Ensuring energy security; fighting poverty; the future of the US dollar; the future of cities; why leaders turn a blind eye; and why they build bad strategies.
These are the contrasting themes of the six books battling to win this year’s Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award – a shortlist that is low on “crisis” books compared with prior years. The finalists are:
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo (Perseus Books, Public Affairs, USA)
Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar by Barry Eichengreen (Oxford University Press, UK)
Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser (The Penguin Press, USA; Macmillan, UK)
Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril by Margaret Heffernan (Walker & Co, USA; Simon & Schuster, UK)
Good Strategy, Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt (Crown Business, USA; Profile, UK)
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin (The Penguin Press, USA; Allen Lane, UK)
I was an observer at the judging meeting in New York this week, where the likes of Jorma Ollila, chairman of Shell and Nokia, Lynda Gratton from the London Business School, and Arthur Levitt, former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, discussed the longlist. I’d say there will be a tough debate on November 3, when they meet again in London to decide the winner. Meanwhile, feel free to tell me what you think of their list.