Lutz taught creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts, University of Iowa, Stanford University, and the University of Copenhagen. He is currently Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at University of California, Riverside.
His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Chicago Tribune, Die Zeit, ZYZZYVA, Exquisite Corpse, Salon.com, and Black Clock.
His books include Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America (2007, American Book Award), Cosmopolitan Vistas: American Regionalism and Literary Value (2004; Choice Outstanding Academic Title), Crying: The Natural & Cultural History of Tears (1999; New York Times Notable Book), and American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History (1991, New York Times Notable Book), and have been translated into 12 languages.
- 2008 American Book Award
- "Think you know how to read, do you?". Salon. March 8, 2007.
- "The Summer Next Time". The New York Times,. September 4, 2006.
- "Coda: Nostalgia", Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, 2009
- Crying: A Natural and Cultural History of Tears. W.W. Norton. January 2001. ISBN 978-0-393-32103-6.
- American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History. Cornell University Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-8014-2581-3.
- Cosmopolitan Vistas. Cornell University Press. 2004. ISBN 978-0-8014-8923-5.
- Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. May 2007. ISBN 978-0-86547-737-7.
- Neal Schindler (June 28, 2006). "Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums in America". Seattle Weekly.
- Edward Rothstein (June 12, 2006). "In Tom Lutz's 'Doing Nothing,' Workaholics Are Closet Slackers (and Vice Versa)". The New York Times.
- Larry Sears (May 23, 2006). "Why does the couch potato make us so angry?". Christian Science Monitor.
- Martin, Cameron (October 26, 2011). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, TOM LUTZ, EDITOR OF LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS?". Mediabistro. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- http://creativewriting.ucr.edu/people/lutz/index.html; http://www.zyzzyva.org/w08.lutz.htm
- "Tom Lutz", Powell's Q&A
- "The Carefree Lives Of Slackers". CBS Sunday Morning. Aug 13, 2006.
- "Author Tom Lutz Appears On UI Radios Stations Sept. 8 And 12", University of Iowa News Release, Aug. 29, 2006
- An interview with Tom Lutz on Notebook on Cities and Culture