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The promise and perils of technology dominate the longlist for this year’s Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.
The 15 titles include Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk, a biography of the charismatic entrepreneur behind the Tesla electric car, Digital Gold by Nathaniel Popper, on the development of the virtual currency bitcoin, and The Rise of the Robots, by Martin Ford, about jobs and automation.
Only one technology book has won the prize before — The Everything Store, about Amazon, in 2013. But this year’s tech contenders also include: How Music Got Free, Stephen Witt’s story of how online piracy nearly brought down the recording industry; Losing the Signal, by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, about the rise and fall of BlackBerry; and Steve LeVine’s investigation of how battery science is advancing, The Powerhouse.
Also in the running this year is Anne-Marie Slaughter’s keenly awaited Unfinished Business, due out next month. Slaughter’s book about how to narrow the gender gap is certain to reignite debate about the alternative vision laid out by Sheryl Sandberg, author of 2013 finalist Lean In.
Economists again feature heavily. Mihir Sharma offers a prescription for India’s revival in Restart. Barry Eichengreen compares the lessons from the Great Depression and the recent global credit crisis in Hall of Mirrors. Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman examine another global crisis — that of climate change — in Climate Shock.
Meanwhile, George Akerlof and Robert Shiller turn their attention to economic trickery and the way free markets allow us to be manipulated and deceived in Phishing for Phools, coming next month. Also in the “debunking” category is management professor Jeffrey Pfeffer’s Leadership BS, due in September, about how to fix the misfiring leadership development industry.
Black Horse Ride, Ivan Fallon’s investigation of how Lloyds, the UK bank, became embroiled in the banking crisis, joins a long line of books spawned by the credit crunch.
Finally, for anyone looking for clues about next year’s prize, Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner lay out how to improve our ability to predict the future in their forthcoming book, Superforecasting.
The judges will select a shortlist of up to six books on September 22. The £30,000 prize will be awarded on November 17. To find out more about the judging panel, rules and past winners, please visit: www.ft.com/bookaward.
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