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Business Book of the Year shortlist unveiled

17th September 2012 - 3:36pm

The shortlist for the 2012 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year has been announced, with six titles in contention for the GBP 30,000 prize.

They include Walter Isaacson's bestselling biography of the late Steve Jobs, charting the Apple founder's rise to prominence in the technology world and his global impact on innovation before his death in October 2011.

It is joined by Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll, who examines the true extent of the influence that the largest and most powerful private corporation in the US has over government, other organisations and the public.

John Coates is nominated for The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk-taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust, which looks at the way in which people's propensity to take risk - particularly in the banking sector - is driven by inherent biological factors.

Other contenders include Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, which suggests that man-made political and economic institutions underlie economic success, rather than culture, weather or geography.

Meanwhile, Michael J. Sandel's What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets looks at how almost everything in our world is now seemingly for sale and questions whether market values are now reaching into spheres of life where they do not belong.

The shortlist is completed by Volcker: The Triumph of Persistence by William L. Silber; an account of the career of Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, who has been relied on by five American presidents to restore financial stability to the country in times of economic uncertainty.

Commenting on this year's contenders, Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, said it will be difficult to choose one stand-out title.

'The quality of submissions this year was outstanding, and we therefore have a very powerful shortlist. It has a strong emphasis on leadership and broader institutional and political issues, reflecting the mood of the world today,' he added.

The winner of the 2012 Business Book of the Year will be announced at an award dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York on November 1st and receive GBP 30,000 (or GBP 15,000 if Acemoglu and Robinson share the prize), with the other shortlisted authors receiving GBP 10,000.

Last year's award was shared by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo for Poor Economics; their radical solution to fighting global poverty, written after 15 years spent travelling through some of the world's poorest nations.

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