The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company today publish the shortlist for the 2014 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. Now in its tenth year, the award is an essential calendar fixture for authors and the global business community alike and recognises a title that provides the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.
For this year’s shortlist, the distinguished judges have chosen the six most influential business books in 2014:
- Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin (Times Books/Henry Holt)
- The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (W. W. Norton Ltd)
- Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull (Bantam Press/Transworld Publishers (UK), Random House (US)
- Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught up with Rupert Murdoch by Nick Davies Chatto & Windus (UK), Faber & Faber (US)
- House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi (University of Chicago Press)
- Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press)
Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, said: “This year’s shortlist will inspire readers to be creative thinkers and to sharpen their understanding of the most important trends shaping our world today. From income inequality to privacy in the internet age, the provocative questions raised by this year’s titles have been addressed with originality, depth of research and lively writing.”
Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Company, added: “The range of topics and quality of insights covered by this year’s books is as inspiring as it is enlightening.”
The judging panel, chaired by Lionel Barber, includes:
Steve Coll, Dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York; Staff Writer, The New Yorker magazine
Steven Denning, Chairman, General Atlantic LLC
Mohamed El-Erian, Member, Allianz International Executive Board and Chief Economic Advisor to its Management Board; Chairman, President Obama’s Global Development Council
Herminia Ibarra, Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning Professor of Organizational Behavior, Insead
Rik Kirkland, Partner and Director of Publishing McKinsey & Company
Shriti Vadera, Director of Shriti Vadera Ltd, Non Executive Director of BHP Billiton and AstraZeneca
The winner will be announced at a dinner ceremony on 11 November in London, co-hosted by Lionel Barber and Dominic Barton. Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC will give the keynote speech. The winner of the Business Book of the Year Award 2014 will be awarded £30,000, and £10,000 will be awarded to each of the remaining shortlisted books.
Previous Business Book of the Year winners include: Brad Stone for The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (2013); Steve Coll for Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (2012); Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo for Poor Economics (2011); Raghuram Rajan for Fault Lines (2010); Liaquat Ahamed for The Lords of Finance (2009); Mohamed El-Erian for When Markets Collide (2008); William D. Cohan for The Last Tycoons (2007); James Kynge for China Shakes the World (2006); and Thomas Friedman, as the inaugural award winner in 2005, for The World is Flat.
To learn more about the award, visit ft.com/bookaward and follow the conversation at #BBYA14.
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Katrina Power/ Steven Williams, Midas PR
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Ryann Gastwirth, Financial Times
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Notes to editors:
Entry forms and details of the terms and conditions are available from www.ft.com/bookaward. The annual award aims to identify the book that provides the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues, including management, finance and economics. The shortlist of six titles was chosen from a longlist of 16. The winner will be announced at a gala event in London on 11th November 2014. Submissions are invited from publishers or bona fide imprints based in any country.
Books must be published for the first time in the English language, or in English translation, between 16th November 2013 and 15th November 2014. There is no limit to the number of submissions from each publisher/imprint, provided they fit the criteria, and books from all genres except anthologies are eligible. There are no restrictions of gender, age or nationality of authors. Authors who are current employees of the Financial Times or McKinsey & Company, or the close relatives of such employees, are not eligible.
About the Financial Times:
The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community, the FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of 677,000 (Deloitte assured, Q2 2014). Mobile is an increasingly important channel for the FT, driving 60 per cent of subscriber consumption, almost 50 per cent of total traffic and 20 per cent of new digital subscriptions. FT education products now serve two thirds of the world’s top 50 business schools. For news about the FT follow @FTPressOffice.
About McKinsey & Company:
McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm, deeply committed to helping institutions in the private, public and social sectors achieve lasting success. For over eight decades, our primary objective has been to serve as our clients’ most trusted external advisor. With consultants in more than 100 offices in 60 countries, across industries and functions, we bring unparalleled expertise to clients anywhere in the world. We work closely with teams at all levels of an organization to shape winning strategies, mobilize for change, build capabilities and drive successful execution.
THE SHORTLIST FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES AND MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2014:
Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin, Times Books/Henry Holt
An inside look at who’s watching you, what they know and why it matters. We are being watched.
We see online ads from websites we’ve visited, long after we’ve moved on to other interests. Our smartphones and cars transmit our location, enabling us to know what’s in the neighborhood but also enabling others to track us. And the federal government, we recently learned, has been conducting a massive data-gathering surveillance operation across the Internet and on our phone lines.
In Dragnet Nation, award-winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin reports from the front lines of America’s surveillance economy, offering a revelatory and unsettling look at how the government, private companies, and even criminals use technology to indiscriminately sweep up vast amounts of our personal data. In a world where we can be watched in our own homes, where we can no longer keep secrets, and where we can be impersonated, financially manipulated, or even placed in a police lineup, Angwin argues that the greatest long-term danger is that we start to internalise the surveillance and censor our words and thoughts, until we lose the very freedom that makes us unique individuals. Appalled at such a prospect, Angwin conducts a series of experiments to try to protect herself, ranging from quitting Google to carrying a ‘burner’ phone, showing how difficult it is for an average citizen to resist the dragnets’ reach.
