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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
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
The Rational Optimist has also won a silver
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
Still, I am very lucky to be given the recognition of
long-listing and very grateful.