The Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award was announced last night. Unsurprisingly, I suppose, it did not go to Steven Mandis’s excellent book on Goldman Sachs—What Happened to Goldman Sachs: An Insider’s Story of Organizational Drift and Its Unintended Consequences released by Harvard Business Review Press last month. That would be like Amazon announcing their best book of the year was Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.
No, the industry’s biggest award—or at least the one with the biggest payday and the most pomp and circumstance—went to… hey, look at that, Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. The acclaimed journalist took home the award and it’s £30,000 prize at a ceremony in London, England on Monday evening. Stone’s book beat out five others on the FT/Goldman Sachs Shortlist, which were themselves culled from a longlist of 14 books back in August.
Andrew Hill at FT tells us:
The award judges’ decision is at odds with the views of Mr Bezos’s wife, MacKenzie, who posted her own critical review of the book on Amazon, awarding it a single star out of a possible five. But Vindi Banga, a partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and a member of the judging panel, described The Everything Store as “inspirational” for young entrepreneurs and said it was “full of management lessons”.
There was actually something of a review war on Amazon over this book in which, as Jason Del Ray of allthingsd.com described it, Amazon’s First Employee Disses MacKenzie Bezos Review That Disses New Book About Amazon.
Who knew there could be so much drama in business books? We here at 800-CEO-READ really liked Stone’s book and think this is a very good choice by the judges, even though it sounds as if it was not an easy one to make:
Monday’s final judging session saw panellists continue the robust debate they started at the meeting to select six finalists in September. They eventually narrowed the shortlist down to three titles—including Anita Raghavan’s The Billionaire’s Apprentice, about the Galleon insider trading scandal, and The Alchemists, Neil Irwin’s analysis of how UK, US and European central bankers handled the crisis—before finally selecting The Everything Store.
The winner, published last month by Little, Brown in the US and Transworld/Bantam Press in the UK, was described by Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor and chairman of the judging panel, as a “must-read for disrupters around the world”. Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, said the book was “a provocative take” on Amazon’s transformation of the publishing, consumer electronics and cloud computing industries.
But let’s get back to Amazon itself for a minute, because they picked their Best Books of 2013 earlier this month, as well. And, though they did not pick the book about themselves as the winner in the Business & Investing category, they did pick a book that Amazon would like to be the answer to: Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier.
They actually picked 20 books in this category, though, and it’s a really solid list. In order of what sold best at the Amazon store, the list is:
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, Knopf Publishing Group
- Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger & Kenneth Cukier, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger, Simon & Schuster
- Give and Take by Adam M. Grant Ph.D., Viking Books
- Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin, Harvard Business School Press
- Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Crown Business
- Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson & Hugh Delehanty, The Penguin Press
- Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment by Anita Elberse, Henry Holt & Company
- Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry, Portfolio
- Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights by Gary Klein, PublicAffairs
- Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff, Thomas Nelson Publishers
- The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America by David A. Stockman, PublicAffairs
- The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun, Jossey-Bass
- Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger & Matthew Kohut, Hudson Street Press
- Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier, Simon & Schuster
- The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader’s Tale of Spectacular Excess by Turney Duff, Crown Business
- Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets by Jim Rogers, Crown Business
- The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results by Bob Knight & Bob Hammel, New Harvest
- The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More by Richard Koch, Little Brown and Company
- Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It. by Mitch Joel, Business Plus
- David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown and Company
- Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism by Elizabeth Becker, Simon & Schuster
- Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America by Peter Andreas, Oxford University Press
I would also encourage those interested to take a look at Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson and Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson from the Science category.
We will keep you updated as other lists appear, and when we announce our books of the year in January.