The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company today publish the shortlist for the 2016 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. Now in its twelfth year, the award is an essential calendar fixture for authors and the global business community alike. Each year it recognises a work which 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 2016:
- What Works: Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bohnet (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
- Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark (Harper 360/Harper Collins; Ecco Press/Harper Collins)
- Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar (Crown Publishing/Penguin Random House)
- The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon (Princeton University Press)
- The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott (Bloomsbury)
- The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby (Bloomsbury; Penguin Press)
Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, said: “The remarkable range of books this year include a heavyweight biography of Greenspan, a lively exploration of policy dilemmas around longevity, a historical inquiry into the productivity gap, and an argument for righting the balance between finance and industry in a modern economy. Readers will find much to debate and many practical solutions.”
Rodney Zemmel, McKinsey & Company’s Managing Partner, Northeast U.S., added: “This year’s shortlist explores the clash of forces that businesses have to navigate today, from demography to technology change to how to get the most out of talent. Rather than just laying out the problems, the authors offer interdisciplinary thinking and an intriguing range of potential answers.”
The judging panel, chaired by Lionel Barber, includes:
- Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor, Allianz; Chair, President Obama’s Global Development Council, (winner, 2008, When Markets Collide)
- Herminia Ibarra, Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning Professor of Organizational Behavior, INSEAD
- Rik Kirkland, Partner and Director of Publishing, McKinsey & Company
- Dambisa Moyo, Global Economist and Author, Non-Executive Director, Barrick Gold, Barclays, SAB Miller, and Seagate Technology
- Shriti Vadera, Chairman, Santander UK; Senior Independent Director, BHP Billiton and Non-Executive Director, AstraZeneca
The winner will be announced at a dinner ceremony on 22 November at the National Gallery in London, co-hosted by Lionel Barber and Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director of McKinsey & Company. Baroness Dido Harding, CEO of the TalkTalk Group, will give the keynote speech. The winner of the Business Book of the Year Award 2016 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: Martin Ford for Rise of the Robots (2015); 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 #BBYA16.
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Rachel Grant, McKinsey & Company
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US: Mark Fortier, Fortier Public Relations
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Christopher Chafin, 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 15. The winner will be announced at a dinner ceremony in London on 22 November 2016. 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 2015 and 15th November 2016. 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 is one of the world’s leading business news organisations, 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 in excess of 800,000. Mobile is an increasingly important channel for the FT, driving more than 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 90 years, our primary objective has been to serve as our clients’ most trusted external advisor. With consultants in over 110 locations in over 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 2016:
What Works: Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bohnet (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and de-biasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioural design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organisations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to move the needle in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions.
What Works is built on new insights into the human mind. It draws on data collected by companies, universities, and governments in Australia, India, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, and other countries, often in randomised controlled trials. It points out dozens of evidence-based interventions that could be adopted right now and demonstrates how research is addressing gender bias, improving lives and performance. What Works shows what more can be done—often at shockingly low cost and surprisingly high speed.
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark (Harper 360/Harper Collins; Ecco Press/Harper Collins)
In just a decade and half, Jack Ma, a man who rose from humble beginnings and started his career as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into the second largest internet company in the world. The company’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the world’s largest, valuing the company more than Facebook or Coca Cola.
Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own first-hand experience of key figures integral to Alibaba’s rise to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of how Alibaba and its charismatic creator have transformed the way that Chinese exercise their new found economic freedom, inspiring entrepreneurs around the world and infuriating others, turning the tables on the Silicon Valley giants who have tried to stand in his way.
Duncan explores vital questions about the company’s past, present, and future; how, from such unremarkable origins, did Jack Ma build Alibaba? What explains his relentless drive and his ability to outsmart his competitors? With over 80% of China’s e-commerce market, how long can the company hope to maintain its dominance? As the company sets its sights on the country’s financial and media markets, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions, or will the Chinese government act to curtail them? And as it set up shop from LA and San Francisco to Seattle, how will Alibaba grow its presence and investments in the US and other international markets?
Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar (Crown Publishing/Penguin Random House)
Eight years on from the biggest market meltdown since the Great Depression, the key lessons of the crisis of 2008 still remain unlearned—and our financial system is just as vulnerable as ever. Many know that the US government failed to fix the banking system after the subprime mortgage crisis. But what few realise is how the misguided financial practices and philosophies that nearly toppled the global financial system have come to infiltrate ALL American businesses, putting us on a collision course for another cataclysmic meltdown.
