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Robots and risk at the Business Book of the Year awards -Hungarian guy accepts the Bracken Bower Prize

Bracken Bower 2015

Business Book of the Year winner Martin Ford with the Financial Times’ Lionel Barber and McKinsey’s Dominic Barton.

Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots, about the challenges presented by an increasingly automated future, has been named the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

Dominic Barton, managing director of McKinsey, and Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times and chair of the judging panel, presented the award last night at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City.

“While no one can be certain how the future will unfold, this year’s winner delivers an important message: Companies and governments are racing into a world where both work and the workforce will need to be radically redesigned,” Dominic says.

“Rise of the Robots is a tightly-written and deeply-researched addition to the public policy debate du jour and du demain. The judges didn’t agree with all of the conclusions, but were unanimous on the verdict and the impact of the book,” says Lionel.

In his acceptance speech, Martin, a founder of a Silicon Valley software company, reiterated his conviction that the rise of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence were challenges yet to be addressed meaningfully. “We could be at the leading edge of a huge wave. Machines and smart algorithms are starting to become adept at climbing skill sets and beginning to do the jobs of people with lots of skills and degrees. People think they do everything right. . .but they may still find it difficult to find employment. We thought the only solution was more training and education but that may not be so. And it may all unfold faster than we think.”

The judging panel spent Tuesday deliberating the merits of the six finalists for the £30,000 prize. Judges for the award included Mohamed El-Erian, former Chief Executive of PIMCO; Reid Hoffman, entrepreneur and co-founder of LinkedIn; Herminia Ibarra, professor at INSEAD; Dambisa Moyo, director at Barclays Bank; Shriti Vadera, chair of Santander UK; and Rik Kirkland, our head of global publishing at McKinsey.

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Co-authors András Tilcsik and Christopher Clearfield accept the Bracken Bower Prize.

For the second time, we also presented the Bracken Bower Prize, awarded to the best proposal for a business book by an author under 35. The Bracken Bower Prize is named after Brendan Bracken, chairman of the Financial Times from 1945 to 1958, and Marvin Bower, managing director of McKinsey from 1950 to 1967. This prize honors their legacy by encouraging young writers to analyze the business trends of the future.

This year’s winners were co-authors Christopher Clearfield who is a Principal with System Logic, a consultancy focused on risk and decision making,  and András Tilcsik for their proposal Rethinking the Unthinkable: Managing the Risk of Catastrophic Failure in the Twenty-First Century, which examines how ill-prepared most are to face the catastrophic risks posed by complex systems.

Our Hungarian guy, András Tilcsik is an assistant professor of strategic management at the Rotman School of Management and a faculty fellow at the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship in Toronto. He studies the organizational aspects of work, employment, and occupations. His research has been recognized with awards from the American Sociological Association and has been cited in testimonies to U.S. Congress and in media outlets like The New York Times, The Economist, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Forbes. At Rotman, András teaches an MBA and undergraduate course on catastrophic failure in organizations and a PhD seminar on economic sociology. He has received teaching awards from the Rotman School and its governing MBA student body, the Graduate Business Council.

The Business Book of the Year Award, in its 11th edition, is given to the book that provides “the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues, including management, finance, and economics.” Since 2005, it has selected 167 books that comprise a thorough overview of business in a tumultuous decade. via mckinsey.com

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