News & Opinion

Porchlight's Bestselling Business Books of 2019

Dylan Schleicher

February 13, 2020


The 15 books that we sold the most, and most often, in 2019. Thank you to everyone who helped bring the books into existence, who brought them to our awareness, and who worked with us to deliver them into the hands of readers.

2019 was a big year for our company. The biggest development: after decades of doing business as 800-CEO-READ, we changed the name of our company to Porchlight. We did so because a lit porchlight is an invitation to gather, a signal that you are welcome. The people of Porchlight Book Company aim to offer a similar message—that your book needs, however challenging, are welcome.

The services we’ve tailored to meet those needs are not governed by an algorithm, but by the collective experience and wisdom we’ve attained over our 35 years as a bulk book service company. They are also governed by the relationships we have formed and the people we serve. We are forever grateful to the authors and publishers of the books we sell (and everyone else who helped in their creation), and hopeful that the books end up in a place where they will have a positive impact on people's lives and work. 

The following 15 books are those that we sold the most, and most often, in 2019. Thank you to everyone who helped bring the books into existence, who brought them to our awareness, and who worked with us to deliver them into the hands of readers. 


  1. Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life by Francesca Gino, Dey Street Books
  2. What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence by Stephen A. Schwartzman, Avid Reader Press
  3. Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices That Will Make or Break Your Business by Tiffani Bova, Portfolio
  4. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein, Riverhead Books
  5. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon, Wiley
  6. The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution by Susan Hockfield, W. W. Norton & Company 
  7. Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley's Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime by Julian Guthrie, Currency 
  8. Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change by Marc Benioff, Monica Langley, Currency 
  9. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown, Random House 
  10. Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani, Viking Books for Young Readers 
  11. Women with Money: The Judgment-Free Guide to Creating the Joyful, Less Stressed, Purposeful (And, Yes, Rich) Life You Deserve by Jean Chatzky, Grand Central Publishing 
  12. Invested: Changing Forever the Way Americans Invest by Charles Schwab, Currency
  13. Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder by Chip Conley, Currency
  14. Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America by Weijian Shan, Wiley 
  15. Rehumanize Your Business: How Personal Videos Accelerate Sales and Improve Customer Experience by Ethan Beute & Steve Pacinelli, Wiley 

One other thing that has changed this year is our focus. The foundation of Porchlight Book Company was set by Jack Covert and David Schwartz in 1984 on the business book section of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in downtown Milwaukee. That foundation has given us an expertise in business books and helped us build great relationships with business authors and imprints. The services we’ve built to serve them, however, can be applied to any book in any genre. In fact, we’ve sold books across the spectrum of publishing—from biographies and self-help to cookbooks and even fiction—for many years now, and our new name reflects that reality. Also reflecting that reality is our new General Nonfiction Bestseller List, which we began compiling in September alongside our Business Bestsellers.

This addition reflects the reality of our actual sales, and our broader identity as an independent bookseller. The idea that everything—from government and healthcare to education and even our personal lives—should be run like a business, driven by the bottom line, has come to dominate our culture over the past 40 years. As a company that has focused on business books and thinking as that has taken place, we’ve come to realize that business is, and should be, informed by a wider lens—of current events, culture, personal development, environmental concerns, and the public good. Rather than push the values of business into every corner of our lives, public and private, we wish to join a chorus of voices bringing the richness of the rest of our lives into business, and to inform our organizations and work with more holistic, human values. Therefore, we will continue to focus on the business book genre in our editorial work, as we do in our book sales. And we will expand our scope to speak more about the other books and categories of nonfiction we sell on a regular basis—and books we love as individual readers.

There is one thing that will never change about our organization: We are united by books and dedicated to providing high-touch, human support to authors, organizations looking for books in bulk, and the publishing industry.

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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