Canada’s National Business Book Award Announces 2021 Finalists

Canada’s National Business Book Award Announces 2021 Finalists

TORONTO, November 3, 2021 — The finalists for the 2021 National Business Book Award (NBBA), one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards celebrating its 36th anniversary, were announced today.  Presented by Miles S. Nadal, the $30,000 prize will be awarded to the author demonstrating the most outstanding Canadian business-related writing, research and originality on December 8, 2021.  

National Business Book Award finalists have consistently been recognized as leaders in spotting emerging business issues and trends in Canada and globally. This year’s nominated books—both in high quantity and quality—are especially indicative of Canada’s strong standing in global thought leadership.

Amid the devastation and uncertainty of a global pandemic, this year’s finalists are particularly timely as they confront the societal fissures with which we have all been reckoning: inequality, distrust, the rise of nationalism, the Indigenous experience in Canada, the erosion of the middle class, and the slowing of economic growth. While the attitudes that brought us here stretch back to the earliest days of Canada, the finalist books challenge the status quo and reflect a better path forward that includes a rebalancing of values to bolster resilience, respect interconnection and collaboration

The 2021 NBBA finalists are:

Stephen R. Bown, The Company: The Rise and Fall of the Hudson’s Bay Empire

  • Published by Doubleday Canada, Bown tells the tale of how one company shaped a nation. The history of the Hudson’s Bay Company is full of drama and ruthless dominance. Bown credits the First Nations tribes and their leaders for their integral role in the growth of the Hudson’s Bay Company. While early relationships led to cultural exchanges, the notorious George Simpson pursued profits and efficiency at any cost and viewed the Indigenous peoples as a cog in the fur trading machine, the ramifications of which are still being felt today.

Mark Carney, Value(s): Building A Better World for All


  • Published by Signal/McClelland & Stewart, Carney tackles the harsh realities of modern society from his unique perspective as the former head of both the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England. Carney contends that we are suffering due to a lack of consensus on values and priorities as he walks the reader through complex, interconnected political and economic theories, and provides solutions. Advocating for “mission-oriented capitalism”, Carney sees an opportunity in the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to reimagine our systems in a way that recognizes value beyond price.


Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson, Fight or Submit: Standing Tall in Two Worlds

  • Published by ECW Press, Grand Chief Derrickson’s memoir recounts his life’s journey through poverty, business success, and political leadership. Woven throughout are unflinching accounts of racism, bitter rivalries, and insights into internal band politics. Grand Chief Derrickson’s undeniable achievement is defined by collaborative strategy and fierce activism.

Roger L. Martin, When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency

  • Published by Harvard Business Review Press, Martin contends that our centuries-old, efficiency obsessed view of the economy is not working anymore. A firm believer that democracy and capitalism are co-dependent concepts, Martin discusses how the treatment of the economy as a perfectable machine has led to the erosion of the middle class, stalled financial growth, and furthered the rise of inequality and populism.  He lays out his solutions to our greatest challenges, underpinned by a balance of efficiency and resilience.

Jeff Rubin, The Expendables: How the Middle Class Got Screwed by Globalization

  • Published by Random House Canada, Rubin, former chief economist of CIBC, expands on his predictions from over a decade ago by examining the consequences of globalization on the middle class and on society as a whole. Rubin traces today’s most difficult struggles – inequality, the rise of populism, stagnant wages, and job loss – back to  globalization and the pursuit of efficiency at the cost of a resilient middle class. 

The 2021 NBBA winner is selected by an independent jury which evaluates each submission based on originality, relevance, excellence of writing, thoroughness of research and depth of analysis. The jury is chaired by Peter Mansbridge and includes Wes Hall, The BlackNorth Initiative and Kingsdale Advisors; Deirdre McMurdy, Peerage Capital and Adjudicator; David Denison, corporate director; Anna Porter, author and publisher; and Senator Pamela Wallin.

Past winners include Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Daniel Levitin, Jacquie McNish, Gordon Pitts and Andrea Benoit. For the full list of past winners, visit:

Supporting partners for the NBBA are The Targeted Strategies Group and business leader Stephen J.R. Smith. 

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Mary Ann Freedman, Freedman & Associates Inc.