News & Opinion

The 2020 Porchlight Business Book Awards Shortlist

Dylan Schleicher

December 17, 2020


Ranging from the nature of work and creativity to the foundations that our communities, business models, and economics are built upon, each of these books resonates strongly with 2020, a year like none other.

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Porchlight Business Book Awards Shortlist.

Ranging from the nature of work and creativity to the foundations that our communities, business models, and economics are built upon, each of them speaks to how we can address the many challenges 2020 presented us with. Many of those challenges are deep seated and generations old, and brought into starker relief during these times. All of them need to be met, and we believe these books can help.

As our Owner, President, and CEO Rebecca Schwartz recently wrote:

During this most challenging of years, one in which so many businesses and the people who comprise them have suffered, the refuge and counsel offered by books continued to be essential. And while they may challenge our perceptions or our priorities, books and the reading experience offer valuable constancy and steadfastness, counteracting the unpredictable, jarring nature of the world around us by helping us understand the forces at work. The eight books on the 2020 Porchlight Business Book Awards shortlist provide insight, inspiration, and guidance for achieving a more human-based and forward-thinking future for us all.

Those eight books are:


Image by Gabbi Cisneros.

Leadership & Strategy Book of the Year: When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America's Obsession with Economic Efficiency by Roger L. Martin, Harvard Business Review Press

Management & Workplace Culture Book of the Year: After the Gig: How the Sharing Economy Got Hijacked and How to Win It Back by Juliet B. Schor, University of California Press

Marketing & Sales Book of the Year: Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love from Day One by Emily Heyward, Portfolio

Innovation & Creativity Book of the Year: The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation, and Intuition at Work by Natalie Nixon, Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Personal Development & Human Behavior Book of the Year: Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May, Riverhead Books

Current Events & Public Affairs Book of the Year: Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy by Margaret Sullivan, Columbia Global Reports

Narrative & Biography Book of the Year: The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power by Deirdre Mask, St. Martin’s Press

Big Ideas & New Perspectives Book of the Year: The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women's Empowerment by Linda Scott, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

It was a year that prompted hard questions and difficult but necessary conversations in our organizations and within ourselves. It showed us how urgently we need to address systemic problems at every level, and how so much of what we always thought was so urgent in our busy daily lives could wait—or be removed altogether. What most of us miss most is our time together. The most difficult part about this year’s awards process wasn't finding the time to read and discuss the books with each other while working remotely, when it is already harder than usual to keep up with work and with each other. It was knowing that we won’t be able to get our friends and colleagues together for our annual awards party in New York at the end of it all to celebrate the hard work they’ve put in to producing the books that make our work possible.

We hope everyone knows that we value that work as much, or even more now, than ever, and that we strive every single day to amplify that effort and get these books and ideas into the world to help inform and shape and change it for the better. There is so much work left to do, but thank you to everyone for the work you've done in this difficult year. Here is to a better one to come, and to seeing our friends again when it is safe.

About Dylan Schleicher

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 marketing and editorial aspects of the company. Outside of work, you’ll find him volunteering or playing basketball at his kids’ school, catching the weekly summer concert at the Washington Park Bandshell, or strolling through one of the many other parks or green spaces around his home in Milwaukee (most likely his own gardens). He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.

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