Alex graduated from Harvard in 1990. He wrote for the New York Times from 1992 until 1996 when he became staff writer at The New Yorker. His first book The Rest is Noise is about the cultural history of music since 1990, which won the Guardian First Book Award. It was also shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson non-fiction prize and the Pulitzer Prize. Alex now lives in Manhattan and is married to the actor and filmmaker Jonathan Lisecki.