Business isn't just about business

2014’s best management books show business can be a force for good, succeed globally and promote diversity

19 November 2014 – A clearer sense of social purpose is badly needed if managers are to steer their organisations through a rapidly-changing world, according to many of the books shortlisted for this year’s Management Book of the Year prize.

Announced today by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the British Library, the 24-strong shortlist for the prize – sponsored by Henley Business School – shows managers are wrestling with big questions about the role of business in a changing world and the sort of leadership needed for 21st century success.

Several titles argue that managers have to reshape business to take on a more responsible role in society. In fact, business can become a real force for the common good and help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges including climate change, income equality and world poverty, according to The Key by Lynda Gratton. The theme is picked up in Open Data Now, by former White House adviser Joel Gurin, which shows how open data is transforming marketing, innovation and investment decisions. Meanwhile, Not Knowing by Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner describes the art of turning uncertainty into opportunity – a vital leadership quality in a time of change.

Other books pick up on the opportunities and the challenges of working globally. The Power of Global Teams by Elisabeth Marx unpicks the secrets of successful international teams, showing that international diversity can be channelled to deliver better business results. Communicate to Inspire from PR expert Kevin Murray draws on CEOs’ stories to provide a practical guide for effective communication in any context. Meanwhile, Fish Can’t See Water by Kai Hammerich and Richard D Lewis warns that managers can be blind to the different cultural factors of which they are a part – a blindness which can make or break corporate strategies.

Indeed, diversity emerges as a strong theme among this year’s shortlisted books. John Browne’s experiences as a gay man at the top of one of the world’s biggest businesses inform The Glass Closet, offering insights and argument in favour of greater diversity. The theme extends into the classroom, with Organizations and management in cross-cultural content making the shortlist in the textbook category.

Ann Francke, CMI Chief Executive, said: “Some of this year’s most exciting entries show that the business isn’t just about business. Leaders are increasingly recognising that their organisations can be a force for the common good and solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. But that means developing a management culture that makes ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability an integral part of the business model.

“Fortunately, these excellent books offer plenty of ideas and insights. The Management Book of the Year exists to help managers find the brightest nuggets of ‘Management Gold’, and with this year’s shortlist we’ve hit a rich vein of writing focused on the big challenges that managers face day to day. Congratulations to all the authors.”

A record 160 books were entered into this year’s competition across five categories: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Practical Manager, The Commuter’s Read, the Management and Leadership Textbook, and a new category, Management Futures. The five categories winner and an overall winner will be announced at an awards evening at the British Library on 9 February 2015 – with the winning author taking home a £5,000 prize.

Phil Spence, Chief Operating Officer at the British Library and a Companion of the CMI said: “At the British Library we’re committed to supporting managers to be the best that they can be. As well as running our Business & IP Centre, a space in the Library offering practical support for new and existing managers which is being replicated in six city libraries across the UK, we offer free access to up-to-the-minute management research online via our Management and Business Studies Portal, which complements our vast collections on-site. The high number of entries to this year’s CMI Management Book of the Year Award is evidence of the consistently strong interest in this area of research, and we look forward to welcoming the shortlisted authors to the British Library in February next year.”

The full list of entrants is as follows.


Author / Authors


Management Futures

Accelerate: building strategic agility to lead through constant change

John P. Kotter

Boston MA: Harvard Business Review Press

The power of global teams: driving growth and innovation in a fast changing world

Elisabeth Marx

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Fish can't see water: how national culture can make or break your corporate strategy

Kai Hammerich and Richard D. Lewis

Chichester: Wiley

The key: how corporations succeed by solving the world’s toughest problems

Lynda Gratton

New York NY: McGraw-Hill Education

Leadership PQ: how political intelligence sets successful leaders apart

Gerry Reffo and Valerie Wark

London: Kogan Page

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The innovation book: how to manage ideas and execution for outstanding results

Max Mckeown

Harlow: Pearson (Financial Times Publishing)

Customer innovation: customer-centric strategy for enduring growth

Marian Debruyne

London: Kogan Page

Open data now: the secret to hot start-ups, smart investing, savvy marketing, and fast innovation

Joel Gurin

New York NY: McGraw-Hill Education

The first mile: a launch manual for getting great ideas into the market

Scott D. Anthony

Boston MA: Harvard Business Review Press

Gear up: test your business model potential and plan your path to success

Lena Ramfelt, Jonas Kjellberg and Tom Kosnik

Chichester: Wiley (Capstone)

Practical Manager

Communicate to inspire: a guide for leaders

Kevin Murray

London: Kogan Page

How to think strategically: strategy - your roadmap to innovation and results

Davide Sola and Jerome Couturier

Harlow: Pearson (Financial Times Publishing)

The little book of big management theories… and how to use them

James McGrath and Bob Bates

Harlow: Pearson

Success, your way: do what you're meant to do

G. Richard Shell

London: Portfolio Penguin

The leader's guide to managing people: how to use soft skills to get hard results

Mike Brent and Fiona Elsa Dent

Harlow: Pearson (Financial Times Publishing)

The Commuter’s Read

Building the pyramid: the winning (formula)® approach to delivering success on your organisation's growth journey

John Stein

Warrington: TWF Publications

Not knowing: the art of turning uncertainty into opportunity

Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner

London: LID Publishing

Talk lean: Shorter meetings. Quicker results. Better relations

Alan H. Palmer

Chichester: Wiley (Capstone)

Free! Love your work, love your life

Chris Baréz-Brown

London: Portfolio Penguin

The glass closet: why coming out is good business

John Browne

London: Ebury (WH Allen)

Management and Leadership Textbook

Organizations and management in cross-cultural context

Zeynep Aycan,

Rabindra N. Kanungo and Manuel Mendonca

London: Sage

Essentials of entrepreneurship: evidence and practice

Robert A. Baron

Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

Methodological school of management

V. B. Khristenko, A. G. Reus, A. P. Zinchenko and others

London: Bloomsbury

Leadership: practice and perspectives

Kevin Roe

Oxford: Oxford University Press


For further press information and interviews please contact:

Georgina Miller on 020 7812 0606


About the competition

The Management Book of the Year competition, which is now in its fifth year, was created to uncover the best books on management and leadership, and help raise the profile of the great management writing published in the UK.

The winners of the five categories and the overall winner – who will scoop a £5,000 prize – will be announced at an awards evening at the British Library on 9 February 2015.

A full listing of the shortlisted books and more details on the expert judging panel are available via the competition website Follow the hashtag #managementgold on Twitter to get tips, advice and information on the books in this year’s competition.

Last year’s overall winner was The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson. Previous overall and section winners include The Management Book by Richard Newton, Christopher Bones, Henry Mintzberg, Clayton M. Christensen and Philip Kotler.


  • CMI – the Chartered Management Institute – is the only chartered professional body for management and leadership, dedicated to improving managers’ skills and growing the number of qualified managers.
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British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages. 

Henley Business School

Henley Business School is one of the oldest business schools in the UK, having been established in 1945. It is one of only 53 business schools in the world to hold triple-accredited status from the leading UK, European and US accrediting bodies – AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB. It is known for empowering individuals to become great professionals and outstanding business leaders who think with clarity and act with confidence and conviction. Its distinctive approach is proven to deliver results for individuals and businesses alike.