Yes, the last quarter of the year often means a manic sprint to reach your business and personal goals, but at least this season offers one big compensation for the crazy end-of-year scramble. 'Tis the season for best-of lists rounding up must-read books, unmissable movies, and game-changing journalism.
To kick off this feast of great content, one of the first (and best) lists of the season has just come out: McKinsey and the Financial Times's list of semi-finalists for the best business book of the year. Each year, a panel of luminaries selected by the two institutions combs through the year's best titles to pick a dozen or so finalists, then narrows it down to around half as many semi-finalists, before finally crowning one book as the best of the year.
Here are the semi-finalist picks from this year's impressive line-up of judges, including Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker, and Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian. The ultimate winner will be announced November 6th.
1. The Spider Network by David Enrich
Wall Street Journal editor David Enrich's detailed account of the Libor rate-fixing scandal "takes a complex financial story and makes it read like an accessible thriller," enthuses Business Insider.
2. Janesville by Amy Goldstein
For this one, Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein embedded herself in Janesville, Wisconsin, where General Motors recently closed a plant, to explore why it's so hard for so many people to make ends meet in America these days.
3. Adaptive Markets by Andrew W. Lo
Are markets rational or irrational? MIT professor Andrew Lo enters this perennial debate among economists, offering "a new framework, the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis, in which rationality and irrationality coexist," according to Amazon.
4. The One Device by Brian Merchant
Marking the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the first iPhone, this book by Motherboard senior editor Brian Merchant gives readers a look at the inside story of how the world-changing device was developed.
5. Reset by Ellen Pao
This is the much-chattered-about memoir from Pao, the Kleiner Perkins VC who initiated a high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit against her firm and lost. This long piece by Pao for The Cut offers a sneak preview of what you're likely to find in the book.
6. The Great Leveler by Walter Scheidel
In The Great Leveler, Stanford historian Walter Scheidel traces the history of income inequality throughout the world and comes to a less-than-optimistic conclusion: Huge gaps in income usually end in violence, he cautions, giving readers cause to worry about how today's vast inequality will play out.