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Author Ron Suskind reflects on A Hope in the Unseen: a common reading classic, now more relevant than ever

9780767901260By Ron Suskind, author of A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League (Broadway Books, 1999)

Two decades ago, I went to the toughest school  I could find in America. It happened to be in my hometown, Washington, DC, where I was the national affairs reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Bill Clinton was President, an economic boom was beginning, and despite the OJ Simpson verdict and Rodney King’s plea to “just get along,” there was reasoned  optimism that progress in race relations was underway, slow but steady, with a growing African-American middle class and opportunities borne of affirmative action. I found a young man, a big dreamer with a dad in jail and a struggling mom, and followed him, his family, and an ensemble of characters, several of them white and privileged, for four years. The yield-a Pulitzer  Prize­ winning series and then best-selling book, A Hope in the Unseen-were works that I hoped would last, and they did. Like The Other Wes Moore or Bryan Stevenson‘s Just Mercy, Hope was a favorite of the common reading experience and went on to sell a half-million copies. Continue reading

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Highschool, College, and Beyond – Great Books for Your Common Readers & Grads


It’s May and you all know what that means…graduating seniors! Whether they are high schoolers going off to college or college grads entering the workforce, there is no doubt your students will be juggling pearls of wisdom from all sides.

This past Sunday, The Washington Post published a list of “Books for graduates setting out on that next big adventure.” Not your average list (Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is omitted) these books have been hand-selected by recent college grad, Elizabeth Sher,  the gift book-a-month program coordinator at Washington D.C.’s Politics & Prose.

Of the Random House, Inc. books that made the cut, Sher said:

A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind “should be required reading for all high school students heading off to college.” The book follows a young man to the Ivy League.

Bill Strickland’s Make the Impossible Possible “tells of the author’s big dreams, struggles, and successes making his Pittsburgh ghetto a better place.”

Both books already have an excellent track record among universities. A Hope in the Unseen has been selected for common reading at fifteen colleges and universities and was a Maryland state-wide read. Bill Strickland has received honorary degrees from fourteen universities, is a sought-after commencement speaker and has been recognized by Harvard Business School. Make the Impossible Possible has also been selected for common reading at four universities.

Click here to view video of Bill Strickland’s recent talk at the Sixth Annual Random House Author Luncheon during the First-Year Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado.


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