Turning Pages: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Publisher (Hardcover)
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Take a peek behind the curtain of some of the biggest publishing moments in the past several decades with forty-year industry veteran John Sargent.
Turning Pages: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Publisher is the well-told story of forty years in the publishing business. For twenty-four of those years, John Sargent ran one of America’s largest publishing companies. Rather than a straight chronological narrative, Sargent uses the best stories of those years to give us an intimate look inside book publishing. In weaving these stories together, he brings the reader with him through triumph and despair, and a very interesting daily life. The reader will meet his odd publishing family, his interesting authors, and the celebrities with whom he worked. Sargent tells the tale of publishing Monica Lewinsky and recounts what it was like to have an author meeting in Buckingham Palace. He takes the reader with him into the Macmillan battles with Amazon, the Department of Justice, and President Donald Trump.
In Turning Pages, the reader will share his occasional pain and seemingly endless joy, from a one room schoolhouse in Wyoming to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa. Full of humor and grace, this is a book for those who enjoy a good story about a fascinating life. This behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest moments in publishing over the last several decades is a must-read for every person who loves books and has always wondered about the industry surrounding them.
About the Author
John Sargent was raised on a ranch in Wyoming. He worked at three different publishers before going to Simon and Schuster to run the children’s book division at the age of twenty-nine. He spent six years there, followed by three years as the CEO of DK Publishing. In 1996, he went to work as the CEO of St Martin’s Press. Three years later, he was put in charge of Holtzbrinck’s US publishers and was responsible for forming the company that is today’s Macmillan. He worked there as CEO until the end of 2020. He serves on three nonprofit boards. He's been married to Connie Sargent for thirty-seven years, and they have two children.
“Turning Pages by John Sargent is everything I expect from this extraordinary, honorable, and talented man. I will always be grateful that a big part of my career took place at St. Martin’s Press under his leadership; I could always count on John to do the right thing, even when it was hard and unpopular. His wide-ranging life story—unexpected and interesting from the very start—is insightful, thoughtful, and hard to put down. I laughed—I even cried—and enjoyed every moment of the ride.”
—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Four Winds and The Nightingale
"Turning Pages is funny, thoughtful, profoundly moving, and deeply insightful. With this book, a memoir but really a series of beautifully written vignettes, John Sargent has invited us into an extraordinary life and a remarkable career, as he takes us from unfortunate buckaroo to the very top of the New York publishing world. We meet his titan of a grandfather, known as Efendi (the first initials of his name), as well as his eccentric, passionate, one-off mother, and all the characters in this full life. I loved this book, but then, in all candor, I love John Sargent. Himself a titan, an eccentric, a passionate one-off. And a great friend and champion of freedom of speech, of writers, of all voices, especially the dissenting ones. Turning Pages is not just a wonderful book; it is a call to awareness, even as it entertains."
—Louise Penny, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A remarkable and absorbing memoir—funny, poignant, and rich with insights about books, authors, the publishing business, and life. An extraordinary cast of characters has trooped through John Sargent's life, and they're all here, finely drawn, page after page.”
—Rick Atkinson, New York Times bestselling author and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
“Cometh the hour, cometh the man… I don’t have too many heroes, but one of them wrote the book you’re holding. Like a publishing industry Zelig, John Sargent, the former CEO of Macmillan, has been at every pivotal point in the industry with heart and brains. Some of that literary magic must have rubbed off because no one could have told this epic story but the man himself—and tell it he does.”
—Craig Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire series
“In Turning Pages, John Sargent has created an addictively entertaining, moving, and highly unusual memoir by telling the best (and only the best) stories from a remarkable life and career. Reading this book is like sitting by a campfire with one of the most consequential figures in contemporary book publishing as he shares tales of friendship and leadership—along with inspiring observations about writers, publishing, and life. With locations ranging from a one-room schoolhouse in Wyoming to the wilds of Alaska to the wilder boardrooms of Amazon and beyond, this is a gem of a book told with immense modesty and wry grace.”
—Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club and We Should Not Be Friends