W H Allen to publish Italian ‘cult classic’ on stupidity

W H Allen to publish Italian ‘cult classic’ on stupidity

Ebury imprint W H Allen is to publish The Basic Laws of Stupidity by the late Italian economist Carlo M Cipolla for the first time in the UK. Publication will be in October, “ahead of the Brexit deadline”, the publisher notes.

The book, to be published with a new introduction by The Black Swan author Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is described as a “cult classic”. Originally printed in 1988, it has sold over half a million copies in over 10 language including German, Spanish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese and Korean.  

Editor Suzanne Connelly acquired world English language rights (excluding Italy) from Italian publisher Il Mulino.

Cipolla, professor of economic history at the university of California, Berkeley, is said to confirm out worst fears: that stupid people can, and do, rule the world. The book “provides a vitally important economic model to ‘detect, know and neutralise’ this threat.”

Ebury deputy publisher Drummond Moir called the book “a fantastic acquisition by Suzanne Connelly, our newest editor on our smart non-fiction hub.”

He predicted: “This will be the book of the moment as we face the Brexit deadline of 31st October, and then become the thinking person’s stocking-filler for Christmas 2019. Who among us doesn’t despair, several times a day, about the ubiquity of stupidity among the people who are supposedly the most intelligent? Whether it’s politicians, statesmen, family members or our own inevitable folly, all of us deserve to understand stupidity, that unique power that the late great economist Carlo M Cipolla describes as ‘more powerful than the Mafia or the military.’

"Whether readers are baffled by political realities, struggling to deal with their colleagues or facing the unbridled misery of Christmas day with the in-laws, this mordantly funny book will arm them in their hour of need with the first and only economic model for stupidity.”