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John Sargent, Turning Pages: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Publisher

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 - 6:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | $15 per person | registration required

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.

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.