Launched in 2001, the getAbstract International Book Award is among the world’s oldest, continuously presented non-fiction book awards. In alignment with our mission to provide actionable, business-relevant knowledge, the getAbstract International Book Award focuses on works that help people make better decisions in their personal and professional life – as encapsulated in our slogan, “Know Better. Do Better.”
The jury will announce their winners in October. These are our Nominees for 2023.
– THE SHORTLIST –
Matt Holt Books, 2022
Southern New Hampshire University President Paul LeBlanc offers a sweeping yet detailed indictment of US institutional failures to meet human needs and issues a clarion call to repurpose organizations to serve humanity better. LeBlanc outlines how to put people at the center of ailing social institutions and business models, including the creation of more co-operatives and public benefit corporations.
Paul LeBlanc is a university president who has pioneered in online education and the democratization of higher education. He understands how systems and institutions work, and one by one, he explains how education, health care and criminal justice can become more humane and purposeful.Erica Rauzin, Jury Member
LeBlanc also advances a pioneering employment scheme to address AI disruption: a “human work initiative” to match people with human-focused work that can’t be replicated by machines.
BrokenMatt Holt Books
Do you want to find out more about how organizations can scale humanely and what leaders and everybody else can do to show others that they matter? Read our interview with author Paul LeBlanc:
The chip industry’s importance extends beyond consumer electronics. Historian Chris Miller argues that integrated circuits or silicon chips – semiconductors – are critical to strong national economies and modern militaries. In the 1960s, many US firms began making chips in East Asia, notably Taiwan.
This book bridges the gap between current geopolitical challenges and our daily lives, since chips are in almost every device and technical equipment around us. Well-researched and wrapped in a kind of exploration thriller, this book by Chris Miller explains a complex technology from its beginnings to our present. Exciting and enlightening.Laura Lesum, Jury Member
Miller says the island’s future and the possibility of conflict with China may hinge on how China pursues its goal of reducing its reliance on imported chips and other tech. Though he does not shy away from technical details, even nontechies will appreciate and understand his analysis.
“Leadership Two Words at a Time”
Stepping into your first leadership position can feel overwhelming and intimidating. You’ll welcome good advice when you suddenly face multiple responsibilities and a steep learning curve. That’s why Bill Treasurer’s excellent book should be mandatory reading for new leaders – and it’s a good refresher for any leader.
I’m young, I’m supposed to lead and I have no idea how – thanks for this smart and simple book!Peter Lau, Jury Member
The author uses two-word phrases to highlight key leadership concepts – such as “cultivate composure,” “trust first” and “practice humility” – and shares solid advice gained from decades of rich leadership experience. Treasurer doesn’t waste time with fancy language and theories; he offers suggestions to help new leaders learn and grow. They’ll want to keep his manual within reach.
Leadership Two Words at a TimeBerrett-Koehler Publishers
Curious about the author and the book? Read our interview with Bill Treasurer:
“More than a Glitch”
MIT Press, 2023
You may be tempted to dismiss instances of machine bias as “glitches.” However, they’re structural and reflective of real-world racism, sexism and ableism, says data journalism professor Meredith Broussard. Technology should work for everyone – nobody should feel barred from using technology based on their skin color, gender, age or ability.
An eye-opening, focused book in times of disruption through AI and the ever-increasing power of technology. Meredith Broussard makes us aware of the Race, Gender, and Ability bias that underlies every technology, and illustrates her findings with many case studies. This book not only imparts valuable tech knowledge but also offers actionable guidance on implementing these insights within companies and organizations. Outstanding.Laura Lesum, Jury Member
Broussard presents several case studies of machine bias, detailing the harm it’s caused in areas including policing and health care. She urges Big Tech to embrace accountability and work toward the public interest.
More than a GlitchMIT Press
Princeton University Press, 2022
In the age of COVID-19, you may view viruses as a lingering threat. But as contagions kill, so does sexism, classism, racism, ableism and colonialism, writes award-winning author and Princeton University professor Ruha Benjamin. She seeks to inspire you to take individualized, small-scale actions to develop new networks of care and support for those in your community.
Live poetically! Yes, Yes, Yes! Plus: How young people think we can save the world – an important statement from the generation of the future.Peter Lau, Jury Member
Benjamin calls on readers to work towards building a more inclusive world in which all people can thrive, not merely survive. Promote “viral justice” by committing to advance the collective good, creating spaces in which everyone feels safe to flourish.
