2020 Awards

Discover the 2020 Management Book of the Year winner and longlist below.

Management Book of the Year 2020 Winner

Author Matthew Syed was our Management Book of the Year 2020 winner with Rebel Ideas: The power of diverse thinking. Rebel Ideas and the other shortlisted books offer you cutting-edge insights into management and leadership.

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Here at Henley Business School we are delighted to be able to sponsor the Management Book of the Year 2020 and it was a great pleasure to be personally invited to judge this year’s competition. Whilst it is hard to make the final choice of one book, from amongst a very close set of finalists, I felt that Rebel Ideas really offered exciting new perspectives on the benefits of engaging diverse stakeholders and promoting radical ways to address today’s complex challenges.

This book is very well-researched and includes many excellent examples and stories to illustrate key points – a really interesting and enjoyable read.

Professor Jean-Anne Stewart - Programme Director MA Leadership, Henley Business School

Congratulations to the 2020 winner!

Rebel Ideas

Matthew Syed - John Murray Press

Matthew is an author of six best-selling books and highly acclaimed speaker in the field of mindset and high performance, in the context of a complex and fast-changing world.

We are thrilled to announce Matthew and Rebel Ideas as CMI’s Management Book of the Year Winner 2020.

More about Rebel Ideas

The 2020 Shortlisted Books

Select a thumbnail to read more about that book

Speak Up
Megan Reitz and
John Higgins
Brave New Work
Aaron Dignan
The Infinite Game
Simon Sinek
The Joy of Work
Bruce Daisley

Competition Entries Per Category

Lifelong Learning


Speak Up

Megan Reitz and John Higgins - Pearson

A powerful book on an important topic. Speak Up helps us understand the subtle elements that contribute to our holding back valuable ideas and observations. Their TRUTH framework – which is as practical as it is rigorous – identifies essential elements to help individuals find their voice.

Buy on Amazon



Nir Eyal - Bloomsbury Publishing

We are living through a crisis of distraction. Plans get sidetracked, friends are ignored, work never seems to get done.

Why does it feel like we're distracting our lives away?

In Indistractable, behavioural designer Nir Eyal shows what life could look like if you followed through on your intentions. Instead of suggesting a digital detox, Eyal reveals the hidden psychology driving you to distraction, and teaches you how to make pacts with yourself to keep your brain on track. Indistractable is a guide to making decisions and seeing them through.

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How to Lead Smart People

Arun Singh and Mike Mister - Profile Books

In many jobs people work their way up through a hierarchy, an experience that prepares them for managing a team. In some professions, such as law, finance, accountancy, academia, engineering, education and healthcare, individuals may find themselves managing a team of equals. This book uses 50 simple lessons to show the reader in concise, pithy prose how to manage a team of equals with intelligence and diplomacy.

Each lesson features a short introduction and example from the authors' experience, showing you how skills can be acquired. These are then followed by 6-10 action points to implement immediately. Core leadership skills are reevaluated for the leader of a smart team.

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The Connector Manager

Jaime Roca and Sari Wilde - Ebury, Penguin Random House

There are four distinct types of managers. One performs much worse than the rest, and one performs far better. Which type are you?

Drawing on their groundbreaking data-driven research, as well as in-depth case studies and extensive interviews with managers and employees at companies like IBM, Accenture, and eBay, the authors show what behaviors define a Connector manager, and why they are able to build powerhouse teams.

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The Human Edge

Greg Orme - Pearson

The world is spinning so fast it’s difficult to keep up. Two hundred and fifty years ago the Industrial Revolution replaced our arms and legs at work. The fourth Industrial Revolution is now replacing our brains. This technological shift is engulfing organisations and people. It’s challenging the very essence of what it means to be human. Daily news headlines pose existential questions that used to belong in the pages of science fiction: Will a machine take my job? Are we becoming cyborgs? What happens when supercomputers become self-aware? If we can’t compete with artificial intelligence,what’s left? Innovation guru Greg Orme provides a helpful, funny and supportive shove in the right direction.

