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Business / Personal Finance

  • Finalist

    Plot/Idea: McCourt delivers a thought-provoking and galvanizing guidebook for future and current leaders looking to improve their skills of communication, support their team members, and continue to strive for success in changing times.

    Prose: McCourt writes in a clear, articulate style and with guidance that mirrors the type of leadership that she advocates for in her readers.

    Originality: Guides to effective leadership are plentiful. McCourt brings a quality of nuance to the topic by examining how leadership roles evolve and change along with workplace expectations and paradigms.

    Character/Execution: McCourt presents concrete advice about leadership models. She lays out a blueprint for achieving results, while highlighting outmoded or ineffective styles, and urging readers to embrace the spirit of compassion and cooperation.

  • Semi Finalist

    Creating Superfans

    by Brittany Hodak

    Rating: 9.25

    Plot: Creating Superfans is an incredibly relevant, on-point guide applicable to a wide array of business models. Readers will find it full of manageable advice, useful tips, and handy follow-up summaries that break down the information into bite-sized pieces. 

    Prose: Deviating from similar guides, Hodak uses informal prose that perfectly matches her book’s tone. Readers will find the writing style makes the information understandable and enjoyable.

    Originality: Hodak manages to combine serious business know-how with a lighthearted, accessible atmosphere, creating a fully original—and contemporary—guide. 

    Character/Execution: Hodak perfectly executes her goal through rich, meaningful guidance presented in an entertaining way. The graphics serve a purpose as much as they are visually appealing, and Hodak’s real-life examples simplify her model.

  • Semi Finalist

    Plot:  Kim Clark and Janet Stovall offer relevancy and concepts with deeper meaning that will appeal to a wide range of readers. The authors break down ideas in understandable terms, and the book’s mission is crystallized immediately—though the authors continue to build on it throughout the text.

    Prose: The prose matches the book’s tone, with a solid balance of technicalities and informal, conversational writing. Emphatic statements back up the text’s more important points nicely, and transitions are smoothly connected. 

    Originality: The foundational concept is fully developed and takes into account current concerns and hot topics while melding them with solid, structured advice for effecting positive change.

    Character/Execution: Clark and Stovall provide engaging examples of their concepts, giving the text credibility and driving ideas home. There are multiple actionable steps included that will give readers a sound sense of how to implement the authors' guidance. 

  • Semi Finalist

    Branding Queens

    by Kim Rozdeba

    Rating: 8.75

    Plot/Idea: Rozdeba delivers spirited accounts of distinguished businesswomen in vignette-style writing, offering readers professional acumen alongside absorbing stories. The writing hits a perfect inspirational note while managing to remain entertaining at the same time.

    Prose: The prose is direct and succinct, matching the book’s overall tone, and readers will find the structure easy to follow, with plenty of amusing details scattered throughout that bring the text to life. 

    Originality: The twist of a branding focus, as opposed to simply chronicling inspirational female business leaders, lends Rozdeba’s work an edge that similar titles may be lacking.

    Character Development/Execution: Rozdeba accomplishes what he sets out to do, maintaining the integrity of the work as well as crafting a dynamic and fluid text that evolves naturally. 

  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot/Idea: Drawing on decades of experience as a Harvard-educated attorney specializing in ethical issues, Reeve offers 12 guided case studies for honing managers’ abilities to help their teams navigate ambiguous ethical terrain. Readers will appreciate the book’s proactive approach to all-too-familiar ethical conundrums.

    Prose: Compelling scenarios, clear prose, bulleted lists and tables, and engaging group exercises make challenging material available for conversation, reflection, and transformation. A relevant tool for anyone at any level of a company.

    Originality: The power of Reeve’s book lies in its attention to practical insight, use of illustrative case studies, and useful takeaways. Managers can apply the 12 representative ethical dilemmas to helping their teams practice ethical problem-solving in a range of settings.

    Character/Execution: Reeve structures her practical manual to support monthly ethics discussions, keeping the book useful and relevant long after the first read. A highly actionable guide.