Viral JusticePrinceton UP
– FROM THE LONGLIST –
Jess Rimington & Joanna Cea:
Jess Rimington, 2022
In this passionate call to action, next-economy researchers Jess Rimington and Joanna Cea describe practices individuals and organizations can use to break away from economic models that fail most people, urging readers to work towards a more loving form of capitalism. Stories of organizations that have achieved genuine collaboration and outstanding business outcomes bolster their case.
How we can save the world, the down-to-earth version version: We need to organise better and strengthen workers’ rights – this is essential!Peter Lau, Jury Member
Rimington and Cea outline seven innovative business practices to improve work and the wider world for readers dissatisfied with business as usual.
Beloved EconomiesJess Rimington
“The Digital Republic”
Pegasus Books, 2022
Huge technology companies are amassing unprecedented levels of wealth and power while also distorting democracy, Jamie Susskind writes in this detailed study. A British barrister, tech expert and skilled author, Susskind argues for a massive effort to rein in big tech, an initiative that would require new laws, robust regulation and greater enforcement.
Jamie Susskind describes the current power of technology companies and argues convincingly for regulation in the form of new institutions and laws. Because AI is learning at lightning speed, he calls for finding ways to better control and regulate powerful Big Tech.Laura Lesum, Jury Member
Susskind acknowledges that none of this will be easy, because Silicon Valley will resist any and all checks on its power. And even if a “digital republicanism” emerges, the public sector will still have to sprint to catch up with the ever-accelerating pace of innovation.
The Digital RepublicPegasus Books
Shana Lebowitz Gaynor:
“Don’t Call It Quits”
When your job stinks, you should just find a better one, right? As many unhappy employees know, life doesn’t always work this way. But staying in a job you dislike doesn’t mean you’re stuck and doomed to misery. Relying on advice from experts, journalist Shana Lebowitz Gaynor offers real-life examples, practical tips and guided exercises to help you start reshaping your role.
You may not like your job, but you don’t have to quit to transform it into a source of satisfaction. Shana Lebowitz Gaynor offers practical plans readers can use to reshape their role at work, even as they enrich their lives with activities outside of work and take control of their own destiny.Erica Rauzin, Jury Member
Although this book is written for professionals at any career stage, it will offer the most insight to a younger audience – or anyone with high expectations of a fulfilling career.
Don’t Call It QuitsMcGraw-Hill Education
Are you interested in topics like job crafting and agile career paths? Read more about this in our interview with Shana Lebowitz Gaynor:
“Living a Committed Life”
Following a period of deep unhappiness and self-doubt, Lynne Twist found meaning by committing her life to a purpose larger than herself: ending world hunger. Since then, she’s transformed not only her own life but the lives of countless others. She’s also raised hundreds of millions of dollars by creating authentic connections with wealthy donors through her soulful message. Here, she makes a powerful case for fulfilling your potential by living a life of service to others.
Lynne Twist survived self-doubt and sadness by adding meaning to her life. She set out with a huge goal – to end world hunger – and became a transformative example of what one individual driven by passion and commitment can accomplish. Your purpose can give your life context, Twist promises, and then she demonstrates how she fulfilled that promise.Erica Rauzin, Jury Member
Twist offers guidance, inspiration and hard-won truths about traversing the challenging, but rewarding, path of a purpose-driven life.
Living a Committed LifeBerrett-Koehler Publishers
Bruce Vojak & Walter Herbst:
Stanford University Press, 2022
Real innovation can seem out of reach for “small and medium-sized mature enterprises” (SMMEs) that lack the economies of scale and the resources of large companies. For these firms, sticking with tried and true business formulas may seem like the safest choice. In reality, this choice keeps you trapped in a place of competitive disadvantage, with no way to respond to changes in the market.
Bruce Vojak and Walter Herbst tell small and medium-sized businesses that innovation doesn’t belong only to big corporations. In fact, they say, sticking to proven paths puts them at a competitive disadvantage. However, they can overcome it by pursuing innovation that fits the scale and scope of their organizations. This book is both practical and optimistic.Erica Rauzin, Jury Member
In this step-by-step guide for owners, advisers and leaders in SMMEs, Bruce Vojak and Walter Herbst provide a concrete method for pursuing innovation in ways that match the scale of your business.