Featured today on Grantland is an exchange between Bill Simmons and Gawker friend-of-the-program-du-jour Malcolm Gladwell.
In the sixth paragraph of the piece Gladwell takes a hard left turn and starts to talk about the recent Carson biography by long-time Carson lawyer Henry Bushkin. Simmons, being duly impressed, links to the book on Amazon.
In the back and forth that follows, Gladwell mentions the clout of the (then) William Morris Agency.
To me it just seemed like a commercial was cut and pasted into this. Adjusting my headgear of preference, I decided to poke around the relationships at play here.
1. Malcolm Gladwell is represented by Tina Bennett at William Morris Endeavor
2. "Johnny Carson" is published by Eamon Dolan Books - an imprint of Houghton Miflin Harcourt
I would imagine that it is industry standard to have these kinds synergistic relationships between agents and editors/publishers.
Could it be possible that Bennett suggested that her client plug her friend's book? Probably. And honestly, I don't mind that it happened at all. It looks like an interesting read.
What I do mind is that this seemed to be planted by Gladwell so artlessly. It's actually kind of insulting. I've never read any of his books, so this might just be the way he writes and thinks. In that case, I'll just pack up my tinfoil for another day.