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Business / Personal Finance

  • Finalist

    Plot/Idea: Patterson has taken his expertise as a leader and researcher and put it into an introspective, detailed, thoughtful book. This book not only gives plentiful relevant examples of different types of leaders, but it also walks the reader through numerous exercises to assist them in analyzing their own leadership skills. Patterson provides action plans to aid the reader in meeting their goals within themselves and their team. Provided at a time when many people are greatly questioning their work, their job, and their lives in general, this book is surely to support many people in uncovering what is lacking in their relationships with team members and work, and will help them to overcome these roadblocks in a clear, scaffolded way.

    Prose: Patterson is a jovial writer, who is excellent at telling stories and weaving them throughout his more technical prose. The book has the opportunity to be very dull and corporate, but instead it is vivacious and filled with examples that keep the reader interested.

    Originality: Books regarding being a better leader are fairly common. However, Patterson's is very well written, and stands out from the crowd with its clear action items, apt storytelling, and thoughtful reflection questions.

    Character Development/Execution: The book itself is very pleasant to look at, and clear to sift through. Patterson has chosen appropriate graphics that denote different sections and make it simple to find the various parts of his book. It's clear to follow, so Patterson's teachings and overall message will not get lost in the pages.

  • Semi Finalist

    The Surprising Gift of Doubt

    by Marc Pitman

    Rating: 9.00

    Plot: Pitman's prose is always clear, straightforward, and empathetic, which is rare for and appreciated in a business book.

    Prose: The Surprising Gift of Doubt smartly portrays doubt as a gift instead of an impediment, and offers excellent practical advice for leaders.

    Originality: Pitman impressively establishes authority by checking his privilege in the initial pages, and this incredibly executed text proceeds by offering numerous empathetic personal examples of professional leadership struggles.

    Character Development/Execution: This is an innovative book for business professionals that intelligently highlights doubt as an essential, important factor on the path to successful leadership.

  • Semi Finalist

    Ramping Your Brand: How to Ride the Killer CPG Growth Curve

    by James Richardson, PhD

    Rating: 8.25

    Plot/Idea: Ramping Your Brand is a finance text designed to help CPG industry newbies succeed. Richardson meticulously explains a four-step process for success and covers ideas like the essential principles of CPG design and the importance of leaning on meaninglessness and memorability.

    Prose: Richardson's voice is confidently direct and funny in a cheeky way, a perfect combo of solid advice and snark that keeps this text about business from being boring. Instead, it's a consistently compelling read.

    Originality: Ramping Your Brand stands out in the finance book market for the way the text refines questions and centers on young early-stage businesses. Richardson's insistence on privileging anecdotes over data is also a unique, human approach to sales.

    Character Development/Execution: Richardson successfully establishes his credentials in the CPG field by explaining his market research background upfront. Ramping Your Brand then proceeds clearly and coherently, through a focus on real-world scenarios and explanatory figures.

    Blurb: A smart, savvy, and assured guidebook for people new to the consumer packaged goods business world, James Richardson's Ramping Your Brand lays out the necessary steps for financial brand success in a complex, competitive field.

  • Quarter Finalist

    Remote Work Technology

    by Henry Kurkowski

    Rating: 9.25

    Plot/Idea: Remote Work Technology is an excellently formatted and clear manuscript for businesses who are faced with the daunting task of bringing their workforces online, often in the midst of disaster, stress, and confusion. Kurkowski has paid attention to even the most minute details, and has laid out a clear manual that is not only simple to understand and navigate, but also pleasant to read. 

    Prose: Kurkowski writes effortlessly, interestingly, and meaningfully. His words do not contain fluff, but instead are written intentionally and with purpose. Remote Work Technology is conversational, pleasant, and effective.

    Originality: As useful as a book as this is, it is one of many regarding moving online for work that have surfaced within the last year, understandably. What makes Kurkowski's book stand out is the extremely clear organization of his methodology. He is a master at arranging his thoughts in a concise, easy-to-follow manner, and this aspect of his novel makes it exceptionally valuable for those who are looking to prepare for the often difficult transition from in-person to online.

    Character Development/Execution: The true selling point of Kurkowski's work is its exceptionally clear layout and easily understood and navigable execution. Ending each important section with a call-out of "best practices," pulling out examples of different businesses who experienced the shift to remote work, and having it all laid out in a very detailed index makes this book simple to follow, even during the most stressful of times. 

  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot: This is a necessary book written at exactly the right time. It may be used as a manual for those who are wanting to add a more collaborative aspect to their teams, and who are considering moving to having a larger amount of their workforce working remotely.

    Prose/Style: Readers will revel in Simon's prose. It is obvious he has experience as a professor, as it reads like an interesting college class. He peppers in anecdotes, humor, graphs, and images to get the concepts across, which really make this easily digestible.

    Originality: Simon’s book features an original and highly relevant topic. The author cogently challenges notions that have been held for decades and invites readers to rethink their own assumptions of best practices.

    Character Development/Execution: Structurally, this work unfolds intuitively, from an introduction regarding how work looked pre-COVID, then moving into the immediate changes that took place, then exploring potential models for “moving forward."

  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot: Scott takes a familiar, well-known concept—capitalism and how money functions in the world—and analyzes it from new angles, using interesting anecdotes, metaphors, and his own personal research to inform his opinions.

    Prose/Style: Scott’s prose flows well, and readers will find themselves twenty pages from when they started reading without even noticing that time has passed, because it all works so well together.

    Originality: Although the concepts here aren’t new, Scott takes a very interesting look at and spin on them. He talks about his family, games he has played, and unique, experimental monetary systems. Readers will learn a lot from reading this book, and especially enjoy the fact that he feels positively about the future of humanity.

