Charles J Wheelan, Ph.D.
Wheelan’s most recent book, Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data, was released by W.W. Norton in January of 2013. Three weeks later, it reached the New York Times bestseller list for hardback nonfiction. The San Francisco Chronicle called it a “brilliant, funny new book.” The New York Times described Wheelan as “the Dave Barry of the coin-flipping set.”
From 2004 to 2012, Wheelan was a senior lecturer in public policy at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He taught several courses on understanding the policy process for Master’s students. For the 2004-05 academic year, he was voted Professor of the Year in a Non-Core Course by the Harris School student body.
In the fall of 2005, Wheelan created and taught the inaugural International Policy Practicum (IPP), in which 12 students studied economic reform in India for an academic term followed by a 10-day trip to Bangalore and Delhi to meet with economists, politicians, educators, civic leaders, and other experts. Subsequent IPPs have visited Brazil; Jordan and Israel; Turkey; Cambodia; and Rwanda and Madagascar.
In March of 2009, Wheelan ran unsuccessfully for Congress as the representative from the Illinois 5th District in the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel. In its editorial assessing the race, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “Voters will find a ballot filled with impressive and thoughtful candidates . . . especially Charlie Wheelan, a University of Chicago lecturer who combines a razor-sharp mind with a boatload of charm and an impressive expertise in economics and foreign policy. We expect great things from Wheelan in the future.”
Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Chicago, Wheelan was Director of Policy and Communications for Chicago Metropolis 2020, a business-backed civic group promoting healthy regional growth in the Chicago area.
From 1997 to 2002, Wheelan was the Midwest correspondent for The Economist. His story on America’s burgeoning ex-convict population was the August 10, 2002, cover story. He has written freelance articles for the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other publications.
Wheelan’s first book, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science, was published by W.W. Norton & Company in 2002. The book, an accessible and entertaining introduction to economics for lay readers, was released in paperback in September 2003 and is now published in 13 languages, including Arabic and Hebrew. The Chicago Tribune described Naked Economics as “clear, concise, informative and (gasp) witty.”
In 2007, Naked Economics was selected by 360 Degrees of Reading as one of the 360 books that every college bound student should read, alongside authors ranging from Sophocles to Malcolm X. Naked Economics was also selected as one The 100 Best Business Books of All Time by 800-CEO-READ.
Wheelan is also the author of 10 ½ Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said and An Introduction to Public Policy, a comprehensive textbook on public policy published by W.W. Norton in November of 2010.
Wheelan holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Chicago, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a B.A. from Dartmouth College. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children.