It would be Amancio Ortega, who developed what is now one of the biggest retail clothing empires in the world, Inditex. He started from nothing, building [the business] gradually in line with experience gained, when others were trying to get rich quickly. He is the king of sustainable business.

Sir Alex Ferguson would be my ideal business partner. A visionary with a relentless passion for winning, never accepting defeat until every option had been explored. A pragmatic Scot, he would say it like it was and guide with a laser-like precision while always maintaining a wry sense of humour.

Prior to his passing, [drug smuggler and author] Howard Marks — in a legal and above board enterprise of course. Why? Well in his heyday, he had 40-plus aliases, 80-plus phone lines and owned 25 companies trading all over the world.
Marketing manager, drinks company

Jimmy Fallon [the US comedian and TV host] can make a really good story of every boring meeting. He would lighten up every meeting and make people think before they talk. If you say something without thinking, Jimmy would make you pay.
Director, engineering consultancy

I figure that as a business partner, you either need a person with a creative mind or someone with a lot of money. I would pick Elon Musk [founder and chief executive of the electric carmaker Tesla]. He has both the mind and money, which would compensate for me having none of these.
Head of project management, aircraft company

[British chef] Heston Blumenthal — the ultimate innovator, who questions everything. With an amazing attention to detail, he did not just disrupt an industry, but created a whole new one. His brilliance and eternal drive for perfection has taken him to the very top, yet he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Director, marketing consultancy

Could you write the next bestselling business book?

Are you under 35 and have a great idea for a business book? The Financial Times and McKinsey & Company are offering a £15,000 prize to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes.

The Bracken Bower Prize will be awarded to the best proposal for a book about the challenges and opportunities of growth.

Winners of the 2014 and 2015 prizes have struck book deals with publishers.

The main theme should be forward-looking and the proposed book should aim to provide a compelling and enjoyable insight into future trends in business, economics, finance or management.

The prize is named after Brendan Bracken, chairman of the FT from 1945 to 1958, and Marvin Bower, managing director of McKinsey from 1950 to 1967. The men were instrumental in laying the foundations for the present-day success of the two institutions, which organise the Business Book of the Year Award.

Proposals should be less than 5,000 words and entrants must be under 35 on November 22 2016. The closing date for entries is 5pm (BST) on September 30 2016. For details, visit:

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