The Rational Optimist has won the Hayek Prize from the Manhattan Institute. I will be giving the Hayek Lecture when I accept the prize later in the year. The Hayek Prize honors the book published within the past two years that best reflects Hayek’s vision of economic and individual liberty. The Hayek Prize, with its $50,000 award, is among the world’s most generous book prizes. It was conceived and funded by Manhattan Institute trustee Tom Smith to recognize the influence of F.A. Hayek and to encourage other scholars to follow his example. The winner of the Hayek Prize is chosen from among the nominations by a selection committee of distinguished economists, journalists, and scholars. Past winners include: William Easterly for The White Man’s Burden, Amity Shlaes for The Forgotten Man, and, most recently, Benn Steil and Manuel Hinds for Money, Markets & Sovereignty.
This is a great honour because my central themes about collective intelligence and spontaneous order are in many ways prefigured in F.A.Hayek’s work, and his ideas on the evolutionary nature of economic progress are ones that I share and have built on.
The Rational Optimist has also won a silver medal Axiom Business Book Award.
Meanwhile, in the UK The Rational Optimist has been long-listed for the BBC Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction books, the most generous and prestigious non-fiction book prize. This is a prize I was short-listed for in 2000 for Genome. But I hold out little hope of winning, because in the UK it seems I am always a bridesmaid and never a bride: I have been shortlisted for seven major literary prizes and have sat through six prize dinners without result!
Still, I am very lucky to be given the recognition of long-listing and very grateful.