  • Quarter Finalist

    Wealth Your Way: A Simple Path to Financial Freedom

    by Cosmo P DeStefano

    Rating: 9.00

    Idea: Although this book includes much information that is readily available, it does so in an accessible and easy-to-understand way--and the material is delivered consistently in the voice of the author. His message is that the rules of financial independence are "simple but not easy." 

    Prose: At all times, the author's voice makes this book fresh and personable. Readers feel as if they are learning from a friend who makes complicated concepts easy to understand.

    Originality: Others have written similar books, but this one stands out because of its simplicity and its strong voice. The reading suggestions at the end of chapters and the quotes from experts like Buffett are also helpful. 

    Character/Execution: In a market of prescriptive nonfiction finance books, Wealth Your Way stands out because of its wise, accessible voice, its graphics, and its well-edited prose. The author gives insights that surpass the usual rules, including how to go beyond the usual concept of compounding to achieve maximum investment power.



  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot/Idea: While on its surface a fairly standard how-to book for people who want to become professional photo organizers, this book stands apart via its excellent organization, interesting quotes, and striking formatting.

    Prose: The prose is easy to digest, straightforward, and simplifies the more complicated aspects of starting a private business. 

    Originality: A Business Roadmap for Professional Photo Organizers explores a niche market not often explored. While this somewhat limits its readership, the text provides valuable insights for the target audience. 

    Character/Execution: Yesko and Nelson deliver a successful and enriching manual for readers looking to develop and fine-tune a photo-organizing business. 

  • Quarter Finalist

    Sell More With A Right-Brain Marketing Strategy

    by James I. Bond

    Rating: 8.75

    Plot: Marketing specialist James I. Bond teaches readers how to make their ideas and products stick in their target audiences’ minds using fourteen simple principles that draw on tried-and-true sales strategies. Novices and professionals alike, with advertising budgets large or small, will find Sell More With A Right-Brain Marketing Strategy a perennial and valuable resource.

    Prose: Bond’s accessible, punchy prose make his tips and stories easy to absorb and implement. Short paragraphs keep the read swift and entertaining, delivering content at once powerful and concrete.

    Originality: Using his trademarked “BRAIN GLUE” concept, Bond offers a fresh synthesis of foundational marketing principles and real-world experience for getting a product noticed, remembered, and sold—in other words, to make it stick. With the scope of a textbook and the intimacy of a trusted advisor, Bond connects readers to an array of marketing strategies that work equally well in daily transactions, such as buying a car, as in business settings.

    Character/Execution: Sell More with a Right-Brain Marketing Strategy gets right to the point and delivers a wealth of information based in research, experience, and relatable examples. A must-read for anyone who wants their message to be unforgettable.

    Blurb: An easy-to-read and entertaining guide packed with strategies for taking sales to the next level. 

  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot/Idea: Kouznetsova cogently urges business leaders and media professionals to broaden their audience to include members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities by taking a few actionable steps--most notably, by including universal captioning when presenting aural information.

    Prose: Kouznetsova's prose is even and approachable. She provides a fine blend of informative blocks of writing, clear definitions of unfamiliar or frequently misunderstood terms, and bullet-pointed lists.

    Originality: Sound Is Not Enough is unique in its focus on the benefits of captioning for those with hearing issues as well as individuals with learning disabilities, foreign language speakers, and more.

    Character/Execution: Sound Is Not Enough examines how providing accommodations and resources for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals can not only meet the needs of an underserved community but can also increase revenue. The author provides valuable insights into the needs of those with hearing difficulties, bringing compassion and first-hand knowledge to the topic.

  • Quarter Finalist

    Playing to Win the RFP Game

    by E. B. Diamond

    Rating: 8.00

    Plot/Idea: Diamond delivers a great resource for business entities seeking to win more Requests for Proposals. Rich with down-to-earth advice, real-life examples, and professional know-how, this highly structured and informative book is a solid roadmap for professionals.

    Prose: Competent prose combined with relevant business terminology makes this work a perfect fit for professionals, and Diamond wastes no time diving into practical advice on a personal level. Readers will appreciate the straightforward explanations and candid style, particularly when exploring potential missteps that could halt successful RFPs early on. 

