Every year, British magazine Financial Times (along with Goldman Sachs) puts together a panel of judges to select the number one financial book of the year. The winner gets a £30,000 prize for providing “the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.” But the problem with talking about “modern business issues” today is that the financial crisis still looms large over most books that are being published now.
Interestingly, FT writer Andrew Hill noted in a recent blog post that several books “tested the panel’s resolve not to overload the shortlist with books about the financial crisis.” In the end, two of the six books on the shortlist announced last week deal directly with the economic woes of the last few years: Iain Martin’s Making It Happen (about Royal Bank of Scotland) and Neil Irwin’s The Alchemists (on central bankers).
This concerted effort on the part of these judges to avoid such books was intriguing to me. Are we already finished thinking deeply about how the financial crisis affected today’s business? Is the five-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers a reminder of how far we’ve come, or nagging worry that we have quite a ways to go? Personally, I understand the desire to leave those dark days behind, but I also think there’s much more to learn from unpacking the events of the last few years.
Anyway, here is the “short list” list of the top six books up for the FT/Goldman Sachs prize. Have you read any of them, and/or would you like to see any of them reviewed here at the Book Scan?
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
- Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier
- The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of The Indian-American Elite and The Fall of The Galleon Hedge Fund by Anita Raghavan
- The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
- The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire, by Neil Irwin
- Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy by Iain Martin