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Lyons, Daniel 1960- (Fake Steve Jobs)

Lyons, Daniel 1960- (Fake Steve Jobs)


Born August 17, 1960.


Home—Boston, MA. Agent—The Lavin Agency, 77 Peter St., 4th Fl., Toronto, Ontario M5V 2G4, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]


Forbes, Boston, MA, senior editor, 1998-2008; Newsweek, technology columnist, 2008—; has contributed as a freelance writer for periodicals. Previously taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Toledo.


The Last Good Man, University of Massachusetts Press (Amherst, NY), 1993.

Dog Days, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

(As Fake Steve Jobs) Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, A Parody, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

Contributor to Forbes, New York Times Magazine, GQ, Boston Globe, and the Detroit Free Press; author of the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs and Floating Point blogs.


Writer and editor Daniel Lyons formerly served as a senior editor at Forbes magazine, and he joined Newsweek in 2008 where he works as a technology columnist. He has also worked as a freelance writer, contributing to a wide range of periodicals including the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Boston Globe, and the Detroit Free Press. He has also taught on the faculties of both the University of Michigan and the University of Toledo. Lyons is the author of novels, including The Last Good Man and Dog Days.

The Last Good Man, which is Lyons's first novel, is actually a set of eleven linked short stories, all of which are set in Lawton Falls, an industrial neighborhood outside of Boston that is feeling the ravages of the local economy. The primary industry in the town has always been the textile mills, but those have closed down, putting a good portion of the town out of work and making room for a series of low-level mobsters and some corrupt politicians to take over. The stories focus on different members of the community, including a young woman originally from Puerto Rico who works as a laundress to support her family, newspaper reporter Jerry Gallagher, and a priest who finds himself making a deal with a neighborhood devil. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that "the writing here is brisk and clean, if unexceptional, and the stories are finely detailed."

Lyons's second novel, Dog Days, recounts the story of Reilly, a twenty-four-year-old who seems to have gotten an excellent start in life, achieving much despite his young age. He has a beautiful, intelligent girlfriend who graduated from Harvard, an excellent job working for a major software design firm—the fifth-largest company of its kind in the world—and a fabulous, if somewhat old, BMW. But during a typically hot summer in his hometown of Boston, Reilly discovers that things can change in an instant and that fortune is not always kind. First, his girlfriend cheats on him, and they ultimately end their relationship. He then receives notice at work that he is in imminent danger of losing his job. Finally, Davio Giaccolone, a mobster who frequents his neighborhood slashes the tires on his beloved BMW, not just once but on two separate occasions. Feeling stressed and somewhat irrational about the situation, Reilly decides to take matters into his own hands, at least regarding the mobster, and so proceeds to kidnap Davio's dog, a greyhound named Coco that he loves beyond reason. The work received mixed reviews. A writer for Publishers Weekly found it to be "ruined by slow pacing and made-for-TV sentimentality." However, Toni Hyde, writing for Booklist, declared that the book "reads like a good situation comedy—intricately woven yet never overbearing."

Perhaps Lyons's most notable work, Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, A Parody was written under the pseudonym Fake Steve Jobs. The novel stems from a blog that Lyons wrote for several years working under his penname that proposed itself as a fictional secret diary of the Apple computer innovator. The blog consisted of witty posts related to various occurrences in the world of Apple computers, including everything from new releases to rumors. Especially popular with the Silicon Valley crowd, the blog boasted a who's who collection of readers within the computer industry, including both Bill Gates, who was once called upon to deny that he was the blog's author, and Steve Jobs himself. Lyons maintained his cover for many months, but eventually was outed as people began to make connections between the topics of some of his articles for Forbes written under his own name and the content of the blog written by Fake Steve Jobs. Once speculations appeared on several blogs and in the New York Times, Lyons confessed to being the mysterious blogger.

Options is a parody of the life of Steve Jobs, centering on a scandal at Apple regarding the backdating of stock options. However, the book focuses on more than the single incident, including imagined anecdotes about Jobs's management skills and style, his involvement in the development of various popular Apple products, such as the iPhone, and his general treatment of everyone from the lowest employee to the members of the board of directors. Ultimately, the fictional version of Apple finds itself in the midst of a corporate free fall, and Jobs is forced to decide whether to stick with his company or to save himself. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "Fake Steve doesn't really evolve as a character, but as a grotesque caricature, he's fun to watch." Charles Fitzgerald, reviewing for the Platformonomics Web site, commented that the book "features the same posse of great characters from the blog, makes for a quick and crisply-written read, is laugh-out-loud funny in parts and holds together as a real book and not just a bunch of random blog posts strung together."

