A Kind of Genius: Herb Sturz and Society's Toughest Problems

A Kind of Genius: Herb Sturz and Society's Toughest Problems

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by Sam Roberts
     
 

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A renowned New York Times journalist tells the inspirational story of one of America’s most imaginative and effective social entrepreneurs.See more details below

Overview

A renowned New York Times journalist tells the inspirational story of one of America’s most imaginative and effective social entrepreneurs.

Editorial Reviews

Liam Julian
Roberts does a fine job of showing how Sturz succeeded not only by having good ideas but also by appealing to "government's enlightened self-interest."
—The Washington Post
Joe Conason
Any writer who employs the word "genius" in the title of a biography—especially the biography of someone who is unknown to the broad public—is accepting a dare to prove that the subject deserves it. As for A Kind of Genius, the title Sam Roberts uses for his life of Herb Sturz, it not only demands proof but provokes other questions. Exactly what kind of genius is this man? Who is he, anyway? And why should we care? Roberts answers those challenges in full, well before the conclusion of this engaging book.
—The New York Times
Library Journal

In what is both a biography and an appreciation of his subject's achievement, Roberts (New York Times; The Brother: The Untold Story of the Rosenberg Case) brings our attention to a pioneer of social entrepreneurship. For over four decades, as a public official in New York's city government and the founding director of the After-School Corporation and the Vera Institute of Justice, Herb Sturz has initiated and shepherded significant social reforms. In his account, Roberts highlights Sturz's personal experiences, his motivations, and the unusual paths his life has taken, emphasizing the marriage of political and business acumen often cultivated by individuals who feel driven to change society for the better-and who succeed at it. The influences of pragmatism, his father's unconditional love, a bout with polio at an early age, a letter from John Steinbeck, and a profound respect for the Bill of Rights-all helped shape Sturz, depicted as an admirable, humble, idealistic realist (if you will), an average man intent on tirelessly championing civil rights and liberties. Also notable here is the in-depth analysis of the numerous social programs Sturz created. Recommended for public and undergraduate libraries, especially with collections in social-service entrepreneurship.
—Theresa Kintz

From the Publisher
Library Journal, 3/1
“In what is both a biography and an appreciation of his subject's achievement, Roberts…brings our attention to a pioneer of social entrepreneurship….The influences of pragmatism, his father's unconditional love, a bout with polio at an early age, a letter from John Steinbeck, and a profound respect for the Bill of Rights—all helped shape Sturz, depicted as an admirable, humble, idealistic realist (if you will), an average man intent on tirelessly championing civil rights and liberties. Also notable here is the in-depth analysis of the numerous social programs Sturz created. Recommended for public and undergraduate libraries, especially with collections in social-service entrepreneurship”

executive editor Mark Schmitt, American Prospect, 3/20
“The book catches the feel of governance over a long era in New York and how a single visionary could get one thing after another accomplished.”
 

Washington Post, 4/5
“Roberts does a fine job of showing how Sturz succeeded not only by having good ideas but also by appealing to ‘government's enlightened self-interest.’ Systems change when systems see a selfish reason to change. In our time of national transformation, it's a valuable lesson.”

Joe Conason, New York Times Book Review
“[An] engaging book…the “genius” that Sturz used to help [the underprivileged of the city]…relied as much on personal virtue as on penetrating intellect. Now 78 years old, he remains enormously determined and almost ridiculously confident, yet self-effacing and ready to relignquish control of his own projects. He is zealous and visionary yet highly practical, and seemingly immune to the usual temptations of empire building…..Perhaps, as President Obama suggested recently, the critical factor in creating change is persistence. Keeping faith for half a century is a kind of genius, too.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786727544
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
03/03/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
1,062,210
File size:
1 MB

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