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Society Transformed


Rebel Ideas

Matthew Syed - John Murray Press

Success is no longer just about talent, or knowledge or skill. Today, it is also about freeing ourselves from the blinkers and blind spots that beset us all, and harnessing a critical new ingredient: cognitive diversity.

This bold and inspiring new book offers a radical new approach to success and a route map to how we can tackle our most complex challenges, such as obesity, terrorism and climate change.

Buy on Amazon


Building an Inclusive Organization

Stephen Frost and Raafi-Karim Alidina - Kogan Page

A diverse workforce is a business imperative. Without it, companies are made up of employees who come from the same background and have the same skills and, therefore, the same blind spots. A diverse workforce brings together different strengths, a variety of experiences, a huge breadth of knowledge and a wealth of creative problem-solving techniques. However, in order to leverage the benefits of this diverse workforce, businesses must be inclusive. Inclusion ensures that employees feel supported, are treated fairly and are therefore happier, more engaged and more productive. Building an Inclusive Organization is a practical guide to creating an environment of real inclusion.

Buy on Amazon



Ong Boon Hwee & Mark Goyder - World Scientific Publishing

Our system of wealth creation is at a crossroads. It has contributed to economic and social progress. Yet it has also fuelled many problems from climate impacts, and air pollution, to digital manipulation and the invasion of privacy. In many parts of the world, there are demands for government action to restrain greed, irresponsibility and short-termism.

But what about positive solutions? How do we define the contributions that we all want business and investment to make? That is the challenge to which Ong Boon Hwee and Mark Goyder respond.

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The Human Moment

Amy Bradley - LID Publishing

We live in a world in crisis. Societies are becoming fractured, opinions polarised and people are increasingly isolated. In an attempt to seek out human connection, many people spend more time at work than they do with family members, yet few of us have someone at work who we trust enough to share our vulnerabilities and talk to about the things that worry us. To be human is to suffer, yet our struggles can remain hidden from work. This book argues that compassion is a core human value, which is too often overlooked in business.

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Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic - Harvard Business Review Press

In this timely and provocative book, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic asks two powerful questions: Why is it so easy for incompetent men to become leaders? And why is it so hard for competent people--especially competent women--to advance?

Marshaling decades of rigorous research, Chamorro-Premuzic points out that although men make up a majority of leaders, they underperform when compared with female leaders. In fact, most organizations equate leadership potential with a handful of destructive personality traits, like overconfidence and narcissism. In other words, these traits may help someone get selected for a leadership role, but they backfire once the person has the job.

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Technology and Patterns at Work Transformed


The Real Business of Blockchain

David Furlonger and Christophe Uzureau - Harvard Business Review Press

Leaders of forward-thinking organizations are exploring how blockchain can transform the way they create and seek value. Whether it's used to streamline multiparty processes, create and trade new assets, or leverage artificial intelligence and the internet of things, blockchain enables entirely new business opportunities.

This is just the start. As blockchain becomes more widely adopted, it has the potential to radically change the way companies and societies operate, as transformative a paradigm shift as the launch of the internet.

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The Joy of Work

Bruce Daisley - Cornerstone, PRH UK

In the course of a career that has taken him from some of the world's biggest media companies to Twitter, via Google and YouTube, Bruce Daisley has become fascinated by what makes great companies tick. And in his hugely popular podcast Eat Sleep Work Repeat, he has dug right into the DNA of work, talking to leading experts about how we can make our jobs more fulfilling, more productive – and much more enjoyable.

Now, in The Joy of Work, he shares the fruits of his discoveries in 30 succinct tips that range across all aspects of 21st-century office life and that combine inspiration, empirically tested insight and down-to-earth practical answers in equal measure.

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Agile Transformation

Neil Perkin - Kogan Page

Traditional organizational structures and cultures are no longer fit for purpose in a digitally-empowered world. The number of new and disruptive technologies is increasing, the speed of change shows no sign of slowing down and organization development practitioners and business leaders need to act urgently to enable their companies to succeed in the digital age. Agile Transformation is the much-needed guide on how to achieve this success. Packed full of practical advice, this book covers everything from why new operating models are needed, how to apply agile principles at scale, leverage digital-native processes and why change managers need to think big but start small.

