McGraw-Hill Gets Verizon Exec
Philip Ruppel, president of McGraw-Hill Professional, acquired world rights to a currently untitled business book by former Verizon head honcho Denny Strigl. Strigl, writing with management consultant Frank Swiatek, has promised a book that outlines how employees, on all rungs of the corporate ladder, can become more dynamic leaders in the workplace. The book, which was sold without an agent, will offer what the publisher called a "contrarian perspective," which puts forth the notion that "happy employees don't make results; results make happy employees." Strigl recently retired as president and COO of the telecommunications giant, and McGraw-Hill is planning a March 2011 release.

Harvard Prof Tackles Autism
Dr. Martha Herbert sold The Whole Body Autism Solution, a multitherapy approach to treating the disorder, to Marnie Cochran at Ballantine Bantam Dell. Cochran bought world English rights at auction from Linda Konner, who runs her own agency; Herbert is an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a pediatric neurologist at Mass General. The book, which is being written with the editors of Harvard Health Publications, features the 10 best therapies Herbert believes there are for dealing with the disorder.

Land of the Lost
Angela von der Lippe at Norton took world rights, at auction, to Marlene Zuk's Paleofantasy: How the Pace of Evolution Affects Our Lives. Zuk, who teaches biology at the University of California, Riverside, sorts myth from fact in this examination of the recent claims, by slow-food advocates and self-help gurus (among others), that people can improve their health by adopting a far simpler lifestyle, more akin to the way our ancestors lived. Wendy Strothman, of the Strothman Agency, brokered the deal, which marks a move for Zuk, whose last two books were published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Kensington, HCI Get Down with Boys of Summer
This week we have two notable deals with major league ball players. In the first, Michael Hamilton, editor-in-chief of Kensington's Citadel Press, signed pitcher Dirk Hayhurst to a two-book deal, continuing a standing relationship the imprint has with the Toronto Blue Jays reliever. Hayhurst's first book, the memoir The Bullpen Gospels, was published by Citadel in April and details his time in the minors. The first book in the new deal, Forty Days and Forty Nights, picks up where Gospels left off and chronicles Hayhurst's tumultuous 2008, his first year as a major leaguer and as a new husband. The second book, Strike Out the Devil, will offer Hayhurst's unique take on being a professional ball player and a devout Christian. Hamilton took world rights to the books from agent Jason Yarn at Paradigm; Forty Days is scheduled for 2012 and Strike Out for 2013.

Closing on another book about baseball and life, HCI's Michelle Mastrisciani bought world rights to When Life Throws You a Curve Ball by Jim Leyritz, Douglas Lyons, and Jeffrey Lyons. The title will be HCI's lead book for spring 2011 and, agent Karen Gantz Zahler claims, an inspirational tale. Leyritz, a catcher and infielder who played for various major league teams, had a career high when, as a Yankee in the 1996 World Series, he hit a three-run home run that helped the team win the World Championship. However, plagued by personal problems, including a nasty divorce and bitter custody battle for his disabled son, he faced a devastating turn of events in 2007 when he was arrested for drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter in Florida. For that charge, Leyritz is scheduled to stand trial in July. Jeffrey Lyons is best known as a film critic, but has written, with his brother Douglas, various baseball trivia books, including Out of Left Field.

HMH Nabs DeSanti's Debut
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired the debut novel by longtime Penguin editor Carole DeSanti. Adrienne Brodeur bought North American rights to The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R. in a deal brokered by Robin Straus of the Robin Straus Agency. The novel follows a 19th-century French woman and the loves and losses she endures through tumultuous times, including the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris. DeSanti has edited such bestsellers as Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina and Melissa Bank's The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing.

Jennifer Jackson at Knopf pre-empted the debut story collection by New School M.F.A. Jennifer Close. Girls in White Dresses, which Sam Hiyate at the Rights Factory sold, strings together stories about three women whose boyfriends all leave them to work on Obama's campaign. Close has worked for both Vogue and Portfolio.