We've all been there before -- the holidays are around the corner, and you have a long list of people to buy gifts for. Worse, they all have different tastes. Before you know it, you're buying a stack of gift cards and calling it a year.  

No matter who you're gifting -- a friend, partner, mentor or colleague -- a carefully chosen book can be a great gift for a peer, employee or boss. It's a way to connect with others over a shared interest, show them you've put thought into your gift and give them an opportunity to learn and grow.

This is especially true for the end of the year, which enables you to help set the tone for your recipient's year ahead. After I wrote Top of Mind, I always noticed an uptick in sales in the fall, right as people were purchasing holiday gifts. Now, every fall, I gather some of the books I'm buying as gifts for people and share the list so it's easy to find the best fit when you want to give a dose of inspiration.

Here are nine great books you can gift to inspire others:

1. Elevate - Robert Glazer

So many of us want to improve ourselves, but we aren't sure where to start. Robert Glazer, founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, shares a framework that any person can use to build his capacity holistically and then set and achieve meaningful personal and professional goals. This roadmap was born out of Glazer's weekly Friday inspirational newsletter, which reaches more than 100,000 people worldwide.

Elevate, released Oct. 1, has been endorsed by Daniel Pink, Marshall Goldsmith and others. It's a mentor in book form; readers can revisit it throughout their journey of personal growth to get access to inspiration and actionable steps for living up to one's potential.  

2. Radical Candor - Kim Scott

Let's face it: We all need to have some tough conversations in our lives, but we continue to avoid them. It's important to remember that that's putting long-term success behind short-term discomfort. While the subtitle of this book hints at leadership in the workplace, we can all learn more about the value of clear, honest feedback and dialogue, both inside and outside the office.     

Kim Scott, a former executive at Google and Apple, shares how to respectfully give constructive feedback that helps the other person grow while strengthening the relationship you share, whether it's personal or professional.

3. Mean People Suck - Michael Brenner

In this book, Michael Brenner explains his philosophy that empathy can result in higher profits and more happiness. His speeches focus on creating connections between colleagues and customers, and the book is no different -- Brenner debunks the myth that the "brilliant jerk" should be lauded.

Rather than "take what they want," this book offers tips to enable people to be kind but get what they need to be successful. Coming out Oct. 25, this will be a fresh read for most of the people on your list, and it's pretty much guaranteed that they've all grappled with mean people at least once in the past year.

4. The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business - John Jantsch

Jantsch, the bestselling author of Duct Tape Marketing, used his 30-year entrepreneurial journey to create a work that's inspirational and relevant for entrepreneurs or anyone seeking a more fulfilling and joyful life. The book challenges you to think deeply about why you're doing the work you're doing and living the life you're living.

The The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, releasing on Oct. 22, is a collection of 366 meditations designed to both inspire and challenge the reader through a practice of daily reflection. The book is anchored with readings and quotes from entrepreneurial-minded authors and essayists ranging from Henry David Thoreau to Louisa May Alcott, encouraging individuals to trust and develop the gifts only they can bring to the world.

5. Girl, Stop Apologizing - Rachel Hollis

As the founder of a multimillion-dollar media company, Rachel Hollis has built a brilliant career on helping women free themselves of their limitations and pursue their full potential. In her latest book, the New York Times bestselling author shares the habits to adopt, the limiting beliefs to push aside and the apologies you should ditch to become the best version of yourself.

This book aims to help readers become more fulfilled by gaining additional support in important areas of their life. Asking permission for what's "probable" should take a backseat to what's possible -- and this book identifies ways people can ask for what they need without feeling guilt.

6. The Gift Inside the Box - Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant

For his latest book, Adam Grant, author of Originals and Option B, joined forces with his wife, Allison Sweet Grant, to craft a thoughtful, original children's fable built around the values of generosity and selflessness.  

This one, coming out Oct. 1, is specifically geared toward a parent or child in your life. Today, many kids are surrounded by stimuli teaching them to ignore the world around them, so it's never too early to teach kids about the value of giving, caring for and supporting others. This is a great book for instilling empathy in a world that's become progressively more transactional.

7. Becoming - Michelle Obama

This is an obvious, but always excellent, recommendation. The bestselling book of 2018 is a strong evergreen option for anybody on your gifting list. Michelle Obama shares her life story in intimate detail and offers stirring storytelling. She takes readers on a journey from her childhood spent on Chicago's South Side to years balancing an executive career and motherhood to becoming the first African-American First Lady of the United States.  

Regardless of your recipient's political leanings, this book gives great insight into the struggles people face on a regular basis -- and how they find the motivation to push through them. It also offers a welcome blend of strategy and warmth.

8. Can't Hurt Me - David Goggins

This inspiring New York Times bestseller is a reminder of how consistent improvement, will and vision can transform any person's life. Goggins, a former Navy SEAL and Army Ranger, shares his story of rising from a childhood of poverty, abuse and hopelessness to become a hero in the armed forces and a record-setting endurance athlete.

Whether you're gifting a person who wants inspiration to improve himself or somebody who admires a great story of resilience and unbreakable willpower, this book is a perfect gift. Learning how to take control of one's mindset is a gift unto itself.

9. The Five-Minute Journal - Intelligent Change

Things move so quickly in our lives that it can be difficult to find time to reflect on our thoughts and feelings, as well as the things we're grateful for. Journaling is a great way to build positivity and gratitude into your daily life, and The Five-Minute Journal is perhaps the best way to start.  

This is a user-friendly book for any aspiring journal writer you know. Writers can simply follow the daily format provided in the book and be on their way to feeling more positive, more focused and more fulfilled.

With these ideas in hand, you can give a memorable holiday gift to everybody on your list -- and give them a springboard to a great new year. Put some real thought and effort into the gifts you give this year; if you can inspire the people you care about, you're giving more than just a book.

Published on: Sep 29, 2019
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