News & Opinion

The 2022 Porchlight Business Book Awards Shortlist

Dylan Schleicher

December 15, 2022


There isn’t anywhere better to slow down, to dive deeper into things, to learn about and reflect upon the world, than in a book. The best books transcend their time and space, even as they help us define our present moment and put it in context.

We hear a lot about how drastically everything has changed, about how the pace of change itself is accelerating. It is usually assumed that this means we ourselves must move faster, but we believe it is important to take time to slow down, to dive deeper so we’re not swept up in and away by the current.  

There isn’t anywhere better to slow down, to dive deeper into things, to learn about and reflect upon the world, than in a book. One thing the best books do is reach beyond time and space, even as they help us define our present moment and put it in context. As our CEO & Owner, Rebecca Schwartz, says: 

We have all experienced those moments in books that burrow in, that affect us deeply or hang around in the corners of our minds and periodically resurface like an old friend. As a teacher of literature for many years, I saw it happen over and over again: a student’s Aha! across the table in September and then a reference to that insight appearing somewhere in an essay in May. Similarly, as a third-generation Schwartz bookseller, I celebrate that the books we ship not only make their way into your homes and offices, but into your heads and hearts as well. And I have confidence that when you pick up one—or more—of the eight titles on our shortlist, you will find not only information, but an experience that burrows in and changes the way you feel and think about business and life for years to come. 

We found the following eight titles, which now comprise the shortlist for the 2022 Porchlight Business Book of the Year, to be the best in their categories. 


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY: Dare to Un-Lead: The Art of Relational Leadership in a Fragmented World by Celine Schillinger, Figure 1 

MANAGEMENT & WORKPLACE CULTURE: Beloved Economies: Transforming How We Work by Jess Rimington & Joanna Levitt Cea, Page Two 

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS/SALES & INFLUENCE: How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion by David McRaney, Portfolio 

INNOVATION & CREATIVITY: Inspired: Understanding Creativity: A Journey Through Art, Science, and the Soul by Matt Richtel, Mariner Books 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & HUMAN BEHAVIOR: Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari, Crown 

CURRENT EVENTS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick by J. David McSwane, One Signal Publishers 

NARRATIVE & BIOGRAPHY: Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop by Danyel Smith, Roc Lit 101 

BIG IDEAS & NEW PERSPECTIVES: The College Devaluation Crisis: Market Disruption, Diminishing ROI, and an Alternative Future of Learning by Jason Wingard, Stanford Business Books 

As always, we want to thank everyone who helped bring these books to life. That begins with authors, of course, but it extends to everyone who puts in hours in the publishing industry every day, all the editors and publishers and publicists and agents who have decided to make books their business. It extends to those who work in the warehouses shipping them, and the paper companies and printers and book binders and everyone else who touches what ends up being a finished book. And, as this year has taught me more than most, it extends to the subjects of the books, to those who moved ideas and industries forward, who made literal music and covered beats and reported out the truth so that it was documented for all of us and for those who come after us. It is for those making change—more intentional, on the ground, inclusive change… change in the way we think and work and organize ourselves—rather than simply being swept up in it. We appreciate you.  

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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