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Business / Personal Finance

  • Finalist

    Plot/Idea: By dissecting and analyzing an unusual viewpoint on gender equity, the male perspective, Men in the Middle provides an important voice in the discussion of such a complex issue. By discussing this point of view with intelligence, empathy, and sensitivity, new ideas are presented for both positive change with gender equity and the business world in general.

    Prose: Reed provides a conversational and comforting tone with specific advice to readers on how to make strides in gender equity. Some passages may strike readers redundant, as the book reiterates points several times.

    Originality: By interviewing high powered men in the workplace, Reed is able to unearth an unusual perspective on gender equity. But most importantly, Reed uses the insights of these interviews to develop solutions to gender equity issues in the workplace. Although it may initially feel counterintuitive, this approach to addressing issues allows for original and unconventional approaches to business relationships, workplace culture, and gender disputes.

    Character/Execution: Men in the Middle is exceptionally well-researched, with both statistically and anecdotal evidence to support the main claims of the book. The work's thorough and thoughtful nature make it an exceptional business guide as well, even for those uninterested in the issues of gender equity. This has the potential to be both eye-opening for some readers by offering a new perspective and reaffirming for others as they see themselves reflecting in the interviews of the men on the page.


  • Semi Finalist

    Plot/Idea: In Employality: How to Ignite Commitment and Keep top Talent in the New Age of Work is a well developed guide to structuring and fostering a positive, compassionate, and enriching work environment both for employees and supervisors. Case studies and personal stories uplift the informative and enriching content.

    Prose: Mull has an upbeat, inviting, and humor-sprinkled style that will make readers feel at ease. The result is a highly readable guidebook that is as edifying as it is enjoyable.

    Originality: Books devoted to maximizing productivity and finding the right hires are a dime a dozen. Mull's text stands out for its focus on providing employees with the opportunities, flexibility, and support they need to succeed.

    Character/Execution: Mull's text is timely, compassionate, and polished, with a fine blend of storytelling and well-researched facts. While the work may be most relevant to employers, employees of all types will soak up the lessons about workplace happiness and how employee loyalty should be earned rather than demanded.

  • Semi Finalist

    Hurry Up and Fail

    by Dave Mason

    Rating: 9.25

    Plot/Idea: Mason sheds light on a little-explored topic: blunders, failure, and the lessons to be gleaned from such experiences. The author overturns familiar narratives surrounding mistakes and missteps, addressing the fact that we are taught to avoid failure at all costs. In addition, when we do fail, we aren't taught how to handle it properly or use it to our advantage. Mason handles the subject matter brilliantly, providing a thoroughly researched well-written book that is filled with many fantastic examples.

    Prose: This author writes extremely well. His storytelling ability is exemplary and the stories are told by not using fluff just to fill space. Every sentence is meaningful and provides illuminating context. 

    Originality: Mason not only tackles a unique concept, but does so in a manner that is thoroughly entertaining, instructive, and gratifying.

    Character/Execution: Books devoted to achieving success are familiar. Mason's work underscores how the journey to achievement is often filled with errors and diversions. Readers will relish the resonant storytelling.


  • Semi Finalist

    Plot/Idea: Back to the Futures brilliantly captures how critical markets have developed over the decades, expertly detailing the major impact they've had on business and economic society. Irwin studies the complex nature of futures markets, weaving his own life story into the mix, creating not only a thoroughly enlightening journey into the world of commodity trading, but a highly entertaining memoir too.

    Prose: Irwin's text is accessible for both experts and novices in the field, containing several humorous anecdotes and precisely researched data. Back to the Futures delves into the history and processes involved in future markets and commodities trading in a fun and enlightening fashion.

    Originality: Irwin deftly presents fascinating behind-the-scenes stories that are written in a bright, engaging style. Laden with excellent real-life examples, the guide transmits complex financial procedures simply and effectively. Back to the Futures is a must-read for anyone interested in the field.

    Character/Execution: Irwin is a captivating storyteller. His life story revolves around the development of his agricultural business from the ground up. He effectively blends his upbringing with a detailed analysis of the economic markets in a fresh and captivating manner. His daring youthful adventures with close friend Jack and the absorbing story of Duffy and Schreiber on the stock market floor are standouts.

  • Quarter Finalist

    The Momentum Sales Model

    by Tim Castle

    Rating: 9.25

    Plot/Idea: Castle offers readers functional sales strategies aimed at producing a financially stable business model. The advice is geared towards building future business success as well, using Castle’s distinctive Momentum Sales Model as the basis for sales growth. 

    Prose: The prose is convincing and eloquent; Castle writes in an easy-to-follow style that makes the information understandable and charismatic. 

    Originality: This is a well-rounded, user-friendly guide that pulls from real life examples. The book’s structure adds to its originality, as Castle provides readers his uniquely developed sales model paired with a myriad of engaging ideas.

    Character/Execution: Castle offers hands-on examples throughout, combined with down-to-earth guidance that readers will find easy to understand and apply. He includes several visuals as well that add to the guide’s appeal.

  • Quarter Finalist

    Inspiring Work Anniversaries

    by Rick Joi

    Rating: 9.00

    Plot/Idea: Joi presents an intriguing analysis of why work anniversaries are significant—and how they should be purposefully celebrated. Their examination of the meaning behind work anniversaries is thought-provoking, as they reflect on community, intent, and the rewards of building cohesive career environments.

