A guru and some gossip

Congratulations to Jeff Rubin whose book, Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller, has won the 2010 National Business Book Award. The $20,000 prize was presented today during a swank luncheon at the Toronto Four Seasons Hotel. My book about Manulife had been shortlisted along with books by Wendy Dobson, Buzz Hargrove and John DeMont.

The book by Rubin, a former economist at CIBC, has been published in 13 countries and seven languages. Noting that no one has ever won twice in the 25-year history of the award, Rubin, who won with his first book, quipped: “I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.”

Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and BMO Financial Group, the award has helped fuel the popularity of business books. In 1978, when I joined Maclean’s as business editor, business books was Peter C. Newman. Even in 1983, when I published my first book, The Moneyspinners, the genre was still so young that people I interviewed for the book were astonished to find themselves quoted in it despite the fact I told them what I was doing and tape-recorded all in-person interviews.

I don’t know how many books were submitted for consideration this year, but I imagine it was several dozen. Business books have become big business.

Best bit of gossip heard at the lunch: front-runner for appointment as the next governor-general is David Johnston, currently president of the University of Waterloo.

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