Jill Kneerim at Kneerim & Williams just wrapped up a seven-bidder auction for Larry Tye's biography of Satchel Paige, titled Satchel, with Random's Will Murphy winning North American rights; Walker/Bloomsbury was the underbidder. Paige, who many consider the greatest pitcher ever to throw a baseball, rose from the Negro leagues to become the first black player in the major leagues, earning Rookie of the Year honors at age 42. His story is also that of the Jim Crow era and desegregation in America. Tye, a longtime reporter for the Boston Globe, is the author of four previous books, including Rising from the Rails (Holt, 2004), a history of the Pullman porters.
Agent Paul Bresnick has sold North American rights, at auction, to Atria's Malaika Adero for Soul of a Hustler: The Hard Knock Life and Crazy Times of Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, a biography of the rap artist who started as a drug dealer and is now the president of Def Jam Records. The author, Elliott Wilson, is the editor-in-chief of XXL magazine; he envisions the book as an oral history of the hip-hop era, with the spotlight on one of its central figures. Publication is set for fall 2008.
On the Brain
Amanda Cook at Houghton persevered in a nine-way auction to acquire NYU psychologist Gary Marcus's Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind. Christy Fletcher and Donald Lammat Fletcher & Parry sold North American rights for a healthy six-figure sum. Marcus, also the author of The Birth of the Mind (Basic) will draw on genetics, neuroscience and psychology to explain why the human brain is a "kluge"—a clumsy, inelegant yet surprisingly effective organ—that through Darwinian happenstance has come to shape the idiosyncrasies of the way humans think, communicate and behave.
Elsewhere at Houghton, Susan Canavan bought world rights to Lance Armstrong coach Johan Bruyneel's You Might as Well Win: A Simple Guide to Succeeding at Anything from David Black at the David Black Agency. In the book, to be written with Bicyclingeditor Bill Strickland, the Discovery team director will outline the leadership and organizational principles that fueled Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories. Armstrong will write an introduction.
Portfolio's Adrian Zackheim bought world rights, at auction, to Wired News managing editor Leander Kahney's Chairman Steve's Little White Book: The Leadership Secrets of Steve Jobs from Ted Weinstein at Ted Weinstein Literary Management. This unauthorized look at the Apple and Pixar leader's principles for building products, attracting customers and managing brands will show readers how to be better leaders, managers and entrepreneurs. Kahney is also the author of The Cult of Mac and The Cult of iPod. Portfolio will publish in early 2008.
How to Finesse
Saturday Night Live comedian and Essencemagazine relationship columnist Finesse Mitchell has sold Your Girlfriends Only Know So Much, a humorous dating and relationship guide for African-American women, to Jen Bergstrom and Patrick Priceat Simon Spotlight Entertainment. In her first deal at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, Makila Sands sold North American rights, at auction, in conjunction with Brian Lipson at Endeavor. Simon Spotlight will publish in fall 2007.
Berenson to Putnam
New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, author of this spring's The Faithful Spy, is moving from Random to Putnam for two new untitled novels; ICM's Heather Schroder sold world rights to Neil Nyren. The novels will both center again on The Faithful Spy protagonist John Wells, the first American CIA agent to infiltrate al-Qaeda, and the first book is expected to be published in early 2008.