Drawing on in-depth reporting and exclusive interviews at the highest rungs of Wall Street and Washington, Time assistant managing editor and economic columnist Rana Foroohar shows how the ‘financialisation of America’ – the trend by which finance and its way of thinking have come to reign supreme – is perpetuating Wall Street’s reign over Main Street, widening the gap between rich and poor, and threatening the future of the American Dream.
Policy makers get caught up in the details of regulating ‘Too Big To Fail’ banks, but the problems in the market system go much broader and deeper than that. Exploring these forces, which have led American businesses to favour balancing-sheet engineering over the actual kind and the pursuit of short-term corporate profits over job creation, Foroohar shows how financialisation has so gravely harmed our society, and why reversing this trend is of grave importance to us all. Through colourful stories of both ‘Takers’ and ‘Makers’, she reveals how we can change the system for a better and more sustainable shared economic future.
The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon (Princeton University Press)
In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, home appliances, motor vehicles, air travel, air conditioning, and television transformed households and workplaces. With medical advances, life expectancy between 1870 and 1970 grew from forty-five to seventy-two years. Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth provides an in-depth account of this momentous era. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end?
Gordon challenges the view that economic growth can or will continue unabated, and he demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 can’t be repeated. He contends that the nation’s productivity growth, which has already slowed to a crawl, will be further held back by the vexing headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government. Gordon warns that the younger generation may be the first in American history that fails to exceed their parents’ standard of living, and that rather than depend on the great advances of the past, we must find new solutions to overcome the challenges facing us.
A critical voice in the debates over economic stagnation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth is at once a tribute to a century of radical change and a harbinger of tougher times to come.
The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott (Bloomsbury)
What will your 100-year life look like?
Does the thought of working for 60 or 70 years fill you with dread? Or can you see the potential for a more stimulating future as a result of having so much extra time?
Many of us have been raised on the traditional notion of a three-stage approach to our working lives: education, followed by work and then retirement. But this well-established pathway is already beginning to collapse – life expectancy is rising, final-salary pensions are vanishing, and increasing numbers of people are juggling multiple careers. Whether you are 18, 45 or 60, you will need to do things very differently from previous generations and learn to structure your life in completely new ways.
The 100-Year Life is here to help.
Drawing on the unique pairing of their experience in psychology and economics, Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott offer a broad-ranging analysis as well as a raft of solutions, showing how to rethink your finances, your education, your career and your relationships and create a fulfilling 100-year life.
- How can you fashion a career and life path that defines you and your values and creates a shifting balance between work and leisure?
- What are the most effective ways of boosting your physical and mental health over a longer and more dynamic lifespan?
- How can you make the most of your intangible assets – such as family and friends – as you build a productive, longer life?
- In a multiple-stage life how can you learn to make the transitions that will be so crucial and experiment with new ways of living, working and learning?
The 100-Year Life is a wake-up call that describes what to expect and considers the choices and options that you will face. It is also fundamentally a call to action for individuals, politicians, firms and governments and offers the clearest demonstration that a 100-year life can be a wonderful and inspiring one.
The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby (Bloomsbury; Penguin Press)
This is the biography of one of the titans of financial history over the last fifty years. Born in 1926, Alan Greenspan was raised in Manhattan by a single mother and immigrant grandparents during the Great Depression but by quiet force of intellect, rose to become a global financial ‘maestro’. Appointed by Ronald Reagan to Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a post he held for eighteen years, he presided over an unprecedented period of stability and low inflation, was revered by economists, adored by investors and consulted by leaders from Beijing to Frankfurt.
Both data-hound and eligible society bachelor, Greenspan was a man of contradictions. His great success was to prove the very idea he, an advocate of the Gold standard, doubted: that the discretionary judgements of a money-printing central bank could stabilise an economy. He resigned in 2006, having overseen tumultuous changes in the world’s most powerful economy. Yet when the great crash happened only two years later many blamed him, even though he had warned early on of irrational exuberance in the market place.
Sebastian Mallaby brilliantly shows the subtlety and complexity of Alan Greenspan’s legacy. Full of beautifully rendered high-octane political infighting, hard hitting dialogue and stories, The Man Who Knew is superbly researched, enormously gripping and the story of the making of modern finance.