The Best Books to Give for Every Person on Your Christmas Gift List

My reading list for 2014 has been shorter than my 2013 list for a variety of reasons- new baby, more time spent devoted to working with some wonderful clients and probably, most importantly, due to not setting a goal around reading this year (But that’s a post for another day- stay tuned for lots of good goal setting stuff soon to help us all kick off those New Year’s resolutions in the right fashion.)

But, I have read some good ones this year and want to recommend my top picks organized for those hard to shop for people in which you may still be searching for the right gift.


For the Business Person: Scale: Seven Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back Although the title of the book implies that this book is for business owners, the book is really for anyone that wants to work smarter not harder.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“The world doesn’t pay you for the hours you put in; it pays you for the value you create.”

The right parking space for your company lies at the intersection of three factors: your company’s biggest strengths (your parking space must rely on what you do really well); your market’s deepest desires around your type of product or service (it must be something that your market values); and the open spaces your competitors don’t already own in the mind of your market (it is very expensive to move another company out of a space if they truly already own it). 

For an article that says the same thing as the above quote for the job seeker check out:  Why Pursuing Your Passion is Not Enough


For the seemingly lost and the youth contemplating direction for his or her future:  Steve Jobs

Favorite quotes from the book:

“Jobs also began to feel guilty, he later said, about spending so much of his parents’ money on an education that did not seem worthwhile. ‘All of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition,’ he recounted in a famous commencement address at Stanford. ‘I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out okay.’”

“There falls a shadow, as T. S. Eliot noted, between the conception and the creation. In the annals of innovation, new ideas are only part of the equation. Execution is just as important.”

“I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people you don’t have to baby them,” Jobs later explained. “By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B work. Ask any member of that Mac team. They will tell you it was worth the pain.”  

For more on the thoughts this last quote reflects see: Leadership Lessons from College Football: The “Mediocre” and Team Success


For anyone who wants to be better:  Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements

Favorite quote from the book:

“1.Every day, use your strengths. 2. Identify someone with a shared mission who encourages your growth. Spend more time with this person. 3. Opt into more social time with the people and teams you enjoy being around.”


For the Avid Reader:  Get them an e-reader and encourage them to go digital.  I mostly made the switch to digital after extreme reluctance.  I like a book in my hand and lots on my shelves.  But, I have begun reading on my iPad through the Kindle app and love it. Most notably, I love that I can highlight and save quotes from books I’ve read and find them as references all in one place.   Let me tell you, this blog post was much easier this year with digital files than it was last year because I could easily find and quote my favorites with a click of the mouse.

For the avid reader who is still reluctant to switch to e-reading:  Give them a subscription to Signed Firsts from Square Booksin Oxford, MS.  This classic bookstore just makes you happy when you walk in.  It is one of the last true, locally owned bookstores and they have a program where you get a book (sometimes two) a month which include ēnew releases, hardback and signed.   They mail them to your door each month and charge you monthly for the book(s) sent.

What was your best read this year?

Mary Ila Ward

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