January 21, 2011

News & Opinion: The 2010 Business Book Awards

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 9:02 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

2010 was a fine year for business books. In fact, it was almost difficult to keep track of all the great books coming across our desks. Come late summer though, the entries for our Business Book Awards started to pour in, and before long, piled up around us. For months we read and talked, pondered and discussed, and narrowed down our choices for the books we thought were the best. In December, we posted those choices minus the overall Best Business Book in 2010. Now, we just returned from our Awards celebration in NYC, where we announced the overall winner, and congratulated all the other winners and shortlist titles. It was a blast. Those in attendance were some of the people responsible for introducing big ideas to the world - business, and life, won't be the same because of them. So who won?

The 2010 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year

Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeir Hansson Crown Business, 288 pages, $22.00 | This book created excitement around the office months before it came in, and the galley that we received before publication was passed around and beat up from use by the time the finished copies started to come in. Our conclusion: if you are an aspiring business book author or publisher and want to know what a truly exceptional business book looks like, Rework is the example.

The authors, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, created and run a company called 37signals, supplier of the Highrise, Basecamp and Backpack software that we at 800-CEO-READ use everyday. 37Signals is not large; in fact, it is intentionally small. Small, comfortable, and profitable. The business insights Fried and Hansson share in the book, written in contemporary language that is both accessible and exciting, is wisdom that our founder and president Jack Covert has said took him forty years to learn. And wonderfully illustrated throughout by Mike Rohde, that wisdom comes in an appealing visual package.

But beyond being the best-conceived and designed book of the year, what we really appreciate about Rework is its pragmatic nature—its emphasis on the problem at hand. As the economy continues its recovery, it encourages people in business to rethink some basic assumptions, offering logical ideas and solutions that are instantly applicable to the solo entrepreneur, the team leader, or the company owner. Thanks again to everyone who contributed, by thinking how to make work better, writing it down, editing it, publishing it, and publicizing it. And special thanks to those who read those ideas, tell others about them, and importantly, put those ideas into practice. Couldn't make the event? Here's a glimpse of what happened: