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Business / Personal Finance

  • Finalist

    Idea/Concept:  Kian's informed guide provides stimulating advice for aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs to excel in a "volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous" world. Making compelling references to figures from literature, history, art, and politics, the author presents a blueprint for navigating chaos and centering the self.

    Prose: The writing here is clear and uncluttered. Practical, intuitive steps for achieving goals under difficult circumstances, offset the sometimes overwhelming number of references to literary and other outside sources.

    Originality:  Kian's work, while far-reaching in its sourcing, nevertheless feels firmly planted in the current moment.  Kian acknowledges the noise and tumult inherent in the modern era and recognizes how young, capable leaders may struggle to retain focus. While many of the suggestions and techniques  Kian introduces are familiar, their context and presentation is  unique.

    Execution:  Kian's guidebook blends the philosophical with the practical. Ironically, the text also has a tendency to be overstuffed with ideas and allusions, which are somewhat in conflict with the book's intent. Regardless, readers who like their advice books to be intellectually fortifying will value this unconventional guide to succeeding in an uncertain world.

  • Semi Finalist

    Write to Influence!: Second Edition

    by Carla Bass

    Rating: 9.25

    Idea/Concept: Bass's guide and workbook target the writing tasks that non-writers face in their professional and sometimes personal lives, offering hands-on, practical, specialized advice to conceive, draft, and sharpen resumes, admissions applications, grant submissions, and more. For most of its pages, her guide emphasizes the process of editing, which she breaks down into easily applied steps. Bass fills out the volume with her many examples and editing exercises illustrating the process of eliminating redundancy, jargon, and gibberish. A compelling coach, Bass encourages readers to make a game out of sharpening their prose.

    Prose: Bass's text honors her book's precepts for direct, persuasive, unambiguous, audience-targeted prose. Her sentences demonstrate to readers that her advice works. She wastes no words, rarely repeats herself, offers precisely as much context as readers require, and models throughout the book her argument that effective writing demands "empathy." As a writer, she is always aware of the needs and expectations of her reader. Bass employs many metaphors while coaching her readers, and individually they illustrate her concepts, but sometimes they pile up and overlap. But this is a book for people who aren't necessarily fussy about such things, so long as a piece of writing communicates effectively.

    Originality: While some of Bass's advice is time-honored and familiar, the process of drafting effective professional writing projects and then honing them to perfection has rarely been so inviting or presented with such clarity and enthusiasm. Bass has generated hundreds of examples to illustrate how to improve passages of pedestrian writing -- and why it's urgent to do so.

    Execution: Well organized and a pleasure to page through, Bass's Write to Influence! is an invaluable resource overstuffed with advice, examples, and cheerful, constructive coaching. The author guides readers through general principles of good writing and also the drafting and editing of highly specific projects. She's exhaustive in offering tips and examples, most of which address and improve upon common tendencies in everyday writing. Readers who spend time with Write to Influence! will almost certainly improve their prose. The illustrations in the text are not as strong as Bass's advice, and Bass includes more exercises than any reader is ever likely to need. Bass teaches writing as a two-part process of first strategizing a message and then applying "Word Sculpting Tools" to the first draft; the relative shortness of the book's first section, "Strategies to Influence," compared to its much longer second section, "Word Sculpting Tools," might strike some readers as at odds with Bass's championing of proportion.

  • Semi Finalist

    Concerning the Nature and Structure of Concept

    by Winston J. Perez

    Rating: 9.00

    Idea/Concept: This unique guide to practicing conceptually-based cognition, asks readers to address not what they think, but how.

    Prose: Perez’s prose is engaging and stimulating. The author effectively captures interest by suggesting that reframing the world through a new cognitive perspective, can empower and enrich readers’ lives.

     

    Originality: Highly original, this work will appeal to readers who are curious about the mind and how it perceives, takes in, and interprets information.

