Not Knowing scoops national management book award as it demonstrates how to turn uncertainty into opportunity

Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner scoop top award at CMI Management Book of the Year

10 February 2015: The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) last night urged managers to embrace uncertainty, as it made Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner’s Not Knowing CMI’s ‘Management Book of the Year’ for 2014.  In an age of fast-paced change and data overload, the book smashes the orthodoxy that managers can – or should – be all-knowing and challenges leaders to think differently to succeed.

The award, which is run in association with the British Library and sponsored by Henley Business School, is judged by a panel of the UK’s top business and management leaders. Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner’s book, published by LID Publishing Ltd, won the Commuter’s Read category before being chosen as overall award-winner.

Diane Lees, Director-General of the Imperial War Museum and CMI competition judge, explained why the book impressed the judging panel:

“Managers can feel huge pressure to know everything and to always have the answer to a problem. This book goes against the grain and offers reassurance that ‘not knowing’ can be a force for good decisions, as it allows for open questions and curiosity.

“This book could inspire managers to rethink how they tackle all sorts of complex challenges, and how they approach business planning. It challenges the reader to think deeply about themselves and ask questions, which in turn will allow for better and more informed decisions to be made.”

Commenting on their success, winning authors, Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, said:

“The inspiration for the book comes from our own lives, from our own stories and from those who have shared their stories with us from around the world. We dedicate this book to anyone who’s been to the edge. We wrote it in honour of courage, curiosity and compassion and hope it inspires managers to take their teams into the unknown.”

Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, which runs the competition said:

“The managers who succeed in the 21st century economy are those who learn to embrace change and uncertainty, not fight it. This book shows why and should have managers asking themselves some big questions about how they lead. CMI’s Management Book of the Year is all about finding the ‘Management Gold’ that really makes a difference, and that’s exactly what this book does. If you only read one management book this year, make it this one.”

Phil Spence, Chief Operating Officer of the British Library, which supports the competition, said:

“The winner of this year’s competition reflects the need for impartial advice and information in the sometimes uncertain journey of a manager or business leader.

“We at the British Library specialise in providing practical support and information to the business and management community through channels like our Business & IP Centre – now being extended to city libraries across the UK - and our Management and Business Studies Portal. We were thrilled to celebrate the best of management writing in all five categories of the competition at the 2015 awards ceremony held at the British Library last night.”

Launched in 2010, the CMI Management Book of the Year competition was created to uncover some of the best books on management and leadership, and help raise the profile of the great management writing published in the UK.

The Commuter’s Read category is awarded to the entry that, in the opinion of the judges, will best serve commuters and retain their attention during a journey to work by inspiring them, informing them about and engaging them with a management and leadership topic.

The Management Book of the Year category winners were announced as follows:

The Commuter’s Read:

Not Knowing by Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner
Published by LID Publishing Ltd

Innovation and Entrepreneurship:

Customer Innovation by Marion Debruyne
Published by Kogan Page

Management Futures:

The Key by Lynda Gratton
Published by McGraw Hill Education

Practical Manager:

The Little Book of {Big} Management Theories by James McGrath and Bob Bates
Published by Pearson

Management and Leadership Textbook:

Organizations and Management in Cross-Cultural Context by Zeynep Aycan, Rabindra N Kanungo and Manuel Mendonça
Published by Sage Publications

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CMI Management Book of the Year Competition, in association with the British Library
  • Now in its fifth year, the Management Book of the Year competition was created to uncover some of the best books on management and leadership, and help raise the profile of the variety of the great management writing published in the UK.
  • The competition seeks to highlight ‘Management Gold’ to help people identify the very best in management writing out of the literally thousands of books available to readers.
  • CMI’s extensive Twitter following has been a part of this, with a host of management tips being shared on the social networking site – search #ManagementGold to review or add to the debate.


Chartered Management Institute (CMI)
  • 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.
  • Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalent levels, including the unique Chartered Manager award which increases earnings potential and improves workplace performance.
  • We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support which helps them embrace change, create high performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.
  • With a member community of 100,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.
  • Visit for more information.

British Library

The 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. It includes: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.
  • and follow @britishlibrary
HenleyHenley 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.