Posted by: Doug Henwood | August 3, 2012

Thank you, Justin Fox

About ten days ago, I posted a complaint (“Credit default”), which could perhaps be characterized as “petulant,” about the uncanny resemblance between a Harvard Business Review piece (“What Good Are Shareholders?”) by Justin Fox and Jay Lorsch and my book Wall Street.

Justin Fox has just posted an extremely generous endorsement of my work: The Wall Street Book Everyone Should Read. I am very grateful and flattered and will even forgive his characterization of me as “crotchety.” Thank you, Justin.

Verso let the book go out of print but you can download it here. I apologize for the poor letterspacing—bad things happened to the PostScript code in the transition between PageMaker for Mac OS 9 and InDesign for OS X that I’ve been unable to compensate for.

This just in: the estimable Henry Farrell just posted a plea to me to write a second edition, calling it possibly “the best leftwing book on actually-existing-capitalism that’s been written in the last couple of decades.” Wow. My head swells. Henry suggests a Kickstarter to get it going. Hmm. How much demand is there for this?

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Responses

  1. The good thing about Kickstarter it is a good tool to help measure demand. Getting a project up in Kickstarter is not a trivial endeavor, so you might do the work and find out there’s not enough demand. Also, make sure you set your target high enough that it is worth the effort.

    That said, I think this is a perfect fit for the Kickstarter model. You’ve already proven your ability to deliver the book, so you are likely to do well with an update (so contributors will be confident you can deliver). Books lend themselves well to Kickstarter “offer” levels (early PDF access, print copy when published, numbered & signed print copy when published, meeting with the author, etc). You could also get creative and, for example, put in a budget for graphic design of the cover and include a limited edition prints of posters of the cover; or if the content lends itself well to “infographics” commission some nicely designed charts/graphics for the book in poster form… etc.

  2. [Apologies if this is a repeat; last try seems to have failed–anyway} I’m sorry I gave my copy away, wish I had it back. Looking forward to the new edition, with ebook option. Meanwhile, I bet the download file would load nicely iinto a Kindle.

  3. I, for one, would love to donate to a Kickstarter to make a second edition happen. As it happens, I just checked a copy out from the library a few days ago. I can’t wait to start reading it.

  4. How about if Justin tells his editor at HarperCollins to give Doug a Jackie Collins-size advance so he can take the next year off and write a new version of Wall Street?

  5. It’s a fantastic book Doug, and incredibly prescient, I wish I’d read it a decade and a half ago rather than just last winter.

  6. Doug, would gladly contribute to a kickstarter campaign to get an updated version of Wall Street. First read it when I was in school and have just downloaded the PDF.

  7. I’d buy it again, updated.

  8. I would definitely be on board for a kickstarter.

  9. I’d donate for a second edition for sure. Thank you for your work!

  10. Congratulations , Doug ! Great

  11. Hey Doug,

    I’d contribute to a Kickstarter fund for a 2nd edition.

    Gil

  12. well, at the moment over at CT it looks like 40 responses and $2000

  13. Yes. ASAP.

    No pressure, though.

  14. I think Kickstarting up a new edition is a fine idea.

  15. Please.

  16. Congratulations, Doug. I reviewed Wall Street for the Rev. of Radical Political Economics. The peer reviewers gave me a hard time for not writing a more “scholarly review.” But probably what got to them was that I said something to the effect that a person not formally trained as an economist had written a book that put to shame those who were.

  17. I have been mumbling that idea about you writing a follow up for years, every time I move and take my copy or read your blog.
    Guess I shouldve whined about it to get my way, like you did w fox… I would donate but agree given all the hullabulub about wallstreet in this day and age some publisher should pay you to do this.

  18. Michael Yates: RRPE did the same thing to me! I wrote what I thought was a very balanced and thoughtful review, and one reviewer said something like “not enough economics” in my evaluation. Personally, I think sending book reviews(!) out to referees is rediculous. I’ve done book reviews for some hardcore neoclassical journals and they never gave me such nonsense.

