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How one goes from loser to rock star to ''Loser''

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Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy: Maria Lilja

Right after Dan Kennedy finished writing Loser Goes First: My Thirty-Something Years of Dumb Luck and Minor Humiliation (Crown, $21.95) — a funny, self-immolating new memoir detailing his blazing failures as a dotcommer, a rock star, a health-club attendant, a pro bass fisherman (and the list goes on) — the 35-year-old landed an awesome job as director of creative development at Atlantic Records. We caught up with him in his fancy, high-tech midtown Manhattan office.

Dude, look at this place — you’re not a loser at all!
Here’s the deal — I have to close the door to say this. When the galleys of ”Loser” came out, I was totally trying to keep it under my hat. It felt like having a pound of weed at work. They’re just going to read this and go, ”What the f—? You tricked us into this.”

Is it sneaky to write a book about being a loser when you’re not a loser?
I don’t think you understand. The sneaky thing is holding a job like this when you’re a loser.

When did you decide to write the book?
I started doing [spoken-word] gigs about how everything I’ve tried to do for the last few years was basically f—ed up. The more gigs I did, the longer I realized that list was. I was like, ”This isn’t just about dotcom. This isn’t just about [my stint in] advertising. How far back does this go? This goes back to when I was, like, 10!”

Are you worried you’ll draw real losers on your book tour?
My girlfriend goes, ”Well, I guess you’ll be able to meet lots of groupies on the road.” I go, ”Think about the book I’m supporting, and you tell me who wants to sleep with that guy after the gig.” She’s like, ”Yeah, good point.”

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