    Character Development/Execution: The book could be organized a little more clearly, but it still works well. It feels like an informal conversation with your parent at the dining room table about their interests regarding finances—the execution meanders at times, but it works. The informality makes the stressful concept less exasperating for readers, and even fun, which is saying a lot for something as dry as the financial workings of the world!

  • Quarter Finalist

    Risk Intelligence

    by Gregory M. Carroll

    Rating: 8.00

    Plot/Idea: Carroll's Risk Intelligence smartly and clearly explains the importance of using new AI technologies to enhance the impact of risk management in the current business world. Carroll covers everything from dealing with supply chain challenges to managing cyberattacks in this incredibly useful guide.

    Prose: Carroll's prose is always understandable and precise, despite the technical content of the book. Technical terms are clearly defined, and practical examples of complex concepts always land.

    Originality: Risk Management is certainly original in its exceptionally up-to-date analysis of the contemporary business climate. Carroll discusses the impact of COVID on the workforce and the influence of younger employees on shifting attitudes on work, making this text an important current guide. The focus on Bayesian modelling, as opposed to the more commonly used frequentist approach, is also novel.

    Character Development/Execution: Carroll surely outlines the book's premise at the beginning and follows through evenly, executing a smooth text. Risk Management also offers impressively executed back matter for curious readers, including summaries and ideas for classes.

    Blurb: A unique and adept guide to employing prevailing AI technology to risk management, Carroll's Risk Intelligence is an innovative text that's sure to influence business managers.

  • Your Hidden Game

    by sharon rich

    Rating: 7.50

    Idea: Rich demystifies complex business concepts while proposing creative ways to cause change. Her overarching theme may be unconventional, but readers will appreciate its novelty.

    Prose/Style: Rich illuminates sophisticated ideas with her concise and clear writing style. Her prose is direct— and staunchly uncompromising—but supportive of her straightforward advice.

    Originality: Your Hidden Game hits all the marks for business gurus, with the added bonus of refreshing and unusual ways to analyze organizational dynamics. Rich’s focus on business milieu and psychological safety is a welcome change from many in the genre.

    Character Development/Execution: Rich delivers on her promises—in a user-friendly, transparent manner. She outlines conclusive steps in line with her primary vision, bolstered by sustainable actions and realistic hope for change.

  • Ideas: Kang’s guide to being more creative in the workplace reflects a common struggle in the modern world, and engages the reader to rethink problem-solving.

    Prose/Style: The prose of this guide is easy to understand and the pacing keeps the reader engaged.

    Originality: The author uses examples from their own life to relate to the reader, and explain how creativity can be stifled in the modern workplace. The usage of art and colorful text is attention-grabbing.

    Character Development/Execution: The execution in this how-to guide is finely organized and easy to read; the additional pages to take notes are a helpful and thoughtful element.

  • The Visionary Brand

    by Bryan Smeltzer

    Rating: 7.50

    Plot/Idea: The Visionary Brand clearly and cleverly explains what constitutes a successful, long-lasting brand, and covers essential topics like the loyalty loop, the drawdown pipeline, and cannibalization. The work may benefit from an even broader perspective on what constitutes a visionary leader.

    Prose:  Smeltzer's prose is consistently inspiring, motivating, and precise. Bolding important terms and distilling ideas down into basic statements helps to get the text's points across.

    Originality: The Visionary Brand offers a unique perspective on what makes certain brands long-lasting and iconic. Smeltzer's book provides a pertinent focus on diversity, values leadership, and how to engage in our new age.

    Character Development/Execution: Smeltzer is highly qualified to pen this text. The metaphors and graphics employed to explain the book's points are always clarifying. 

  • Plot/Idea: Rodriguez kicks off her work with a well-developed and clearly defined main concept. Readers will recognize the guide’s framework from the start, and Rodriguez’s premise unmistakably forms the base of the text.

    Prose: Rodriguez writes in an elevated, technical style, but she utilizes straightforward examples that clarify her vernacular. The prose is crisp and emphatic, with almost no distractions.

    Originality: Unsettled Disruption is highly relevant and utilizes a progressive context to rejuvenate established principles, lending it distinction from others in its genre.

    Character Development/Execution: Rodriguez structures her guide efficiently and limits excessive information, zeroing in on the necessary steps to develop her main themes. Outcomes are discernible from the beginning, with little deviation from the work’s goals.

  • Plot/Idea: Markham ably communicates his main theme, without falling into distractions or unnecessary sidetracks. His narrative is clearly structured around a well-organized, straightforward concept.

    Prose: Markham’s prose is simple but powerful, replete with poignant moments and thought-provoking wording. His use of natural phrasing adds depth to his crisp writing style.

    Originality: Big Lucky is comprehensible and methodical, with some notable additions that elevate it from others in the genre. 

    Character Development/Execution: Markham is precise and diligent in following through on his advice. He delivers on every promise in a way that will be accessible to a wide range of readers.

  • Real Insights

    by John Graff

    Rating: 6.75

    Plot/Idea: Graff’s concept here will immediately be appealing to relevant audiences. He structures his narrative smoothly around the main concept and is transparent about his product from the beginning.

    Prose: Graff’s prose is informational and accessible, although there are some isolated sections of more stilted writing. He clarifies complex topics with a down-to-earth style that will be relatable for readers.

    Originality: Real Insights does an effective job of consolidating relevant advice into one straightforward guide, but the information presented sticks to the basics for the most part. 

    Character Development/Execution: Graff delivers solid, concrete guidance that is directly related to his main theme. He never strays from his goals, and readers will find his counsel uncomplicated and to the point.

  • Disqualified because word count under 40,000.