The 2021 Business Book of the Year Award Announces a Shortlist

In News by Porter Anderson

Issue-driven nonfiction brings cultural and science topics into the business context in the 16th Business Book of the Year Award shortlist.

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

Six Titles in Racism, the Climate Crisis, and More
As the thundering deluge of publishing and book award news roars on, the FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year has joined the flood by announcing its shortlist on Thursday (September 23).

This one is on the upper end of the cash awards scale. Carrying a purse of £30,000 (US$41,046) for its winner, it also hands each of the runners-up from the shortlist £10,000 (US$13,682), making the total prize money come in at £80,000 (US$100,457). The award was first conferred in 2005, and so this is its 16th year.

The key criterion here is a book “judged to have provided the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues,” and the winner is expected to be named on December 1 in London.

There are six selections in the shortlist.

FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2021 Shortlist
Title Author(s) Publisher
The World for Sale: Money, Power and the Traders Who Barter the Earth’s Resources Javier Blas, Jack Farchy Random House Business/Cornerstone (UK), Oxford University Press (USA)
Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty Patrick Radden Keefe Pan Macmillan/Picador (UK), Penguin Random House/Doubleday (USA)
The Conversation: How Talking Honestly About Racism Can Transform Individuals and Organizations Robert Livingston Penguin Business (UK), Penguin Random House/Crown/Currency (USA)
The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet Michael E. Mann Scribe (UK), Hachette/Public Affairs (USA)
This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race Nicole Perlroth Bloomsbury Publshing (UK), Bloomsbury (USA)
The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World Adrian Wooldridge Penguin Random House / Allen Lane (UK), Skyhorse Publishing (USA)
‘Compelling, Deeply Researched Books’

The jury for this program in 2021 is led by Roula Khalef, editor of the Financial Times, who says about the shortlist, “We had a fabulous longlist of compelling, deeply researched books to choose from this year.

“Many thanks to the judges for taking the time to read them and engaging in the debate that produced this excellent shortlist. It tackles many of the pressing issues facing business today, including climate change, cybersecurity, and racial discrimination.”

Khalef is joined on the jury by:

  • Mimi Alemayehou, Mastercard
  • Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Foundation
  • Mohamed El-Erian, Queens’ College, Cambridge
  • Herminia Ibarra, London Business School
  • James Kondo, International House of Japan
  • Randall Kroszner, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
  • Raju Narisetti, McKinsey & Company
  • Shriti Vadera, Prudential

Previous winners of the award:

  • Sarah Frier for No Filter: The Inside Story of How Instagram Transformed Business, Celebrity and Our Culture (2020)
  • 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)

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

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

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 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 was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.