News & Opinion

The 2020 Porchlight Marketing & Sales Book of the Year

Emily Porter

December 29, 2020


We will be announcing the overall winner of the 2020 Porchlight Business Book Awards on January 14. Until then, we are taking a look back at the books in contention for the award. Today, we have the books in the Marketing & Sales category, and a look inside the one we chose as the best among them.

If you’ve ever come up with an idea, whether it’s a work of art, or a product or service you want to offer the world, you know how hard it is to break through the noise online, and that was true even before this crazy year happened. One thing the best marketing and sales books of the year remind us, like so many of the year’s events, is that it is always best to stay focused on our humanity, from how we see the world to how we are changing it, from how we interact with and inspire each other to how what we keep closely around us says about us. 

The runners up in the Marketing & Sales category imparting some of these lessons were:

And the 2020 Porchlight Marketing & Sales Book of the Year is Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love from Day One by Emily Heyward, Portfolio


Emily Heyward presents us with a refreshing, more human insight into the world of marketing and sales within Obsessed. With her quick wit, honest exploration, and years of experience within the field, she shows us how to bring emotion and rationality into building your brand. 

Heyward dives into brands we have come to love—from their beginnings as mere concepts into companies we may now consider a part of our lives—and shows us why they have remained successful. She explores beloved companies that have developed a huge following in recent years such as Allbirds, Casper, ThirdLove, Glossier and others—some of which she even helped guide to success as Cofounder of Red Antler! 

This book is not just for the business owner looking to begin their startup with a sturdy and genuine brand foundation, but also for the consumer and the everyday individual who cares about the companies they support and what they stand for. In this day and age, we want to know that the products we buy are made ethically and that the companies behind them stand by their mission down to their very core. In our own companies, we want to create the most genuine brand and product for our supporters by embodying our mission and allowing our supporters to peak behind the curtain and get to know the story that developed the passion. 

That is what Heyward lays out before us in Obsessed. As a company, we need to “walk the walk.” And as consumers we need to know who we can trust to become a part of our everyday lives. She guides the reader through building your brand before it is even a brand, how to live your mission, knowing what problem your product is solving in the grand scheme of things, and having a story. Your story matters just as much as your product. This is incredibly relatable as I always look at the stories of a new brand I am exploring. Especially with social media we are seeing and feeling more of a connection with companies we allow into our homes.

People fall in love with brands that feel real and relatable, more like a human than a corporation. … Instead of a top-down approach, it’s a conversation, and conversations are by their very nature unpredictable—at least the good ones are.

This book is such a joy to read. Remaining connected to our humanity and a human story, even within the brands and products we create, is so important in the world we live in. Heyward weaves a book full of wonderful stories—of startups that have lived their mission and gathered supporters by being raw and true to who they are. If you have a business, are a consumer, or about to endeavor into a lifelong dream of your own business, I highly recommend Obsessed as the next book to pull off of your shelf.

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