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Richard Bayan

Agent: Regula Noetzli, Alexander Hoyt
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States


Home page:

AOL: CyranoR

Richard Bayan was born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He attended the local public schools, served as managing editor of his high school newspaper, and graduated with honors from Rutgers, where he majored in history. Finding himself virtually unemployable, he picked up a master’s in journalism at the University of Illinois. There he discovered and was permanently influenced by the works of American journalist H. L. Mencken.

The young writer labored in New York as a seriously underpaid editor of trade magazines like Rubber Age and Container News. When he finally landed a coveted job as staff writer for Time-Life Books, he was assigned to the Plumbing volume in the company’s Home Repair & Improvement series. (His first assignment: how to install a new toilet.)

After surviving seven years as chief copywriter at Barron’s Educational Series, Bayan was named advertising copy chief at Day-Timers, the original personal organizer company. His work there won six advertising awards in nine competitions. In 1999, after 14 years at Day-Timers, Bayan called it quits and leaped into the challenging world of freelance writing and consulting.

Bayan has authored four books: Words That Sell (1984; revised 2006) and its sequel, More Words That Sell (2003), a pair of popular reference books for people who write advertising; The Best in Medical Advertising and Graphics (1989), a lavish collection of prizewinning examples, complete with Bayan’s commentaries; and The Cynic’s Dictionary (1994), an acerbic modern equivalent of The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.

Bayan first broke into print in 1976-77 with a pair of essays on the plight of the liberal arts graduate, both of which appeared in National Review. In 1996 he created The Cynic’s Sanctuary (, where he dutifully crafted 70 monthly tirades until his sense of humor gave out in December 2002. For two years (2000-02) he also wrote a weekly column, “Some Cynical Guy,” for Upbeat Online.

In March 2007 Bayan launched The New Moderate ( He envisions that site as a lively centrist alternative to the left-wing and right-wing punditry that currently dominates public discourse.

Works in progress include a collection of his essays, a book of dark humor and an ongoing project for a major online business.

Bayan lives with his young son in a 110-year-old former livery stable in Philadelphia. He is a full-blooded Armenian and a longtime history buff who enjoys collecting early voice recordings of famous people on the Internet.

Interests: humor, commentary, essays, history, nature, art, advertising, words, moderate politics, cynicism, wonders of the world, my son

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: Yes


Published works:


  • More Words That Sell
  • The Cynic's Dictionary
  • Words That Sell