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Financial Times And McKinsey announce shortlist for 2015 Business Book Of The Year Award

The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company today publish the shortlist for the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. Now in its eleventh year, the award is an essential calendar fixture for authors and the global business community alike. Each year it recognises the 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 of 2015:

  • The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment by Martin Ford (Oneworld Publications; Basic Books)
  • Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff (Flatiron/Macmillan)
  • Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin by Nathaniel Popper (Allen Lane/Penguin Press; Harper/ HarperCollins)
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter (Oneworld Publications; Random House)
  • Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics by Richard Thaler (Allen Lane/Penguin Press; W. W. Norton)
  • How Music Got Free: What Happens When an Entire Generation Commits the Same Crime? by Stephen Witt (The Bodley Head/Penguin Random House; Viking)

Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, said: “From behavioural economics to disruptive technology, this year’s shortlist tackles, with compelling narrative and in-depth analysis, the important themes that business must confront today.”

Vivian Hunt, McKinsey & Company’s Managing Partner, UK & Ireland, added: “We are very excited by this year’s shortlist. The six books really capture some of the key challenges that are demanding the attention of executives, policy makers and society in general.”

The judging panel, chaired by Lionel Barber, includes:

Mohamed El-Erian, former Chief Executive, PIMCO (winner, 2008, When Markets Collide)

Reid Hoffman, Entrepreneur, Co-founder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners

Herminia Ibarra, Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning Professor of Organizational Behavior, INSEAD

Rik Kirkland, Partner, Global Publishing, McKinsey & Company

Dambisa Moyo, Director, Barclays Bank, SABMiller, Barrick Gold

Shriti Vadera, Chair, Santander UK; Director, Shriti Vadera Ltd; Non-Executive Director, BHP Billiton and AstraZeneca

The winner will be announced at a dinner ceremony on 17 November in New York, co-hosted by Lionel Barber and Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director of McKinsey & Company. . Wendell P. Weeks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Corning, will give the keynote speech. The winner of the Business Book of the Year Award 2015 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: Thomas Piketty for Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014); 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 #BBYA15.

For further information please contact:

Katrina Power/ Steven Williams, Midas PR
T: +44 (0)207 361 7860 / +44 (0)79639 62538 (Katrina Power)
E: katrina.power@yahoo.com

Mark Fortier, Fortier Public Relations
T: +1 212-675-6460, +1 646-246-3036
E: mark@fortierpr.com

Christopher Chafin, Financial Times
T: +1 917 551 5093
E: christopher.chafin@ft.com

Media Relations, McKinsey & Company
Rachel Grant T: +44 (207) 961 5220
Steffi Langner T: +1 (212) 415-1971
E: media_relations_inbox@mckinsey.com

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 15. The winner will be announced at a gala event in New York on 17th November 2015. 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 2014 and 15th November 2015. 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 737,000. Mobile is an increasingly important channel for the FT, driving almost half of total traffic.

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 61 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 organisation to shape winning strategies, mobilise for change, build capabilities and drive successful execution.


The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment by Martin Ford Oneworld Publications; Basic Books

What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? We might imagine and hope that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last. Even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era.

In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case. As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin taking care of themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making ‘good jobs’ obsolete; many paralegals, journalists, office workers and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working and middle class families ever further.

At the same time, households are under assault from exploding costs, especially from the two major industries, education and health care, that, so far, have not been transformed by information technology. The result could well be massive unemployment and inequality as well as the implosion of the consumer economy itself.

In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish and implores employers, scholars and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren’t going to work and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects, not to mention those of their children, as well as for society as a whole.

Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, Flatiron/Macmillan

Losing the Signal is a riveting story of a company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.

With unprecedented access to key players, senior executives, directors and competitors, Losing the Signal unveils the remarkable rise of a company that started above a bagel store in Ontario. At the heart of the story is an unlikely partnership between visionary engineer, Mike Lazaridis, and abrasive Harvard Business school grad, Jim Balsillie. Together, they engineered a pioneering pocket email device that became the tool of choice for presidents and CEOs. The partnership enjoyed only a brief moment on top of the world. However, at the very moment BlackBerry was ranked the world’s fastest growing company, internal feuds and chaotic growth crippled the company as it faced its gravest test: Apple and Google’s entry in to mobile phones.

