Piketty named FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year

Piketty named FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year

Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has triumphed at the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Awards.

Piketty's book, a nearly 700-page exploration of economic processes that concentrate wealth and build inequalities, was chosen as the winner of the £30,000 prize from a six-strong shortlist and announced at a ceremony this evening (11th November).

Earlier today, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Belknap Press and Harvard University Press) was also named as one of Waterstones' top titles of 2014, and is the running to be named book of the year.

The other books on the shortlist were Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin (Times Books/Henry Holt); The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (W W Norton Ltd); Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull (Bantam Press in the UK, Random House in the US); Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught up with Rupert Murdoch by Nick Davies (Chatto & Windus in the UK, Faber in the US); and House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi (University of Chicago Press).

Each of the shortlisted authors wins £10,000.

The judges for the awards were FT editor Lionel Barber, Steven Denning of General Atlantic LLC, Herminia Ibarra of Insead, Shriti Vadera of Shriti Vadera Ltd, Steve Coll of Columbia University, Mohamed El-Erian of Allianz International and Rik Kirkland from McKinsey & Company.

Barber said: “Capital in the Twenty-First Century emerged after vigorous debate from an incredibly strong field. While not everyone agreed on the policy prescription, we recognised the quality of the scholarship. It’s a challenging but ultimately important book.”

Piketty's work, originally published in August 2013, has produced strong responses from all political spectrums and economists, with Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman calling it "a magnificent, sweeping meditation on inequality", while economist James K Galbraith said: "Despite its great ambitions, his book is not the accomplished work of high theory that its title, length, and reception (so far) suggest."

Also announced last night was the winner of the inaugural Bracken Bower Prize, which encourages young writers to tackle business topics, with a focus on growth. The £15,000 prize was awarded to Saadia Zahidi for her book proposal,  Womenomics in the Muslim World.

The Bracken Bower Prize was judged by Clayton Dubilier & Rice's Vindi Banga, London Business School professor Lynda Gratton, Royal Dutch Shell's Jorma Ollila and Penguin Random House UK chair Gail Rebuck.