The 2020 Porchlight Business Book of the Year is here!

News & Opinion

The 2020 Porchlight Business Book Awards Longlist

Dylan Schleicher

December 03, 2020

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These are the 40 books we found represent the year best in one way or another. They help us make sense of the challenges 2020 has presented us with, understand the depths of the existing cracks it has exposed in our society, and offer solutions to solve the many truly monumental challenges we face—together.

2020 has been a year we will all remember, even if most of us would prefer to forget it. 

image5qioe.pngOne shining light throughout it all has been the quality of the year’s books, which have been just as unforgettable as the year itself. So many of them, even though they were written before the pandemic struck, have helped us make sense of what has transpired since it did—helping us understand how we got here, where here really is, who we really are, and how we can move forward together on the other side. 

It has been a hard year for most of us personally, and for our businesses. The pandemic has made us less safe and secure, less resilient and less prosperous. But so—we have learned—does monopoly, political instability, income inequality, police brutality, racism, misogyny, discrimination based on religion and sexual orientation, and business models based on surveillance instead of service. Even before COVID-19, they all were contributing to make us less safe and secure, less resilient and less prosperous as a society. 

We all yearn for a return to normal, to business as usual, but we also know now more than ever that what we considered “normal” wasn’t working for everyone. It was broken systemically, breaking us apart socially, and breaking us down individually. It is time to upend business as usual and find a new way forward.

We believe in books, and in their power to help us do so, to help us (and future generations) make sense of these unprecedented times, to help us proceed with courage and empathy, to rebuild not just the economy, but the very foundations of a more just economy. We believe in the independent businesses and businesspeople going to work every day to do that work, to rebuild, revive, and renew our communities and promise.

One other thing we’ve learned this year is that page-turning is much better than doom-scrolling—for both our understanding and our anxiety levels—so let’s get to it. These are the 40 books we found represent the year best in one way or another. They help us make sense of the challenges 2020 has presented us with, understand the depths of the existing cracks it has exposed in our society, and offer solutions to solve the many truly monumental challenges we face—together.

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Image by Gabbi Cisneros.

LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

MANAGEMENT & WORKPLACE CULTURE

MARKETING & SALES

INNOVATION & CREATIVITY

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & HUMAN BEHAVIOR

CURRENT EVENTS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

NARRATIVE & BIOGRAPHY

BIG IDEAS & NEW PERSPECTIVES

Thanks to all the authors who wrote these books (and so many other books it pained us greatly to leave off the list), and to all those working at every imprint in every publishing house—now often in your home or in a warehouse that looks vastly different than it did at this time last year. We appreciate all you do to keep putting more books and ideas into the world. 

 

About The Author

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of Porchlight since 2003. After beginning in shipping and receiving, he moved through customer service (with some accounting on the side) before entering into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the editorial and creative aspects of the company. Outside of work, you’ll find him volunteering or hanging out at his kids’ school, catching the weekly summer concert at the Washington Park Bandshell, or strolling through one of the many other parks or greenspaces around his home in Milwaukee (most likely in his garden). He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.

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