News & Opinion

The 2015 Jack Covert Award for Contribution to the Business Book Industry

January 14, 2016


This year's winner is the Founder, President, and Publisher of Portfolio, Adrian Zackheim.

We began giving out the Jack Covert Award for Contribution to the Business Book Industry in 2014, the same year Jack retired as President of 800-CEO-READ.  When his retirement was announced, we received many comments and quotes from people across publishing exhalting his impact on the business book industry, and that sparked an idea. We decided to pass on that same honor, in Jack's name, to others who have also made a large and lasting contribution to the growth of the genre.

This year, the award goes to Adrian Zackheim, currently the Founder, President, and Publisher of Portfolio. Zackheim has worked with many publishers over the years—Harper Collins, William Morrow, Doubleday, St. Martin's Press—and he and Jack have known each other and worked together through all of them. When I asked Jack why Adrian was his choice this year, he launched into story mode (as he's wont to do):

“I remember sitting in Adrian’s corner office at HarperBusiness on a very rainy afternoon during one of my early trips to NYC, and him raving about a new book they were publishing that I needed to know about. It was Good to Great. I’ve learned of so many similarly seminal books from him since—Purple Cow, The HP Way, on and on. When working on The 100 Best Business Books of All Time (which he published, as well), his influence was everywhere. Most important to me, he has always been there for me and 800-CEO-READ.”


Jack built this company on his savvy as a merchant (as he describes himself), and behind every great merchant is a series of reliable suppliers—producers of great products to sell. In an industry that has changed drastically at least three times since Jack founded our company in the business section of a local bookshop in downtown Milwaukee, his adeptness at changing with the times, combined with his ability to form strong and lasting relationships he knew he could rely on, has been all-imporant.

So thank you, Adrian, for all you've done for business books, in general, and for all you've done for 800-CEO-READ, in particular. Your contribution has been great, iconic really, and your impact has made the world of intentional business a more expansive and yet refined place.

Above: Adrian Zackheim (left), Founder, President, and Publisher of Portfolio,
with last year’s Jack Covert Award winner, Jim Levine of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.

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