Daniel Akst

                                                                                  the web page

Welcome to the Dan Akst home page, no longer mired in prehistoric html.

Here you'll find all the usual stuff: samples of my work (I'm a writer, if that isn’t immediately obvious), some background about me, and "news" of my latest doings on and off the keyboard.

You'll even get a chance to join the wise millions who've already bought copies of my books, the latest of which is there to the left. (Surely you can’t resist.) And of course, this site will make it easy for you to get hold of me, as you’re no doubt dying to do, via the contacts page.

What I’ve done

Meet the Enemy




Getting in touch



The latest, more or less

I’ve just taken over the Ideas Market blog at Wall Street Journal, where I’ll also be doing the Week in Ideas column in the paper’s weekend edition.

Until mid-September, I was a a columnist and member of the editorial board at Newsday. My book We Have Met the Enemy is still available (the paperback has been retitled Temptation). And thanks to the miracle of Kindle Direct Publishing, my out-of-print books are available in digital format. If you click on the Books link in the right-hand column--or heck, just click here--you’ll find all my earlier stuff at Amazon, including Kindle versions for $2.99 each. You can even read the first chapter free. And of course you needn’t own a Kindle, since the free Kindle software will run on an iPad, iPhone, Mac, PC, etc.

News of We Have Met the Enemy

Ah, Reason. Who can resist her? But it’s even better when Reason can’t resist me.

Slate, meanwhile, has a piece about precommitment that mentions the book. Why such a fine web site would publish a guy like this is beyond me, but perhaps charity still lives.

There’s a little rave in USA Today. And a nice Q&A by the glamorous and quick-witted Lorraine Glennon at Ladies Home Journal.

On the New Yorker’s book blog, Macy Halford has an interesting item about new emotions spawned by the Internet (or perhaps, new causes for feeling old emotions), and offers a hearty endorsement of We Have Met the Enemy for the New Year. Check it out.

There is also a good review in the Wall Street Journal. I am deemed a “companionable cultural critic” who “moves easily from Max Weber, Aristotle and ‘Anna Karenina’ to B.F. Skinner, Warren Buffett and Donald Duck.” I am convicted of short-changing religion, but only because I pleaded guilty in my very own book.

I span the political spectrum! Mother Jones likes me enough to run this interview, which you can also hear as a podcast. Meanwhile, George Will devotes an entire column to my book. Approvingly. Apparently his pieces run in something like 480 newspapers, so for a day at least it will be tough to avoid me.

If you’re hankering for a podcast about the book, check out this one with personable Joe Donahue at WAMC, the public radio station in Albany that covers much of upstate NY, Vermont and western Massachusetts.

The Washington Post has blogged me, focusing on stickk.com. They’re looking for examples of people who’ve used such contracts on themselves. Check it out.

Somewhat to my surprise, I’ve had quite a positive review in the Boston Globe. Why am I surprised? Because for some reason I hardly ever get a good review in that town. I used to think it was something in the chowder. Not only have I been panned in the Globe, but when the Atlantic was up there, the estimable Phoebe-Lou Adams took the trouble (at the age of about 112) to trounce my first novel. Tough town!

This time, though, a thoughtful guy named Michael Washburn did a nice job capturing (and appreciating) the strengths of the book even while dissenting from some of my views. I couldn’t ask for fairer treatment.

The other good news is that the New York Times reviewed the book. The less good news is that the review is not a rave. The reviewer implies that the book is timely and provides a wide-ranging exploration of the subject, but evidently I made her feel that she was stuck on an airplane with an encyclopedia salesman who’s had a couple of drinks. I console myself that it could have been worse, in addition to which my name was spelled correctly throughout. A triumph, all things considered.

And at least the librarians still love me (the feeling is mutual of course). The proof?

  1. Library Journal has weighed in with a lovely review that calls the bookessential for all people concerned with their own overindulgences and with the future of society in general.”

  2. Booklist has a nice review as well, calling We Have Met the Enemya very thought-provoking and colorfully written book.”

Meanwhile, if you’ve been wondering how on earth I’ve managed to keep my name out of T, the glitzy style magazine of the New York Times, well, it’s now clear that a guy like me can’t fly under the fashion-radar forever--which is why the book was pictured on the very same page as Jackie Onassis in the Dec. 5 issue. You can get the gist here.

Just because I’m bringing out a nonfiction book doesn’t mean you literary types are out of the woods yet. There’s another novel in the works (although better not tell my agent, who’s got enough to worry about) and maybe even a play.

Foreign rights watch...

We Have Met the Enemy will be appearing in Australia, Italy, China and Japan in addition to bookstores across North America.