The Hard Way on PurposeThe Hard Way on Purpose

David Giffels explores the meaning of identity and place, hamburgers, hard work, and basketball in this collection of wry, irreverent essays reflecting on the many aspects of Midwestern culture and life from an insider’s perspective. Giffels plumbs the touchstones and idiosyncrasies of a region where industry has fallen, bowling is a legitimate profession, extreme weather is the norm, thrift store culture dominates, and sports is heartbreak in a rarely told story of a unique American generation whose deep regional pride was born of economic failure and hardship. The Hard Way on Purpose is the story from the inside, written by someone who never left, about the life that goes on there and what it means. Intelligent, humorous, and warm, Giffels’s collection of linked essays is about coming of age in the Midwest, and the stubborn, optimistic, proud, and resourceful people who thrive there.

Scribner, 2014

All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House

All the Way Home follows David Giffels's funny, poignant, and confounding journey as he and his wife and a colorful collection of helpers turn a money pit into a house that will complete their family. Nothing could prepare them for a home restoration epic that includes evicting squatters (both four- and two-legged), battling an invading wisteria vine, hunting a ghost, and discovering thousands of dollars in hidden Depression-era cash. But the story's heart lies deeper, in an unexpected series of personal hardships that call into question what "home" really means, and what it means to grow up.

William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2008
Paperback, June 2009

We are DevoAre We Not Men? We Are Devo!

Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! With flowerpots on their heads, distinctive post-Kraftwerk imagery, and staggeringly catchy electro-pop riffs, Devo carved an '80s niche setting them apart from the mish-mash of punk, new wave and rock surrounding them. David Giffels and Jade Dellinger interviewed band members and associates, ransacked their archives to provide illustrations, memorabilia and rare photographs documenting Devo's entire career, and re-evaluated their complete works to provide a compelling biography of one of rock’s most enigmatic bands.

SAF Publishing,

Wheels of FortuneWheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron

Wheels of Fortune is a tale of two cities -- both of them Akron. One city, built on rubber, turned itself into a model for Middle America industrial success. The other city has had to learn to live on in rubber's wake, to remake itself, to come to terms with its remade self. To tell this tale of two cities is to tell the tale of America's rubber industry. The people rubber left behind discovered they had not only their memories but also the ability to remake Akron into a center for polymer knowledge, a remnant of rubber research and a bridge between the two cities. Wheels of Fortune is their story.

University of Akron Press, 1998


Read an excerpt from The Hard Way on Purpose.

"Beavis, Butt-Head, and Me" -- Grantland 

The Strange Familiar” -- First Place, Memoirs, Ink personal Essay Contest, 2009

Home Invasion (PDF)” -- This Old House Magazine, April 2009

Shirt-Worthy” -- New York Times Magazine, October 2007

Foreword to the West Point Market Cookbook (PDF) -- University of Akron Press, 2008

“… the most literate, engaging, and entertaining cookbook opener I’ve ever read.”
        — Laura Taxel, Cleveland Magazine