Looking for a terrific holiday gift for a colleague?
The best gifts are books, and I’m thrilled to recommend these 25 books for any friend, family member, colleague, or mentee who is ready to take control of their career.
1. “Career Rehab” by Kanika Tolver
Kanika wrote “Career Rehab” for you—someone who doesn’t love her job or the daily grind. Her book helps you strip away the layers of distraction from your life and get down to what she calls the “good bones” of your resume to build your dream career. I recommend this book because Kanika is the CEO and Founder of Career Rehab, LLC in Washington, DC. Her company focuses on assisting career transformations for students, professionals, and retirees. She knows her stuff, and her social media posts show her passion for helping people connect purpose and passion.
2. “The Talent Fix” by Tim Sackett
If you love hiring but need a new playbook, I’ve got the holiday book recommendation for you. It’s “The Talent Fix” by Tim Sackett. In his book, Tim writes that corporate talent acquisition departments have been failing for decades—for reasons related to people, process, and technology. He offers simple fixes, organizational schemes that work, and technology solutions that can turn around the team and improve an organization’s ability to hire almost overnight. Tim’s advice isn’t just inspirational and esoteric. These are tried and true concepts from his playbook, and they’ve been tested in the field for several decades.
3. “Lead From the Outside” by Stacy Abrams
The best HR books are not always straightforward business books. Stacey’s memoir is all about leadership and identity. Through personal storytelling and exercises, Stacy works to build confidence in her readers, provide insight, and applaud the courage of anybody who raises her hand for a leadership role. This book is a roadmap and will provide necessary guidance for women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make a difference.
4. Anything from HR Author Steve Browne
If you offer holiday book suggestions and you don’t include Steve Browne, do you even have a list? Steve offers personal anecdotes throughout his books and is unafraid to tell his story of learning and growing in the world of HR. So check out both “HR on Purpose” and “HR Rising.” I very rarely make guarantees, but here’s one that’s true: you will learn from both books, and you will absolutely love Steve Browne.
5. “9 Faces of HR” by Kris Dunn
There is no HR without popular blogger and CHRO Kris Dunn. In 9 Faces of HR, Kris presents a hard, but compelling reality: every HR professional on the planet can be classified as one of 9 “Faces” based on your career level and your ability to innovate and drive change. Whether you’re a solo HR pro trying to make your way in the world or an HR leader trying to build a cohesive HR team, this is your no-BS playbook to empowering your HR career and elevating our profession.
6. “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty
We live in a world where thought leaders and influencers want you to wake up early, meditate, and plunge yourself in ice-cold baths to awaken your inner self. If you’re going to take advice about wellbeing and happiness, it might as well be from Jay Shetty—author, podcaster, and former monk. Think Like a Monk reveals how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within all of us.
7. “Black Sheep” by Brant Menswar
Brant Menswar is a treasure. He wants you to be a black sheep: 100% original. As a former rockstar turned business consultant and speaker, Brant shows you how to unleash your own black sheep―the five core values that make you who you are―to empower your life.
8. “Total Leadership” by Stewart Friedman
Stew Friedman wrote a book before COVID-19 that speaks to us right now. In this national bestseller, he gives you the actual tools you need to achieve “four-way wins”—improved performance at work, at home, in your community, and within yourself.
9. “The Memo” by Minda Harts
Minda Harts wrote the ultimate career guide tailored specifically for women of color. But there are essential lessons for everybody who feels an urgent commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging. This book is 100% straight talk, with practical takeaways for anybody looking to fix work.
10. “Own Your Career Own Your Life” Andy Storch
Andy Storch wrote a career-guide-slash memoir full of effective tips for personal development for life and work, business and career guidance, corporate career planning, and career development. Come for the practical tips, and stay for his memoir-like writing style.
11. “Long Life Learning” by Michelle Weise
The future of work is now. The only want to survive is through continuous learning. In this fascinating book, Michelle R. Weise believes that workers of the future will no longer have a beginning, middle, and end to their careers. What do employers and employees need? Ongoing and diverse training and development plans.
