What If Novels Were Treated Like Business Books?

This post by Roger Tagholm originally appeared on Publishing Perspectives on 11/13/14.

After attending the FT Business Book of the Year ceremony in London, Roger Tagholm wonders “what if novels had subtitles like business books do?”

You could call it an overdraft of words. There seems to be an unwritten rule that business books have to have lengthy subtitles that seek to explain what the book is about. The shortlist for this week’s Financial Times McKinsey & Company Business Book of the Year Award, which was won by Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century on Tuesday night at a dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, afforded some perfect examples (though admittedly, not the winner). Deep breath. Here goes:

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Suveillance by Julia Angwin (Times Books)

House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi (University of Chicago Press)

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (Norton)

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, with Amy Wallace (Bantam Press)

If novels were treated like this, we might see:

Atonement: How Making up Stories Can Make Amends for Past Wrongs and Be a Force for Healing by Ian McEwan (Vintage)


Read the full post on Publishing Perspectives.