David E. Shapiro: Accurate, Clear, and Engaging Writing & Editing.

Editing to remove the barriers, both the obvious and the subtle, that interfere with readers' understanding and appreciation of the writer's intended message.
Writing as teaching. Work that leads people to think, "Ah--I think I understand now."

Specialties: safety, psychology, electrical industry issues, health, and a few more.

I did business for many years under the name, "Accurate and Intriguing Writing and Editing." While the name seems a bit much, it does capture what I try to offer.

This page remains under construction. If you don't find the information you need, and find it quickly, just get in touch by email Email me or phone: 301-699-8833, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Please do leave voicemail.

Most-recent Books

Behind the Code DES-Publishing: Order at http://www.DES-Publishing.com/ORDERform.html

What's covered in Behind the Code? Look over the Table of Contents: Page 1; Page 2; Page 3; or Page 4.

Old Electrical Wiring, 2nd edition McGraw-Hill. Order at http://mhprofessional.com/product.php?search_crawl=true&isbn=0071663576






I have many ways to respond to an editor's question (sometimes implicit, sometimes stated), "How do I know you're qualified for my assignment?"

The links at the top of my writing/editing home page show how broadly my writing has ranged. This offers two benefits. First, if you're not trying to zero in on my experience writing about a particular topic area so much as in reviewing how much of a certain type of writing or editing I've accomplished, you can follow the links. You'll see how widely I've published, and how many editors have been happy to give me repeat assignments. Second, some of the work has drawn on my education and experience; I have backgrounds in widely disparate fields. A forthcoming link will lead to a list of my continuing education activities--primarily subscriptions to journals, trade magazines and newsletters.

This link offers more detail about my primary areas of focus.

My writing honors strongly suggest that I offer more than is required to get by.

My writing references section names current editors who will vouch for my reliability and professionalism. I have no qualms about what former editors will say, either.

Writing Honors

My sample clips put my writing before you. If neither seems to offer a good match to your subject matter or your type of audience, simply request a clip that is a better match--you might even select one from the partial publications list, which begins below.

This link returns you to the list of links.

Writing Samples

A large part of my writing has the intention of teaching as well as intriguing and entertaining my audiences. I strive to be clear, to help people understand the world better, and through this to help them maintain more power over their lives.

It is very important to me not to mislead even by omission. It is essential to respect sources as well as audiences, by not misrepresenting the meaning of their information, not even by shading. At the same time, when appropriate I like to show my readers the person who is writing rather than to come across like an automaton. If, given an appropriate context, I can amuse, so much the better.

I work at maintaining a clear idea--as clear as possible--of the frameworks my readers use to take in infromation. I want my work to be accessible, neither seeming to patronize nor going over people's heads. My variety of publications and qualifications bear out my success at this.

This link returns you to the list of links.


Every professional writer and editor has some competence as a generalist, and I am no exception. I do have more interest and experience in writing about certain areas, and less interest in writing about others. My areas of greater interest include science and technology in general, especially most aspects of the electrical industry; psychology; safety; health; driving; and nutrition. Areas of little interest include sports teams, personalities, and fashion. I have no knowledge of economics beyond that possessed by any concerned citizen. Well, I have to backpedal on that last. First, behavioral economics certainly are an interest. I followed the work of Daniel Kahnemann long before he received the Nobel Prize. Second, while I have no grounding in financial theory, I successfully edited a quarterly newsletter for an investment firm for several years. See the Outside Editing link.

I am happy to consider any assignment. Nonetheless, If you need a writer in the Washington, D.C. area to cover a story in one of the areas I am not as familiar with, you might ask me to can put you in contact with Steve Ackerman. He's another broadly experienced writer, and one whose interests complement mine. He may well be able to handle the assignment himself or, if not, probably can come up with a colleague for the job.

This link returns you to the list of links.


