For the past decade, the Financial Times has been gathering a panel of judges from academia, media, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley to determine the year’s best business book.
When it started the competition in 2005, it set out to find the most insightful and entertaining book of the year, but when the financial crisis hit in 2008, the prize became more focused on what book led the most conversations that year and had the most potential for effecting change.
We’ve collected each of the winners below and explained why they were chosen.
Yale bioethicist Wendell Wallach proclaimed in June that the developed world is at an 'unparalleled' moment in history where technology is replacing more jobs than it creates. If we use the word 'robot' as shorthand for a wide variety of machines and programs fuelled by artificial intelligence, then we are in the early stages of a robot revolution.
Tech entrepreneur Martin Ford is one of the loudest voices directing attention to the issue.
In his book he takes an extensive, hard look at how the robot revolution is affecting the developed world and declares that its governments and companies need to take preemptive action to avoid a job crisis sometime in the next few decades.
As soon as the English translation of French economist Thomas Piketty's 700-page investigation of income inequality came out in March 2014, it became a surprise New York Times bestseller and media staple for weeks, with passionate opinions for and against Piketty's conclusion that inequality levels are at dangerous levels around the world.
It's been hard to find someone without an opinion about Piketty since, and he remains a standout figure in the debate surrounding what to do about dangerously high income inequality, which is now most prominently a hot button topic for US presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican alike.
Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world, with a market cap of roughly $322 billion, and its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is one of the richest people in the world, with an estimated net worth of $59.4 billion.
Bezos may have started Amazon in 1994, but before journalist Brad Stone's 2013 heavily researched book chronicled the company's early years and the development of its intense work culture, much of it remained unknown due to Bezos' tendency to remain tight-lipped.
'As the world's largest non-governmental producer of oil and gas, and for several years the world's largest listed company by market capitalisation, (ExxonMobil) has been at the heart of many of the central issues of our time, from the debate over climate change to the war on terror,' Ed Crooks wrote for the Financial Times in 2012, adding that he found it remarkable that a chronicle of its history hadn't arrived sooner.
But Columbia Journalism School dean and former New America Foundation think tank CEO Steve Coll has written the definitive book on ExxonMobil, according to Crooks and the 2012 panel of judges.
It covers the years 1989-2010, from the Exxon Valdez spill to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, detailing the ways that ExxonMobil has expertly navigated a complex web of politics and business to reign supreme.
MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo studied the world's poorest people across five continents and explained ways that developed nations and their citizens can provide aid that would not result in wasted resources or the funding of corruption.
The Financial Times judges chose it as their 2011 pick because they found it especially relevant after the start of Occupy Wall Street that September, along with other reactions to the fallout of the 2007-8 financial crisis and ensuing recession.
'With much of the developed world racked by crisis and shaken by protest about capitalism's deficiencies, the judges said co-authors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo offered a hopeful guide to the way forward,' Andrew Hill wrote for the Financial Times.
Raghuram Rajan is the governor of the Reserve Bank of India and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, and when he published 'Fault Lines' in 2010 he was a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
In it, he argues that there were causes of the financial crisis that went deeper than where most conversations at the time were going; namely, income inequality, trade imbalances, and the clash between the differences in the financial systems of countries like the US and UK compared to those of China and Japan.
Semi-retired investment manager Liaquat Ahamed's Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Lords of Finance' took the Financial Times' 2009 prize because the judges found it to be incredibly illuminating at a perfect time -- during the recession.
It tells the story of how the heads of the Central Banks of the US, UK, France, and Germany made a disastrous attempt at steering the global economy in the wake of World War I, and how their actions ultimately led to the Great Depression.
Investor and former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian's book took the 2008 prize because it was seen as an expert explanation of the forces behind the 2008 credit crisis, and how it became a global problem through the interactions between developed and emerging markets.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein called the book 'extremely accessible and compelling.'
Business writer William D. Cohan's history of the powerful and secretive investment bank Lazard took the 2007 award for its well-written, deeply-researched, and entertaining narrative.
The judges said it was the year's 'most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.'
This book by James Kynge, the former bureau chief for the Financial Times in Beijing, took the 2006 award for being a thorough introduction into the rise of China from its Maoist days into a global economic power.
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