    Originality: Diamond drills down to a niche level, tailoring the advice to specifics while still allowing room for different professions to glean necessary information. The work’s precision is a definite strength that lends it originality.

    Character Development/Execution: Readers will leave with a firm grasp of Diamond’s main concepts, including concrete steps on implementing those concepts into their everyday business life. The inclusion of insider tricks is genius and covers the entire RFP process from start to finish—a gold mine for potential RFP bidders. 

  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot/Idea: This is a timely book that frankly considers the interrelationship of design and cultural competency, with an end goal of creating inclusive and diverse design processes. Bantom’s idea is incredibly relevant and draws attention to an area that, despite being rarely addressed, is crucial.

    Prose: The prose manages to be professional without sacrificing clarity, and Bantom utilizes polished concepts and themes that will resonate with veterans and entry-level designers alike.

    Originality: Bantom’s book is practical and visionary, full of hands-on ideas to help professionals implement culturally competent design elements and practices. 

    Character/Execution: Bantom’s intent to teach inclusive design practices is clear throughout, though some of the text relies too heavily on exposition. Readers will find the concepts thought-provoking as well as productive, with plenty of experiential recommendations.

  • The Visibility Factor

    by Susan M. Barber

    Rating: 7.75

    Plot: Barber cleverly melds her professional expertise with useful guidance, offering readers concrete steps to improve leadership and flourish in their chosen field. Though Barber’s main focus is towards larger corporations, her concepts and advice will resonate with individuals as well.

    Prose: The prose skillfully spotlights Barber’s ideas in ways that are engaging and understandable. Readers will find the style sensible and easy-to-follow.

    Originality: Barber’s focus on increasing reader perception, in addition to building up their general business acumen, is a unique approach to this business model and lends the work an original feel. 

    Character/Execution: Barber breaks down a fairly broad idea into conceivable steps and offers client interviews and scenarios that will help readers implement the techniques in their daily lives. There are moments in the guide that delve into the mindsets behind common barriers to success—these provide Barber’s audience with a deeper insight into the behaviors driving their business issues.

  • Not Your Job

    by Pierce Brantley

    Rating: 7.25

    Plot: Brantley proposes clear-cut guidelines to address time management, with concise steps to achieving his identified goals. Some readers may view this as more of a foundational study, though the book’s suggestions are easy to apply.

    Prose: The prose balances informal and technical jargon well, with concise explanations that accentuate Brantley’s ideas while making them user-friendly.

    Originality: Brantley fleshes out basic ideas and offers readers step-by-step guidance alongside personal examples. The material is easy to understand and logical—but aside from interesting metaphors and clear prose, it sticks to the routine.

    Character/Execution: Using understandable metaphors, Brantley breaks down different areas of application for readers—and he maintains a well-organized structure throughout the book that uses repetition to drive home his concepts.

  • Plot/Idea: This timely book explores issues surrounding workplace technologies, including GUI-based and other no/low-code tools. 

    Prose:  The prose throughout this manual is straightforward, clear, and aimed at readers of all proficiency levels. 

    Originality: Simon's book is informative and practical; the examination of the changing roles of technology and how employees use it in workplace settings is especially convincing.

    Character/Execution: This book sets out to explain the benefits (and disadvantages) of allowing "citizen developers" in an organization to use low/no-code tools while letting the programmers focus on higher-priority or more difficult projects. The author lays out his case clearly and explores both sides of the issue.

  • Plot/Idea: Framing a book on positivity around making money writing books is a unique, niche angle.

    Prose: The prose is straightforward, welcoming, and readable. Readers looking for uplifting support in their writerly endeavors will appreciate the casual tone.

    Originality: Rose offers a unique angle by focusing on the joys of writing, sharing ideas and stories, and pointing to the lucrative potential in being a writer. The author also provides valuable advice concerning the creative process and finding publishing opportunities. 

    Character/Execution: This book offers advice for manifesting dreams of achieving success as a writer. The work's strengths are the sections on re-framing negative self-talk. While some may view the content as a form of magical thinking, aspiring writers will generally appreciate the optimism and inspiration.