Daniel Menaker was born in New York City in 1941. He attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1963 with High Honors, and received a Master's Degree in English Literature from the Johns Hopkins University in 1965. After teaching for three years in independent schools, he began his twenty-six-year career at The New Yorker as a fact checker in l969, rising through the ranks to become a senior editor specializing in fiction. There he was the first editor to publish such newcomers as Michael Cunningham, Michael Chabon, and Jennifer Egan, and he also worked with well-recognized authors such as Alice Munro, Elmore Leonard, Salman Rushdie, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Pauline Kael.
In l995 he came to Random House as Vice President, Senior Literary Editor. The first novel he edited was the publishing phenomenon Primary Colors by Anonymous. In 2001 he became Executive Editor at Harper Collins, returning to Random House in 2003 as Editor-in-Chief of the Random House editorial imprints. As Executive Editor-in-Chief, he is currently working with such authors as Billy Collins, Elizabeth Strout, Gary Shteyngart, Colum McCann, Arthur Philips, Carol Muske-Dukes, Benjamin Kunkel, Deborah Garrison, Reza Aslan, Tom Reiss, and Sister Helen Prejean.
He is the author of two books of short stories and a novel, The Treatment, which was published by Knopf. He still contributes occasional humor pieces and music reviews to such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Slate. Daniel Menaker lives in New York with his wife, Katherine Bouton (who is the Deputy Editor of The New York Times Magazine), and his two children.