The portable Cornel West; Cultural Icon offers new compass for hope

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New York, NY ( — When Dr. Cornel West speaks, people not only listen, they grab a pen to take notes. As a New York Times best-selling author, Princeton University professor, renowned speaker, and one of America’s most respected public intellectuals, this cultural rock star speaks boldly about issues others sidestep and delivers knowledge that is potent, challenging, and liberating. “Uncompromising and unconventional . . . Cornel West is an eloquent prophet with attitude,” says Newsweek.

West’s latest paperback release, Hope on a Tightrope: Words & Wisdom, an Essence bestseller and NAACP Image Award nominee (January 2010, $14.95; trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1-4019-3076-9), reveals why his wisdom is frequently a “top tweet” on Twitter.

This accessible and indispensible collection, filled with provocative commentary on a wide range of issues – including Social Justice, Identity and Race, Courage, Faith, Music, and Leadership – has the power to not only change the way people think; it motivates them to act.

Topics in Hope on a Tightrope include:

* America’s future: We are now in one of the most truly prophetic moments in the history of America. The poor and very poor are sleeping with self-destruction. The working and middle classes are struggling against paralyzing pessimism and the privileged are swinging between cynicism and hedonism. Yes, these are the circumstances that people of conscience must operate under during this moment of national truth or consequences.

* The Obama administration: The depth and substance of the Obama victory remains an open-ended question and is sometimes downright disappointing . . . How I wish that President Obama’s economic team treated poor and working people with the same respect and support given to the financial oligarchs and corporate elites. Yet our task remains two-fold: While we must vigilantly fight the vicious attacks of the right-wing media on Brother Obama designed to destroy his presidency and undermine our democracy, we must also apply unrelenting pressure on the Obama administration to support poor and working people.

* Speaking truth to power: There is always a fundamental tension between a commitment to truth and a quest for power. The two are never compatible. It could be Socrates, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Fannie Lou Hamer. You always need a prophetic critique of those in power. Power intoxicates. Power seduces. Power corrupts. There is always a need for somebody to tell the truth to the powerful.

* Music’s influence: Our literary giants view themselves in many ways as intellectual literary extensions of those great musical geniuses. It’s no accident that our greatest writer, Toni Morrison, has often said that she would like to write the way Sarah Vaughan sings. And did not Ralph Ellison try to write like Louis Armstrong blew his horn?
High Quality Speakers Bureau will be hosting a series of nationwide Cornel West Hope on a Tight Rope “Tweet and Greets” beginning with a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in Los Angeles on January 19 and a special event at California State University, Northridge on February 3. For location details on how to join Dr. West and special guests visit

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