What do George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Maria Bartiromo have in common? If you guessed that they are all once-powerful people who still inform the global conversation you are partly right. All three are also publishing books this fall. They join a raft of lesser-known authors highlighted at this past week's trade fair, BookExpo America in New York City. Each year the event draws roughly 30,000 book-industry folks, including bookstore owners, publicists and marketers, writers, and publishing-house executives and staffers. They come to get a glimpse of the all-important fall season's books, and perhaps to collect a signed book from such brand-name authors as Barbra Streisand (yes, really) or Mary Higgins Clark.
Here is a sampling of forthcoming titles that were heralded at the recently concluded event.
Bush's volume, Decision Points, will be out from Crown Publishing, a division of Random House, in November. Described by the publisher as "a strikingly candid journey through the defining decisions of his life," the autobiography is likely to get the full-court promotional treatment: TV talk-show promos, front-page stories, and wide-ranging reviews.
Crown paid Bush an estimated $7 million. But that publisher has more than one horse in this race -- and a horse of a far different color, at that. In August, readers can pick up Arianna Huffington's Third World America, in which the much-televised Web mogul tells how "the promise of the American dream – that our children will be better off than we are – has been broken."
A separate Random House imprint, the prestigious Alfred A. Knopf, will publish Blair's book in September. A Journey, says the publisher, is "an intimate, far-reaching, and hugely revealing memoir." (Is there any other kind, according to publishers?) Knopf, too, offers dissenters a bit of balance with former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich's Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. The volume includes "an assessment of what must be done to ensure that prosperity is widely shared" going forward. That book is out in September, as well.
Hot Topic: The Economy
CNBC anchor Bartiromo's The Week That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account will be published by Penguin (PSO) imprint Portfolio in September. Supporting this "thrilling narrative," the publisher says, are the author's interviews with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and more. A less-breathless treatment from the same publisher is financial analyst Eric Janszen's The Post-Catastrophe Economy: Prospering After the Great Recession, which suggests there are even more economic woes to come. And in November Portfolio will issue yet another financial-meltdown analysis, All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean of Vanity Fair magazine and New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. For the first time, the publisher promises, we'll read about the true roots of the crisis.
Of course, there are a host of non-blockbusters also coming in the fall. Consultants Bill Jensen and Josh Klein tell how to circumvent your company's stupid rules to improve efficiency in Hacking Work (Portfolio). Social networking is explored in consultant and former Web executive Lisa Gansky's The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing and in Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams' Macrowikinomics, both from Portfolio. Stanford University professor Robert Sutton, author of the 2007 best-selling The No-Asshole Rule, is back in September with Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best...And Learn From the Worst (Business Plus). Former Lazard Freres and Quadrangle Group executive Steven Rattner describes his role in the car-industry bailout in Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry (Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt), coming in October.
Business History and Big Ideas
Big idea books include What Technology Wants (Viking) by former Wired editor Kevin Kelly, an October release with "a refreshing view of technology as a living force in the world." Aspen Institute president and former CNN chairman Walter Isaacson's Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness will be published by W.W. Norton in October. And Stanford University historian Ian Morris's Why The West Rules-For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), is also out in October.
And then there's business history. In December, Forbes writer Emily Lambert's The Futures: The Rise of the Speculator and the Origins of the World's Biggest Markets (Basic Books) details past and present doings at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, "the original (and eventually largest) futures market." In November comes Felix Rohatyn's Dealings: A Political and Financial Life (Simon & Schuster), in which the former Lazard Freres managing director looks back on his eventful career. And last but let's hope not least, my own book, The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy (Basic Books) hits stores in September. It describes how two strands of capitalism -- one utopian, the other exploitative and profiteering -- have competed for ascendancy in the United States.