Her book is a cautionary tale for all of us, with profound implications for our values, our society, and our very selves
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, W. W. Norton Ltd
In recent years, computers have learned to diagnose diseases, drive cars, write clean prose and win game shows. Advances like these have created unprecedented economic bounty but in their wake median income has stagnated and employment levels have fallen. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee reveal the technological forces driving this reinvention of the economy and chart a path towards future prosperity. Businesses and individuals, they argue, must learn to race with machines. Drawing on years of research, Brynjolfsson and McAfee identify the best strategies and policies for doing so. A fundamentally optimistic book, The Second Machine Age will radically alter how we think about issues of technological, societal and economic progress.
Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, Bantam Press/Transworld Publishers (UK), Random House (US)
For nearly twenty years, Pixar Animation Studios has dominated the world of animation, producing 14 consecutive no. 1 box office hits, including the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Up, and WALL·E, which have amassed $8.3 billion in combined worldwide ticket sales and garnered 30 Academy Awards®. But in the beginning, Pixar was a small hardware company struggling to stay afloat. Ed Catmull, who co-founded the company in 1986 with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter, led Pixar as it moved toward its goal—to make the first-ever computer animated movie—and grew into the creative, innovative force that it is today.
In Creativity, INC., Catmull, who is also the president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, reveals the ideals that have made the studio so widely admired—and so profitable.
Catmull tells of his childhood fascination with Walt Disney, his experience at the University of Utah when the computer graphics field was in its infancy, and his start in the film business in 1979 when, flush from the success of Star Wars, George Lucas hired him to merge moviemaking with technology. He describes the technical, creative, and business challenges that he, Lasseter, and Jobs faced as they brought Pixar’s first film to the screen and the hard work that came after Toy Story’s success as they built a sustainable creative environment.
Creativity, INC. is a years-in-the-making distillation of the core principles Catmull has used to develop Pixar’s singular creative culture and a rare view into how Pixar’s beloved movies are made.
Hack Attack: How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch by Nick Davies, Chatto & Windus (UK), Faber & Faber (US)
The stand-out, definitive book about phone-hacking, the biggest scandal of our age, told by the man who broke the story.
At first, it seemed like a small story. The royal editor of the News of the World was caught listening to the voicemail messages of staff at Buckingham Palace. In 2007 he and a private investigator were sentenced to prison and the case was closed. But Nick Davies felt sure there was more to it and began his painstaking investigation which ultimately exposed a world of crime and cover-up, of fear and favour – reaching all the way to the top.
This book is the definitive, inside story of one of the major scandals of our age. Drawing on exclusive interviews with private investigators, journalists, politicians, police officers and Murdoch executives, it blows the lid off Fleet Street, Scotland Yard – and Downing Street. It tells for the first time how Davies and a network of rebel lawyers, MPs and celebrities took on Rupert Murdoch, one of the most powerful men in the world. It takes us into the newsroom of the News of the World and exposes the bullying and law-breaking that went on there, and into the underworld of the private investigators who hacked phones, listened to live calls and bribed the police. It discloses how News International attempted to protect itself with lies and money; how the press regulator floundered; and the history of failure and official secrecy inside police ranks. Above all, this book paints an intimate portrait of the power elite which gave Murdoch privileged access to government, and allowed him and his people to intimidate anyone who stood up to them.
Hack Attack is a nail-biting account of an investigative journalist’s quest, and is a shining example of the might of good journalism. It tells the story of what happened when truth caught up with power.
House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, University of Chicago Press
The Great American Recession resulted in the loss of eight million jobs between 2007 and 2009. More than four million homes were lost to foreclosures. Is it a coincidence that the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in household debt in the years before the recession—that the total amount of debt for American households doubled between 2000 and 2007 to $14 trillion? Definitely not. Armed with clear and powerful evidence, Atif Mian and Amir Sufi reveal in House of Debt how the Great Recession and Great Depression, as well as the current economic malaise in Europe, were caused by a large run-up in household debt followed by a significantly large drop in household spending.
Though the banking crisis captured the public’s attention, Mian and Sufi argue strongly with actual data that current policy is too heavily biased toward protecting banks and creditors. Increasing the flow of credit, they show, is disastrously counterproductive when the fundamental problem is too much debt. As their research shows, excessive household debt leads to foreclosures, causing individuals to spend less and save more. Less spending means less demand for goods, followed by declines in production and huge job losses. How do we end such a cycle? With a direct attack on debt, say Mian and Sufi. More aggressive debt forgiveness after the crash helps, but as they illustrate, we can be rid of painful bubble-and-bust episodes only if the financial system moves away from its reliance on inflexible debt contracts. As an example, they propose new mortgage contracts that are built on the principle of risk-sharing, a concept that would have prevented the housing bubble from emerging in the first place.
Thoroughly grounded in compelling economic evidence, House of Debt offers convincing answers to some of the most important questions facing the modern economy today: Why do severe recessions happen? Could we have prevented the Great Recession and its consequences? And what actions are needed to prevent such crises going forward?
Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Belknap Press/Harvard University Press
In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyses a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality. Piketty shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality—the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth—today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, Piketty says, and may do so again.
A work of extraordinary ambition, originality, and rigor, Capital in the Twenty-First Century reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.