"Modern marvel: Rise and shine" (a history of the alarm clock" The History Channel Magazine (January/February 2008)

"Representing All of America's Motorcyclists" XSB (in press)

"Optimizing Office Environments" Public Power (in press)

"When the Work Force Shrinks, So Does Safety" Public Power (in press)

"Redesigning a Utility" Public Power (in press)

"First Line of Defense" Public Power (in press)

"Quacks!" Public Power (in press)

"Does Your Responsibility Stop at the Meter?" Public Power (in press)

"Getting Electrics on the Road" Public Power (in press)

"Uncle Sam Wants You -- to Sell Him Power" Public Power (in press)

"PTSD" Public Power (in press)

"Running the Numbers on Renewable Energy" Public Power (in press)

"Death by Motor Vehicle" Public Power (in press)

"Plugging Safety" Public Power (in press)

"Hackers!" Public Power (in press)

"Saws into Plowshares" The History Channel Magazine (in press)

"The Risk of Incompetent Inspection" Electrical Contractor, (in press)

"Residential Design-Build" Electrical Contractor, (April 2005)

"Power Problems Come Home" Electrical Contractor, (April 2004)

"Counterfeit Tools" Fine Homebuilding, March 2004

"Backfire!"IAEI News, January 2004

"Dangerous Fakes" Electrical Contractor, September 2003

"An Unrecognized Threat to your Eyes" Electrical Contractor, May 2003

"The Microchip comes Home to Play" The History Channel Magazine (February 2003)

"New Rules for Old Wiring" Electrical Contractor January 2003

"Killing Ourselves Bit by Bit" Public Power (May-June 2002)

"Safety Training Isn't a One-Time Deal" Safedriver (January 2000)

"Shed Some Light on Your Workplace" Today's Supervisor (April 1999)

"In the Blink of an Eye" Public Power, 3-4/1999

"Study Finds Link Between Symptoms and Poor Office Conditions" HR Report, Winter 1999: Vol. 15 No.1

"Science and Your Hearing . . . Loss" Metalworking Equipment News, 2/1999 sample - metalworkers' hearing

"What's Tricky About Old Wiring" Fine Homebuilding, 1/1999

"Solving Problems in Old Split-bus Panels" Electrical Contractor, 11/1998

"Emissions" Today's Supervisor, 11/1998

"Whom will noise hurt worst? Look into their eyes." UPI, 11/1998

"Standardizing Standards" EC&EN, 9/1998

"Smoothing Things Over: Occupational Violence" Public Power, 9-10/1998

"Safety Training on a Low Budget" Public Power, 9-10/1998

"Where the Wild Things Are" Public Power, 9-10/1998

"In a Bad Hole" Public Power, 7-8/1998

"Loud Noises SHOULD Hurt" Public Power, 7-8/1998

"A Breath of Fresher Air" Public Power, 5-6/1998

"Holding On to Valuable Employees Goes Beyond Wages" Public Power, 5-6/1998

"Can Solar Technology find a Niche in the Electric Utility Industry?" Public Power, 5-6/1998

"Riding Impaired: Boozing is just the tip of the icecube" Motorcycle Consumer News, 4/1998

"Superconductors: Overcoming Resistance" Public Power, 3-4/1998

"Credo for an Electrical Inspector" Public Power, 3-4/1998

"The Surgeon General Says, 'Shape up!'" Rider, 1/1998

"Spreading Safety from the Podium" IAEI News, 1-2/1998

"Hanging Safety on the Wall" Public Power, 9-10/1997

"Worker Fitness and Health" Public Power, 7-8/1997

"Warnings that Work" Public Power, 7-8/1997

"Updating the NEC" Public Power, 5-6/1997

"Pumping up Your Attitude" Psychology Today 5-6/1997

"Inspect Us, Please." Public Power, 3-4/1997

"Questions About Magnetism and Health" Public Power, 3-4/1997

"Of Trees, Wires, and Children" Public Power, 1-2/1997

"Delegating Responsibility -- Who's Right for What Job?" IEC Quarterly, first quarter 1997

