Ten Business books for holiday gift ideas

Lucia Worthington

Gift giving can be tough at any time, especially when it comes to those who “have everything.” Giving a thoughtfully selected book can enhance the relationship between the giver and the receiver. I like to give and receive books. They change my thinking and link me with others who are reading the same book. We can share what we read and discuss what we like or where we disagree. It creates shared memories and improves thinking.

Successful companies like Google look for readers when hiring or promoting employees. Reading means growth. Reading for personal growth and professional growth requires diversity in subject matter – a balance for emotional growth and technical updates.

With that in mind, here are 10 favorites to consider this holiday season:

Smart & funny books

Any of Bill Bryson’s 12+ books are smart, funny and real. Just a few pages will lighten the heart and diffuse grumpiness. Bryson’s practical Iowa voice is packed with humor and the joyful stories of his observations as a world traveler. I have a few of his books tucked away in my camper, on my nightstand, scattered around the house and on the reading table in the guest bathroom. Some favorites are “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail,” “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America,” “A Short History of Nearly Everything” and “I’m a Stranger Here Myself.”

Social media & social entrepreneurship

A World Gone Social“A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive” by Ted Coine and Mark Babbit is both entertaining and serious. The book describes how social media has changed the rules of the game and why businesses need to adept to a business climate where the “customers hold all the cards.”

David Bornstein’s book, “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas,” is full of hopeful and enlightening real world stories to inspire and encourage people to build a better world.

“Social Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century: Innovation Across the Nonprofit, Private and Public Sectors” by Georgia Levenson Keohane is a book that gives a clear-sighted analysis of the many different dynamics at play to test new models and new solutions for global economic change.

Classic books about good business practices

Good Business“Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi focuses on leadership as a blueprint for doing business that is good in both the material and spiritual sense.

With 26 core sections, “The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management” covers basic principles and concerns of management, as well as the tools to perform the tasks that the economy and society of tomorrow will demand. Author Peter Drucker is considered a father of modern management.

Contemporary books on the world AND the business ecosystem

Smartest Kids in the World“The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way,” by Amanda Ripley is a no-nonsense book on learning that is global, covering the poor and wealthy. The book has many tangible lessons on how to do better to make the world smarter.

David Vine’s book, “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World,” teaches us how to make the world better by removing costly excesses. The book is an analysis of the cost and international consequences of maintaining 800 U.S. military bases around the world.

“A Country Called Prison: Mass Incarceration and the Making of a New Nation” by Mary D. Looman and John D Carl offers solutions for the future by describing the costs and opportunities lost to the U.S. in increased taxes, lost employment and stressed communities with our present overuse of prisons for nonviolent offenders.

In his book “Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure,” author Tim Hartford writes with passion for the importance of adaptive trial and error methods in tackling terrorism, climate change, poverty and financial crises by fostering innovation and creativity in business and our lives.

Happy holidays!

Lucia Worthington teaches business and management at Clark College and admits to being an obsessive compulsive reader and book collector. To recommend a book for review, email bookreviews@vbjusa.com.

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