Lyons told CA: "I was an avid reader as a child. I loved newspapers and wanted to be a reporter. As I got older I got turned on by fiction after reading the work of Andre Dubus, a short story writer from Haverhill, Massachusetts, near my hometown."

When asked who or what influences his work, Lyons responded simply: "Coffee." When asked to describe his writing process, Lyons continued with the same theme, stating that his writing day begins "first thing in the morning, and I write for as long as I can go. I rely on lots of coffee and lots of routine. I like to go to bed at night thinking about what I'm going to do in the morning. I really believe in the power of habit and routine. Write every day, at the same time, and the work will be there waiting for you. I need to get up every day and do it. If I don't write, I get antsy.

"The biggest surprise for me as a writer was finding out that a blog I was writing as a joke could turn into a ‘real’ novel. I started writing the blog as a way to avoid working on a novel that wasn't going anywhere. Then, surprise—the blog turned out to be a novel.

I like my latest book, Options, the best, just because it's so crazy and off the rails, because it does so many things that you're not supposed to do in a novel, and yet it kind of works. I wrote it really fast and didn't stop to edit myself as I was going along, just blasted it out. I later went back and edited the manuscript really hard, but I think that initial speed and energy comes through in the finished book. And there are still moments in that book that make me laugh out loud.

"I hope my books will give people a little bit of enjoyment. That's all. A few laughs. It's a pretty modest goal."



Booklist, September 15, 1993, Alice Joyce, review of The Last Good Man, p. 128; May 1, 1998, Toni Hyde, review of Dog Days, p. 1502.

Entertainment Weekly, October 19, 2007, John Simons, review of Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, A Parody, p. 131.

Hudson Review, June 22, 1994, review of The Last Good Man, p. 299.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2007, review of Options.

Library Journal, September 1, 1993, David Sowd, review of The Last Good Man, p. 225.

New York Times Book Review, October 31, 1993, Agnes Rossi, review of The Last Good Man, p. 36; August 6, 2007, Brad Stone, "‘Fake Steve’ Blogger Comes Clean"; November 25, 2007, "Parallel Processor," p. 13.

Publishers Weekly, August 30, 1993, review of The Last Good Man, p. 76; April 20, 1998, review of Dog Days, p. 46; August 27, 2007, review of Options, p. 60.

World Entertainment News Network, August 7, 2007, "Faux Jobs Blogger Unmasked."


Artsopolis, (November 1, 2007), review of Options.

Blog Critics, (November 1, 2007), Kevin Eagan, review of Options.

CNET News Web site, (September 17, 2007), Tom Krazit, review of Options.

Condé Nast Portfolio Online, (September 20, 2007), Sam Gustin, "Fake Steve, Fake Novel."

Curled Up with a Good Book, (July 26, 2008), Barbara Bamberger Scott, review of Options.

Engadget, (April 1, 2007), Ryan Block, "Real Interview with Fake Steve Jobs."

Fortune Online, (October 11, 2007), Philip Elmer-DeWitt, "Mac News from Outside the Reality Distortion Field."

Gizmodo, (October 31, 2007), Brian Lam, review of Options.

Jem Report, (July 13, 2005), Jem Matzan, "Is Daniel Lyons a Loser?"

Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog, (December 3, 2007), review of Options.

Larry Clarkin Blog, (January 9, 2008), Larry Clarkin, review of Options.

Network World, (October 22, 2007), Paul McNamara, review of Options.

New York Times Technology Blog, (August 5, 2007), Brad Stone, "The Trial of Fake Steve Jobs."

Platformonomics, (October 20, 2007), Charles Fitzgerald, review of Options.

Seattle Times Online, (October 24, 2007), Glenn Fleishman "Q&A: Fake Steve Jobs—How Alter Ego Took over a Portion of Journalist's Life."

SF Weekly, (November 21, 2007), Will Harper, review of Options.

Tech Crunch, (August 5, 2007), Duncan Riley, "Fake Steve Jobs = Daniel Lyons."

Valley Wag, (July 26, 2008), "Andy Ihnatko Grants a Fake Interview."

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