Alice O’Keeffe, Books Editor at The Bookseller, said: “Our shortlists this year took the judges from Georgian London to the Second World War to contemporary New York. There are books from exciting fresh voices at the very start of their career, contrasted with books from with well-established brand authors at the top of their game. These are the books that sum up 2018 but which, we think, will be read for years to come.”
Daring to be different, in this collection of potted biographies, has various meanings. It can refer to overcoming a disability, rising above prejudice, inventing something that changed the world, or doing something beneficial to others... Some of the author’s choices are slam-dunk obvious: Galileo, Gandhi, Tesla, Mandela, Braille, Linnaeus, Wilde, Hawking. Some are less known: dolphin conservationist Ric O’Barry, limbless athlete Nick Vujicic, Sicilian anti-Mafia campaigner Luigi Ciotti. Together, their stories coalesce into a rousing symphony of against-the-odds achievement.