PRESS RELEASE — Syndicated personal finance columnist Brian O’Connor has landed a deal to publish a guide to budgeting in bad times based on his award-winning series of “Grand Experiment” columns in The Detroit News. The series involved O’Connor putting his family budget under the microscope in a 10-week attempt to cut $1,000 — a perfect “grand” — from his family’s monthly spending. The columns won both a Best in Business award and the prestigious Christopher Welles Memorial Prize from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
The book — as yet untitled — was pitched by Sam Fleischman of Literary Artists Representatives and was purchased by Maria Gagliano of Portfolio Penguin, the business book imprint of Penguin Group, for what Publisher’s Weekly would call “a very nice offer.” Gagliano is the same editor who handled former NSNC board member Tracy Beckerman’s forthcoming book, Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir.
O’Connor was the 2011 NSNC conference host in Detroit and a proud champion in the Jeff Kramer Mystic Tie contest at the 2010 event in Bloomington, Ind. He also is a two-time winner in the humor category for the column-writing contest, including first prize in 2007. “Anyone who can make business and the work place this funny is a winner,” the judge wrote. “This column is engaging and fun.”
O’Connor launched his column at the News since 2006 and was a 2001 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business at Columbia. His “Funny Money” column is syndicated by Tribune Media Services and appears regularly in the Chicago Tribune.
“The ongoing bad economy and weak recovery unfortunately make this a very timely book,” O’Connor says. “After everything we’ve been through during the Great Recession, many people are realizing that ‘budget’ is not a four-letter word. Of course, the fact that it’s a six-letter word probably explains how those people got into trouble in the first place.”
The book is due to publish in September. In the meantime, readers can keep up with O’Connor at his blog www.FunnyMoneyBlog.com.