I'm a total book nerd. I have been an avid reader since middle school when I read every Lord of the Rings book and the Dune series in the space of a few weeks. In recent years, I've been known to collect five or six books and read them all (not at the same time, obviously) over a few weeks, switching between them.

For anyone who works in business, is an entrepreneur, needs to think creatively, or simply likes a good read for the holiday season, I've hand-picked a few of my favorite books to give as gifts this holiday season. These are all recent releases.

Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick

This book is a wonderful read but also inspiring because I have some tough habits to break (I'm looking at you, food). I also like the keen attention to scientific rigor.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants

My favorite book of the year, this insightful and funny book explains everything about you. The scientific explanations are perfectly clear even for the non-technical.

User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play

My favorite book this year about interface design, this book opens with a story about Three Mile Island and how the admin interface was so confusing.

Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms

Often dry and witty about everyday topics, Medallion Status is the story of how someone became famous and then lost that fame (at least in terms of a mass audience).

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey

There is no better travel writer than Paul Theroux. This richly detailed account of his trip to Mexico (back and forth across the border) is timely and vivid.

The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America

Another amazing read from start to finish, this book about a bootlegger is so detailed and rich (it must have taken months or years to uncover the history) I couldn't put it down.

The Infinite Game

I'm continually amazed at how insightful Simon Sinek is. Here he tackles the idea of competition and business growth strategies in the age of randomness.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

Communication is everything. But what do you do when there's a breakdown? Malcolm Gladwell struck gold with this lively explanation of why we need to talk more.

Alexander the Great: His Life and His Mysterious Death

When a history book finds a new focus for a well-known figure, it becomes a great read. This one is about the mysterious death of the famous empire builder.

NFL Century: The One-Hundred-Year Rise of America's Greatest Sports League

I wasn't sure if the NFL was interesting enough for me to read a whole book, but this detailed account of the league and its history was highly entertaining.

Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero

Yes, this book is about a donkey that runs. It's both hilarious at times and touching, and written with pizzazz you don't find in some non-fiction accounts.


Another top pick for me, this biography of the famous inventor starts with his later years and works backward. It's absolutely fascinating in recounting his life and pursuits.

Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA

Quite the eye-opening account of her life in the CIA, this book is like reading a Jason Bourne novel but everything she covers actually happened.