Martin Ford is the winner of the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award following a “unanimous verdict” from the judging panel.
Published by Oneworld in the UK and Basic Books in the US, Ford’s The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment is described as a “tightly-written and deeply-researched" and discusses the impact of accelerating technology on our economic prospects.
The award, recognising the book that provides “the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues”, was presented on Tuesday evening (17th November) in a ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. Ford was presented with the award by the editor of the Financial Times, and chair of the panel of judges, Lionel Barber and McKinsey & Company’s global managing director Dominic Barton.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker, Wendell P. Weeks, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Corning Incorporated, said: "It’s a pleasure to participate in an event that celebrates the greatest business books of the year, because I know how much I have personally benefited from expert insights, well timed, and well-illustrated – including past winners of this award.”
Ford saw off strong competition from a shortlist of titles that ranged in theme from the economic recession to technological disruption, to win the £30,000 prize. Each of the five runners-up received a cheque for £10,000. They were: Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, (Flatiron/Macmillan); Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin by Nathaniel Popper (Allen Lane/Penguin Press; Harper/ HarperCollins); Unﬁnished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter (Oneworld Publications; Random House); Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics by Richard Thaler (Allen Lane/Penguin Press; W. W. Norton) and How Music Got Free: What Happens When an Entire Generation Commits the Same Crime? by Stephen Witt (The Bodley Head/Penguin Random House; Viking).
Barber said: "The Rise of the Robots is a tightly-written and deeply-researched addition to the public policy debate du jour and du demain. The judges didn't agree with all of the conclusions, but were unanimous on the verdict and the impact of the book."
Barton added: “While no one can be certain how the future will unfold, this year's winner delivers an important message: Companies and governments are racing into a world where both work and the work force will need to be radically redesigned.”
The judging panel for the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award comprised of Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, chairman of President Barack Obama's Global Development Council, and the author of When Markets Collide, 2008’s winner of the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn; Herminia Ibarra, the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, and Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD; Rik Kirkland, partner at Global Publishing, McKinsey & Company; Barclays Bank director Dambisa Moyo; and chair of Santander UK Shriti Vadera, also the director of Shriti Vadera Ltd and non-executive director at BHP Billiton and AstraZeneca.
It is the second big book prize independent UK publisher Oneworld has claimed this year after Marlon James won the Man Booker prize in October for A Brief History of Seven Killings, also published by Oneworld.
During the ceremony co-authors Christopher Clearfield and András Tilcsik were also revealed as the winners of the £15,000 Bracken Bower Prize. The award is designed to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes, with a focus this year on the challenges and opportunities presented by growth.
Clearfield and Tilcsik’s proposal Rethinking the Unthinkable: Managing the Risk of Catastrophic Failure in the Twenty-First Century, examines the forces transforming the contemporary risk landscape and the steps that executives can take to ready their organisations to manage a crisis before it becomes catastrophe.
Lynda Gratton, professor at London Business School, said: "It was an incredibly impressive shortlist, with some knockout ideas, which made it hard to choose between them.”
Stephen Rubin, president and publisher, Henry Holt & Co, added: "I admired the quality of the proposal as well as the idea. Rethinking the Unthinkable takes on a really important subject.”
The Bracken Bower Prize was judged by Rubin and Gratton as well as by Vindi Banga, partner at Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Jorma Ollila, chairman of Outokumpu.
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