In the most recent edition of the Wall Street Journal, the publication announced its top books of the year in both fiction and non-fiction categories (December 10-11, p. C-11).
In my review of the non-fiction selections, only one appears to be a business book. It is entitled The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon (Princeton University Press, 2016). I can conclude, therefore, that this is de facto, its best business book of the year.
My research uncovered that this was on the New York Times best-seller list, and in addition to appearing on the WSJ list, it also was:
#36 on Bloomberg’s “50 Most Influential” List
One of the Strategy+Business Best Business Books 2016 in Economy
Shortlisted for the 2016 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
Longlisted for the 2016 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, McGill University
Here is how it is summarized on Amazon.com:
“In the century after the Civil War, an economic revolution improved the American standard of living in ways previously unimaginable. Electric lighting, indoor plumbing, motor vehicles, air travel, and television transformed households and workplaces. But has that era of unprecedented growth come to an end? Weaving together a vivid narrative, historical anecdotes, and economic analysis, The Rise and Fall of American Growth challenges the view that economic growth will continue unabated, and demonstrates that the life-altering scale of innovations between 1870 and 1970 cannot be repeated. Gordon contends that the nation’s productivity growth will be further held back by the headwinds of rising inequality, stagnating education, an aging population, and the rising debt of college students and the federal government, and that we must find new solutions. A critical voice in the most pressing debates of our time, The Rise and Fall of American Growth is at once a tribute to a century of radical change and a harbinger of tougher times to come.”
Who is Robert J. Gordon? From his speaker’s bureau listing, we learn: “Robert J. Gordon is one of the world’s most influential economists. He has attracted worldwide attention from academics, print media, and the blogosphere by his controversial analysis predicting that future economic growth in the U. S. will be a mere fraction of its historic rate. He was selected for the Politico 50, those shaping the political debate in 2016 and on Bloomberg’s Fifty Most Influential 2016 list. In 2013 he was selected one of Bloomberg’s Top 10 Most Influential Thinkers.”
We did not present this book in 2016 at the First Friday Book Synopsis, but will give it very strong consideration for one of our sessions in 2017.
As of this writing, it is still a very strong best-seller, as it is # 1 in three Business and Money books as tracked by Amazon.com categories, including Economic Development and Growth, Economic History, and Economic Conditions.