  19. I would definitely contribute to, and promote, the Kickstarter project. If that helps.

  20. I will contribute, and do agree with Henry’s assessment.

  21. :-)

  22. I’d certainly contribute. Consider another funding platform though. If you don’t meet your goal on Kickstarter, you get none of the pledged amount. Other platforms do not have this restriction.

  23. Great idea. I’d certainly contribute. Consider another platform besides Kickstarter though. If you don’t meet your goal in the allotted time, you get none of the pledged amount. Other platforms do not have this restriction.

  24. I still have my copy and would buy a new edition for myself and likely give it as a gift to various people. You could probably talk me into a donation as well. But while I’m here, did you do any radio interviews in the last two weeks? I rely on the internet for those and I’ve seen nothing here nor at the LBO site.

  25. Why not provide a not-too-shabby-looking autographed bookplate for insertion in the forthcoming second edition in return for the confidence suggested by a donation? It may be dumb but it appeals to me. At least I could put it in my old copy.

  26. I’ll put my money where my mouth is IF: your publisher promises to print the book on acid-free paper so that it will LAST, physically.

  27. Wall Street was the book that made a lot of economics reporting understandable for me. Congratulations on getting the public notices, which I hope inspire you to a new edition.

  28. Damn, Now I HAVE to read the book, It’s only been on the self since I bought it last century. And, yes, I will read the updated version, too. Congrats, Doug.

  29. Doug, since you’re a Germanophile, it will please you to know that _Wall Street_ is referred to in the 8th Chapter, on neoliberal capitalism, in Georg Fülberth’s book _G Strich: Kleine Geshichte des Kapitalismus_.

    And I think you already know that Lunapark 21, which Fülberth writes for, has stated its mission to be a German-language LBO.

    So just as is often the case with great bands, your reputation is definitely assured with the hip European milieu! ;-)

    P.S. I mentioned on Twitter that in the past few years, I’ve actually been buying used copies of Wall Street to give to friends, so there is definitely a market for it. I just hope Justin Fox’s praise doesn’t drive up the price for used copies before a new edition comes out!

  30. Go for it Doug!

  31. @NegPot. Is there a url to the German Left Business Review yet?

  32. I would love to see a second edition, and would certainly make a [modest] contribution to any kickstarter appeal.

  33. Count me in for a 2nd edition. I’d also kick in a bit on Kickstarter.

  34. If DH is up to creating an updated 2nd edition I would lend support via Kickstarter. I’ve been part of other Kickstarter projects that have generated sufficient funds for authors to write an unusual book. However, if he moves ahead w/ this I strongly urge DH to use the new publishing paradigm, create his own publishing imprint and go POD, Kindle & e-book. Then blog about the economics of that model for authors vs the traditional publishing house model. Could result in another book : )

  35. I would definitely give to kickstarter, and would also send it out to interested friends — get on it!!

  36. I would certainly donate for a kickstarter to a second edition. Its never been more needed then now.

  37. It’s good to see a mainstreamer like Fox behave well. Seems like the exception to the rule. A 2nd edition would be timely well worth it.

  38. I’d definitely throw in for a kickstarter for a 2nd edition, but if you can’t get enough money together for that, at the very least I think there are some pretty cheap options to at least get an e-book edition published.

  39. I vote for a 2d edition. I think it may be the best book on the street, no qualifications about political perspective, ever, and I’ve read a lot of that stuff. (and, no, I haven’t forgotten I owe LBo) that piece on the social costs of white collar crime.). I tried to sell my biz org prof in law Scool on the first (failed). If I ever teach law again, a big if, even the first edition will be rewpquired 2dry reading. Justin.

  40. Yes, a second edition is much needed. Years ago, I even wrote Verso asking them to put the first one back in print.

    I would also contribute to help get it going.

  41. Doug–I’d contribute to a kickstarter project to update Wall Street. I read it cover to cover when it first came out, and have always appreciated the analysis. Go for it!!

  42. The cost of a used copy of Wall Street has gone from one cent to about 50 bucks. I wonder if that will help publishers understand the demand for a second edition?

