Syed Acquisition Announcement


07 Oct 2014

Nick Davies, Managing Director of John Murray Press, has acquired two new books by bestselling psychology writer Matthew Syed in a major World Rights deal with Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

In the first of the two new books, The Black Box: How to Turn Failure into Success, Syed will argue that success, whether in sport, business, politics or life is not really about talent, motivation or intelligence. These things, it turns out, are often trivial and sometimes even counter-productive. The most important thing is more subtle and altogether more profound: a positive attitude to failure.

Matthew’s previous book Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice (Fourth Estate, 2011) sold over 100,000 copies through UK BookScan and has also been translated into more than 10 languages. The book drew comparisons to Freakonomics and praise from bestselling authors such as Dan Ariely, and has been described as ‘one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking books about sport ever written.’
Nick Davies said: ‘Bounce marked the arrival of a bright new talent in non-fiction: a fresh voice in the ‘smart thinking’ field, who was using sport to explore broader life lessons. Matthew’s new book, The Black Box, not only confirms his skills as a writer, but it broadens his range too — from sport in to business, from politics to healthcare, from aviation to innovation. It is a positive book about failure, with truly global appeal.’

Matthew Syed said: ‘I am really excited about The Black Box. The notion of learning from failure has many subtle and surprising dimensions that impact upon almost every area of human development. The book will explore pressing issues facing businesses, parents, and politicians, but also attempt to reinterpret big picture areas like cultural evolution and the nature of consciousness. Sport will also play a part!’

Jason Bartholomew and the Hodder & Stoughton Rights team are selling US and translation rights at the Frankfurt Book Fair next week. Contact him on:
John Murray will publish The Black Box in September 2015.

For further information contact Rosie Gailer:; 020 7873 6452