Coffee With Steve Piersanti

“We’ve all become jaded and cynical,” says Steve Piersanti, president of business book publisher Berrett-Koehler. “We hold back to protect ourselves. We’ve all experienced betrayal, from work, from politicians, maybe even our own spouse. What we need is a second innocence, a chance to see the world anew with innocent eyes.”

Piersanti, an editor of business books for 22 years, will soon be publishing a book called Second Innocence: Rediscovering Joy and Wonder by John Izzo. And his point is well taken. “It’s a tough time. People are working harder than ever. They’re stressed out and many are barely getting by. Even people with good jobs.”

It’s certainly tough in the business book market. After a nice run-up in the late 1980s through the 1990s, business book sales are down to flat. “It’s an over-published, glutted field,” says Piersanti. “There’s been a recession in business book sales in the last two years.”

Piersanti is optimistic, in part, because he has quite a few good titles coming up, and partly because, he says, Berrett-Koehler is doing much better in 2003. As for Second Innocence, it’s due out in March.