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Book Giveaway: The 2017 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards: Current Events & Public Affairs Book Giveaway


We continue this week on our mission to give away all the books on the longlist of the 2017 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year.

We recognize 40 book on our longlist—five books in eight different categories—and this week, we'll be giving away the books in the Innovation & Creativity category. Those five books are listed below, along with the publisher's description. (Check back with In the Books Wednesday for our take on the books.) Each of this week's winners will receive all five books in the category.

The CEO Pay Machine: How it Trashes America and How to Stop it by Steven Clifford, Blue Rider Press

The former top CEO examines the scandalous and corrupt reasons behind obscene pay packages for corporate executives—and explains how this hurts all of us—and how we can stop it.

Today, the pay gap between chief executive officers of major U.S. firms and their workers is higher than ever before—depending on the method of calculation, CEOs get paid between 300 and 700 times more than the average worker. Such outsized pay is a relatively recent phenomenon, but despite all the outrage, few detractors truly understand the numerous factors that have contributed to the dizzying upward spiral in CEO compensation.

Steve Clifford, a former CEO who has also served on many corporate boards, has a name for these procedures and practices—“The CEO Pay Machine.” The CEO Pay Machine is Clifford’s thorough and shocking explanation of the "machine"—how it works, how its parts interact, and how every step pushes CEO pay to higher levels. As Clifford sees it, the payment structure for CEOs begins with shared delusions that reinforce one other: Once this groupthink is accepted as corporate dogma, it becomes infinitely harder to see any decision as potentially irrational or dysfunctional. Yet, as Clifford notes, the Pay Machine has caused immeasurable harm to companies, shareholders, economic growth, and democracy itself. He uses real-life examples of the top four CEOs named the highest paid in 2011 through 2014. Clifford examines how board directors and compensation committees have directly contributed to the rising salaries and bonuses of the country’s richest executives; what’s more, Clifford argues, each of those companies could have paid their CEOs 90 percent less and performed just as well.

Witty and infuriating, The CEO Pay Machine is a thorough and incisive critique of an economic issue that affects all American workers.

The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World by Anne-Marie Slaughter, Yale University Press

From a renowned foreign-policy expert, a new paradigm for strategy in the twenty-first century

In 1961, Thomas Schelling’s The Strategy of Conflict used game theory to radically reenvision the U.S.-Soviet relationship and establish the basis of international relations for the rest of the Cold War. Now, Anne-Marie Slaughter—one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers from 2009 to 2012, and the first woman to serve as director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning—applies network theory to develop a new set of strategies for the post-Cold War world. While chessboard-style competitive relationships still exist—U.S.-Iranian relations, for example—many other situations demand that we look not at individual entities but at their links to one another. We must learn to understand, shape, and build on those connections.

Concise and accessible, based on real-world situations, on a lucid understanding of network science, and on a clear taxonomy of strategies, this will be a go-to resource for anyone looking for a new way to think about strategy in politics or business.

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth, Chelsea Green Publishing

From renegade economist Kate Raworth, a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy for a new generation of economic thinkers.

Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times. Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.

That’s why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth, to revise our economic thinking for the 21st century. In Doughnut Economics, she sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design.

Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like.

Raworth handpicks the best emergent ideas—from ecological, behavioral, feminist, and institutional economics to complexity thinking and Earth-systems science—to address this question: How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow?

Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.

A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman's Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy by Sarah Lacy, Harper Business

A rally cry for working mothers everywhere that demolishes the “distracted, emotional, weak” stereotype and definitively shows that these professionals are more focused, decisive, and stronger than any other force.

Working mothers aren’t a liability. They are assets you—and every manager and executive—wants in your company, in your investment portfolio, and in your corner.

There is copious academic research showing the benefits of working mothers on families and the benefits to companies who give women longer and more flexible parental leave. There are even findings that demonstrate women with multiple children actually perform better at work than those with none or one.

Yet despite this concrete proof that working mothers are a lucrative asset, they still face the “Maternal Wall”—widespread unconscious bias about their abilities, contributions, and commitment. Nearly eighty percent of women are less likely to be hired if they have children—and are half as likely to be promoted. Mothers earn an average $11,000 less in salary and are held to higher punctuality and performance standards. Forty percent of Silicon Valley women said they felt the need to speak less about their family to be taken more seriously. Many have been told that having a second child would cost them a promotion.

Fortunately, this prejudice is slowly giving way to new attitudes, thanks to more women starting their own businesses and companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and Google implementing more parent-friendly policies. But the most important barrier to change isn’t about men. Women must rethink the way they see themselves after giving birth. As entrepreneur Sarah Lacy makes clear in this cogent, persuasive analysis and clarion cry, the strongest, most lucrative, and most ambitious time of a woman’s career may easily be after she sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test.

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer, Penguin Press

Franklin Foer reveals the existential threat posed by big tech, and in his brilliant polemic gives us the toolkit to fight their pervasive influence.

Over the past few decades there has been a revolution in terms of who controls knowledge and information. This rapid change has imperiled the way we think. Without pausing to consider the cost, the world has rushed to embrace the products and services of four titanic corporations. We shop with Amazon; socialize on Facebook; turn to Apple for entertainment; and rely on Google for information. These firms sell their efficiency and purport to make the world a better place, but what they have done instead is to enable an intoxicating level of daily convenience. As these companies have expanded, marketing themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism, their algorithms have pressed us into conformity and laid waste to privacy. They have produced an unstable and narrow culture of misinformation, and put us on a path to a world without private contemplation, autonomous thought, or solitary introspection—a world without mind. In order to restore our inner lives, we must avoid being coopted by these gigantic companies, and understand the ideas that underpin their success.

Elegantly tracing the intellectual history of computer science—from Descartes and the enlightenment to Alan Turing to Stuart Brand and the hippie origins of today's Silicon Valley—Foer exposes the dark underpinnings of our most idealistic dreams for technology. The corporate ambitions of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, he argues, are trampling longstanding liberal values, especially intellectual property and privacy. This is a nascent stage in the total automation and homogenization of social, political, and intellectual life. By reclaiming our private authority over how we intellectually engage with the world, we have the power to stem the tide.

At stake is nothing less than who we are, and what we will become. There have been monopolists in the past but today's corporate giants have far more nefarious aims. They're monopolists who want access to every facet of our identities and influence over every corner of our decision-making. Until now few have grasped the sheer scale of the threat. Foer explains not just the looming existential crisis but the imperative of resistance.

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