Meet Greg O’Brien

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.

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.

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.

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ON PLUTO: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s

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“Told with extraordinary vulnerability, grace, humor, and profound insight, On Pluto is an intimate look inside the mind of Greg O’Brien, a journalist diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s. But the real gem of On Pluto lies in its unflinching look inside Greg’s heart.
If you’re trying to understand what it feels like to live with Alzheimer’s…
then you need to read this book.”
—Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice,
Alzheimer’s is a death in slow motion, like having a sliver of your brain shaved off every day. For more than ten years, writer Greg O’Brien has taken detailed notes as an embedded reporter inside the mind of Alzheimer’s, chronicling the progression of this demon of a disease.

O’Brien was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s several years ago, after the disease took his maternal grandfather and his mother, O’Brien, working off a cognitive reserve, offers an illuminating, naked blueprint of strategies, faith, and humor needed to fight this disease, a day-to-day focus on living with Alzheimer’s, not dying with it—a hope that all is not lost when it appears to be.

O’Brien and his family also were subjects of a short film about Alzheimer’s, produced by legendary film maker Steve James, A Place Called Pluto. The film, accessed online at, was screened at film festivals across the country, including the distinguished Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s is a groundbreaking work, a must read for Baby Boomers who face a tsunami of Alzheimer’s in years to come. It’s a story that could be yours one day.