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Eye on the Prize

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What on earth can a scholarly meditation of mankind’s fickle journey through history possibly have in common with the characteristics of exponential entrepreneurship; Coca-Cola’s design principles and agility; Baby Boomers not only postponing retirement but also launching businesses; or the role conversations play in the successful implementation of corporate strategies?

The answer: getAbstract’s 15th annual International Book Award.

The five English language nominees for this prestigious prize reflect the diversity of business literature that getAbstract set out to acknowledge in launching the contest in 2001. Over the years, getAbstract has presented its award to luminary authors such as George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Ian Morris and Malcolm Gladwell. (For more details about previous winners, please go to: www.getAbstract.com/Bookaward.)

getAbstract’s expert writers and editors evaluated thousands of English and German titles in fields ranging from leadership and management to economics and politics.

The five English nominees are:

SapiensSAPIENS by Yuval Noah Harari, Harper/HarperCollins Publishers

Yuval Noah Harari’s imaginative and profound exploration of mankind traces pivotal moments in history and speculates about where we might be headed. He believes that happiness can be used as a measuring stick of mankind’s progress.

“There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws and no justice outside the common imagination of human beings,” Harari explains.

BoldBOLD by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The authors explain how “exponential entrepreneurs” utilize new technologies and platforms to push the envelope of innovation and literally change the world. They share the powerful, inexpensive tools available to everyone right now to fund, build and market groundbreaking concepts.

“Trying out crazy ideas means bucking expert opinion and taking big risks,” Diamandis and Kotler write. “It means not being afraid to fail. Because you will fail. The road to bold is paved with failure.”

Design to GrowDesign to Grow by David Butler and Linda Tischler, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Using Coca-Cola as their model, Butler and Tischler demonstrate how thoughtful design promotes the agility organizations need to prosper. Following their advice, you can turn your business into a giant Lego set – a collection of interlocking modules you can reconfigure quickly to adapt to changing conditions.

“Some of the most successful brands, disrupted by a rapidly changing marketplace, have not only quit growing, but are struggling just to remain viable,” they write.

UnretirementUnretirement by Chris Farrell, Bloomsbury/Walker & Company

Perish those thoughts that Baby Boomers will create a Social Security Crisis by overwhelming the system. Farrell says older workers aren’t going anywhere – in fact, they’ll stimulate the economy with “entrepreneurial energy.”

“The drive to lead productive lives well into the latter stages of life can generate economic dynamism and social creativity and…reduce the nation’s fiscal burdens,” Farrell writes.

ThirteenersThirteeners by Daniel F. Prosser, Greenleaf Book Group

Companies may profess to have strategic guidelines for success but few actually execute effectively. Lack of commitment to a shared mission and lack of “connectedness” – open communication among executives and employees – are significant factors when companies fall short.

“Business is a network of interrelated conversations; that’s all business is,” Prosser says. “Everything you do in your business is the result of a conversation.”

The International Book Award will be presented in October in Frankfurt, Germany. In addition to being finalists, our nominees share another thing in common: they are all accessible in our library so you can see for yourself what makes them great.

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