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The Future of Management in an AI World

Jordi Canals & Franz Heukamp - Palgrave Macmillan

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is redefining the nature and principles of general management. The technological revolution is reshaping industries, disrupting existing business models, making traditional companies obsolete and creating social change. In response, the role of the manager needs to urgently evolve and adjust. Companies need to rethink their purpose, strategy, organisational design and decision-making rules. Crucially they will also need to consider how to nurture and develop the business leaders of the future and develop new ways to interact with society on issues such as privacy and trust.

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Everyday Chaos

David Weinberger - Harvard Business Review Press

Artificial intelligence, big data, modern science, and the internet are all revealing a fundamental truth: The world is vastly more complex and unpredictable than we've allowed ourselves to see.

Now that technology is enabling us to take advantage of all the chaos it's revealing, our understanding of how things happen is changing--and with it our deepest strategies for predicting, preparing for, and managing our world. This affects everything, from how we approach our everyday lives to how we make moral decisions and how we run our businesses.

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Business and Leadership Transformed



Jonathan Trevor - Bloomsbury Publishing

Why do some businesses thrive, while many more struggle and fail? A key reason and the focus of this book is strategic alignment. This is the careful arrangement of the various elements of an enterprise from its business strategy to its organisation to best support the fulfillment of its long-term purpose. The best-aligned enterprises are the best performing.

Most executives recognise that their enterprises should be managed in this aligned way, but lack a robust system of thought to allow them to execute strategic alignment effectively and realise its full benefits. There are thousands of organisations globally that are operating below their potential simply because they are not aligned. This book aims to change that.

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Brave New Work

Aaron Dignan - Penguin Random House

The way we work is broken. It takes forever to get anything done. Meetings and emails are incessant. Bureaucracy stifles talent and creativity. Is this really the best we can do?

Aaron Dignan teaches companies how to eliminate red tape, tap into collective intelligence, and rethink long-held traditions that no longer make sense. In Brave New Work, he shows you how to revolutionize the way you, your team and your company works forever.

Buy on Amazon


The Infinite Game

Simon Sinek - Penguin Random House

The New York Times-bestselling author of Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, and Together Is Better offers a bold new approach to business strategy by asking one question: are you playing the finite game or the infinite game?

In The Infinite Game, Sinek applies game theory to explore how great businesses achieve long-lasting success. He finds that building long-term value and healthy, enduring growth - that playing the infinite game - is the only thing that matters to your business.

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Reinventing the Organization

Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich - Harvard Business Review Press

The traditional hierarchical organization is dead, but what replaces it? Numerous new models--the agile organization, the networked organization, and holacracy, to name a few--have emerged, but leaders need to know what really works. How do you build an organization that is responsive to fast-changing markets? What kind of organization delivers both speed and scale, and how do you lead it?

Arthur Yeung and Dave Ulrich provide leaders with a much-needed blueprint for reinventing the organization.

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Teal Dots in an Orange World

Erik Korsvik Østergaard - LID Publishing

In the last century, changes in technology have driven massive developments in the social economy. The Fourth Industrial Revolution demands new approaches to organizational structures and teams. A paradigm shift is emerging, putting engagement, relations, inclusion and freedom at the centre. We need small self-managed teams, in a team-of-teams structure to be relevant to employees and customers, and in order to adapt to a changing world. In his second book, Erik Korsvik Østergaard draws on the workings of Frederic Laloux, and his 2014 title Reiventing Organisations. Laloux discusses the five organizational stages to the modern workforce; the Red, Amber, Orange, Green and Teal stages. And with these writings, Østergaard presents arguments towards how the classical corporate structure at the Orange stage, has experienced a rise in teal dots, or rather, neo-modernist forms of team-oriented organisms, which express a reorganisation for the future workforce.

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