    Prose: With approachable, down-to-earth prose, Joi guides readers through the processes involved in understanding and honoring work anniversaries. The writing encourages readers to be interactive participants, and Joi’s style is the perfect balance of welcoming and productive.

    Originality: Effectively commemorating work anniversaries in a way that will add meaning, satisfaction, and belonging is a unique—and essential—topic for professionals. Joi’s addition of practical suggestions and exercises increases the guide’s originality. 

    Character/Execution: The information is broken down into graspable sections, and Joi covers a wide variety of professional issues that can interfere with work satisfaction. Checklists, moments of self-reflection, and learning prompts round out the guide’s functionality, gifting readers an abundance of hands-on ideas to implement in their own professional lives. 

  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot/Idea: The Strategy of Story is an exploration of how and why a story works, offering shrewd tips on how to enhance storytelling abilities. While exploring the science of what makes a story work Barry manages to hold the reader's attention by using some of the very same techniques she is exposing. The text also manages to neatly weave tales from Barry's own life into the text, resulting in a more personal and effective effort.

    Prose: Barry's text is written in an informative and scholarly style that is robustly reinforced with a series of compelling anecdotes. The book works as a great aid for budding writers keen to enhance their storytelling skills, allowing them to begin putting the building blocks in place for a successful narrative to take shape.

    Originality: The Strategy of Story contains useful information for those interested in bolstering their creativity in regards to storytelling. Barry writes in a direct, gripping and personal way which elevates this book way above a standard scholarly assignment.

    Character/Execution: Nora Barry is a convincing narrator and the text is well researched, with great real life examples of speeches from General Patton and Steve Jobs, for example. Barry's illustrative anecdotes and conversational style help enliven the subject matter and inspire potential writers in the process.

    Blurb: A bright and compelling analysis of storytelling technique.

  • Quarter Finalist

    Plot/Idea: Leadership is an academic study of why organizational leaders have transitioned to nontraditional practices. Martin takes a detailed look at the historical development of leadership theories, focusing specifically on the unprecedented growth of leadership studies in the last 20 years.

    Prose: Martin's scholarly approach is effective, well-researched, and presents clear definitions of different leadership styles. He studies leadership in its historical context by analyzing several key studies and using infographics to illustrate his findings.

    Originality: Martin is a serious and trustworthy narrator who presents his findings in a clear, nuanced, and concise manner. 

    Character/Execution: Leadership is a solid academic text that explores leadership practices and theories, with Martin detailing his research methods and subsequent findings with aplomb. His meticulous study analyzes specific areas such as leaders' adaptability and potential barriers to effective leadership styles.

    Blurb: An effective academic study of the current trend towards nontraditional leadership styles.

  • Plot/Idea: The Power of Change is an effective and quietly assured guide that aims to help people navigate change in their lives, allowing them to thrive in a rapidly evolving modern environment.

    Prose: Leich's text is well organized and methodical with easily digestible paragraphs that resonate with the reader. Her studious academic approach incorporates real life examples such as how Sony embraced change for the better, and also provides useful self-help exercises at the end of each chapter, so readers can put what they've learned into practice.

    Originality: While The Power of Change is not entirely original, it presents its themes in a convincing and well coordinated manner. The underlying emphasis on embracing change for a positive outcome is resoundingly clear, a positive force that can enable us to take the reigns in our lives.

    Character/Execution: Via clear and focused narration, Leich encourages readers to grapple with anxiety–using that energy to instead spur imagination and innovation–and embrace transformation Compelling case studies provide further insight and inspiration.

    Blurb: A detailed exploration of how to harness change positively.

  • Plot/Idea: Highly Humorous Leadership is full of stories and anecdotes that explore the benefits of humor in the workplace. The text works best when addressing the subtleties of humor and introducing real-world anecdotes.

    Prose: When focused on his primary objective, Jacobson provides clear, concise and sound advice. And while the text's own humor can sometimes come across as forced, the author includes useful guidelines and practical workshop ideas that readers will find beneficial.

    Originality: Jacobson's concept is highly unique; team leaders will find much to ponder about the uses of humor in creating positive and effective work environments.

    Character/Execution: Jacobson is obviously a naturally entertaining and witty person, but not all of the humor lands. By doing so, Jacobson literally breaks his own rule of "not forcing the use of humor" ('if you try too hard to be funny, your humor will fall flat"). The book really comes into its own when he uses some pertinent anecdotes from his life to illustrate his arguments.




  • So Good They Call You a Fake

    by Joshua Lisec, Philip Ovadia, MD

    Rating: 6.50

    Plot/Idea: So Good They Call You a Fake is a step-by-step guide to marketing books so that they stand out from the crowd. Lisec shares his journey to success, detailing his thoughts and processes in a very direct and candid manner, with useful key takeaways at the end of each chapter.

    Prose: Lisec's style of writing is confident and confrontational, and while his bravado is perhaps an acquired taste, the text maintains a conversational and articulate tone. His writing packs a punch, and he has a knack for keeping the reader enthralled, even if he does often seem to talk around a subject rather than deal with it head on.

    Originality: So Good They Call You a Fake is dynamically written and contains useful advice on ghost-publishing and how to market your work. However, much of the book suffers from a sense of superiority that some might find overbearing.

    Character/Execution: Lisec, an experienced ghostwriter, is in turns both endearing and egocentric, and his premise that there's no higher praise than being deemed a fraud may strike a chord with readers. There are a few interesting anecdotes and insightful case studies, such as that of internet entrepreneur Ramesh Dontha.

    Blurb: A vibrant guide to the world of book marketing.