And she didn't steal my book title. Well, she did, kind of. But no hard feelings.
People often ask me what's the deal--why are there 2 books that came out around the same time, with the same title?? Basically what happened was this. Back in spring 2004 I was contributing to a yearlong feature series in the Village Voice called "Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young." My editor was one of the first who came up with the phrase, as far as I can tell.
A few months into the series, my editor and I were taken out to lunch by an editor at Warner Business Books. He informed us that he was working on a personal finance book by a young writer from Money magazine aimed at young people, and did we want to contribute forewords, sidebars, etc. to the book?
My editor and I both said no. We were more interested in the political, economic, and cultural implications of the Generation Debt idea, than in personal finance (aka service journalism).
Well, the Warner Business guy came back and said, that's fine. But we're using your title anyway. And no, they didn't have to pay the editor, the Voice, or me for the use of the phrase "Generation Debt."
Just a few months later, I got approached by an editor who was interested in having me write the book that I wanted to write, about the political, economic, and cultural aspects of Generation Debt. I sold the book under the title "Class Dismissed," but despite the fact that there was another "Generation Debt" book coming out, Riverhead decided that the books were dissimilar enough, and that the title was the best possible title for my book.
So what happened? Well, both books sold ok. They were often reviewed together. Now Carmen has a personal finance TV show on CNBC. I have dabbled in personal finance, and in TV, but I have found I am ultimately much happier as a straight up journalist and an occasional political and social commentator, especially on youth issues and on economic issues as they affect people like you and me.