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Rotman Professor Wins Financial Times/McKinsey Award for Young Business Writers

November 18, 2015

Tweet thisToronto – A book proposal on managing the risk of catastrophic failure has won the Bracken Bower Prize sponsored by the Financial Times and McKinsey.

The proposal by András Tilcsik, a professor from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, along with his co-author, Christopher Clearfield won the prize for the best business book proposal by an author under the age of 35. The prize was announced last night at an awards dinner in New York where the Financial Times best business book of the year was also selected.

Tilcsik is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and a Fellow at the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School.  Clearfield is a principal at System Logic, an independent research and consulting firm. Their proposal, “Rethinking the Unthinkable: Managing the Risk of Catastrophic Failure in the Twenty-First Century,” was one of three finalists for the prize, out of nearly ninety submissions. An excerpt from their proposal can be read online at

"Our proposal is about the changing nature of catastrophic risk -- and why existing organizational practices are no longer sufficient in this shifting risk landscape. We hope our research will help managers of organizations of all kinds rethink the unthinkable and build more robust systems. We are grateful to the Financial Times and McKinsey for creating this great initiative and supporting young writers, and to the judges for believing in our project and encouraging us to develop it into a book,” say Tilcsik and Clearfield.

Christopher Clearfield is a principal at System Logic, an independent research and consulting firm focusing on the challenges posed by risk and complexity. Previously, he worked as a derivatives trader at a proprietary trading firm in New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, where he analysed and devised mitigations for the financial and regulatory risks inherent in the business of technologically complex high-speed trading. He has written about catastrophic failure, technology, and finance for The Guardian, Forbes, the Harvard Kennedy School Review, the popular science magazine Nautilus, and the Harvard Business Review blog. He holds an A.B. from Harvard College, where he studied physics and biology, and is a licensed pilot.

András Tilcsik is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a Fellow at the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship. His research has been published in leading scholarly journals, cited in testimonies to committees of the U.S. Congress, and recognized with awards from the American Sociological Association. At the Rotman School, he has developed “Catastrophic Failure in Organizations,” an award-winning elective course, which he teaches to MBA and undergraduate business students. A native of Hungary, he completed his Ph.D., A.M., and A.B. at Harvard University.

The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business challenges.  For more information, visit


For more information

Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
Voice 416.946.3818

Rajeev Perera
Coordinator, Events Communications and Media
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto

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Meet the Authors

Andras Tilcsik

András Tilcsik

Assistant Professor, Strategic Management, Rotman School

Read his full biography »

Christopher Clearfield

Read an excerpt from their book »