    Execution: Perez draws from a wealth of references, from the Bible to The Matrix. Blending cognitive science with philosophy and a sprinkling of the metaphysical, Perez delivers a somewhat esoteric, often enlightening, treatise on the art of interpreting the world conceptually.

  • Semi Finalist

    Idea/Concept: Those with an interest in how chemicals impact our lives in good and bad ways will appreciate this articulate guide to understanding where modifications need to be made in production  and where changes may not resolve safety or health concerns. Without overt curiosity on the subject matter, the technical content will not be of interest to a general reader.

    Prose: Meticulous editing and a succinct style set the foundation for an informative textbook that explores a complicated subject in comprehensible language. Suitable for environmental scientists and specialists in related fields, the book presents varied subtopics in a coherent layout.

    Originality: Competition in marketing titles on the environment and high-scale, perhaps even high-scare, manufacturing of everyday products immerses the publishing industry in a stress-filled attempt at making one stand apart from another, as this book succeeds in accomplishing with expected references to government regulations. Exemplary for its balanced and reasonable viewpoint, the text deserves to be classified as a reference tool for countless professionals.

    Execution: Backed by case studies and extensive research, the book’s straightforward approach examines the manufacturing of metals and plastics, as well as widespread chemical use and potential contamination in the processing of virtually anything. Fair to all parties engaging in controversial and commonplace production methods, the text also warns of the underlying dangers found in natural substances.

  • Semi Finalist

    Idea/Concept: Steven Arnott's The Snowman's Guide to Personal Finances explains the basics of investing and preparing for retirement for Canadians through the use of analogies. The key analogy is that investment and planning for retirement is like building a snowman, which might actually be a tricky comparison for some readers, as investments and retirement should be enduring while snowmen don't survive into spring.

    Prose: Arnott's central analogy might have that conceptual flaw, but readers likely will still find it helpful, as Arnott mostly uses it to illustrate processes. His prose is clear and persuasive in these passages, and the book does an excellent job of both illuminating why the steps are necessary and how to take them. The introduction features the book's least confident, hardest-to-follow prose; those passages do not predict the assured work to follow and may dissuade some readers from giving the book a chance.

    Originality: The analogies are fresh, and even the most familiar advice is delivered here with clarity and conviction.

    Execution: Arnott's book is clear, concise, approachable, and precisely as detailed as it needs to be when considering TFSAs, RRSPs, and RRIFs. The author's emphasis is on the how and why of investing -- how to do it, and why you should. He just as capably explains tax law as he does address the psychological barriers many readers might have toward taking control of their financial futures. Helpful tables and summaries make it impossible to miss the key takeaways.

    Blurb: With uncommon clarity and much practical know-how, The Snowman's Guide to Personal Finance lays out how and why Canadians can take control of their investments and their futures.

     

  • Quarter Finalist

    Concept/Idea: Formatted as a study guide, this vital writing tool captures the essence of that all-important first impression—a bio with pizzazz for people in all professions. After a detailed analysis, the book provides an information worksheet to guide the composition, as well as examples of good and bad results in the finished work.

    Prose: Simple, without resorting to oversimplification, the text breaks down every piece of a biographical blurb to magnify the most common mistakes, effectively done with delightful humor. Succinct and organized, this brief book may be a godsend to any professional.

    Originality: Bio writing is covered by numerous textbooks, deemed essential not only by the publishing industry, but by every enterprise. Consequently, the subject is far from fresh, even though this spirited angle earns a welcome mat.

    Execution: A concise instruction manual geared toward writers and entrepreneurs, this savvy approach to writing the most important marketing element in an individual’s career or business—a bio—succeeds in presenting a usable method. Its step-by-step approach makes this difficult process easy to master.

    Blurb: Learn to write a professional bio in hours using this short and sweet instruction guide.

  • Quarter Finalist

    Write a Book that Doesn't Suck

    by Jaimie Engle

    Rating: 7.75

    Idea/Concept: Engle's guide book, which includes valuable insights and tips and tricks on how to improve one's process of writing a novel/story, is well-balanced and thoughtful.

