His name seems to come from his place of birth, Laertes, in Cicilia, Asia Minor. Nothing is known of his life except what can be drawn from his works.
He wrote one ten-volume opus, entitled 'Lives, Teachings, and Sayings of Famous Philosophers' which offers a large overview of Greek philosophy, with 82 biographies of men who lived from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC.
Men such as Solon of Athens, political reformer and poet, and Periander of Corinth, are among those he describes. He also quoted 49 of his own epigrams in the biographies, and published a collection of these separately.