A Simon & Schuster book exploring the human consequences of the General Motors assembly plant closure in an American town has won the £30,000 Business Book of the Year Award 2017.
The award recognises the book that provides the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues and was presented to Amy Goldstein for Janesville: An American Story by Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times and chair of the panel of judges, and Dominic Barton, global managing partner of McKinsey & Company.
Goldstein saw off strong competition from a shortlist of titles that ranged in theme from gender imbalance and economic equality, to the history of the iPhone, to win the £30,000 prize.
Barber said: "Janesville is about the new industrial age and how you deal with it. I think it addresses deeply important policy issues, such as skills and retraining. But it's also a humane portrait of people and their community." Barton added: “Janesville is a deeply reported story that raises critical questions about the impact of economic disruption on communities, without offering simplistic answers. It is an American story, as the subtitle suggests, but also a truly global one.”
Janesville triumphed over a shortlist that also included The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Maths Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich (WH Allen), Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew W Lo (Princeton University Press), The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone by Brian Merchant (Bantam Press), Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao (Spiegel & Grau), 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). Each of the five runners-up received a cheque for £10,000.
The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company also announced Mehran Gul as the winner of the 2017 Bracken Bower Prize. The prize is designed to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by growth.
Gul was awarded £15,000 for his book proposal, "The New Geography of Innovation", which examines the rise of new start-up ecosystems around the world and how the highly valued unicorns they are producing are changing the geography of innovation and the economic landscape of the world.
The judges said: "We received submissions from many talented young people, and the shortlist was a very impressive line-up. There were some really strong proposals, so much so that we faced an incredibly difficult choice in choosing a winner."