I was born in 1969, the son of two English professors, and grew up in Lexington, MA, a suburb of Boston where the first battle of the American Revolution was fought and absolutely nothing has happened since. I graduated from Harvard in 1991 with a degree in literature and spent several aimless years wandering around reading and temping and trying and failing to learn various foreign languages while my cleverer classmates accumulated money and houses and such. Then I spent three years in the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Yale before I realized that a career in comparing literatures was not for me.
So instead I set about turning myself into a journalist. I moved to New York City and worked for a string of dot-coms while writing magazine articles about books, technology and culture on the side. In 2002 I was hired by Time magazine and became its book reviewer as well