12. “Great Leaders Have No Rules” by Kevin Kruse
Kevin Kruse is the ultimate authority on contrarian thinking. He wants leaders to throw out the playbook and rethink everything about “managing” workers—including how to help them manage themselves. This book teaches a new and innovative approach so we can find a better, faster, and easier way to succeed as a leader.
13. “The Coaching Habit” – and – “The Advice Trap” by Michael Bungay Stanier
Michael Bungay Stanier wrote two business books you need in your library. The Coaching Habit blows up old models of leadership consulting and asks you to drill down to the core of human behavior. The Advice Trap makes sure you’re not too obnoxious doing it. Both are essential reads for anybody who’s passionate about human performance.
14. “Moving From Panic to Purpose” by Amy Waninger
If you know someone who is stuck in a job, this practical workbook propels people to get beyond their fears of the unknown and quickly focus on moving forward. Amy Waninger de-risks the next steps you need to take in your career and makes managing change easier than ever.
15. “The Jackass Whisperer” by Scott Stratten
Scott Stratten once said, “Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.” Brené Brown quoted him. Then he wrote a book about how people suck and how to deal with them. He also challenges the reader to be less of a jackass herself. This book made me laugh so hard that it caused awkward moments in public.
16. “The Remix” by Lindsey Pollak
Lindsey Pollak is the queen of multi-generational research and discourse. In the REMIX, she highlights the way workers and leaders can tackle situations when diverse people of all generations come together to work. Ultimately, collaboration and agility between and among generations drives optimal business outcomes.
17. “Originals” by Adam Grant
I’m an Adam Grant purist. If you’ve never read his books, start here. Learn how workers can take risks and pursue new ideas while leaders can avoid being jerks who engage in groupthink. If you’ve ever had a fresh idea but felt scared, or if you’re looking to spark more innovation on your team, this book is for you.
18. “Clocking Out” by Raymond Lee
Clocking Out is a helpful book that offers 10 stories that bring to life the key components of effective career transition: choice, mindset, agility, and trust. Raymond uses his strong storytelling skills to show the reader how those elements can make or break a career change.
19. “How I Built This” by Guy Raz
Guy Raz fixes work on his NPR show, “How I Built This.” In his new book, he’s telling stories from entrepreneurs who took a risk, put themselves first, and bet on their big ideas. If you’re looking for inspiring and diverse stories of success and even failure, this book is for you!
20. “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College” by Alexandra Levit
Alexandra Levit is a researcher and futurist who wrote a best-selling, super practical book about what kids need to learn when they leave school and get their first job. If you’re the parent of a late-stage millennial or Gen Z young adult, or you manage someone in that cohort, this book is the perfect gift.
21. “The Calling” by Rha Goddess
Rha Goddess is a seasoned coach who wrote a book based on her work with clients. She helps them recognize their skills and challenges, taking accountability for their lives, and forgiving themselves and others. This book is a guide to find your true calling and redefine success.
22. “Redefining HR” by Lars Schmidt
If you want to fix work, start with HR. Lars wrote a book to guide the modern HR leader to a place where she can adapt, think differently about processes and activities, and be brave enough to help everybody reach their full potential—including herself.
23. “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley
All workers are writers. If you have a job, written communication is at the core of how you communicate ideas, issues and accomplishments. Want a better career? Learn to write better. In this super-handy guide, Ann highlights the principles of good writing and will help you write the greatest resignation letter ever to your terrible boss.
24. “Begin Again” by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.
This is my holiday gift to myself. We can’t build back better in 2021 unless we explore the past. That’s why I am excited to learn from Professor Glaude, and looking forward to reading more about James Baldwin’s history and how it applies to the world we live in today.
25. The Five Minute Journal
The ultimate gift for the holidays is The Five Minute Journal. This smart little workbook is the single biggest tool to infuse the new year with a spirit of gratitude. Want to recognize the abundance in your life and feel appreciation for those around you? Start here.
I hope one of these recommendations speaks to you. Whether it’s a gift for a friend, colleague, or yourself, I know these books will help anybody grow and take control of their career.
I have a new book coming out on January 12th. In anticipation of its launch, I’m sharing 25 holiday book recommendations that will help you take control of your career—one page at a time. My company participates in multiple affiliate programs designed to earn fees for the advertisement and purchase of books and programs throughout this website. Please contact us for questions related to these programs.