Nicole Perlroth has won the £30,000 Financial Times and McKinsey & Company Business Book of the Year Award 2021, for her "timely wake up call", This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race (Bloomsbury).
The annual prize recognises a title which provides the "most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues", and was awarded to Perlroth at a ceremony at the National Gallery in London, co-hosted by FT editor Roula Khalaf and Magnus Tyreman, managing partner in Europe of McKinsey & Company.
The non-fiction work is an analysis of the threat posed by the arms race between cyber criminals, spies and hackers fighting to infiltrate essential computer systems.
Perlroth saw off strong competition from a shortlist of titles with subjects including climate change, racism, cyberweapons, meritocracies and risks to a sustainable and an inclusive future. The five runners-up will each receive £10,000.
Jasmine Horsey, commissioning editor in non-fiction at Bloomsbury, commented: "We are thrilled and very proud that This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends has been awarded the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2021. The book is a masterclass in non-fiction: both a gripping reading experience, and an extraordinary feat of reporting about one of the most extreme threats we face today. We couldn’t be happier that Nicole’s brave and urgent work has been recognised in this way."
Khalaf said: “Nicole Perlroth has done something that hasn't been done before: going this deep into the mysterious world of hackers. Cyber security isn't featuring highly enough on chief executives' agendas. I hope this award will prompt them to read this book and pay attention.”
Tyreman added: “Nicole Perlroth has written a book that is more than just a timely wake-up call to the fact that the world has largely ignored the realities and profound implications of the arms race between hackers, cybercriminals and businesses and national governments. It is an alarming book, one in which the author makes a compelling, granular and matter-of-fact case for how vulnerable global computer systems have become, and makes an urgent plea for specific and systematic action.”
Ines Lee (pictured right) and Eileen Tipoe were also announced as the winners of the 2021 Bracken Bower Prize. The prize, first awarded in 2014, is designed to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes in a proposal for a book that is not yet published. Its aim is to unearth new talent and encourage writers to research ideas that could fill future business books of the year.
Lee and Tipoe were awarded £15,000 for their book proposal, "Failing the Class", an examination of how and why the priorities of higher education in the UK and US have shifted in the past three decades from focusing on the development of character to the development of a career, and its subsequent effects on the nature of learning and social cohesion.
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