Trust business types to figure out how to cram an entire awards gala into the length of a standard business lunch. Yesterday at noon, the 27th annual National Business Book Award presentation at the Ritz-Carlton drew a crowd of authors, Bay Streeters and media veterans, including Conrad Black, Peter Mansbridge, Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway and Globe and Mail editor-in-chief John Stackhouse. The neck craning and whispers started when Black, nominated for his memoir, A Matter of Principle (which he says he will update now that he’s out of the slammer), arrived for the pre-luncheon cocktail hour. However, one press photographer didn’t seem intimidated by the Baron Black of Crossharbour: he chided Black for posing with his book shoved under his arm, instructing him how to hold it in a suitably promotional manner.
Jury chairman, Rotman School of Management dean and recent Toronto Life cover model Roger Martin served as a jovial—and succinct—emcee. Mansbridge, his one-time co-host senator Pamela Wallin and business journalist Deirdre McMurdy were also on the jury, the latter joking that receiving the “boxes and boxes” of books to slog through each December “ruins Christmas every year.” After a three-course lunch, the prize—and the $20,000 that goes along with it—was awarded to marketing expert Bruce Philp, for Consumer Republic: Using Brands to Get What You Want, Make Corporations Behave, and Maybe Even Save the World. Philp gave a gracious three minute speech and, by 2 p.m. on the dot, everyone headed back to work.