Kurt Andersen is a writer.
His latest book is Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History(2017). He’s also the author of the critically acclaimed, bestselling novels True Believers (2012), Heyday (2007) and Turn of the Century (1999).
Fantasyland, according to Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin), “is an important book -- the indispensable book for understanding America in the age of Trump.” And Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics) says "the thinking and the writing are both dazzling; it’s an absolute joy to read and will leave your brain dancing with excitement long after you’re done.”
True Believers appeared on the best-novels-of-the- year lists of the San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Post. Booklist called it “an ambitious and remarkable novel” of “spellbinding suspense.” According to other reviewers it’s “fiendishly smart, insightful and joyously loopy” (Chronicle); “the best reverie on the 1960s and their legacy” (Fortune); “intelligent and insightful,” “emotionally accurate” and “profound” (USA Today). And Vanity Fair called it “a great American novel.”
Heyday was a New York Times bestseller that the Los Angeles Times called “a major work.” The New York Times Book Review said there is “something moving, a stirring spirit, in the energy of its amazement.” And the Houston Chronicle (and nine other papers) said it “deserves instant acceptance into the ranks [of] Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, [and] Gore Vidal’s Lincoln.” It was included on several best-books-of-the-year lists, and won the Langum Prize as the best American historical novel of 2007.
The New York Times called Turn of the Century “wickedly satirical” and “outrageously funny” and named it a Notable Books of the year, while The Wall Street Journal called it a “smart, funny and excruciatingly deft portrait of our age.” It was a national bestseller, and Publishers Weekly called it one of the ten best long novels ever.
In 2009 he published Reset, an “influential” (Huffington Post), “heavyweight” (USA Today) and “inspired and inspiring” (BoingBoing) essay about how America could have changed for the better following the economic and financial crises of 2008 and 2009.
He has also written for film, television and the stage. During the 1990s he was executive producer and head writer of two prime-time specials for NBC, How to Be Famous and Hit List, starring Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a creator of three pilots for ABC and NBC. More recently he wrote scripts for HBO and Amazon. He was also co-author of Loose Lips, a satirical off-Broadway revue that had long runs in New York and Los Angeles starring Bebe Neuwirth, Harry Shearer and Andy Richter.
He regularly appears as a commentator on MSNBC, CNN, PBS, and the BBC. In 2011 he served as a guest Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. From 2004 through 2008 he wrote a column called “The Imperial City” for New York (one of which is included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2008), and contributes to Vanity Fair. In 1999 he delivered a TED Talk about the new era of hyper-capitalist media and technology as depicted in Turn of the Century. He was previously a columnist for The New Yorker (“The Culture Industry”) and TIME (“Spectator”). He began his career in journalism at TIME, where during the 1980s he was an award-winning writer on politics and criminal justice before becoming, for eight years, the magazine’s architecture and design critic.
He is also host and co-creator of Studio 360, the cultural magazine show produced by Public Radio International. It is broadcast on 217 stations and distributed by podcast to almost 1 million listeners in all each week. The show won Peabody Awards for broadcast excellence in both 2005 and 2013.
As an editor, he co-founded the transformative independent magazine Spy, which increased its circulation tenfold and became profitable after just three years. He also served as editor-in- chief of New York during the mid-90s, presiding over its editorial reinvigoration and record profitability.
In 1999 he co-founded Inside, an online and print publication covering the media and entertainment industries, and in 2004 and 2005 he oversaw a relaunch of Colors magazine. In 2006 he co-founded Very Short List, an online cultural newsletter. From 2007 to 2009 he was editor-at- large for Random House.
He serves on the boards of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and Pratt Institute. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he was an editor of the Lampoon. He received an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005, and in 2009 was Visionary in Residence at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He was named by New York magazine as one of the “100 People Who Changed New York,” and by Forbes as one of the “25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media.” And he was named the 2014 arts Medalist by Harvard College’s Signet Society. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Anne Kreamer.