January 12, 2015
News & Opinion: The 2014 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year and Jack Covert Awards
The 2014 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year Award was announced at an industry party in New York City last Thursday evening.
Michael S. Malone's wonderful company biography and industry narrative, The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company, took home the prize.
If you look up and down our longlist of this year’s best books, you’ll see it’s littered with books at the intersection of business and new technology, computers, the internet, and whatever is coming next. It is just such an all-encompassing part of our lives now that we miss the forest of it for the trees of each aspect. Michael S. Malone’s Intel Trinity does a lot to explain how it became this way, and how Intel became “the most important company in the world” in the process.
But Malone's book is more than just a book about a company or industry making Moore's Law—the law that Intel launched into the world—a part of the modern human condition, as important as that story is. Because while most books end up in the General Business category because they don't fit into any other, Malone's tale ended up there because it fit in all our other categories. It is a tale of Innovation & Creativity, to be sure, and a tale of some of the most successful Entrepreneurship of the 20th Century, showing that it can be (and usually is) a collaborative effort and not the result of a lone wolf. And it gets into the nuts-and-bolts of the business, the Sales strategies and successes that built and sustained the company, and the Marketing strategies they employed when others' technologies started to catch up and even surpass their own. It is a story of the Personal Development not only of the three men in the subtitle of the book, but of so many characters whose talents Intel nurtured (like Geoffrey Moore of the aforementioned Moore's Law) and that Malone brings alive on the page. It does not have the Finance & Economic angle we usually focus on—usually either personal finance or bigger picture or behavioral economics—but it has something that may be more important; It tells the story of how Intel secured the financing to begin it's enterprise and how it managed the relationship with those that financed the company over time. And the truth is that the only reason we don't give more attention to books that talk about company and startup financing is that they're so few and far between. It's a story that should be told more often. Finally, the book has some of the best Leadership & Management stories and lessons we've come across in a long time. The three men at the center of the book had an interesting and tumultuous relationship in an industry and era that has changed life as we know it on this planet, and they were at the center of those changes.
Because of that, The Intel Trinity is seeminly constantly bordering on hyperbole, but just as you think it's going over the edge, Malone always has a succinct line or brilliant story that shows you that your thinking on the matter might just be too small, and forces you to broaden your thinking on business and what it can do in the world. For a book that could have, and almost does at times, get bogged down in microprocessor models and the like to tell its story, this is an impressive feat, and for that reason and so many others (have we mentioned just how good a journalist and writer Mike Malone is) The Intel Trinity deserves to be called the best book of 2015.
But how about that party I mentioned? We hold it every year to show appreciation to those in the industry that makes the work we do possible.
This year, to further that mission and to honor our founder Jack Covert, we handed out the inaugural Jack Covert Award for Contribution to the Business Book Industry. And the award went to Jim Levine.
As his agency bio states best “Jim has spent most of his career putting together ideas, people, and money; identifying, nurturing, and marketing talent; and creating projects that make a difference.”
And those projects and the talent he has represented have had a profound affect on the business book genre.
It’s fitting that the initial recipient of the “Covert” award does much of his work covertly, there from the beginning stages of the book but in the background of the end product. His is a name that most end readers won’t know unless they’ve been paying close attention to the acknowledgements sections of books for the last 25 years, but that anyone in a room of gathered industry professionals would say is one of the most important men in the room.
Coincidentally, Jim Levine let us know before the night got started that, if Mike Malone won the overall book of the year award, he had been instructed by the author to accept it for him (Mike couldn't make it from California for the event). So, as you can see in the pictures below, it looks like Jim had a big night!
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.