Bio



Danielle Teller (formerly Morse, nee Dyck) grew up in Canada, where she and her two brothers were raised by the best parents in the world. As a child, she was a bookworm who dreamed of being a writer, but she chickened out and went to medical school instead. In 1994, she moved temporarily to America, and she has been living temporarily in America ever since. Danielle attended Queen's University during her undergraduate years, and she received her medical training at McGill University, Brown University and Yale University. She has held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University, where she investigated the origins of chronic lung disease and taught in the medical intensive care unit. In 2013, Danielle quit her job to pursue her childhood dream of being a writer. She lives with her husband, Astro Teller, and their four children in Palo Alto, California. She is currently working on a novel about the life of Cinderella's stepmother.





Talks






Non-fiction



Drs. Astro and Danielle Teller know better than most that finding the right partner in life doesn't always happen the first time around. Through their own divorces they learned how widely held cultural assumptions and misinformation that nobody thinks to question-what they refer to as "sacred cows" - create unnecessary heartache for people who are already suffering through a terrible time. Do you think, for example, that the divorce rate in the United States is rising? Or that children are harmed by divorce? Most people do, but it turns out that neither of these notions is supported by the data. Combining the rigor that has established them as leaders in their respective fields along with a dose of good-natured humor, the Tellers ask readers to take a fresh look at seven common sacred cows: the Holy Cow, the Expert Cow, the Selfish Cow, the Defective Cow, the Innocent Victim Cow, the One True Cow, and the Other Cow. This is not a book that is "for" marriage or "for" divorce, but "for" the freedom to decide how to live most honestly and happily either as part of a couple or a single person. In the same way that Esther Perel's bestselling Mating in Captivity gave couples a fresh perspective on their married life, so Sacred Cows invites readers to question assumptions and conventional wisdom. It offers a smart, insightful, and sympathetic view for those in a marital crisis, marriage counselors, or anyone looking to gain a fresh perspective on one of our most cherished and misunderstood institutions.


Columns

"Offices should follow the lead of the NBA and create “hustle stats”"
Have you ever heard of Rosalind Franklin? Probably not. But you certainly know of James Watson and Francis Crick. They won a Nobel Prize for describing the structure of DNA, a discovery they wouldn’t have made if they hadn’t seen Rosalind Franklin’s x-ray photograph...

"The idiotic argument Americans use in almost any political debate"
After the US congress recently failed to pass any of the latest gun control bills, Arizona senator Jeff Flake argued on National Public Radio that if we’re going to bar people on a federal terrorism watch list...

"Let mom down from the pedestal: in praise of the messy, imperfect, authentic mother"
I loved Mother’s Day when I was a child. I loved it so much that I once gave a beribboned pot of wild violets and a big paper heart that said, “Happy Mother’s Day!” to a childless neighbor. I didn’t understand...

"Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, a modest proposal from a Canadian-American"
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, I understand that your mind is occupied by great matters of state; I beg forgiveness for my intrusion upon your time, but I do hope that you will spare a brief moment for my...

"Nearly all of our medical research is wrong"
Something is rotten in the state of biomedical research. Everyone who works in the field knows this on some level. We applaud presentations by colleagues at conferences, hoping that they will extend the same courtesy to us, but we know in our hearts...

"There’s a good reason Americans are horrible at science"
The United States of America has arguably done more to advance science in the modern world than any other country on earth. From the nimble ingenuity of Silicon Valley to the ascendency of US military technology, this nation has impeccable...

"It’s completely ridiculous to think that humans could live on Mars"
Our 12-year-old daughter who, like us, is a big fan of The Martian by Andy Weir, said, “I can’t stand that people think we’re all going to live on Mars after we destroy our own planet. Even after we’ve made the Earth too hot and polluted for humans...

"It’s time we stop pitying children of divorce"
When I was traveling in Pakistan, I received a lot of pity for being North American. People would ask with horror, “Is it true that you live in a different city from your parents and siblings?” When I said yes, they would shake their heads mournfully...

