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Why You Should Preorder My Book
Imagining what success looks like
It’s already moved up the charts through some promotion I’ve done on Twitter.
I’d like to really encourage you to preorder the book right now, and can’t stress enough how important this is. There’s already a great chance it will be a major success, but I want it to be a cultural phenomenon. It can serve as the definitive history that future generations will look to in order to understand the insanity that gripped American institutions starting in the early 2010s and arguably peaked in 2020, while also being remembered for presenting the path to something different.
Conservatives have already begun to understand the importance of civil rights law. Things are moving quite fast. The SFFA v. Harvard decision came too late to be included in the book, and more recently the Eastern District of Tennessee just relied on that case to rule special privileges for minority-owned businesses in contracting unconstitutional. Although scholars like Eugene Volokh, David Bernsetein, and Gail Heriot have written about these issues, the idea that there was a close tie between civil rights law and wokeness was basically unknown outside of narrow academic circles until I published my essay on the topic, and even the legal academics hadn’t fully worked out the interaction between policy and culture, although their research has been indispensable for my own. People talk about Chris Caldwell making this argument, but as Tanner Greer has pointed out, there wasn’t any explanation in his book about the mechanisms involved or the specifics on how the regime functions. It’s one thing to fantasize about repealing the Civil Rights Act, and quite another to show people its importance in painstaking detail while giving those in politics practical advice regarding things that might actually get done. I now notice that almost every time anyone on the right, and even some centrists, talks about wokeness in depth, they point to civil rights law as part of what has gone wrong, and that in all honesty is because of me.
But that doesn’t mean the battle is won! The world of ideas is vast. The rare ones that rise to the level of getting enacted into policy need to have a lot going for them — “regular” levels of popularity are not enough. Whether this book just sells decently or flies off the shelves may determine its real world impact. My main argument is that you can trace wokeness to government policy. The corollary of this view is the idea that policy can also move us towards a healthier culture, and so there’s a direct line of causation between buying my book and ultimately changing American society.
And this is why preorders matter so much. The popularity of any cultural product builds on itself. Something that I’ve learned from talking to my publisher is that most of a book’s success is determined in the days after the launch. Every preorder will go towards the first week’s sales. So do it now. They don’t even charge you until it comes out, so if you’re worried about paying for something now and getting it later that’s not a concern here. Invest the $15 (Kindle) or $30 (Hardcover) in a mutual fund and then sell it in September.
I’m highly confident this book will get attention in the conservative press, but my ultimate hope is that it will become so popular that it will be impossible for the left to ignore. If you look at something like the Ezra Klein Show, he’ll occasionally have conservative guests on, and it’s usually the thinkers who have gotten so big that they’ve become part of the broader conversation. Same with, say, Real Time with Bill Maher. The type of conservative favored by these shows seems to be one who says things along the lines of “wokeness has gone too far, guys, and oh yeah, you’re probably right about socialism.” That’s obviously not what I’m doing here. I’m bringing a deeper understanding of woke, and a blueprint to ultimately defeat it.
I have a dream where Ezra Klein picks up my book because everyone else is reading it. As he starts to turn the pages, a feeling of discomfort kicks in, as he realizes that, unlike most conservative books he’s read, he can’t go through this one confident in his sense of intellectual superiority relative to the author. He asks his main group chat what to do. The prevailing opinion seems to be that while Hanania has many interesting things to say, some of the tweets go too far. Another participant writes that he respectfully disagrees, and points to my piece on the media being honest and good. Hanania appreciates what we do as journalists. Shouldn’t we prove him correct, show that we are not afraid to address arguments that make us uncomfortable? Klein doesn’t know what to do, and tries to move on with his life. But the question gnaws at him. Finally, as he sees Hanania popping up on one media outlet after the other, and not just Vivek but now Trump is promising executive orders based on his ideas, he finally comes to the conclusion that the “platforming” discussion is moot. This book is going to be talked about and influence policy no matter what, and there is nothing else to do but have me on the show and see if we can find common ground.
Klein gets my phone number from one of our mutual friends, likely a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He calls me up.
“Richard, I can’t stop thinking about your book. I’ve really struggled with this decision, but I wanted to know whether you would like to be on the show?”
“Of course, Ezra, I’m honored that you asked. You know, one thing I’ve always admired about The New York Times and your show in particular is your willingness to examine your assumptions and engage even with those you disagree with.”
