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Account of the global chip battle wins FT book prize

by Atlanta Business Journal

Chris Miller has won the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award for Chip War, his timely and important account of the global battle for semiconductor supremacy, in one of the tightest contests since the prize started in 2005.

Miller received the £30,000 prize, presented to the year’s “most compelling and enjoyable” business book, at a ceremony in London on December 5.

The judges’ discussion of the shortlist of six titles ended with a close-fought battle between Chip War and The Power Law, a history of the venture capital industry by Sebastian Mallaby, a previous winner of the prize.

Roula Khalaf, editor of the FT and chair of the book award judging panel, described Chip War as one of the most important books she had read this year. “The fight for semiconductors and the quest for supply chain resilience are among the biggest economic and business stories of our time and will be for much of the near future,” she said.

Miller, associate professor of international history at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, explains in the book how manufacturers came to depend on supply of advanced chips from a few companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, based in the geopolitical hotspot off mainland China.

Recent global tensions and supply chain difficulties, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, had only underlined that dependency and the timeliness of Miller’s analysis, the award judges said.

At the same award ceremony, Âriel de Fauconberg received the £15,000 Bracken Bower Prize for her book proposal, Before the Dawn, about the pioneering work of climate technology entrepreneurs. Minouche Shafik, director of the London School of Economics, was the guest speaker.

The authors of five other titles shortlisted for the main award received £10,000. The other finalists were: Dead in the Water, by Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel, about the ramifications of an apparent attack on an oil tanker; Influence Empire, Lulu Chen’s book about Tencent, the Chinese technology company; The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order, by Gary Gerstle, on the consequences of untrammelled free markets; Mallaby’s The Power Law; and Disorder, Helen Thompson’s analysis of energy geopolitics.

Nicole Perlroth’s investigation into the cyber weapons arms race, This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends, was last year’s winner of the business book award.

The other judges of the 2022 award were: Mimi Alemayehou, senior vice-president for public-private partnerships at Mastercard’s humanitarian and development group; Mitchell Baker, chief executive, Mozilla Corporation; Mohamed El-Erian, president, Queens’ College, Cambridge, and adviser to Allianz and Gramercy; James Kondo, chair, International House of Japan; Randall Kroszner, professor of economics and deputy dean for executive programmes at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business; and Shriti Vadera, chair, Prudential and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Learn more about the award here.

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