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Lanny Jones
Photo by Lynn Donaldson

Landon Y. Jones (Lanny) is an author and magazine editor. His most recent book is Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers, published in May 2023 by Beacon Press. His previous books are William Clark and the Shaping of the West (Hill and Wang, 2004), The Essential Lewis and Clark (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2000) and Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation (Putnam, 1980). The latter coined the phrase “baby boomer” and was nominated for the American Book Award in Nonfiction.

From 1989-97, Jones was the head editor of People magazine at Time Inc., the most successful magazine in publishing history. While at People, Jones directed the editorial planning and launching of three new magazines: Who Weekly (1992), the Australian version of People; In Style (1994), the successful celebrity lifestyle monthly; and People en Espanol (1996), the first general-interest magazine published for the U.S. Hispanic market.

A native of St. Louis, Mo., Jones graduated with high honors from Princeton University in 1966. He edited the Princeton Alumni Weekly from 1969-1974 and wrote for Time and People before becoming the head editor of Money in 1984-89. Under his direction, the financial monthly won three consecutive National Magazine Awards, including General Excellence, the top honor in the magazine field.

Jones has taught courses in advanced nonfiction writing as a visiting McGraw Professor at Princeton University (1995), Writer in Residence at Northwestern University (2006), and adjunct professor in the honors program at Montana State University (2008).

His many magazine articles have included cover stories for Time and The Atlantic Monthly. In 1967 he was a member of a special Life magazine investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy that received the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service. His 2016 cover story in the New York Times Sunday Travel section about Vladimir Nabokov in the American West won the New York Press Club Award as the Best Travel Article of the Year.

He serves on the board of The Rita Allen Foundation, a philanthropy with a special focus on transformative ideas in their early stages. He has previously served on the boards of The Alzheimer’s Association , American Rivers, and Princeton Alumni Corps. He is a former member of the Graduate Advisory Council of the Princeton University Department of English. He and his wife Sarah live in Princeton, NJ.