In 2015 he received a Journalism Fellowship from the Santa Fe Institute and in 2016 was given an appointment as a Miller Distinguished Scholar there. As reported in the official announcement, “The Miller Distinguished Scholarship is the most prestigious visiting position at SFI, awarded to highly accomplished, creative thinkers who make profound contributions to our understandings of society, science, and culture. Scholars are internally nominated and may have backgrounds in the humanities, arts, or sciences. During their stays at SFI, Miller Scholars are free to devote their time to exploration of any topic.” His appointment as an SFI Miller Scholar lasted four years.
After reading in neuroscience for several years, he wrote the best-selling book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why and its sequel Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience, which analyze how people make bad decisions and what leads some of them to survive and some to perish.
His extensively researched book Flight 232: A Story of Disaster and Survival is a detailed reconstruction of the crash of a fully-loaded DC-10. It was adapted for the stage by The House Theater of Chicago and played to sold-out houses and rave reviews in both 2016 and 2017. It also had successful runs in both Boulder, Colorado, and Miami, Florida.
For more than two decades, Gonzales has appeared as a keynote speaker before groups ranging from the Los Alamos National Laboratory to Exxon-Mobil, and from the Wilderness Medical Society to the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, just to name a few. In addition, he has been featured on television and radio programs from the 1970s to the present, as well as numerous podcasts.
His most recent novel is Lucy (Alfred A. Knopf). His essays are collected in the books House of Pain and The Chemistry of Fire (both from University of Arkansas Press). In the past he has served as Writer in Residence at the University of Missouri and on the adjunct faculty in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
He is at work on a biography of Cormac McCarthy.
He lives in Evanston, Illinois.