PublicAffairs is an independent publishing house focusing on serious non-fiction for general readers. Our mission: to publish good books about things that matter. Our authors include Muhammad Yunus, George Soros, Wendy Kopp, Paul Farmer, Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, and David Stockman, among many others.

We also publish The Economist's renowned line of business books in North America, and partner with Nation Books, a project of the Nation Institute, to bring you books on current social and political issues.
“Asshole is always a disreputable word, whether it’s referring to someone’s anatomy or his character. But it’s only the latter use of the word that can move people to laughter. That was invariably people’s reaction when I answered their question about what I was working on by telling them it was a book about assholes. That response made me a little defensive, and my questioner was often obliged to listen to an unbidden disquisition about why the topic was actually worthy of attention. But it was also reassuring to know how many people find it amusing that someone would want to write a serious book about such a topic. The words that make us laugh aren’t usually ones we give a great deal of thought to. To study asshole is to dip into a pool unrippled by deep contemplation, insulated from the airs and distension that can infect a word like incivility, which provides an accurate reflection of what we genuinely think about how we should behave toward one another.”
—Geoffrey Nunberg in Ascent of the A-Word. On sale 8/14. Read more.

Asshole is always a disreputable word, whether it’s referring to someone’s anatomy or his character. But it’s only the latter use of the word that can move people to laughter. That was invariably people’s reaction when I answered their question about what I was working on by telling them it was a book about assholes. That response made me a little defensive, and my questioner was often obliged to listen to an unbidden disquisition about why the topic was actually worthy of attention. But it was also reassuring to know how many people find it amusing that someone would want to write a serious book about such a topic. The words that make us laugh aren’t usually ones we give a great deal of thought to. To study asshole is to dip into a pool unrippled by deep contemplation, insulated from the airs and distension that can infect a word like incivility, which provides an accurate reflection of what we genuinely think about how we should behave toward one another.”

Geoffrey Nunberg in Ascent of the A-Word. On sale 8/14. Read more.

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