Berenson was born in New York, and grew up in Englewood, NJ. Later in life he graduated from Yale University in 1994 with bachelor's degrees in history and economics. He joined the Denver Post in June 1994 as a business reporter. He published 513 articles through August 1996, when he left to join TheStreet.com, a financial news website founded by Jim Cramer. In December 1999, Berenson joined The New York Times as a business investigative reporter.
In the fall of 2003 and the summer of 2004, Berenson covered the occupation of Iraq for the Times. More recently, he has covered the pharmaceutical and health care industries, specializing in issues concerning dangerous drugs. Since December 2008, Berenson has reported on the Bernard Madoff $50 billion Ponzi scheme scandal.
He has written four spy novels, all featuring the same protagonist, CIA agent John Wells. His first novel, The Faithful Spy, was released in April 2006 and won an Edgar Award for best first novel by an American author. In February 2008, The Faithful Spy rose to #1 on the New York Times paperback bestseller list.
The same month, Berenson released his second thriller, The Ghost War. His third novel, [[The Silent Man:], followed in February 2009. His fourth, The Midnight House, was just released on February 9, 2010. According to his website, Berenson states that his working fifth title is called The Last King.
Berenson lives in the East Village of Manhattan with his wife Jacqueline, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, and their chihuahua Maggie. His parents are Ellen and Harvey.