About Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is the bestselling author of eight books of nonfiction (including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa PuffsBut What If We’re Wrong?; and Chuck Klosterman X) and two novels (Downtown Owl and The Visible Man). He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Guardian, The Believer, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and ESPN. Klosterman served as the Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine for three years, appeared as himself in the LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits, and was an original founder of the website Grantland with Bill Simmons.

 

Regarding BUT WHAT IF WE’RE WRONG?:

“[Klosterman’s] most wide-ranging accomplishment to date. . . . As inquisitive, thoughtful, and dryly funny as ever, But What If We’re Wrong? . . . [is] crackling with the writer’s signature wit.” —Will Ashton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Klosterman is outlining the ideology of a contrarian here and reminding us of the important role that revisionism plays in cultural writing. What matters is the way he thinks about thinking—and the way he makes you think about how you think. And, in the end, this is all that criticism can really hope to do.” —Sonny Bunch, The Washington Post

“In But What If We’re Wrong? [Klosterman] takes on the really big picture. . . . He ranges far and wide over the realm of known knowns and known unknowns.” —Brigitte Frase, StarTribune (Minneapolis)

“I have often wondered how the times I live in will be remembered once they turn into History. It never occurred to me to figure out how to write a book about it, though, which is one of the reasons why Chuck Klosterman is smarter than I am.” —Aimee Levitt, Chicago Reader

“Klosterman has proven himself an insightful and evolving philosopher for popular consumption. . . . In his latest, But What If We’re Wrong?, Klosterman probes the very notions of existence and longevity, resulting perhaps in the most mind-expanding writing of his career.” —Max Kyburz, Gothamist

“Chuck Klosterman is no time traveler, but he’s got a lot of ideas about how the future will shake out. . . . In [But What If We’re Wrong?] he ponders the limits of humanity’s search for truth.” —Chris Weller, Tech Insider

“Prolific pop-culture critic Chuck Klosterman tackles his most ambitious project yet in new book But What If We’re Wrong?, which combines research, personal reflections, and interviews.” —Alexandra Cavallo, The Improper Bostonian

“Full of intelligence and insights, as the author gleefully turns ideas upside down to better understand them . . . this book will become a popular book-club selection because it makes readers think. Replete with lots of nifty, whimsical footnotes, this clever, speculative book challenges our beliefs with jocularity and perspicacity.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A spin class for the brain. . . . Klosterman challenges readers to reexamine the stability of basic concepts, and in doing so broadens our perspectives. . . . An engaging and entertaining workout for the mind led by one of today’s funniest and most thought-provoking writers.” Library Journal (starred review)

“Klosterman conducts a series of intriguing thought experiments in this delightful new book. . . . Klosterman’s trademark humor and unique curiosity propel the reader through the book. He remains one of the most insightful critics of pop-culture writing today and this is his most thought-provoking and memorable book yet.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This book is brilliant and addictively readable. It’s also mandatory reading for anyone who loves history and for anyone who claims to have a capacity for forecasting. It’ll probably make them angry because it turns so many sacred assumptions upside down—but that’s what the future does. Klosterman’s writing style is direct, highly personal, and robotically crisp—he’s like a stranger on the seat next to you on a plane who gives you a billion-dollar idea. A terrific book.” —Douglas Coupland

 

Regarding I WEAR THE BLACK HAT:

“Klosterman offers up great facts, interesting cultural insights, and thought-provoking moral calculations in this look at our love affair with the anti-hero.” — New York Magazine

“Klosterman considers how inconsistent, unpredictable and surprisingly elastic the concept of villainy has been in American culture since the 1970s….the entertainment value of his thought processes and the quality of his prose are high.” — USA Today

“A gleeful and often funny explanation of villainy, both fictional and real.” — Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Klosterman has a knack for holding up a magical high-def mirror to American pop culture that makes all of our vanities and delusions look painfully obvious. Spend enough time reading I Wear the Black Hat, and you might even start to recognize, in its pages, your own silly assumptions, your snap judgments, your stubborn loyalties and your badly rationalized prejudices….By underscoring the contradictory, often knee-jerk ways we encounter the heroes and villains of our culture, Klosterman illustrates the passionate but incomplete computations that have come to define American culture—and maybe even American morality.” — Los Angeles Times

