Skip to content

The four missing books of Lawrence Otis Graham

We keep some books in the bathroom that are good for reading in small bits. The other day I was flipping through The Best American Essays 1993 and came across the following passage that had originally appeared in New York Magazine:

I’m a thirty-year-old corporate lawyer at a midtown Manhattan firm, and I make $105,000 a year. I’m a graduate of Princeton University (1993) and Harvard Law School (1988), and I’ve written eleven nonfiction books.

This came from the second paragraph of an article by Lawrence Otis Graham, and my reaction was: Who writes eleven nonfiction books before the age of 30?

Nowadays we have google so I searched *Lawrence Otis Graham*. He has a twitter feed saying he’s a NYT bestselling author 14 books on race & class, and there’s a wikipedia page listing four books, of which the oldest is Member of The Club: Reflections on Life in a Polarized World, which is an expanded version of that magazine article quoted above, or maybe the magazine article was an excerpt from the book. But I still don’t know what those 11 previous books were. I searched Lawrence Otis Graham on Amazon but again found no books predating Member of The Club, also searched the Columbia University library, again no success. Further searching led me to this webpage from 2006 mentioning the 14 books but, again, none listed before 1995.

Then I tried a google search on *Lawrence Otis Graham books* and a few others came up: The Best Companies for Minorities (1993), Conquering College Life (1983), Youthtrends (1987), The Teenager’s Ask and Answer Book (1986; written jointly with his mother, with Graham as the teenager, so I assume the material had been collected a few years earlier), and Jobs in the Real World (1982), published when Graham was 19! I then searched Amazon for plain old Lawrence Graham and found something called “From Birth Harvrd” [sic] from 1984 which sounds like it could fit the pattern.

I wonder what the other four books are. It seems funny to go to the trouble of informing people you’ve written all these books, and then not even share the titles with them.

So, it seems that Graham wrote 10 books before the age of 30, then he wrote Member of The Club, then he wrote two more books (Proversity and Our Kind of People) between 1997 and 1999, one more (The Senator and the Socialite) in 2006, then nothing since. I guess he got tired of writing books.


  1. Anonnnnn says:

    *written* eleven nonfiction books, not *published* eleven nonfiction books.

    Not sure if I’m missing a joke that you’re making, but that could be the solution to your puzzle.

  2. jd says:

    The lost books just add to the lore–like Reckoning of Years or The Book of Mazarbul in LOTR, and the book of Jashar in Samuel.

  3. Paul Alper says:

    For what it is worth, here you can find a picture of his wife:

    And from

    “Lawrence Otis Graham was 24 when he got his nose done. He had wanted to do it years before; nose jobs were ‘the spring break activity of choice,’ he says, at his affluent New York suburban high school. But his parents considered a nose job an act of racial self-hatred.”

  4. Steve Sailer says:

    I’ve read parts of “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class.” It’s a pretty interesting subject.

  5. Thomas says:

    His wife has written a series of two or three novels tagged as the Ivy League Mysteries. LOG is probably best remembered today for being a tv talking head during the OJ Simpson trial. That said, it’s not apparent to me why he’s even worth a mention on this blog.

  6. Did he really graduate from Harvard Law before graduating from Princeton University?

  7. Brad Roth says:

    Wow, what mean-spirited (and ill-informed) comments! Larry did write an extraordinary number of books during his college and law school years — including several advice books about choosing the right college, getting admitted to professional school, etc., and a couple of books on marketing to well-off youth. (Most of them can be found easily, e.g., on Amazon.) He later moved on to heavier topics, and logically saw no need to list titles that lacked the heft of his later work (much of which is quite scholarly). He also moved on to other life projects, including one run for Congress. Like him or don’t, but enough with the cheap shots.

    • Andrew says:


      I agree that there’s nothing at all wrong with someone writing several books of advice and other topics, and then moving on to other things. Life is long and there’s room for multiple careers. My post was not intended to be negative. I was just curious, so I appreciate your informative response.

Leave a Reply to jd