I springboard from the Ezra Klein show to new heights of fame and influence, which culminates in an American regime that repeals the Civil Rights Act and implements nationwide mandatory vaccinations. Klein is unhappy with the setback in the battle for racial and gender equality, but realizes that the net lives saved when the next pandemic comes will make it all worth it.
I recently got my first “this guy is dangerous and important” coverage in Vox, and we need sales to go high enough that there are many more such pieces. But this beautiful vision all starts with your preorder. So do it. Hardcover, Kindle, Audible. Or all three.
This isn’t just about the fate of The Origins of Woke, but the work I’ll be doing in the future. Higher book sales means large advances from major publishers in the future, which leads to financial independence and the knowledge that I’ll always have an audience. This is ultimately good for intellectual freedom. I’ve always thought that gift was wasted on most who have it. Think about how many tenured professors there are, and how few say anything important or interesting. I hope that I’ve established enough trust that at this point you understand that it won’t be wasted on me. After the promotional tour for The Origins of Woke is done, I aspire to produce more essays and books that make intellectual contributions regarding important social scientific questions while also presenting realistic and politically achievable paths for reform. And I will continue to do all of this in the most entertaining way possible.
Finally, if you’re into social proof or need more convincing that my book is going to be a major success, below are some of the blurbs.
“Richard’s book is the definitive account on the origins of one of the most extraordinary social transitions in modern American history. To understand the cultural revolution sweeping the US and how to fight it, you must read this book — it is as simple as that.” — Saagar Enjeti
“Richard Hanania is a daring and engaging writer who cuts to the heart of the modern civil rights regime, which has had a profound but often hidden impact on American life. He explores the problems, absurdities, and unintended consequences of this form of governance — and outlines a path for reform.” — Chris Rufo
“DEI will never d-i-e from words alone — Hanania shows we need the sticks and stones of government violence to exorcise the diversity demon.” — Peter Thiel
“Richard Hanania is unafraid to transcend the Overton Window on issues of race and gender because he is grounded in irrefutable facts and history. This book delivers a devastating kill shot to the intellectual foundations of identity politics in America. A must-read for liberals and conservatives alike.” — Vivek Ramaswamy
“Richard Hanania is one of America’s most important iconoclasts. The Origins of Woke is a pathbreaking analysis of how law has helped to create the culture wars of recent times. Not everyone will like it, but it is one of the most important books of this year—and everyone should read it.” — Tyler Cowen
“Richard Hanania is one of the most insightful, original, and provocative thinkers I follow. With meticulous research and Hanania’s distinctive style, The Origins of Woke offers an illuminating and refreshing perspective — a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the intricate interplay between culture, law, and institutions.” — Rob Henderson
“Most people think of ‘wokeness’ as a recent and purely cultural phenomenon. In this deeply researched and historically detailed book, Hanania traces its origins to distortions of civil rights law imposed by judges and bureaucrats over many decades, and he offers conservatives a playbook for fighting woke ideology in the fields of law and politics, where they can actually defeat it.” — David Sacks
“Many pundits ridiculed Ibram X. Kendi, the high priest of wokeness, when he proposed creating a ‘Department of Anti-Racism’ that would censor ‘racist ideas’ and outlaw racial disparities. But what if such an agency already exists? In this trenchant and well-argued book, Richard Hanania shows how an ostensibly new phenomenon has its roots in a fifty-year-old legal regime — one that has strayed very far from the color-blind ideals that created it.” — Aaron Sibarium
“Why is corporate America so woke? Combining social science and legal scholarship, Hanania provides a compelling answer: Not being woke is almost illegal. Elastic definitions of ‘discrimination’ expose the whole business world to incessant politically correct shakedowns. Instead of wasting energy refuting woke absurdities, Hanania advises a laser-like focus on curtailing civil rights litigation. Wokeness has triumphed in the marketplace of ideas with thinly veiled government backing. Take that backing away, and the woke threat will crumble.” — Bryan Caplan
“Hanania has it exactly right. The woke phenomenon isn’t going to go away until the legal system that brought it about undergoes serious correction. For decades, our civil rights laws have been subject to deliberate misinterpretations and ill-considered, sometimes incoherent, extensions. The incentives those laws created pushed the country into the situation we’re in now. We need to get back to fundamentals: Equal protection under the law.” — Gail Heriot
As always, I appreciate everyone’s support.
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