Better, Not Bitter: The Power of Hope and Living on Purpose (Hardcover)

Regular price £23.00

by Yusef Salaam


This inspirational memoir serves as a call to action from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated Five, that will inspire us all to turn our stories into tools for change in the pursuit of racial justice.


"They didn't know who they had."


So begins Yusef Salaam, telling his whole story for the first time: of resilience in the face of one of the gravest miscarriages of justice. Despite having confronted the racist heart of America, Yusef channeled his energy and pain into self-determination and positivity. During his seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, Yusef gained a spiritual perspective on life, realizing that we are all "born on purpose, with a purpose."

Better, Not Bitter is the inspirational story of a young man growing up in central Harlem in the '80s, the failure of America's criminal justice system, of being vilified by a nation. But during his years of incarceration, Yusef discovered the power of art and faith, and of holding on to the person you know you are, which gave him the strength to survive, and helped him through reentry and exoneration.

Yusef's journey inspires us to accept our own path, to discover our own sense of purpose. His intimate insights help unpack the racist design of systems built for profit and oppression of Black and Brown people. This motivational memoir urges us to channel fury into action, and to turn anger and trauma into a constructive force to enact change in one's own life and for a better future.

About the Author

Dr. Yusef Salaam was tried and convicted in the “Central Park jogger” case along with four other Black and Latino young men in 1989 at just fifteen years young. The Exonerated Five spent between seven to 13 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit, until their sentences were overturned in 2002. Since then, they have received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its injustice and have been profiled in award-winning films, including The Central Park Five documentary from Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon and most recently the Emmy award-winning Netflix limited series When They See Us, written and directed by Ava DuVernay.

Over the past two decades, Yusef has become a family man, father, poet, activist and inspirational speaker. He continues to utilize his platform to share his story with others and educate the public about the impact of mass incarceration and police brutality rooted in our justice system. He regularly advocates for criminal justice reform, prison reform and the abolition of juvenile solitary confinement and capital punishment. 

Yusef was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (2014) and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama (2016). A Democrat, he was elected to represent the Harlem 9th Council District on the New York City Council and was sworn into office on January 5, 2024. 

Product Details

Category: Memoir

Language: English

Format/Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

ISBN-10: 1538705001 

ISBN-13: 978-1538705001

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Date Published: May 18, 2021

Pages: 304

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