- Justin Sullivan/Getty
Some of the biggest ongoing business stories of our time, from the personal and political effects of increased globalization to the confrontation of ingrained sexism in Silicon Valley, are reflected in this year’s list of best business books from McKinsey and the Financial Times.
Since 2005, McKinsey and FT have assembled an annual panel of experts to select the most insightful and well-written books in the genre.
This year’s panel includes FT editor Lionel Barber, Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker, Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian, London Business School professor Herminia Ibarra, McKinsey director of publishing Rik Kirkland, University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Randall Kroszner, economist Dambisa Moyo, and Santander chairwoman Shriti Vadera.
The panel chose 15 finalists earlier this year, narrowed it down to six semifinalists on Tuesday, and will announce the winner in November.
When she announced the semifinalists, McKinsey’s UK and Ireland managing partner Vivian Hunt said the selections, “really capture the extent of the economic and social disruption we face today, and highlight the big global challenges governments, business and society need to confront.”
Here are the six books in the running for best business book of 2017.
‘Adaptive Markets’ by Andrew W. Lo
For the past few decades, economists have debated the implications of efficient market theory, which states that investors and markets are rational and efficient, and the implications of behavioral economics, which essentially states the opposite.
MIT Sloan School of Management professor Andrew Lo argues in “Adaptive Markets” that efficient market theory is just incomplete rather than wrong, and offers a new way of understanding how investors behave and markets adapt.
‘Janesville’ by Amy Goldstein
- Simon & Schuster
The 2016 US presidential election highlighted deep divides within the United States, and brought to the forefront the concerns of middle-class Americans whose jobs have disappeared due to increased globalization and the Great Recession.
Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein embedded herself in a town particularly affected by these forces: Janesville, Wisconsin, which is also the hometown of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Through extensive interviews with all walks of life there, she explores why so many Americans have been struggling to make a living.
‘Reset’ by Ellen Pao
- Spiegel & Grau
Ellen Pao sued her company, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, in 2012 for $16 million in lost wages due to gender discrimination, which then led to her firing. The case went to trial in 2015 and became a spectacle in the tech world.
The court ruled in Kleiner Perkins’ favor on all four counts, but Pao continued to crusade for women’s rights in tech, and inspired an ongoing wave of women in the industry to speak up against ingrained sexism in the Valley.
“Reset” is Pao’s account of what happened, and what her experience of the past few years has taught her.
‘The One Device’ by Brian Merchant
- Little, Brown and Company
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, the device that made Apple the most valuable company in the world and transformed the way people interact with technology.
To mark the occasion, Motherboard senior editor Brian Merchant uses “The One Device” as a deep dive into the decisions and breakthroughs behind the development of the historic smartphone.
‘The Spider Network’ by David Enrich
- Custom House
“The Spider Network” is Wall Street Journal editor David Enrich’s definitive tale of how in 2006, six bankers from around the world formed an uneasy alliance to manipulate the small group of people that determined the value of Libor – the London interbank offer rate, which sets the interest rates for trillions of dollars of global loans – and make millions in the process. Of course, the scheme eventually fell apart in spectacular fashion.
Enrich takes a complex financial story and makes it read like an accessible thriller.
‘The Great Leveler’ by Walter Scheidel
- Princeton University Press
There have been many investigations into the current state of income inequality in the developed world, but Stanford historian Walter Scheidel’s provocative book is an attempt at tracing the history of income inequality throughout the entirety of man’s existence.
Scheidel argues that the only effective means of closing vast income gaps has been through violent movements; to be clear, he doesn’t condone them. His conclusion, however, is that in modern society, vast income inequality will be more persistent than many of us would like to believe.
The nine other books that didn’t make the semifinals are also worth checking out.
- Random House
“A Man for All Markets” by Edward O. Thorp
“Black Edge” by Sheelah Kolhatkar
“Doughnut Economics” by Kate Raworth
“Economics for the Common Good” by Jean Tirole
“Grave New World” by Stephen D. King
“Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella
“Move Fast and Break Things” by Jonathan Taplin
“Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas L. Friedman
“The Driver in the Driverless Car” by Vivek Wadhwa
“The Wisdom of Finance” by Mihir Desai
“Wild Ride” by Adam Lashinsky