    Prose: The prose is understandable and down-to-earth, while Engle's word choice and language usage allow his guidelines to be easily accessible and digestible.

    Originality: There are likely many books in this genre, but Engle’s accessible writing, original tips and enjoyable examples make this a memorable and inspirational read.

    Execution: The book writing process is explained and explored thoroughly here, and the book’s structure and development is very well executed. The author recognizes that writing requires not just creativity, but determination, hard work, and focus.

  • Plot: The book walks the readers (presumably, retail business owners) through a series of strategies and tactics designed to steer them towards success. It delivers an outline that readers can continually revisit, and encourages engagement through a series of self-assessment worksheets.

    Prose: Delaney conveys her information in a conversational but authoritative voice that comes off in a positive, friendly, and upbeat manner. There is room for improvement: the writing often veers into tangential directions that do not add value to the overall message, creating unnecessary wordiness and distracting readers.

    Originality: The book covers a topic seldom discussed in today's digitally forward business philosophies: the brick and mortar retail operations. It provides an original, refreshing, and crisp point of view that revisits age-old advice with an update to fit today's modern needs.

    Character/Execution: The book gives readers insights into the author's rationale and opinions on how to successfully run a retail business. However, other than writing with a commanding tone, Delaney fails to establish her credentials, explain what makes her an industry expert, or give readers a compelling reason why they should take her advice.

  • Idea/Concept: The main concept here is clear and well conveyed. The author discusses strategies for estate and inheritance planning, addressing a variety of theoretical and real-life circumstances and providing accessible blueprints for executing wealth transfer.

    Prose: The book contains no-nonsense prose with engaging narrative drive. Real world examples of business owners navigating critical financial decisions, provide relatable context.

    Originality: Legacy provides a compelling focus on the specific topic of wealth transfer over more general financial guidance. The author provides a reliable, helpful, and pleasant reading experience.

    Execution: With its straightforward presentation and inclusion of useful insider tips and tricks, this book will prove valuable to relevant audiences, particularly those seeking to launch their own business or other entrepreneurial ventures.

  • Idea/Concept: With a quick immersion into the basics of taking control of a business and, ultimately, one’s life, a receptive person will know how to apply the set of skills Waite lays out to virtually any endeavor. In the end, success, the author suggests, depends on techniques used to protect and maintain a valuable service or commodity without allowing clients to manipulate the process to the entrepreneur’s disadvantage.

    Prose: Conversational and straightforward, this simplified, brief text provides light and easy reading. The book’s greatest strength—a direct presentation of a business owner’s senseless errors in judgment—occasionally prattles into an entertainment-value method of delivery.

    Originality: A golf instructor and a valuable student discuss the cons of stereotypical business operations, while debating the urgency of implementing a new modus operandi that empowers the downtrodden enterpriser. This unusual way of conveying information may be fresh, yet the material itself has been seen before in competing titles.

    Execution: This succinct business title aims to coach new entrepreneurs struggling with daily setbacks. In a step-by-step approach, the narrative, which reads much like fiction, shines a spotlight on ruinous mistakes.

    Blurb: Learn to control your business and your life in this fun, educational book.

     

  • Winning at Retirement

    by Patrick Foley & Kristin Hillsley

    Rating: 5.75

    Concept/Idea: Foley's account of retirement, preparation, and tips and tricks is an extensive and lively one, full of historical anecdotes of determination and challenge.

    Prose: The book is comprised of clear, accessible use of prose that is suitable for the subject of Foley's account.

    Originality: As mentioned by the author, there are many books on the subject, but this volume’s examples, tips and tricks and suggestions of tools such as TED talks offer a diverse and helpful account.

    Execution: The subject of retirement is thoroughly developed in Foley's book, pulling from relevant research on the topic and other resources to fortify the main argument.

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