieze and your mention of Artcurial. I am in charg of PR for Artcurial in Paris and would be happy to be in touch. You can contact me at jbduquesne@artcurial.com

  9. Hi Cody, I’m a producer at WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show. I’d like to talk to you about your recent op-ed on Chuck Close in The New York Times. Could you please shoot me an email?

  10. When introducing Garrison Keillor to an audience in Amherst, MA, on Nov 19, before awarding him its fourth annual Tell-it-Slant Award, Emily Dickinson Museum Director Jane Wald quoted your essay on the psychology of storytelling. Can you link me to the whole essay or provide a source?

  11. lucidanna says

    I’ve stumbled upon your blog through the article in the Atlantic about creativity. What elegance! I’m now a subscriber.

    • Cody Delistraty says

      thank you ! so glad to hear ! and, as for a book, sooner rather than later; I’ll make sure you know!

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  13. So happy I found your blog. As an ex-Manhattanite who misses NYC terribly, I also spend a lot of time in France–which I miss when I’m not there either. I can live vicariously through your eloquence –especially since I am the least eloquent blogger in the world.
    Thank you!

  14. What an interesting blog! I especially love the section on travel. What is your one tip for a person traveling alone to a place where language could be a barrier?

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  17. isha says

    Hi! Huge fan of your blog! How do you find inspiration for the articles you write? What is your process?

    Also, any routines/rituals you stick to when trying to keep yourself updated and intellectually/culturally aware?


    • Cody says

      Hi Isha, thanks for your kind words. I’m not sure I could pinpoint my source of inspiration for you, but I can tell you my ideas come to me almost exclusively while walking. Perhaps more helpfully, I think the best way to stay updated and intellectually aware is to chat with interesting people. You can never overrate the importance of interestingness, so seeking out people who embody that trait is always a great use of time.

  18. Hi Cody. I came to your site after reading two of your articles on Medium. I wonder how would you call your topic interests as shown in all of your writings. They are the intersection of linguistics, sociology and cognition? How would you define your focus in this site? Thanks!

    • That’s a tricky question. I suppose though that I most like to tackle the big questions of the human condition using different disciplines to approach them. So, for instance, if I want to address prejudice I use neuroscience and linguistics to look at how names affect our standing in life; or, if I want to look at how humans deal with existential dread, I look at the psychology of storytelling. I’m interested in making The Big Questions smaller and more understandable. Plus, I like to sprinkle in France!

      • I am currently working on my dissertation at Bournemouth University, I am looking at the focus of identifying some life events from experienced backpackers.

        I am conducting some research based on your opinion of risk perception and Terrorism. Whether your decision to travel / partake in activities, will effect your decision making process when planning your travels.

        This could be Natural disasters, terrorism, culture, religion, gender etc…. would you say that you could be at a high risk, or does it vary from country to country?

        Some may not even consider the risk, but this is what I would like to find out!!

        Personally without sounding too biased… I would be too concerned to travel to Iraq, due to kidnapping back in April 2014. Some may thrive from the risk taking element.

        If you could let me know your thoughts, it would really be a great help for my research!

        Thanks a million!

        Leigh Sullivan

        Bournemouth University Student

        School of Tourism

  19. Little Freckled One says

    Hi Cody! Sorry this is a random question but I think you would able to give me a better perspective of what to expect. As an American traveling through France, how tough is it to communicate with the language barrier? I obviously want to learn some basic French before I go for it, but would that be enough? Would it be offensive to French people if I really suck at it but try to speak it anyway?

    You are SO talented.

    • Hello little freckled one! Where you are in France will determine your ability to get through the language barrier. In Paris or Nice or Cannes or even Toulouse or Marseilles, you should be fine just speaking English; if you’re headed really far north or into the heartland, however, you could have a bit more trouble. I think your best bet is just to learn the most that you can before going and then give it your best shot! Surely no sane person will be offended so long as you say hello, goodbye, please, and thank you just like you would in the States — simple stuff ! Enjoy your trip 🙂

      • Little Freckled One says

        Hi Cody! Thank you for your response 🙂 I feel a ton better now. I will most likely be wandering around Paris and Nice most of the time so I will learn the most common phrases for back up. I am SO excited for my trip! Hope all is well in your part of the world.

  20. Red Castillo says

    What a wonderful piece of writing! Are you still in Paris by any chance?

  21. Ash White says

    Thanks for the lovely comment, Cody.

    I am extremely flattered as you seem to be a very well-accomplished young man!

    Take care,


  22. Melissa Rizzio says

    Hi. I just recently stumbled upon your writing (two hours ago), and I can’t break away. I thoroughly enjoy your writing style, and am almost wary of being vain when I say it reminds me of how I used to write. Have you ever not been able to write? I feel like the older I get, the harder it is for me write anything of interest. Or perhaps I’ve just become too conditioned/ bothered with other peoples lives to think anything I have to say might hold a spark of interest.

    I don’t really know where I was intending to go with this, but I just wanted to reach out and thank you for writing what you feel, what you know, and what you love.


  23. coucou cody.
    i stumbled upon an article of yours on TC about masculinity that you’ve just published and was enchanted enough to snoop about your other writings available online. you’ve got an impressive set of stuff up here. it’s refreshing to read intelligent perspectives on the old transatlantic romanticism (or any travel themes, really — i’ve recently been abroad for 8 months part of which I spent on a uni exchange on La Reunion and was always left uninspired by the lens with which the typical travelin’ kid sees the world)..
    i’d be interested to see what your fictions is like — any of it on here?

    if ever you’re around spokane (i’m doing my last year of college at a school in the PNW) x

  24. I studied politics and media as well by the way — did my senior thesis in college on twitter as a political tool in China. Would love to meet up in Paris!

    • Politics, communications and French! Glad you like the pics too! Just to be clear, not all the pics are mine, but I’ve attributed ownership in the caption if they’re not!

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