“With the aplomb of a modern Machiavelli surveying our ever shifting moral landscape for examples that prove his point, Mr. Klosterman takes the reader on a grand tour of villainy’s outposts in popular culture, sports, politics and American history. I Wear the Black Hat is an erudite, provocative and playful survey of the ever shifting face of villainy in the American experience.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Klosterman attacks his subjects with intellectual rigor and humor… you should read this thought-provoking book.” — Washington Post

“Intellectually vigorous and entertaining.” — Publishers Weekly

“That most of his subjects are from the pop-culture realm, whether Andrew Dice Clay or Chevy Chase or the Eagles, does not diminish the underlying sophistication of Klosterman’s guiding questions…. A fine return to form for Klosterman, blending Big Ideas with heavy metal, The Wire, Batman and much more.” — Kirkus

“Very much a product of his generation and as plugged into the popular culture as Mencken was antagonistic to it, Klosterman is in that same direct line of cultural critics as Bierce, Mencken, and more recently, P. J. O’Rourke, and his posture is similarly arch and iconoclastic…[I Wear the Black Hat] will amuse and/or outrage but, either way, it should enlarge his audience.” — Booklist

 

Regarding THE VISIBLE MAN:

“Klosterman has conjured up a novel that manages to be both wildly experimental and accessible, while making perceptive observations about privacy, human nature, and of course, the author’s forte, pop culture.” — Entertainment Weekly

The Visible Man is a rich, fast-paced and funny novel made to entertain lovers of literary metafiction, sci-fi and thrillers.” — Dallas Morning News

“Hidden beneath The Visible Man’s kaleidoscopic structure and high-wire stunts in an irrefutable narrative logic. And like [his main character], Klosterman knows when to get out of the way…. All fiction should be so sly.” — NPR.org

“Chuck Klosterman takes his examination of society’s absurdities to a new level…. Richly drawn and dryly funny…Klosterman is terrifically expressive, funny company…. Klosterman’s unique voice is never less than right out in the open.” — Los Angeles Times

“An engaging read…Klosterman spins an interesting tale.” — Associated Press

“A tour-de-force exploration of intimacy and voyeurism…. Strikingly original, a vibrant mix of thriller, sci-fi, and literary fiction genres.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Klosterman makes a big leap with his second novel…daring and ambitious.” — Kirkus

 

Regarding EATING THE DINOSAUR:

“Witty and clever.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Mr. Klosterman’s relentlessly thoughtful prose makes a case that our arts and entertainment are more suffused with meaning than ever before. Even as he’s fretting over the direction of culture, his writing stands as an eloquent defense of it.” — The Wall Street Journal

Eating the Dinosaur [is] a gutsy, irreverent, wonderful read…. Klosterman is a gifted essayist…. Klosterman exhibits a deep knowledge and a deft touch on an expansive list of topics, and his insights are sometimes enlightening, sometimes educational and always entertaining.” — BookPage

“Funny, irreverent and fascinating—Klosterman at his best.” — Kirkus

“Chuck Klosterman… is a pop-culture philosopher.” —  Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Klosterman once again zeroes in on disposable culture—and in doing so, points out everything indispensable about it. Dinosaur contains some of Klosterman’s best work.” — The Portland Mercury

“Mr. Klosterman’s discourses, though topically random, are engrossing and worthwhile. He has built a career on extrapolating meaning from trivialities, and his latest creation does that. It is a work of depth about shallow things.” — The Washington Times

 

Regarding DOWNTOWN OWL:

“Klosterman roams around in [his character’s] heads, turning out great line after great line. He’s an entertaining guy, but also capable of real insight and artistry.” — Entertainment Weekly

“An astonishingly moving book, a minor masterpiece in the genre we might call small-town quirkiana. Klosterman is a real writer, it turns out, full of pathos and wisdom, ultimately determined to place his cleverness in the service of his readers…. He’s doing the honest labor of a novelist, exposing the terrifying confusions that live with his characters. His ability to see past their evasions, and his determination to lay them bare with stabbing insights calls to mind another famous American satirist, Kurt Vonnegut.” — The Boston Globe

