Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2006Kellogg School of Management
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  Keir Walton
  Walton has sold more than 1 million copies of The U.S. Constitution and Fascinating Facts About It.
Alumni newsmakers
  Keir Walton '01 (EMP-49)
  Ford Martin (son of Ted '83) and Nick Schield (son of Mike '83)
  Jeff Luhnow '94

Little book, big ideas: Walton's pocket Constitution

When 2001 Executive MBA program graduate Keir Walton was managing PFC Ltd., a publishing company that he sold in 1994, which catered mainly to law students, he noticed that many core texts were devoted to a single document: the U.S. Constitution. More than 700 scholarly books on the Constitution existed by his count, but nearly all seemed dense and inaccessible.

Walton remedied things by creating a pocket-sized reference containing the Constitution's full text and an assortment of obscure details about its authors, as well as court cases it decided and amendments that never quite made it in. His goal: to sell 1 million copies and receive an official vote of gratitude from the White House for his role in promoting the most revered document in U.S. history.

Ten years and a Kellogg degree later, The U.S. Constitution and Fascinating Facts About It (Oak Hill) has surpassed the million mark in sales and found homes with scholars, lawyers and laypeople alike.

Walton says the unassuming book has made its way into the hands of everyone from the late ABC anchorman Peter Jennings to Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. It has been sought out and dog-eared by law students, purchased in bulk and given away by schoolteachers and civil servants and made required reading by the U.S. Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Aside from its handy size and comparatively large bundle of information, Walton says that part of the book's appeal is its noticeable lack of an embedded agenda. "This book is completely politically neutral." Indeed, the book covers Supreme Court cases from Dredd Scott to Roe v. Wade without editorializing. It doesn't choose sides in the feud between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and it doesn't poke fun at the folks who proposed the never-ratified amendment that would have re-named the nation "The United States of the Earth."

Asked why he chose to market the Constitution, Walton says the choice was simple. "We have generations of people who've fought and died for it."

— Aubrey Henretty

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University