Big brand probes dominate FT business book longlist

Big brand probes dominate FT business book longlist

The 17-strong longlist for the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year has been announced, with perspectives on modern phenomena such as driverless cars, Uber and the history of the iPhone, and studies on Facebook, Google, and Amazon making the cut.

Authors on this year's 2017 longlist include French economist and Nobel prizewinner Jean Tirole, known for his work on curbing the dominance of giant corporations, as well as the chief executive of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.

The prize pot is £30,000 which will be awarded to the “most compelling and enjoyable” insight into modern business issues. According to the FT, the jury is expected to give preference to those books “whose insights and influence are most likely to stand the test of time”.

Tirole is in the running for the prize-pot with Economics for the Common Good (Princeton University Press), a "passionate manifesto" for setting a new agenda for the role of economics in society today as "a positive force for the common good", while American economist Mihir Desai is longlisted for The Wisdom of Finance (Profile Books), using literature, history, movies and philosophy to help finance become more accessible and "recover its nobility".

Thomas L. Friedman's Thank You for Being Late, subtitled An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, is pitted against HSBC's senior ecnomic advisor Stephen D. King's gloomier prognosis on the topic of globalisation in Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History (Yale University Press). In King's book, he explores why globalisation is being rejected and what the end of globalization might mean for prosperity, peace, and the global economic order.

Nadella, with co-authors Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols, is meanwhile a contender for Hit Refresh, a revival story of his quest to rediscover Microsoft's "soul", published in the UK by William Collins.

Ticking off other major brands in the tech space, on the device's 10th anniversary, Brian Merchant’s The One Device (Bantam Press) looks into the "secret history" of Apple’s iPhone; Adam Lashinsky's Wild Ride (Portfolio) uncovers "Uber's quest for world domination"; and Jonathan Taplin puts Facebook, Google, and Amazon under the microscope in Move Fast and Break Things (Macmillan), about how the "monopoly platforms" have "cornered culture".

Another book in the running touching on driver technology is The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa & Alex Salkever (Berrett-Koehler Publishers).

Touching on the theme of corruption, David Enrich is longlisted for The Spider Network (WH Allen) which, subtitled The Wild Story of a Maths Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History, investigates the Libor rate-rigging scandal, as is Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street (Random House) by Sheelah Kolhatkar, about insider trading charges on Wall Street. 

And, about a mathematician who first applies his skills to Blackjack before hedge funds, A Man for All Markets: Beating the Odds, from Las Vegas to Wall Street by Edward O. Thorp is a contender from Oneworld.

Also longlisted are Ellen Pao’s Reset (Spiegel & Grau), which takes on the issue of diversity in Silicon Valley (or lack thereof), and Janesville: An American Story (Simon & Schuster) by Amy Goldstein, about the evisceration of the working class in the United States.

Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought (Princeton University Press) by Andrew W. Lo, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth (Random House Business Books) and The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel (Princeton University Press) round off the longlist.

Six finalists will be selected from the longlist, the winner of which will be revealed on 6th November. The authors of the shortlisted titles will each receive £10,000.