“Thoroughly engaging.” — The Washington Post

“Gifted with a superb ear for dialogue, a kind of perfect pitch for the way ordinary people talk, Klosterman is also capable of fine word-portraits of the three principal [characters]. Think of this as a literary relative of the movies Fargo and American Graffiti.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Chuck Klosterman is no doubt intimately familiar with characters like those who populate his debut novel…. He may now be a New York writer with a cult following, but these characters, that dialogue—he knows it all, inside out.” — Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Klosterman is adept at thinking up bizarre, somehow plausible scenarios that hook readers while pushing the story along…[his] prose is a joy to read.” — Paste

Downtown Owl is a virtuoso effort…. It is always clever, and often outright brilliant.” — Blogcritics.org

“He has a talent for infusing everyday situations with unorthodox detail and unexpected imagery.” — National Post (Canada)

“Four books of nonfiction and a steady magazine presence have established Klosterman as a pop culture writer known for his air-quotes wit. There’s plenty of that sensibility in his first novel. Klosterman creates a satisfying character study and strikes a perfect balance between the funny and the profound.” — Publishers Weekly

 

Regarding CHUCK KLOSTERMAN IV:

“Chuck Klosterman knows an awful lot about pop culture and writes about it awfully well…. In truth, none of the stars in this book are more curious than Klosterman himself. He is curious in the sense that he wants to know about people…. Mostly, though, Klosterman is worth reading because he is very funny and has a great writing style. He lets his likeable personality inform every word without actually intruding into the story. His persona is based on two seemingly conflicting character types—the wide-eyed and goofy enthusiast, and the detached and ironic reporter. He melds these two points of view together instinctively, and it really works.” — The Sunday Herald (UK)

“No omnivorous critic of American pop culture is more fun than Chuck Klosterman…wild, woolly, and delightful.” — The Buffalo News

“Klosterman steps up with tighter arguments than ever before, while writing passages funny enough to make you stop and read them aloud to whomever is nearby.” — The Portland Mercury

“He’s pretty much the undisputed king of this sort of thing.” — The Tampa Tribune

“Great fun.” — The San Diego Union-Tribune

 

Regarding KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE:

“Sometimes when you’re the co-pilot on a road trip, you’re having such a good time talking to your buddy, gazing out the window, and listening to awesome music that you’re a little reluctant to stop and get out when you actually reach your destination. That’s what reading this book is like.” — Entertainment Weekly

“An affecting meditation on classic rock, mortality and girls.” — New York Post

“He’s killing his artform, in hopes of reviving it.” — The Onion A.V. Club

“As entertaining as it is unpredictable, as madcap as it is occasionally maddening. Klosterman is funny, sad, tormented, insightful, ludicrous and occasionally precious in a way that is all his own. And his observations on American culture, pop and otherwise, are often trenchant and thought-provoking.” — The Washington Post

“Mr. Klosterman makes good, smart company.” — The New York Times

“Dude, better than another fucking Gang of Four reference.” — The Village Voice (“Top Shelf 2005” pick)

“Filled with stunning, simple little snakebites of truth.” — Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)

“Riveting and poignant, both side-splitting and stirring…. Nobody understands identification through pop culture like Chuck Klosterman…. Killing Yourself to Live is terribly funny, astute, canny and yet incredibly sensitive. I read it. Then read it again. Chuck Klosterman is a fucking genius…” — NOW Magazine (Toronto)

“An amusing gazetteer of modern America.” — Los Angeles Times

“He writes with real articulacy and feeling about the relationship between rock music and the non-alpha males who worship it…. He’s ferociously clever and ferociously self-deprecating, which makes him a superb companion…I absolutely loved it. I don’t suppose those guys in tight trousers and make-up have any idea they have such a great chronicler.” — Evening Standard (London)

“With immense affability, Klosterman welcome you into his world from the start…. It’s hard not be instantly won over…. Even if your world is not exactly his world, it’s a pleasure to be along for the ride. Despite his morbid leanings, Chuck is helplessly, hilariously stuck in the land of the living.” — The Guardian (London)

“A nice meditation on rock, living fast, dying young and leaving a pretty corpse.” — Chicago Tribune

