‘How to Sell’ is Diamond in Rough

The debut novel How to Sell, a noir tale of the jewelry trade by Clancy Martin, a philosophy professor who cut his teeth hiding the flaws in diamonds and watches, hits #226 on Amazon today, following admiring attention from The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Esquire, GQ and Elle. Libraries we checked had up to seven copies, with up to 25 holds.

Describing the novel as a tale of “Russian mobsters, Rolex hucksters—and the lies that bind them,” the Daily Beast declared, “where the goods are extravagant and flashy, the characters are there to match. There is great people-watching to be had in this book—quirky backroom handlers and middlemen; gun-toting vigilantes; gruff, able-handed repairmen; and, of course, the sellers in all their unctuous, deal-making splendor.”

Newsweek’s haunting author profile reveals that after leaving high school for seven boozy and drug-riddled years in the bling business, author Clancy Martin overcame suicidal feelings by going to college and writing a dissertation on deception. Now teaching at the University of Missouri and specializing in 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy and business ethics, Martin told Newsweek, “I would say that, unfortunately, most of the book is lifted directly from my life—with some exaggeration and lots of omission.”

The book, which is set in Dallas, drew a more sanguine response from the Dallas Morning News. While acknowledging that How to Sell “holds a series of crackling-good moments, most of them, not surprisingly, sales pitches,” the reviewer also found that “Martin keeps most of his characters teasingly opaque.”

How to Sell: A Novel
Clancy Martin
Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux – (2009-05-12)
ISBN-10: 0374173354
ISBN-13: 9780374173357

An audio version of the book is available from Blackstone Audio, in various formats:

  • 7 Tape; 1-4332-7573-9; $59.95
  • 1 MP3CD; 1-4332-7577-7; $29.95
  • 8 CD; 1-4332-7574-6; $80.00

Also available on Playaway; 1-4332-7581-4; $59.99

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