Rick Bayan was born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he enjoyed an idyllic childhood -- the perfect background for a lifetime of cynical disillusionment. He graduated with honors from Rutgers, where he majored in history and developed a lifelong fascination with the rise and fall (especially the latter) of civilizations. Finding himself virtually unemployable, he picked up a master's in journalism at the University of Illinois. There he learned little about reporting but discovered the works of classic American curmudgeon H. L. Mencken.
Rick held a number of typical jobs for an idealistic liberal arts graduate, including assistant editor of Rubber Age and managing editor of Container News. At Time-Life Books he was assigned to write about plumbing fixtures. He survived seven years as chief copywriter at Barron's Educational Series, a proud achievement considering that the annual turnover rate sometimes topped 100%.
His work as advertising copy chief at Day-Timers, Inc., won six advertising industry awards, none of which ever dampened his cheerfully morose view of business and life. In the evenings, after everyone had left for the day, he crafted his "disgruntled definitions" for The Cynic's Dictionary on his office computer. In 1994, Rick's magnum opus finally arrived in the bookstores.
Though it was ignored by most critics,The Cynic's Dictionary gradually gained a devoted following. Rick created The Cynic's Sanctuary in 1996 to help promote his book, but the site took on a life of its own -- with lively message board conversations, Rick's monthly "tirades" and other fun features. From 2000 to 2002 he also wrote a weekly syndicated column, "Some Cynical Guy," for Upbeat Online.
After 14 years at Day-Timers, Rick called it quits and leaped into the perilous world of freelance writing. He's the author of the popular advertising thesaurus Words That Sell and its spawn, More Words That Sell.
In 2007, alarmed by the political squabbling that was splitting America into hostile "red" and "blue" camps, Rick created The New Moderate, a blog for "extreme" centrists. He's been interviewed by CNN, Psychology Today, Australia's leading women's magazine and numerous radio and TV shows. One dedicated fan even wrote a screenplay, "I, Cynic," based on Rick's writings.
Rick, who claims to be a "kinder, gentler cynic," lives with his son and a geriatric cat in a former livery stable in Philadelphia. A lifelong history buff, he's one of the few people alive who can do a reasonably accurate vocal impression of Teddy Roosevelt. He also takes a dim view of most contemporary culture and sometimes wishes he had lived from about 1880 to 1970. But then he'd be dead and, in all likelihood, less effective as a writer -- though only his fans would notice.