Loser Goes First by Dan Kennedy
My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation

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Synopsis

It all begins on Christmas morning, 1978. Dan Kennedy is ten years old and wants a black Gibson Les Paul guitar, the kind Peter Frampton plays. It will be his passport to the coolest (only) band in the neighborhood—Jokerz. He doesn’t get it. Instead, his parents present him with what they think he wants most, a real-estate loan calculator (called the Loan Arranger) and a maroon velour pullover shirt with a tan stripe across the chest. It is the first of what will become a lifetime of various-sized failures, misunderstandings, comical humiliations, and just plain silly choices that have dogged this “hipster Proust of youthful loserdom,” as author Jerry Stahl has so eloquently called Mr. Kennedy.

Dan’s hilarious and painfully awkward youth soon develops into a . . . uh . . . hilarious and painfully awkward adulthood. His first two choices for university are Yale (Lit or Drama) and Harvard (Business), so he reviews his high school transcripts and decides on Butte Community College in Oroville, California, where he studies for about four and a half weeks. We could go on here and describe in detail all of Dan’s good-natured stabs at ambition, but he, himself, sums it all up quite nicely: “If you’ve ever tried and failed miserably at being a rock star (no guitar/talent), a professional bass fisherman, an extra in the movie Sleepless in Seattle (guy drinking martini in bar while Tom Hanks makes a phone call), a Madison Avenue advertising executive, a clerk/towel person at a suburban health club (named Kangaroo Kourts), an espresso street-cart owner and operator (in the one neighborhood of that coffee-swilling town, Seattle, where, remarkably, no one really seems to drink coffee), a dot.com millionaire, an MTV VJ, or a forest fire fighter, this book is for you.”

Along the way, a few lessons are learned and we are treated to one of the most original, riotously funny, unsentimental, and offbeat memoirs in recent history. Dan’s a favorite in McSweeney’s and at the very popular Moth readings in New York City. We should be happy that he failed so miserably at so many things—and took notes!


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Dan Kennedy

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McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fMcGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, andields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide interests of readers worldwide Jeff Slutsky is the president and CEO of Street Fighter Marketing in Columbus, Ohio. He started the company in 1980 and, along with his brother Marc, has consulted for hundreds of businesses -- large and small. His experience has put him in high demand as a keynote speaker, corporate parody writer/producer, and seminar leader. A sampling of the companies that have worked with Jeff includes McDonald's, Subway, Molson, Chevron, the U.S. Postal Service, Goodyear, the U.S. Army, American Express, AT&T, State Farm Insurance, National City Bank, Sony, Honda, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Marvel Entertainment, and KNBC. Jeff is married and has six children, including triplets.
 
Published August 24, 2004 by Crown Archetype. 240 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Loser Goes First

Kirkus Reviews

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“As days go by, incredible things are not happening”: Kennedy is hungry to break into the music scene, but his first gig is pulling records at a music warehouse.

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Publishers Weekly

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One of the book's main attractions for certain readers will be its shortcoming for others: Kennedy's spot-on generational references might seem alien to someone who didn't spend tthe '80s wearing Ocean Pacific shorts and listening to the Plimsouls and Oingo Boingo.

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