Richard Paul "Rick" Bayan (born January 27, 1950) is a U.S. author, blogger, webmaster and advertising copywriter, best known for his advertising thesaurus Words That Sell; his trenchant satirical lexicon, The Cynic's Dictionary; his political blog, The New Moderate; and his darkly humorous online essays.
Life and career
The son of Armenian immigrants from Istanbul, Bayan was born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers College, where he majored in history and graduated with honors. Finding himself virtually unemployable, he added a Master's in journalism from the University of Illinois.
Bayan briefly worked as a staff writer at Time-Life Books. His first essays, The Liberal Artist at Leisure and The Liberal Artist at Work, appeared in National Review in 1976-77. Shortly after that, he was approached by Allen Weakland, founding editor and publisher of The New American Review: A Journal of Civility and the Arts; he became the associate editor of that short-lived journal and contributed satirical articles to it. While working as chief copywriter at Barron's Educational Series from 1978 to 1985, Bayan authored Words That Sell (1984, revised 2006), an advertising and marketing thesaurus that became a standard reference work in its field.
From 1985 through 1999 Bayan served as advertising copy chief at Day-Timers, Inc. During his years there, he won six advertising awards and wrote his first book of humor, The Cynic's Dictionary (1994).
Bayan created The Cynic's Sanctuary in 1996. He quit his job at Day-Timers in 1999 to write full-time, including a weekly column, Some Cynical Guy, for Upbeat Online from 2000 through 2002.
In 2001, Bayan married Anne Downey and moved to Philadelphia. There he wrote More Words That Sell and expanded the original Words That Sell. His first and only child, Guy, was born in 2004. Bayan and Downey were divorced in 2011.
Bayan was profiled in Psychology Today in 2006 as the centerpiece of an article entitled "A Field Guide to the Cynic." In 2007 he launched The New Moderate, a website designed to promote centrist ideas in a political climate dominated by hostile exchanges between the right and left. The site is an expression of Bayan's "Positive Cynicism," a philosophy that espouses the harnessing of cynical alienation for productive social goals. The first collection of Bayan's essays, Extremely Dark Chocolates, was published in 2014, followed by Lifestyles of the Doomed in 2016 and The World Is My Obstacle Course in 2018.
Bayan has served on the boards of the SS United States Conservancy and the Clean Government Alliance.
- "A Field Guide to the Cynic," Psychology Today (December 2006)