getAbstract International Book Award 2022: The Winners

This year, getAbstract honors five outstanding books in three categories and two languages. Here are the best titles of the year.

The getAbstract International Book Awards 2022 at a Glance
(English Language Category)

A Decent Meal

Michael Carolan
Redwood Press /
Stanford UP, 2021

The Business of Building A Better World

Audrey Selian
& David Copperrider
Berrett-Koehler, 2021

L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age

Brandon Carson
ATD, 2021

Main Category: Business Impact

The getAbstract International Book Awards in the main Business Impact category, each endowed with 10,000 USD, go to A Decent Meal by sociologist Michael Carolan (Redwood Press / Stanford UP, 2021) and German security manager Eckhard Jann‘s Fehler Eins (Vahlen Verlag, 2021). This continues a trend that has already distinguished the jury’s decisions in recent years: the main prizes each go to outstanding business books – but at the same time also to titles that are not only read and used behind closed company doors.

Michael Carolan’s A Decent Meal addresses a major issue of our day, whether in corporate offices around the world or in private interactions: empathy and its absence.

Image of: A Decent Meal
Book Summary

A Decent Meal

Learn what food reveals about US sociopolitical polarization, and how it can help bridge the empathy gap.

Michael Carolan Redwood Press
Read Summary
International Category

In his studies and experiments, the sociologist from Colorado State University put people in the shoes of other, often marginalized, groups and found that this was much more effective in increasing empathy than many of the more theoretical approaches used in most leadership development training today.

This book is about how to overcome the deep chasms that have developed in U.S. society. Michael Carolan is not thinking about big solutions, structural reforms or laws. For him, the focus is on individuals and the question of whether and how they can be reached. A Decent Meal is a profoundly humanistic response to a great humanistic crisis.

Peter Lau, Juror

Eckhard Jann’s book, which won the German-language category, explains with many practical examples and impressive figures that an organizational culture of failure worthy of its name can make all kinds of organizations safer and more resilient – two qualities that could hardly be more topical and in greater demand in times of rampant uncertainty and rising tensions everywhere.

Image of: Fehler Eins
Book Summary

Fehler Eins

Fehler passieren nicht im luftleeren Raum. Eine Spurensuche nach den Ursachen von Unfällen und Katastrophen.

Eckhard Jann Vahlen Verlag
Read Summary
German Language Category

Everybody makes mistakes. And they happen everywhere. But readers of Eckhard Jann’s book know how to deal with them and thus prevent evolving major disasters.

Belén Haefely, Juror

Find out more about the books in our interviews with the award winners – and, of course, in the summaries of A Decent Meal and Fehler Eins (freely available until the end of December 2022).  

Readers‘ Choice Award

While our expert jury (more details here) had around half a year to select the best titles for 2022, our readers had just four weeks to vote on the Readers’ Choice Award. But here, too, the results were clear: The winners in the Readers’ Choice category are The Business of Building A Better World by Audrey Selian and David Cooperrider (Berrett-Koehler, 2021), and Leben mit Hirn by Sebastian Purps-Pardigol (Campus, 2021; German Language Category)

The duo of entrepreneur Audrey Selian and professor David Cooperrider achieved 21.4% of the votes with their highly interesting and prominent anthology on sustainable businesses worldwide. 

Image of: The Business of Building a Better World
Book Summary

The Business of Building a Better World

This passionately rendered collection of essays sketches socially and environmentally conscious business models for the future.

David Cooperrider and Audrey Selian Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Read Summary
International Category

This unusual, valuable anthology presents 17 essays by 29 scholars and executives, each arguing that business must be part of the solution to the planet’s existential crises. This innovative compilation of ideas outlines forward-looking business concepts that support people and the planet.

Erica Rauzin, Juror

Coach and organizational consultant Sebastian Purps-Pardigol won 27.3% of the German language votes with his successful translation of current brain science into applicable knowledge for everyday life.

Image of: Leben mit Hirn
Book Summary

Leben mit Hirn

Wer weiß, wie sein Gehirn funktioniert, kann es gezielt nutzen, um Leistungsfähigkeit und Wohlbefinden zu steigern.

Sebastian Purps-Pardigol Campus Verlag
Read Summary
German Language Category

Sebastian Purps-Pardigol translates science into concrete examples of application. An important book to increase resilience.

Arnhild Walz-Rasilier, Juror

Learning Impact Award

This year, for the first time – and only internationally – the getAbstract International Book Award was presented in the Learning Impact category. It is aimed specifically at an L&D audience and honors the book that addresses the most important topics in the world of workforce development. A jury composed exclusively for this award (read more here) chose L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age (ATD, 2021) by U.S. learning expert Brandon Carson as 2022’s winner.

Image of: L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age
Book Summary

L&D’s Playbook for the Digital Age

Future-proof your workforce for the digital age.

Brandon Carson ATD Publications
Read Summary

In his book, Carson explains in great detail what HR and especially L&D departments can get out of digital transformation today. Carson says that to be successful in people development tomorrow, you must step up your digital maturity and efficiency today.  

This book manages to both set out the big picture of economic, technical and societal change, and to provide strong practical messages for CLOs within that context.

Donald H. Taylor, Juror

Award Ceremony

All awards were presented on the evening of October 20 and on the occasion of the Frankfurt Book Fair at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). The event was hosted by getAbstract and German business magazine brand eins as part of a cooperation on the getAbstract International Book Award.

getAbstract congratulates all award winners and their publishers once again – and hopes for a further growing circulation of their ideas and approaches to problem solving.

Arnhild Walz-Rasilier, Juror

Addendum: Special Mention

The jury members were quite unanimous about the winners, but of course, there were also titles that generated discussion or approached a specific workplace phenomenon with particularly practical hints and tips. A “Special Mention” from the jury, therefore, goes to the following shortlist titles:

Image of: Cultish
Book Summary


Think you’re immune to cults or cult-like thinking? Think again.

Amanda Montell Harper Wave
Read Summary

Erica Rauzin, jury member and getAbstract editorial veteran, wrote that the book deserves special recognition because it warns entire societies. She said, “Amanda Montell writes about fanaticism in many different forms, from dangerous cults to Ponzi schemes – but her real subject is human nature.”

Image of: Online-Teamhacks
Book Summary


Ein praktischer und umfassender Leitfaden für alle, die sich auf dem unüberschaubaren Markt digitaler Tools orientieren möchten.

Brigitte Berscheid und Kathrin Strehlau managerSeminare Verlag
Read Summary

The German shortlist included a book that Peter Lau, a journalist at German business magazine brand eins and a jury member, described succinctly as “the book that everyone needs right now.” No wonder our jury’s second special recognition goes to authors Brigitte Berscheid and Kathrin Strehlau, whose online team hacks have helped many hybrid meetings get off the ground.

Image of: A Minute to Think
Book Summary

A Minute to Think

Learn how doing less – but thinking, reflecting, questioning and resting more – can boost performance.

Juliet Funt HarperBusiness
Read Summary

Shortlisted for the first Learning Impact Award, presented in the international category only, was A Minute to Think by Juliet Funt, a book particularly important to juror Danielle Goodrum: “Organizations must create cultures where pausing is accepted, encouraged and expected. Juliet’s practical advice and guidance will help ensure that we are ready to determine what is truly valuable and increase our success at work, home and everywhere.”

Click here for all further information about the award.

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