David Pogue

Popular author, NY Times columnist, speaker


David Pogue grew up in Shaker Heights, OH, a suburb of Cleveland. (Mom's the Welcome Wagon lady; dad's a lawyer.) He was a music/theatre geek from Day 1, starring in, composing, playing piano for, or conducting musicals and choirs from elementary school through high school. He was also a language jock, winning the Ohio Spelling Bee in 1977, and a magician, performing over 400 magic shows during his teen years. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1985, with Distinction in Music, having continued to write and conduct musicals each year. Senior year, a funny thing happened: Apple was selling Macintosh computers at half price to impressionable students. Eager to take the drudgery out of music copying, Pogue snapped one up — and got hooked. He went on to co-design, and write the manuals for, such music software as Finale, from Coda Music Technology.

After college, Pogue moved to New York City, with aspirations to compose and conduct Broadway shows. He worked as conductor, synthesizer programmer, arranger, or assistant on several Broadway shows (Carrie, Welcome to the Club, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Anything Goes at Lincoln Center) and a few Off-Broadway ones (Pajama Game, Godspell, and Flora, the Red Menace, which he also orchestrated).

Unfortunately, the demand for new young composers on Broadway is about zero these days, and Pogue saw the writing on the wall; through this time, his computer-teaching skills were turning out to be in more demand than his musical ones. So he started teaching the Broadway community how to use their Macs — first composers such as Stephen Sondheim, John Kander, Jerry Bock, David Shire, and Cy Coleman, and then later Hollywood and literary celebrities: Mia Farrow; Carly Simon; Gay Talese; Gary Oldman; Natasha Richardson; Vanessa Redgrave; William Goldman; Mike Nichols; Harry Connick, Jr.; Mandy Patinkin; Bronson Pinchot; and others. In the interests of hedging his bets, he also founded and taught, for several years, the beginning magic courses at the New School for Social Research and New York's Learning Annex.

He began writing for Macworld magazine in 1988, and wrote the triple-award-winning Desktop Critic column (the back-page column) until November 2000, when he became the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times; the column, "State of the Art," appears every Thursday on the front page of the Circuits section.

In 1992, Macworld's sister company, IDG Books, asked Pogue to write Macs for Dummies. (This was back when there was only one Dummies book — DOS for Dummies.) The book quickly became the #1 bestselling Macintosh book, and remained so, month after month, ever since — in all of its 17 languages and six editions. Only in 1999 was it overtaken in sales by another Mac book: The iMac for Dummies, which Pogue also wrote. The iBook for Dummies debuted at the end of 1999, covering Apple's chic consumer laptop.

Pogue followed that book with the 1300-page bestseller Macworld Mac Secrets (co-authored with former Yale roommate Joe Schorr) and a novel, Hard Drive (a New York Times "notable book of the year"). His music books are Opera for Dummies and Classical Music for Dummies, co-authored with symphony conductor Scott Speck. A trio of computer-humor books includes The Microsloth Joke Book; The Great Macintosh Easter Egg Hunt; and the hilarious Tales from the Tech Line. In 1998, his PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide became the #1 bestselling Palm book, which it remains to this day (now in its second edition); his popular Magic for Dummies is the bestselling magic book in the country. (Pogue, a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, can't seem to make it through a restaurant meal without doing a few tricks while waiting for the bill.) And Crossing Platforms, co-authored with Adam Engst, makes it easy for people who have to switch from Mac to Windows, or vice versa.


David’s next InSight Cruise:

MacMania 12, September 2011


In 2000, he incorporated Pogue Press. In collaboration with O'Reilly & Associates (the publisher of "PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide and "Crossing Platforms"), Pogue created the Missing Manual series: a line of superbly written, printed manuals for computer products that don't come with any — in other words, "the book that should have been in the box." The series includes bestselling books on Mac OS X, Windows XP, Dreamweaver, iMovie, iPhoto, Microsoft Office, AppleWorks 6, Mac OS 9, and others.

Pogue appears frequently on radio and TV. He was a regular technology guest on Martha Stewart's TV show (before she went to jail, of course), and since 2000 he has appeared about six times a year on "CBS News Sunday Morning." In 2004, his segments on Google and the spam problem won a 2004 Business Emmy. Pogue lives with his wife Jennifer Pogue, MD, son Kelly, daughter Tia, and son Jeffrey, in Connecticut, where he entertains them with magic tricks, piano playing, and a lifelong stream of appalling puns.

Cool article on David!

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