"Up from the Projects" is not only a remarkable story of a remarkable man's life, it is the story of both progress and retrogression in the black community. Everyone wants to take credit for the progress but nobody wants to take the blame for the retrogression.
An even smaller book by a very different man in very different circumstances is "Inside the Nixon Administration"-- subtitled "The Secret Diary of Arthur Burns, 1969-1974." Distinguished economist Arthur F. Burns was chairman of the Federal Reserve System in those years, and these posthumous excerpts from his diary paint a chilling picture of the irresponsibility, vanity, dishonesty and incompetence in the Nixon White House.
This book is not just about the Nixon administration, however. It is about the ugly realities of politics behind the pious talk of "public service." And it is about what it means to have a very strange man as President of the United States-- something that is all too relevant to our own times.
My own new books this year are "Intellectuals and Society," an account of another strange and dangerous group of people, and the 4th edition of "Basic Economics," which is more than twice as large as the first edition. It has been putting on weight over the years, like its author, but the weight is muscle in the case of the book.
"Basic Economics" has sold more copies than any other book of mine and has been translated into more foreign languages. Apparently there are a lot of people who want to understand economics without having to wade through graphs and equations.