"But You Told Me . . . "IEC Quarterly, fourth quarter 1996

"OSHA Watch" Public Power, 11-12/1996

"Saying No to Harassment" Public Power, 11-12/1996

"Tips for Making Shift" Public Power11-12/1996

"Why Things go Bump in the Night" Public Power, 9-10/1996

"When the Work Force Shrinks, So Does Safety" Public Power, 9-10/1996

"A National Standard for Lineworkers" Public Power, 7-8/1996

"Fearless Fat" Military Grocer, 7/1996

"After the Accident" Motorcycle Consumer News, 6/1996

"Not in my Backyard -- Put it on my Roof!" Public Power, 5-6/1996

"Lifting Controversy to New Heights?" Public Power, 5-6/1996

"Making Jewelry in Comfort" Lapidary Journal, 3/1996

"Fit to Ride, Part II: Motorcyclists' Bodies" Motorcycle Consumer News 12/1994

"Fit to Ride, Part I: Motorcycling Ergonomics" Motorcycle Consumer News 11/94

"Melted Chocolate and Other Heartaches" CEE News 10/1994

"Cooperation Around the World", IEC Quarterly, fourth quarter 1993

"Architecture Update" IVHS America, III (6), 6/1993

"Accidents Will Happen" CEE News, 1/1993

"Americans with Disabilities" CEE News, 8/1992

"Avoiding the Pain of Cumulative Trauma" CEE News, 7/1992

"Keeping the Customer Satisfied" Military Grocer, 6/1992

"Currents of Concern" CEE News, 5/1992

"A Simcha to Celebrate" I-95 Shuk, 3/1992

"Feeling the Heat CEE News, 2/1992

"Beyond the Old Tool Pouch" CEE News, 12/1991

"Dealing with Officialdom" CEE News, 11/1991

"Developing Industry Standards" CEE News, 10/1991

"Sick buildings, stress ..." The Washington Times, 3/1991

"Wiring Costa Rica: from Third World to NEC," IAEI News, 5-6/1990

"Electrical Safety Begins in the Home" Focus on the Family, 3/1990

"Label your Lines," The Washington Post, 8/1989

"Ceiling Fan Fare," The Washington Post, 9/1989

"When the lights go out" Fort Lauderdale News-Sun/Sentinel, 8/1989

"Blackout!" The Washington Post, 6/1989

"On Massage," Perceptions, Winter 1989

"The Class Job," EC&M, 1/1989

"A History of Wiring," Electrical Construction Technology, 12/1988

"The Old, Bold, Electrician," Electrical Contractor," 8/1988

"Plug in to Safety," Practical Homeowner, 5/1988

"Remodeling Around Electrical Systems" New England Builder, 9/1987

"Private Safety Inspections," Electrical Contractor, 6/1987

"Hints on Wiring Electronic Cash Registers," EC&M, 5/1986

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I initiated five columns. For 2˝ years, starting in 1989, I was Residential columnist for Electrical Contractor. In 1992, I started an International column for Utility Fleet Management. From February 1994 to March 1997, when they took all writing in-house, I was Safety Editor. I rejoined Electrical Contractor as Residential columnist in 1999, and have continued there to this date. In the context of this outlet, over the years, I have received lots and lots of positive feedback from readers. In mid-2005, I started writing a column for RexelUSA.com. It explained applications of social science for members of the electrical industry. Rexel chose to fold the publication, but its archives remain available. They can be found at by hitting the link for "Management and Psychology."
Next, I contributed a bimonthly column on safety to the online newsletter of another electrical distributor, Capital Lighting, under the name, "Safewatch." . These columns started in August 2006, and continued until that publisher decided to cease investing in new issues of their newsletter.

