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Book Giveaway: The 2017 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards: Narrative & Biography Book Giveaway


We continue this week on our quest 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 Narrative & Biography 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 Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse by Tom Verducci, Crown Archetype

With inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and Fox Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions.

It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs were once again World Series champions.

How did a team composed of unknown young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, had full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs’ transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball.

Beginning with Epstein’s first year with the team in 2011, Verducci shows how Epstein went beyond “Moneyball” thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called “The Cubs Way,” he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics.

To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs’ bench. A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge.

The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to its fullest potential.

Verducci chronicles the playoff run that culminated in an instant classic Game Seven. He takes a broader look at the history of baseball in Chicago and the almost supernatural element to the team’s repeated losses that kept fans suffering, but also served to strengthen their loyalty.

The Cubs Way is a celebration of an iconic team and its journey to a World Championship that fans and readers will cherish for years to come.

Double Bind: Women on Ambition Ed. by Robin Romm, Liveright

Breaking the last feminist taboo—once and for all.

Even as toweringly successful women from Gloria Steinem to Beyoncé embrace the word "feminism," the word "ambition," for many, remains loaded with ambivalence. Women who are naturally driven and goal-oriented shy away from it. They’re loath to see themselves—or be seen by others—as aggressive or, worst of all, as a bitch. Double Bind could not come at a more urgent time, a necessary collection that explodes this conflict, examining the concept of female ambition from every angle in essays full of insight, wisdom, humor, and rage.

Perceptively identifying a paradox at the very heart of feminism, editor Robin Romm has marshaled a stunning constellation of thinkers to examine their relationships with ambition with candor, intimacy, and wit. Roxane Gay discusses how race informs and feeds her ambition. Theresa Rebeck takes on Hollywood and confronts her own unquenchable thirst to overcome its sexism. Francine Prose considers the origins of the stigma; Nadia Manzoor discusses its cultural weight. Women who work in fields long-dominated by men—from butchery to tech to dogsledding—weigh in on what it takes to crack that ever-present glass ceiling, and the sometimes unexpected costs of shattering it. The eternally complex questions of aspiration and identity can be made even more treacherous at the dawn of motherhood; Allison Barrett Carter attempts leaning in at home, while Sarah Ruhl tries to uphold her feminist vision within motherhood’s infinite daily compromises.

Taken together, these essays show women from a range of backgrounds and at all stages of their lives and careers grappling with aspiration, failure, achievement, guilt, and, yes, success. Forthright and empowering, Double Bind breaks a long silence, reclaiming "ambition" from the roster of dirty words at last.

The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite by Duff McDonald, Harper Business

A riveting and timely intellectual history of one of our most important capitalist institutions, Harvard Business School, from the bestselling author of The Firm.

With The Firm, financial journalist Duff McDonald pulled back the curtain on consulting giant McKinsey & Co. In The Golden Passport, he reveals the inner workings of a singular nexus of power, ambition, and influence: Harvard Business School.

Harvard University occupies a singular place in the public’s imagination, but HBS has arguably eclipsed its parent in terms of its influence on modern society. A Harvard degree guarantees respect. An HBS degree is, as The New York Times proclaimed in 1978, “the golden passport to life in the upper class.” Those holding Harvard MBA's are near-guaranteed entrance into Western capitalism’s most powerful realm—the corner office.

Most people have a vague knowledge of the power of the HBS network, but few understand the dynamics that have made HBS an indestructible and powerful force for almost a century. As McDonald explores those dynamics, he also reveals how, despite HBS’s enormous success, it has proven an equally enormous failure at the stated goal of its founders: “the multiplication of men who will handle their current business problems in socially constructive ways.” While HBS graduates tend to be very good at whatever they do, but that is rarely the doing of good.

In addition to showing the inner workings of this exclusive, if not necessarily “secret” club, McDonald explores two hugely important questions: Has the School failed at reaching the goals it set for itself? And is HBS therefore complicit in the moral failings of Western capitalism? At a time of enormous economic disparity and political unrest, this hard hitting yet fair portrait offers a much-needed look at an institution that has a profound influence on the shape of our society and all our lives.

Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman, Abrams Press

A James Beard Award–winner investigates the modern American supermarket to reveal how our food is sourced, sold, and consumed.

In Grocery, bestselling author Michael Ruhlman offers incisive commentary on America's relationship with its food and investigates the overlooked source of so much of it—the grocery store.

In a culture obsessed with food—how it looks, what it tastes like, where it comes from, what is good for us—there are often more questions than answers. Ruhlman proposes that the best practices for consuming wisely could be hiding in plain sight—in the aisles of your local supermarket. Using the human story of the family-run Midwestern chain Heinen's as an anchor to this journalistic narrative, he dives into the mysterious world of supermarkets and the ways in which we produce, consume, and distribute food. Grocery examines how rapidly supermarkets—and our food and culture—have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer. But rather than waxing nostalgic for the age of mom-and-pop shops, Ruhlman seeks to understand how our food needs have shifted since the mid-twentieth century, and how these needs mirror our cultural ones.

A mix of reportage and rant, personal history and social commentary, Grocery is a landmark book from one of our most insightful food writers.

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein, Simon & Schuster 

A Washington Post reporter’s intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors’ assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin—Paul Ryan’s hometown—and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class.

This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills—but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class.

For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It’s an American story.

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