Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Writing my own bio

I came across the Amazon.com entry for my forthcoming book The Geek Atlas: 128 Places Where Science and Technology Come Alive and it contains an ugly bio for me. I asked the publisher to change it to which they said... please write a new bio for yourself.

Ugh. It's hard enough writing a book without coming up with something about yourself. Finally, I submitted:

John Graham-Cumming is a wandering computer programmer who has lived in the UK, California, New York and France. Along the way he's worked for a succession of technology start-ups, created the award-winning open source POPFile email program and written articles for publications such as The Guardian newspaper, Dr Dobbs, and Linux Magazine. His previous effort writing a book was the obscure and self-published computer manual 'GNU Make Unleashed' which saturated its target market of 100 readers in a matter of just months.

He has a doctorate in computer security but has forgotten everything he wrote in his thesis and is now deeply suspicious of people who insist on being called Dr., but he doesn't mind if you refer to him as a geek. He is the proud owner of a three-letter domain name where he hosts his web site: http://www.jgc.org/.

Given that I now realize that people get to write their own bios on the back of books it really makes me wonder about some of the pieces of outright puffery that authors come up with.

One author I know describes himself as a 'world-renowned researcher' on a topic that he appears to know almost nothing about.

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