Sarah Frier Wins the 2020 Business Book of the Year Award

In News by Porter Anderson

‘No Filter’ by Sarah Frier takes the £30,000 FT-McKinsey Business Book of the Year honor, in a strong shortlist.

Author Sarah Frier speaks during the Financial Times and McKinsey & Company Business Book of the Year award presentation. Image: FT/McKinsey

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Shaping the Lives of a New Generation’
In its digital program of discussion and presentation today (December 1), the Financial Times and McKinsey & Company have named Bloomberg News journalist Sarah Frier the winner of the 2020 Business Book of the Year Award for No Filter: The Inside Story of How Instagram Transformed Business, Celebrity, and Our Culture.

The book is published in the United Kingdom by Random House Business UK and in the United States by Simon & Shuster.

Roula Kahlef, the Financial Times editor who chaired this year’s jury, said about the book, “No Filter is a topical and well-reported account of the rise of Instagram and its takeover by Facebook.

“But it also tackles two vital issues of our age: how Big Tech treats smaller rivals and how social media companies are shaping the lives of a new generation.”

And Kevin Sneader, McKinsey’s global managing partner, said, “Sarah Frier has written a compelling saga about how this startup phenomenon deeply embedded itself into the global cultural zeitgeist of this digital era, in just one decade after its creation.”

Sarah Frier

Carrying a cash award of £30,000 (US$40,250) for its winner, each of the runners-up receives £10,000 (US$13,416), making the total purse of the program for authors worth £80,000 (US$107,334).

The program’s jurors this year, chaired by the FT’s Kahlef:

  • Mitchell Baker, CEO of Mozilla Corporation and chair of the Mozilla Foundation
  • Mohamed El-Erian, president-elect of Queen’s College, Cambridge, and winner of the 2008 Business Book of the Year Award for his When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change from McGraw-Hill)
  • Herminia Ibarra, the Charles Handy professor of organizational behavior with London Business School
  • Randall Kroszner, the Norman R. Bobins professor of economics and deputy dean for executive programs at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Dambisa Moyo, a non-executive director with 3M and Chevron
  • Raju Narisetti, global publishing director with McKinsey & Company
  • Shriti Vadera, chair of Santander UK and chair-elect of Prudential
The Bracken Bower Prize Winner: Stephen Boyle

In addition to its main award, the program also includes the Bracken Bower Prize for a young author who has made an impressive proposal for a business book, as yet unpublished.

Stephen Boyle

Stephen Boyle was awarded £15,000 (US$20,127) for his book proposal, New Money, about how central bank digital currencies could transform the economy, not necessarily for the best.

The jurors for the Bracken Bower:

  • Lorella Belli, founder and director, Belli Literary Agency
  • Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, Adecco professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, London Business School
  • Jorma Ollila, former chairman, Royal Dutch Shell and Nokia
  • Saadia Zahidi, managing director and head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum, a former Bracken Bower winner
Business Book of the Year Award 2020 Shortlist

In addition to Frier’s winning book, five prominent titles were on this year’s shortlist.

Title Author(s) Publisher
Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism Anne Case, Angus Deaton Princeton University Press, UK and USA
No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer Penguin Random House / WH Allen, UK; Penguin Press, USA
Reimagining Capitalism: How Business Can Save the World Rebecca Henderson Penguin Business, UK; Public Affairs, USA
If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future Jill Lepore Hachette / John Murray Press, UK; WW Norton, USA
A World Without Work: Technology, Automation and How We Should Respond Daniel Susskind Penguin Random House / Allen Lane, UK; Macmillan / Metropolitan Books, USA

Previous winners of the Business Book of the Year:

  • Caroline Criado Perez for Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (2019)
  • John Carreyrou for Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (2018)
  • Amy Goldstein for Janesville: An American Story (2017)
  • Sebastian Mallaby for The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan (2016)
  • 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)
  • Thomas Friedman, for The World is Flat (2005)

Below is today’s presentation program.


More from Publishing Perspectives on awards programs in books and the publishing industry is here. More on the United Kingdom’s market is here, and more on the United States’ market is here.

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About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.