Column Topics (a non-exhaustive sampling):


"Vehicles as Weapons" (Road rage); "Accident Prevention"; "The Weight of Responsibility" (Legal and emotional consequences for managers arising from worker injuries); "An Urban Legend" (Dispelling a nasty rumor); "Sick, Slick, or Just Fed Up?"(litigation response syndrome); "Feds in your Corner' (safety recalls); "Coming up with Figures"- "Back to Backs" - "Unreasonable Limits?" (all on OSHA's lifting guidelines); "The Effects of Downsizing"; "Avoiding Workplace Violence"; "Workplace Violence, Part 2"; "They've Got a Little List" (Listed products); "Out of the Mouths of Babes -- and Bureaucrats" (Visual attention); The Eyes Have It (Visual deterioration and driving safety); "A Bracing Experience"(the controversy over lumbar supports); "Accident! -- Utility Crews and 911"; "Snips and Tips: Antilock brakes, safer garages, ..."; "Risky Business"(risk-taking behavior); "Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, and the Docs"(sleep deprivation); "Mixed-up Crews"(gender discrimination); "Impact Tools for Fleet Managers"((speaking up about standards); "Gabriel, Blow Your Horn -- But Don't Rely on it" (vehicle horns); "RE: Liability" (fiduciary responsibility);"Looking for Trouble"; "That Guy's Been Out in the Sun Too Long" (sun protection); "No Easy Answer" (employee mental health); "Beware of Backup Generators"

UTILITY FLEET MANAGEMENT, International perspectives:

"Just Charge It" (Japanese electric cars); "Northernmost Exposure" (Finnish utilities) "Utilities Under Fire in Nicaragua";"Can the Power Company help Correct Power Inequities?"(South Africa); "The Ivory Coast: Making do with Mopeds"; "The Land of the Lamborghini"; "A New Germany with New Problems"; "French Birds" (Helicopters)


"That Listless Feeling" (Nationally Recognized Testing); "Call Before You Dig"; "Accessibility: a Twofold issue"; "Trust, Part 1: The Problem"; "Trust, Part 2: Communication"; "Facing Employee Substance Abuse"; "The Quest for Consistency" (in rule enforcement); "To Retorque or not to Retorque?"; "Inspectors and Test Torques"; "Permits and the Social Contract"; "Alarming Information"; "The Gray Area of Oral Law"; "Problems with Side Jobs"; "Material Questions"; "The High Price of Jackleg Work"; "Don't Neglect Supervision"; "Smart Decisions"; "Neon: Part 1: the Problems"; "Neon: Part 2: Responsibility" "Neon: Part 3: Leadership"; "Replacing Old Wiring"; "Don't be the 'Messenger who gets Shot'"; "More 'Groundless' Worries; Home Gensets? Really!"; "Voltage Drop: What do Measurements Really Indicate?"; "Special Considerations Govern Shallow Recessed Lights"; "Security Lighting Made Simple"; "Protecting Homeowners from what They Don't Know"; "How Reasonable is the NEC on Voltage Drop?"; Choosing Sides"; "Male Electrician, Female Customer"; "Feeding a Fountain"; "A Rigid Approach to Underground Wiring"; "Why Hire an Expert and Then Ignore Him?"; "Consulting to Consultants." "Preserve Safety Despite Lenient Inspectors"; "When Voltage Drop Warns of Hidden Hazards"; Residential Remodeling Referral Roll-outs";"Speculators"; "Needed! AFCIs"; "Too Much Choice"; "Costly Rescue"; "Just Say, 'No, Thank You'"; "When the NEC is Open to Interpretation"; "Protection, Not Panaceas"; "Water and Electricity"; "Those Home Fires"; "None of Us is Getting Any Younger"; "Disco Lights"; "Automating Success"; "Bootlegs"; "The Cheapest Safe Fix"; "How Little is Enough"; "Real-World Consults"; "Is the Customer Always Right?"; "The Economics of Good Care"; "Incomplete Repair, a Tricky Choice"; "Foot-in-Mouth Disease"; "Feeling Apologetic"; "Due Diligence"; "Considerate Workmanship"; "Manufacturer’s Instructions: Not Good Enough"; "Peri-Purchase Inspections"; "Bugged by a Bugeye"; "Automating Success?"; "Jobsite Inappropriateness: Smoking and Drinking and Carrying On"; "What Handymen Don’t Realize"; "How Risky Is It?"; "Protecting Homeowners from What They Don't Know"; "Nuisance, Noise, and Hazard"; and "Some Like it Safer."

