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ZSH Literary

Esmond Harmsworth

Esmond Harmsworth is a founding partner of the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. Born in London, he was educated in England before graduating magna cum laude from Brown University and cum laude from Harvard Law School.

As a literary agent, Harmsworth represents fiction and nonfiction. He is one of the leading U.S. agents for business books, and regularly places major titles on management, leadership, finance, innovation, marketing and entrepreneurship with the most prominent publishers. His bestselling titles include the #1 Wall Street Journal business bestseller and New York Times bestseller Breakthrough: Secrets of America's Fastest Growing Companies by Keith McFarland; the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System To Drive Breakthrough Creativity by Josh Linkner; and the New York Times and national bestseller Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired—and Secretive—Company Really Works by Adam Lashinsky. Other business titles include Erin Arvedlund's Too Good To Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff, Niraj Dawar's Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers and Ron Adner's The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation.

Harmsworth's nonfiction list includes serious nonfiction books on topics such as politics, psychology, culture and society. His science and psychology list includes authors such as Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier; R. Keith Sawyer, author of Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration; Dario Maestripieri, author of Games Primates Play: An Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relationships; and Dr. Robert Martin, author of How We Do It: The Evolution and Future of Human Reproduction. He also represents Amanda Ripley, author of the New York Times bestseller The Smartest Kids in the World—And How They Got That Way; David Rothkopf, author of Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead; and Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. Harmsworth represents many leading authors and experts in education as well as books on popular culture, health, food, religion, spirituality, parenting, fitness and media.

For fiction, Harmsworth represents literary fiction, mystery and crime, popular (mainstream) fiction and young adult and middle grade fiction. Many of his clients write literary fiction, such as PEN/Faulkner winner Sabina Murray, author of The Caprices, A Carnivore's Inquiry and Tales of the New World; Michelle Hoover, author of The Quickening; Dan S. Pope, author of Housebreaking; and Lisa Borders, author of The Fifty-First State. He also represents (and likes) "crossover" literary suspense and novels that inform genre with a serious, literary sensibility: examples include the work of Elisabeth Elo, author of North of Boston; George Harrar, author of The Spinning Man; and Jedediah Berry, winner of the Crawford Award for The Manual of Detection. Children's authors he represents include Alisa Libby, Pratima Cranse and S. S. Taylor (who writes excellent mysteries as well for adults).

A frequent speaker, Harmsworth has been a featured panelist or speaker at, among others, the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism, the national conference of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Breadloaf Writer's Conference, the Wesleyan Writer's Conference, Bouchercon, the Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. He is an advisor to organizations including Grub Street, the Boston Book Festival, the literary magazine The Common and the Southern New Hampshire MFA Program, as well as a former lecturer at the Boston University Publishing Program (now closed), and the former Treasurer of PEN/New England. Harmsworth is always interested in nonfiction books filled with rich ideas or based on strong narrative stories or provocative arguments. He is looking hard for literary food writing, for interesting science writing, for serious new writing on religion and spirituality, and for quirky narrative stories and biographies. As far as fiction goes, he is first and foremost searching for beautifully written prose, rich, descriptive writing and good characters. He does not represent any poetry.

Open Secret: The Conspiracy to Fix Libor
By Erin Arvedlund | Penguin/Portfolio, 2014

Arvedlund pulls back the curtain on one of the great financial scandals of our time, uncovering how millions of ordinary investors around the globe were swindled by the corruption and greed of a few men.

Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth
By Simone Ahuja | Wiley, 2012

A frugal and flexible approach to innovation for the 21st century. This groundbreaking book shows leaders everywhere why the time is right for jugaad to emerge as a powerful business tool in the West—and how to bring jugaad practices to their organizations.

The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation
By Ron Adner | Portfolio, 2013

Ron Adner draws on over a decade of research and field testing to reveal the hidden structure of success, from Michelin's failed run-flat tires to Apple’s path to market dominance. The Wide Lens offers a powerful new set of frameworks and tools that will multiply your odds of innovation success.

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way
By Amanda Ripley | Simon & Schuster, 2013

A New York Times Bestseller

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they've never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy.

What is it like to be a child in the world's new education superpowers?

In a global quest to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, exchanges a high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many "smart" kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.

A journalistic tour de force, The Smartest Kids in the World is a book about building resilience in a new world—as told by the young Americans who have the most at stake.

The Manual of Detection
By Jedediah Berry | Penguin Press, 2009

Winner: Crawford Fantasy Award; Dashiell Hammett Prize

In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed with only an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people's dreams. In an unnamed city always slick with rain, Charles Unwin is a humble file clerk working for a huge and imperious detective agency, and all he knows about solving mysteries comes from filing reports for the illustrious investigator Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing, and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach. His only guidance comes from his new assistant, who would be perfect if she weren't so sleepy, and from the pithy yet profound Manual of Detection. The Manual of Detection defies comparison; it is a brilliantly conceived, meticulously realized novel that will change what you think about how you think.

A Carnivore's Inquiry
By Sabina Murray | Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004

When we meet Katherine, the winning-and rather disturbing-twenty-three-year-old narrator of A Carnivore's Inquiry, she has just left Italy and arrived in New York City, but what has propelled her there is a mystery. Katherine's occasional allusions to a frighteningly eccentric mother and tyrannical father suggest a somberness at the center of her otherwise flippant and sardonic demeanor. Soon restless, she begins journeying from literary New York to rural Maine and Mexico City, trailed, everywhere she goes, by a string of murders. As the ritualistic killings begin to pile up, Katherine comforts and inspires herself by meditating on cannibalism in literature, art, and history. The story races toward a hair-raising conclusion, while Katherine, and the reader, close in on the reasons for both her and her mother's fascination with aberrant, violent behavior. This is a novel of ideas, a shocking and enlightening modern Gothic, and a brilliantly subtle commentary on twenty-first-century consumerism and Western culture's obsession with new frontiers. Told in highly intelligent prose reminiscent of Patrick McGrath or Angela Carter, A Carnivore's Inquiry is a sly, unsettling exploration of the questionable appetites that lurk beneath the veneer of North American civilization.