"What doctors know about death that the rest of us don’t"
Yet another story recently surfaced about how doctors don’t die like everyone else. Doctors die quietly at home, surrounded by family—not in the hospital like most Americans. This difference has been ascribed to knowledge about the limits of modern medicine...

"How a doctor with cancer quantified the value of life support"
“If I die” is a quintessentially American phrase, a bit of semantic sloppiness that reveals our state of denial about death. We don’t use the phrase to boast of immortality, but to avoid the twinge of uneasiness that comes from saying, “When I die.” Acknowledging the...

"How America’s collective baby worship sets mothers up to fail"
“Angelina Jolie has raised a polite teenager!” is not a headline we’re likely to see on the cover of celebrity magazines ever. Jolie’s baby bump in 2006, on the other hand, was huge news! The monotone beep of grocery barcode scanners still evokes images in my mind of...

"The real moral of “Cinderella” that everyone’s missing"
Disney has just released a live-action version of Cinderella, a retread of the beloved 1950s animated classic, complete with poofy gowns, glass slippers, anthropomorphic mice, and a magic pumpkin. This version of the fairy tale, based largely upon Charles Perrault’s 1697 publication...

"Designer babies won’t destroy the human race"
There has been a lot of chatter in the media lately about the threat of designer babies to the future of the human race. The United Kingdom recently voted to legalize “three person babies” created from the nuclear DNA of two parents and the mitochondria...

"How American parenting is killing the American marriage"
It is common knowledge that research studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of divorce on children. Surprisingly, that common knowledge turns out not to be supported by evidence. Although proponents of marriage would like us to believe that kids with...

"Turn your marriage vows into a binding contract"
Throughout most of recorded human history, marriage was a means for consolidating wealth, improving social status and creating a miniature labor force from the fruits of one’s loins. Marriage contracts detailed the exchange of money, land and goods and the obligations of...

"Everything we think we know about being the child of divorce is wrong"
Sometime between when we were children and when we had children of our own, parenthood became a religion in America. As with many religions, complete unthinking devotion is required from its...

"It’s time to accept this fact: A really great marriage is rare"
Greater gender equality leads to divorce. Women’s increased earning power leads to divorce. Men shouldering the burden of household chores leads to lower marital satisfaction and increased risk of divorce. These are just a few examples of handwringing in the...

"Having children is not the formula for a happy life"
After we wrote a book about the sacred cows of marriage and divorce, we were asked to tackle one of the sacred cows of American parenting. The article generated a dismaying volume of hate mail from those who perceived it as an attack on parenthood, but it also sparked a...

"Let’s stop pretending that marriage is hard work"
Every sentient being in America knows that marriage is hard work. We know it in the same way that we know that breakfast is (or was) the most important meal of the day and money doesn’t buy happiness. We have grown up hearing such phrases so often that they have become...

"The 50% divorce rate stat is a myth, so why won’t it die?"
The divorce rate in America is rising. Do you think that statement is true? If you do, you’re not alone. As Claire Cain Miller recently pointed out in an article for The New York Times, we hear about the rising divorce rate in the news all of the time. This is curious...



Other Columns


"Deciding Whether to Stay Married Requires Real Honesty"
Most members of Western society would agree that physical abuse is a valid reason to end a marriage, but that bright line marks the limits of our consensus. Beyond that line, opinions have become...

"The inconvenient truth about love — and divorce"
When Gwyneth Paltrow announced her split from her husband using the term “conscious uncoupling,” the media and blogosphere went wild. While some commentators congratulated the couple for taking a non-confrontational approach to divorce, most people ridiculed...

"Do All Young Women Really Need to Stop Drinking?"
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended (link is external) that all women of childbearing age who could become pregnant should abstain from alcohol consumption. Some have called the manner in which the organization....