This returns you to the list of links.


First book: Old Electrical Wiring, McGraw-Hill, April 1998. It had been out of print, after two printings, and much sought-after. Two publishers have offered me contracts to prepare a new edition. I settled on McGraw-Hill, and in mid-2010 Old Electrical Wiring: evaluation, repairing, and upgrading dated systems was printed. You can view reviews of the first edition below, just after my writing references.

My second McGraw-Hill book, a steady seller first available December 22, 2000, covers related material.Your Old Wiring is targeted at non-electricians, including readers who may be novices at dealing with electrical systems. Of necessity, it has a different focus than the first book, and complements rather than duplicates its material. The Edward R. Hamilton web site speaks of it as well-illustrated, and Redwood Kardon, www.codecheck.com, an electrical safety instructor and author of several well-known inspection checklists, speaks highly of it.

I encourage people who have purchased either book to go to the web page where errata are available for downloading.

A third book, Behind the Code: the how, when,and why underlying today's NEC(R), co-authored with the late Creighton Schwan, went to press in 2010. More information on Behind the Code is available at its web page.

This returns you to the list of links.


"Another Vision of the Year 2020": Pulphouse.,(magazine) August 1992

"Poor Devil". In Veritales #1: Ring of Truth.(anthology)Fall Creek Press.

"Harvest". In Veritales #2: Note of Hope. (anthology)Fall Creek Press.

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"Fuse Blews," IAEI News, September/ October 1991

"A Pain to Dr. Rolf," GSI News, Spring 1991.

"To a Trackball," Calliope, Honorable Mention, 1995 contest.

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Public Relations

Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc.: press release.

International Associaton of Electrical Inspectors, George Washington Chapter: publicity mailings and intra- and inter-organizational relations, 1993-present.

This returns you to the list of links.


SAFE (Safety Awareness For Electricity) -- extensively validated.

The JoHari Window Test (personality) -- validated, published

This returns you to the list of links.


Over the past 30+ years, I have edited and published a few hundred (as of April 2011, 280) issues of The Flexible Conduit, an 8-page monthly international, fraternal trade publication.

For several years, till the 2008 financial crisis, I edited a quarterly customer newsletter published by a financial firm.

Web writing:

"Inspect us, please" on NECA home page, WWW.NECANET.ORG, June 1997 (reprinted from Public Power);

"Illegal Wiring" on the tool-users' web site, WWW.SLOOT.ORG, July, 2000

Finally--although I am not a web developer--in addition to my own sites, I also have designed, created and continue to update the content of the site of the George Washington Chapter, International Assocation of Electrical Inspectors.

This returns you to the list of links.


Most recently, I served as guest editor for the Fall 2009 issue of Mensa Research Journal, a special issue devoted to autism.

In 2008, I served as a consultant on a White Paper. This is addressed under Consulting and Outside Editing. In the 1980s, I authored articles in three peer-reviewed journals --

The Journal of Social Psychology

Third Force Psychology; and

The Fight Master

This returns you to the list of links.


Dr. John Heil, "Lessons Learned" White Paper on campus violence.

Intrepid Capital Corporation (noted under newsletters).

Rodale Press (book chapters).

Creative Homeowner Press (book and pamphlet editing).

Park Publishing (book evaluation).

McGraw-Hill (proposal evaluation).

The Psychology of Sport Medicine (outside reader).

NAHB Press (proposal evaluation and developmental editing).

Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc. (Fact-checking, light editing, integration of readers' critiques).

This returns you to the list of links.


Although I am neither a professional nor a semi-professional photographer, I have used photographs to document and illustrate important observations for decades. This has resulted in sales and publication.