  43. I would buy a second copy if reasonably priced – I hate to be a cheapskate but there’s no way I could shell out like $40 for a book, no matter how incisive a critique of actually existing capitalism it may be!

    Seriously though, you should start a kickstarter. I’d chip in.

  44. Doug, you should try to update Wall Street with your take on the current financial crisis. Some publisher out there must be willing to take this on board, assuming that more and more people are looking for a clear explanation of what happened and what could be done to fix it.

    Unrelated, here’s your old pal Adam Davidson

    http://shameproject.com/profile/adam-davidson/

  45. I’m in. (And if Verso gives you the cold shoulder, I know a couple presses that would jump at the chance to get the Canadian printing rights.)

  46. G.H.,

    Lunapark21 http://http://www.lunapark21.net/

    Mind you, they are merely inspired by Doug’s example; there is no formal connection.

  47. i’d readily contribute. just finished your old edition of Wall Street and was wowed by the sheer volume of interesting factual information and non-trivial analysis that you were able to pack into a “popular” exposition. What a contrast with the unimaginative, repetitive, dumbed-down screeds on finance that have flooded the market of late! A nice contrast too with insularity and pettiness of a lot of academic writing.

  48. Count me in, Doug.

  49. amazon.com now has only 1 copy. Price $999.01. The market seems to have spoken.

    I’d be really interested to know more about the economics of publishing, and self-publishing, kickstart etc. Q: would Wall Street be comissioned at all in 2012, and/or would Doug Henwood, knowing what he knows now, have decided he could afford the time to write it? And if not, where does that leave us in the future for such essential, sustained, analytical (non-blog, non-academic, remunerated) writing? Seems to me a very important question. Wall Street unfortunately a brilliant case study.

    Now deeply regretting my hesitation when i could’ve bought a 2nd hand copy cheap. Download it is.

  50. First, I’m in. Whether it’s funded by a group of investors such as the commenters here or by a Kickstarter or whatever, I’m in.

    Second – everything has changed. The publishing industry has changed, the distribution has changed, the desktop publishing tools have changed. So the business model for production, distribution and cost/payment will be completely changed from 1991-7.

    And certainly Wall St. itself has changed. So this might be an entirely different book. But it can’t take 6 years to write and publish. It needs to happen faster than that.

  51. Another crowdsourcing site, possibly more desirable than Kickstarter: http://www.gofundme.com/

  52. Sorry to be so late to this. I would be willing to pay up to about $35 — roughly the cost of a hardcover — for a well made downloadable PDF of an updated edition of Wall Street. Sorry, I really have a limited income.

  53. “I apologize for the poor letterspacing—bad things happened to the PostScript code in the transition between PageMaker for Mac OS 9 and InDesign for OS X that I’ve been unable to compensate for.”

    Doug, do you still have the original PageMaker files? It might be better to export them as PDFs from within PageMaker to preserve their layout rather than go through an imperfect InDesign conversion step. If you are now on an Intel based Mac, you can use the program SheepShaver ( http://www.emaculation.com/doku.php/sheepshaver_mac_os_x_setup ) to emulate a pre-OS X environment and run PageMaker. Collating the resulting PDFs could then be done in OS X using Acrobat Pro.

  54. I do have the original PM files, but I don’t have PM itself any more. In my waning days with OS 9, I had some problem with the Acrobat Distiller – can’t remember what it was now, but I had a hard time exporting PDFs directly from PM. I did some two-step workaround with PostScript file from PM to PS->PDF conversion in OS X. I’ve also tried importing the PM files into ID, but it doesn’t like the graphs – can’t get any better than rough screen resolution. Merde.

    But thanks for the tips. I didn’t know about SheepShaver.

  55. Ah, and you need an original OS 9 installation CD. Don’t have one of those either!

  56. I’m working my way back through the book which is all the more insightful the second time around. I’d happily contirbute to a second edition. I’m particularly looking forward to your updated thoughts on goldbugs given the rise and rise of their favourite element over the last half dozen years.

  57. I have installer CDs for MacOS 8 and 9. Also have old Photoshop and Acrobat. Might have PM7. You’re welcome to use them to extract, create new, or whatever.


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