Changing minds one event at a time (by Chloe Thompson)
Perry Pidgeon Hooks’ success may have come from above. The co-founder and president of Hooks Book Events (hooksbookevents.com) says she has “the book goddess” to thank. But whether a higher power is at work or just Hooks’ intuition, she and her books have not failed to impress.
The women-owned D.C.-based company facilitates public and private events for corporate, personal and government groups by inviting many New York Times best-selling authors to discuss their work, followed by an informal book signing session. Hooks (right) and co-founder Loretta Yenson began HBE in August 2007, and the company does about 200 events a year.
Hooks and Yenson carefully select books they believe best suit the needs of clients, which have included the U.S. Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Grameen Foundation. Featured authors include humanitarian Greg Mortenson, Freakonomics writers Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Hooks says these are exactly the kind of forward-thinking authors she strives to bring to the table.
“We know our clients intimately, and we know our books intimately,” Hooks says. Books for local events come from D.C.’s Politics and Prose bookstore, where Hooks had her start as a sales and marketing consultant more than 10 years ago. Hooks says she loves her gig, but she’s quick to point out that it’s not just about the books.
“We are in a rut on this planet, in this country,” she says. “The government’s broken, everybody says. How do we fix that? I think you do it with conversation and new ideas, and that’s what we’re trying to set up.”
ABC News political commentator and NPR senior news analyst Cokie Roberts is no stranger to HBE, which has featured her books prominently. “At a time like this, when the world is so connected and yet so isolated in another sense—everybody’s sitting at home at his or her own computer—a place where you can gather and think about important issues, ideas, philosophies and approaches is a very useful venue,” Roberts says.
Naturally, Hooks wants to take the concept further. Next up is a subscription-based online product to extend discussion with the authors—which, Hooks says, grinning, “of course would include a printed copy of the book.”
The entrepreneur says she’d like to see HBE spread to other East Coast cities and continue engaging with global causes.
“When you meet a Nobel laureate, a physicist, an economist or a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, it’s going to change the way you think about things,” Hooks says.