Ebury Press has bought The Economist’s Britain editor, Tom Wainwright's debut, described as "Freakonomics meets McMafia".
Deputy publisher Andrew Goodfellow bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Narconomics in a deal with Robert Kirby at United Agents and Andrew Stuart of The Stuart Agency.
As part of an "entertaining and enlightening investigation", the book asks readers "to see [cartels] for the businesses they really are", applying serious business strategies in the same way you would with a legitimate corporations to open up the hidden world of the $300bn a year illegal drugs trade.
Wainwright is an Oxford Economics graduate and the ex-head of The Economist Mexican bureau, now Britain editor of The Economist.
He said: "The best way to understand how drug cartels work is to see them for the businesses they really are. I hope that my interviews with cartels' c.e.o's and reporting from Andean cocaine fields and Colorado cannabis stores will make for an exciting and original read. But there's a serious message too: if traffickers think like entrepreneurs, police can stop them by learning to think like economists. I'm very excited to be working with Ebury on this unique project."
Goodfellow said: "It had an instant high-concept appeal that I couldn’t resist, with the potential to hit that commercial sweet spot that offers both smart takeaway and pure entertainment. In that way I’d compare it to McMafia or David Simon’s Homicide."
Narconomics will be published in hardback on 25th February 2016 priced £20.