“I can’t think of a more sheerly likable writer than Chuck Klosterman and his old-fashioned, all-American voice: big-hearted and direct, bright and unironic, optimistic and amiable, self-deprecating and reassuring—with a captivating lack of fuss or pretension. He’s also genuinely funny and I pretty much agree with everything he says.” — Bret Easton Ellis

“Thank God Chuck lives the life he does and writes the way he writes about it. It’s not just autobiography; it’s a vital form of truth, and he’s the real thing.” — Douglas Coupland

 

Regarding SEX, DRUGS, AND COCOA PUFFS:

Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs stands out as one of the brightest pieces of pop analysis to appear this century.” — The Onion A.V. Club

“You really should check out this book.” — Entertainment Weekly

Sex, Drugs, Cocoa Puffs will make you question your most dearly held beliefs about popular culture.” — Playboy

“It’s quintessential Klosterman, sometimes exasperating but almost always engaging.” — GQ

“Hilarious, yet also profound… Klosterman is a social critic, not just a pop-culture one, worth following.” — The Denver Post

“Dude, this rules!!!” — People

“Maddeningly smart and funny.” — The Washington Post

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs makes a persuasive case that even seemingly forgettable bits of pop culture resonate more deeply than anyone ever thought they would.” — The Hartford Courant

“Klosterman has written a book that deftly skewers Americans’ dysfunctional love affair with everything and anyone famous…sometimes provocative, sometimes insightful and almost always very funny.” — The Columbus Dispatch

“Wickedly funny.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

“Klosterman is a clever fellow, crackerjack observer and dazzling writer.” — The Charlotte Observer

“Klosterman’s pop-culture appetite is like that of a hungry trucker at a Sizzler salad bar. It’s his very voraciousness that gives him an aura of ex cathedra authority. He’s perfect junk food for the soul.” — The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Chuck Klosterman has the time and inclination to think through the issues that you didn’t even know were issues. Laugh at him, or with him, or both…but you will laugh, dammit, you will laugh.” — Bob Odenkirk

 

Regarding FARGO ROCK CITY:

“Writing about American pop culture doesn’t get any better than this, or any funnier, or any more readable. If you love rock & roll, you will love Fargo Rock City.”  — Stephen King

“You NEED to read this book. This man is a great writer and the book is not just about hair metal bands but about how it feels, how music feels, how media saturated culture feels, and how it’s all in the details.”  — David Byrne

“Writing with humor and relentless fanboy zeal, Klosterman’s exegesis on Mötley Crüe alone places him among rock’s greatest scribes. Break out the babes, the Buds, the butts and the mousse cause after Fargo Rock City Cinderella, Poison and Bon Jovi will never sound the same.” — Dr. Donna Gaines

“To read about and realize the effect of metal in America’s heartland is really cool twelve years after it happened, and I am very grateful to Mr. Klosterman for capturing the moment with such clarity.” — Sebastian Bach

“As goofy as its subject, Fargo Rock City is part memoir, part barstool rant, and it is ridiculously engaging.” — Eric Weisbard, The New York Times Book Review

“It’s easily the most implausible (and the most comically agile) piece of wildcat criticism I’ve come across in years.” — Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review

“The best music book ever to cause me to spend not one red cent shopping for new cds, an unusual bargain. But whether or not you take the bait and undertake a massive reconsideration of Ratt, Poison, Def Leppard and their ilk, you’ll glimpse your lonelyhearted and dreamy teenage self in Klosterman’s confessions.” — Jonathan Lethem, Crawdaddy

“Klosterman may be the first totally post-modern rock critic.” — The Hartford Courant

“Though often analytical, Fargo Rock City is so much fun that it feels more like a tribute than an intellectual exercise. In reality, it’s both…perhaps the best book ever written on the topic.” — Billboard

“Depending on how you feel about protracted analysis of Guns N’ Roses videos as valid pieces of storytelling, either one of the saddest or greatest music books ever written.” — Q (UK)

“Klosterman proves a head-banging bard in his irresistible debut…. It’ll stick to you like the decal on a black concert T-shirt.” — People

“The greatest book ever published about hair metal.”  — Esquire

The Great Gatsby of heavy-metal literature.” — Rolling Stone