Expertly told by acclaimed journalists Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, this is an entertaining, whirlwind narrative that goes behind the scenes to reveal one of the most compelling business stories of the new century.

Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin by Nathaniel Popper, Allen Lane/Penguin Press; Harper/ HarperCollins

Digital Gold charts the rise of Bitcoin from its origins in 2009 as the brainchild of a Wizard of Oz-like programmer, Satoshi Nakamoto, to its evolution into the prevailing currency for transactions on the deep web drug retailer, Silk Road, to its present incarnation as a rising, volatile force in the financial sector and an increasingly relevant part of consumers’ lives.

Nathaniel Popper’s book delineates the participation of dozens of unusual characters who came to be major players in the global digital currency movement. The book travels from Japan, the purported home of the reclusive Nakamoto, to Brooklyn College, where Charlie Shrem, a short, slubby senior co-founded BitInstant with an autistic Welshman named Gareth Nelson; to Seattle, where Peter Vessenes, an ambitious entrepreneur, first attracted and then repelled investors and also to the lava plains of Iceland, where Emmanuel Abiodun’s large scale Bitcoin mining company runs complex algorithms 24 hours a day to unearth new Bitcoins.

Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter, Oneworld Publications; Random House

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s 2012 article in The Atlantic, ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have it All’, which described her choice to leave a dream job in Washington to return to her family and academic career, outlined the obstacles women face in the workplace, immediately sparked intense national debate and became one of the most-read pieces in the magazine’s history.

Since that time, Anne-Marie Slaughter has re-examined and broken free of her long standing assumptions about work, life and family. The feminist movement has stalled and though many solutions have been proposed for how women can continue to break the glass ceiling or rise above the ‘motherhood penalty’, no solution yet has been able to unite all women.

Now, in Unfinished Business, Anne-Marie Slaughter pushes further, presenting a new vision for what true equality between men and women really means and how we can get there. Slaughter takes a hard look at our reflexive beliefs, the ‘half-truths’ we tell ourselves that are holding women back. Then she reveals the missing piece of the puzzle, a new focus that can reunite the women’s movement and provide a common banner under which both men and women can advance and thrive.

With practical individual solutions, compelling stories and a broad outline for change, Unfinished Business presents a future in which all of us, men and women alike, can finally have fulfilling careers along with the rewards of family life.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics by Richard Thaler, Allen Lane/Penguin Press; W. W. Norton

Professor Thaler shows us why classical economics, which assumes that human beings are always rational and always the same, can’t reveal the truth of how we really think about money and the economy. Why are we more likely to forgo the opportunity to sell a £100 bottle of wine rather than actually taking money out our wallet to pay for it, when ultimately the ‘opportunity cost’ of doing so is the same? Why would the ‘endowment effect’ mean that we value a free ticket worth hundreds of pounds more than the money we would get from selling it? As the most vivacious and vociferous founding member of behavioural economics, Thaler presents his insightful findings with stories about data and experiments, and as he breaks down the biases and irrational tendencies in our thinking, he shows us how to avoid making costly mistakes in our own lives.

How Music Got Free: What Happens When an Entire Generation Commits the Same Crime? by Stephen Witt, The Bodley Head/Penguin Random House; Viking

How Music Got Free is a blistering story of obsession, music and obscene money. A story of visionaries and criminals, tycoons and audiophiles with golden ears. It’s about the greatest pirate in history, the most powerful executive in the music business, and an illegal website six times the size of iTunes.

It begins with a small-time thief at a CD-pressing plant, and a groundbreaking invention on the other side of the globe. Then pans from the multi-million-dollar deals of the music industry to the secret recesses of the web; from German audio laboratories to a tiny Polynesian radio station.

This is how one man’s crime snowballs into an explosive moment in history. How suddenly all the tracks ever recorded could be accessed by anyone, for free. And life became forever entwined with the world online.

It is also the story of the music industry – the rise of rap, the death of the album, and how much can rest on the flip of a coin. How an industry ate itself. And how the most successful music release group in history is one you’ve probably never heard of. How Music Got Free is a thrilling, addictive masterpiece of reportage from Stephen Witt. It’s a story that’s never been told – but that’s written all over your hard drive.

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