I sold FNASR for ten photographs to EC&M magazine, published on their web site during 2000.

I shot more than 250 photographs that serve as illustrations for my second book, Your Old Wiring, and lots more that illustrate the two books published in 2010, Old Electrical Wiring, Second Edition and Behind the Code.

Finally, I sold EC&EN Magazine a high-quality digital photograph as part of a trial feature I developed, called "Code Blue."

This returns you to the list of links.


Where Discovery Sparks Imagination: A pictorial history of radio and electricity." IAEI News, November-December 2010.

"The Endless Web" The Guild, 3(2), April-June 1997.

"Subsidy, thy name is vanity" Calliope, September-October 1996.

"Smart house wiring" CEE News, October, 1992.

"The sophisticated body" Capital M, July, 1992.

This returns you to the list of links.


"UL in for Big Change? NRTL's will Decide" by Joe O'Neil, Executive Director, American Council of Independent Laboratories. IEC Quarterly, fourth quarter 1996

"Sports Psychology & the Physical Therapist: Part I, Mental Practice" by Dr. John Heil (and), Physical Therapy Forum 6/1/94; Part II, Rehabilitation." 6/15/94

Practical Electrical Wiring by Richter and Schwan. Originally contracted to take over authorship from 1999 (its 60th year of publication) forward. A challenge to McGraw-Hill's copyright killed the project.

Behind the Code Noted under Books.


"A Code Day in April." IEC Quarterly, April 1996

"The Code -- and the Job." IAEI News, March-April 1988

This returns you to the list of links.


Standard-development writer, October 2000 to early 2002, prepared the first draft of a document for adoption by the American National Standards Institute, "NEIS 302," through the National Electrical Contractors Association

Committee writer, February 2001, on TIP 9 Revision: Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders,for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment [CSAT] via CDM, Inc.

Grant review committee writer, September 1996, for U.S. Army Medical Material and Research Command, through United Information Systems (breast cancer).

Grant review writer, November 1995, for U.S. Army Medical Material and Research Command, through United Information Systems

Backup grant review writer, July 1995, for SAMHSA through R.O.W. Sciences, Rockville, MD.

Backup grant review writer, July 1994, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Rockville, MD.

Grant review writer, National Institutes, Spring 1993, United Information Systems., Bethesda, MD.

This returns you to the list of links.


"Most Valued Person" award from the American Motorcyclist Association for a safety column in UFM.

"Most-Read Feature" rating by readers of UFM; for my Safety column.

"Maryland Best," 1991 World's Worst Poetry contest.

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My editor at IAEI News is Kathryn Ingley, 972-235-3855.

My editor at Electrical Contractor is Andrea Klee, 301-215-4516.

My editor for Standard development was Brooke Stauffer; unfortunately, he died in a small plane crash. He will be missed by many.

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Reviews of Old Electrical Wiring: Maintenance and Retrofit

Electrical Contracting and Engineering News: ". . .an essential guide . . ."

CEE News: ". . . a thorough, sometime humorous, guide . . . Ample photographs, charts, and appendices round out the text. . ."

The Independent Writer: ". . . important information for people who live or work in older buildings . . ."

Electrical Contractor: " . . . a valuable reference work. . .keep the book handy. . . ."

Electrical Construction and Maintenance: ". . . practical . . .valuable resource."

Fine Homebuilding: ". . . a necessary addition to any electrician's library."

Electrical Books: ". . . detailed and valuable resource."

Contractors' Code Letter: ". . . clear guidance. . ."

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For permission to reprint any sample feature, please contact


The following articles were published in a variety of magazines, and span well over a decade: Smart do-gooders; Metalworkers' Hearing; "Impaired driving: boozing is just the tip of the ice cube"y and Just Say, "NO (Thank you)."--professionals and boundaries.

Science and Your Hearing . . . LOSS
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My rates vary with a number of factors. These include:

This returns you to the list of links.