Synopses & Reviews
In A Kind of Genius
, Sam Roberts offers a window onto Herb Sturzand#8217;s extraordinary lifeand#8217;s work. Sturz began his long career in social entrepreneurship by reforming the bail system and founding the Vera Institute of Justice. He served as New York Cityand#8217;s Deputy Mayor for Criminal Justice under Ed Koch and then as Chairman of the City Planning Commision. He moved on to establish affordable inner-city housing and programs for at-risk individuals. But Sturz has, to date, largely eschewed the publicand#8217;s eye.
Roberts pays tribute to Sturzand#8217;s inspirational legacy of accomplishment. His initiatives have consistently provided solutions to our most challenging problems. Here, for the first time, his astonishing story is told in full.
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”
Library Journal, 3/1
andldquo;In what is both a biography and an appreciation of his subject's achievement, Robertsandhellip;brings our attention to a pioneer of social entrepreneurshipandhellip;.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 Rightsandmdash;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 entrepreneurshipandrdquo;
executive editor Mark Schmitt, American Prospect, 3/20
andldquo;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.andrdquo;
Washington Post, 4/5
andldquo;Roberts does a fine job of showing how Sturz succeeded not only by having good ideas but also by appealing to andlsquo;government's enlightened self-interest.andrsquo; Systems change when systems see a selfish reason to change. In our time of national transformation, it's a valuable lesson.andrdquo;
Joe Conason, New York Times Book Review
andldquo;[An] engaging bookandhellip;the andldquo;geniusandrdquo; that Sturz used to help [the underprivileged of the city]andhellip;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 buildingandhellip;..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.andrdquo;
A renowned New York Times journalist tells the inspirational story of one of Americaand#8217;s most imaginative and effective social entrepreneurs.
About the Author
Sam Roberts, Urban Affairs Correspondent of the New York Times, has written for the Times for more than two decades. Before joining the Times, he was a reporter and city editor at the Daily News. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, and New York Magazine. Author and co-author of several books, he lives in New York with his wife.