In the cafe where I’m writing this, you can tell it’s the holiday season. I hear carols overhead, watch families haul in shopping bags, and lust over heavily frosted cookies shaped like stars and trees. While the season implies fun, for many busy professionals, it’s just a ball of stress once they start tracking down the perfect gift for all the people on their list.
Let’s make it easy, shall we? Here are some of my favorite career and success books, both current and classic, that might be perfect for your best bud, your boss, or even yourself if you want help wearing your red cape every day.
Note: the Amazon links are affiliate links, which mean that Amazon pays me a few cents when you buy using that link. Use it for convenience, or use Amazon Smile and the megaseller will make a donation to your favorite charity.
[amazon_link id=”1591845890″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry[/amazon_link]
Instead, Die Empty offers ways to structure your work and life to create urgency that inspires you to do your boldest and best. My favorite are the provocative questions offered to help you find your own voice within your work.
Also for the professional creative in your life, check out Henry’s earlier book, [amazon_link id=”1591846242″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice.[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”0316204366″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell[/amazon_link]
Gladwell’s usual myth-busting is alive here, telling you the real story behind stories you’ve long believed and showing you how a perceived weakness can often be a strength.
Don’t get intimidated by the book’s girth. Gladwell’s work, although academic and highly referenced, somehow remains entertaining storytelling that will stick with you for a long time.
[amazon_link id=”1439190763″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Flourish: A Visionary Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, by Martin E.P. Seligman[/amazon_link]
This isn’t some squishy self-help book. U of Penn professor Seligman shares specific stories about organizations using advanced well-being techniques and ideas to create better people experiences and get better results. One of the surprising groups using these tools is the US Army, and Seligman’s work will give you tools and ideas you can apply within your own company—and your own life.
(If you’re interested in the idea of well-being in your organization, the good people at The Wellbeing Edge share great tips monthly. I’m part of their cadre of coaches. Sign up here to join their email list.)
I used to flip through HBR and yawn, finding it was a bit stodgy and old-boy CEO focused. But I’ve been impressed at the broad scope of their content in past years, including increased career and life-at-work management ideas. (Harvard Business School itself has been working on this transformation, so it makes sense it’s reflected in its mag.)
You can buy a print subscription for less than $100 (Kindle’s even cheaper) and your subscription gives you access to more of HBR’s rich online database of videos and articles.
But Wait! There’s More . .
Earlier this year, I shared recommendations for these great reads:
- [amazon_link id=”1594631905″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Dan Pink.[/amazon_link] (Meeting him in person this year was one of my highlights. I’m a Pink groupie, so basically, anything he writes rates with me)
- [amazon_link id=”0385349947″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg[/amazon_link] (note: not for women only)
- [amazon_link id=”160994562X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer Kahnweiler, Ph.D[/amazon_link] (listen to or read my interview with the author here.)
- [amazon_link id=”1591846072″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin[/amazon_link] (or anything by this prolific, insightful commentator on work, success, marketing and innovation.)
Finally, since it’s my blog, I’ll add my own book, [amazon_link id=”0983987408″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]”Bring Your Superpowers to Work: Your Guide to More Clarity, Confidence & Control,” [/amazon_link]a fun and easy gift to stimulate some fresh thinking about what success can look like for you and your career.
YOUR TURN: What are your favorite books to give–and receive? Tell us in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.