It's August and 2019 is only about three-quarters over, but that doesn't mean it's too early for one of the biggest business books prizes to start grinding into gear. Each year, McKinsey and the Financial Times team up to sift through a year's worth of business titles and crown just one the most interesting and impactful of the bunch

The contest has just released its long list of contenders and it's basically a rundown of must-read titles for business leaders this fall.

From a couple of books about bias against women to a new account of the financial crisis to fresh takes on the likely impact of AI, these are going to be the most chattered about books in the coming months. 

1. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff​

Words that have been used to describe Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff's examination of "surveillance capitalism" include groundbreaking, magisterial, alarming, and unmissable. "This book's major contribution is to give a name to what's happening, to put it in cultural and historical perspective, and to ask us to pause long enough to think about the future and how it might be different from today," wrote Frank Rose in his Wall Street Journal review. 

2. Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez 

In this pick, writer and activist Criado Perez "lays out how designers and developers have persistently excluded or downplayed women in the data sets they use, to dangerous effect," explains the FT. 

3. The Big Nine by Amy Webb 

How will artificial intelligence develop and impact our lives? The truth is no one knows, including futurist Amy Webb. But in this book she, "lays out scenarios for optimistic, pragmatic, and catastrophic outcomes -- all extrapolated from current facts," 
notes VentureBeat

4. Human Compatible by Stuart Russell 

Another title dealing with artificial intelligence, this one by AI researcher Stuart Russell is due out in October. It "suggests how humans could rethink the basis of this new technology so that machines conform to our goals, not vice versa," says the FT. 

5. Make, Think, Imagine by John Browne 

In this book, due out at the end of the month, the former CEO of BP "argues for the progressive force of engineering innovation to change the future for the better," says the FT. The WSJ called it "a lot of fun." 

6. Big Business by Tyler Cower 

Subtitled "A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero," this book by a George Mason University economist swims against the popular tide of anger at large companies to offer "an impassioned defense of corporations and their essential role in a balanced, productive, and progressive society," according to Amazon. 

7. Kochland by Christopher Leonard

Making the counterargument is business reporter Christopher Leonard. According to Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Coll, his book "is a dazzling feat of investigative reporting and epic narrative writing, a tour de force that takes the reader deep inside the rise of a vastly powerful family corporation that has come to influence American workers, markets, elections, and the very ideas debated in our public square." 

8. Equal by Carrie Gracie 

In this book journalist Carrie Gracie recounts "her fight for equal pay for her and other women at the U.K.'s public broadcaster. The BBC's former China editor sets her story, to be published next month, in the wider context of women's long and continuing struggle for workplace equality," notes the FT. Unfortunately, it's not out in the U.S. until next year. 

9. The Anxious Triumph by Donald Sassoon

Covering the history of capitalism from 1860 to 1914, this book is the "long-awaited magnum opus of one of Britain's most wide-ranging historians," according to Amazon. At 768 pages, it probably isn't light reading. 

10. Firefighting by Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and Henry Paulson 

It's hard to imagine a more impressively credentialed trio of authors than a former Fed chief and two former treasury secretaries. "I'm glad I didn't have to do the job that these three 'fire chiefs' did. I learned much from this book I had not previously known. Its cautions for the future should be required reading for all policymakers," said Warren Buffett in response to this book about the trio's efforts to contain the 2008 financial crisis. 

11. The Man Who Solved the Market by Gregory Zuckerman 

This book by Wall Street Journal reporter Zuckerman is a "narrative biography of Jim Simons, the secretive founder of quant fund Renaissance Technologies,"  says the FT.  

12. Boom by Michael Shnayerson 

A history of the contemporary art market might sound boring, but the reviews of this book by a former Vanity Fair editor all insist it is anything but. "Fast-paced and eye-opening, this is a wildly entertaining business history," claims Publishers Weekly

13. The Third Pillar by Raghuram Rajan​

Another book by a former central banker, Rajan was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Now he's a University of Chicago economist who believes his profession has neglected the role of community in how people decide and behave. "Economists all too often understand their field as the relationship between markets and the state, and they leave squishy social issues for other people. That's not just myopic, Rajan argues; it's dangerous," says Amazon. 

14. Extreme Economies by Richard Davies 

In this one, Davies, an economist, "visits local economies pushed to the limit, from Aceh to Glasgow, and examines what their response to extreme pressure teaches about resilience in the face of climate change, demographic shifts, and state failure," explains the FT.  Due out this month in the U.K., it won't be available in the U.S. until January. 

15. Loonshots by Safi Bahcall 

"This book has everything: new ideas, bold insights, entertaining history, and convincing analysis. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world," says Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman of this title about the relationship between group behavior and innovation.

16. Range by David Epstein 

A bestseller, this defense of generalists in a world that celebrates specialists has won rave reviews. "For reasons I cannot explain, David Epstein manages to make me thoroughly enjoy the experience of being told that everything I thought about something was wrong. I loved Range," said Malcolm Gladwell. 

Published on: Aug 19, 2019
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