I’m a huge fan of the printed word – “bookworm” is a moniker I wear proudly. When it’s time to brainstorm meaningful gift ideas for the holidays, I usually turn to books.
I’ve put together a short list of books with valuable business lessons that I’ve read over the past year. These aren’t the usual mass-market business books you see displayed in airport book stores. Instead, there are three unique titles that offer some great insight and fresh takes on business.
1. Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small – John Cook with Mac MacCaughan & Laura Ballance
Merge Records goes against the grain of everything that makes record labels successful. While part of the book features photos and essays on the label’s biggest acts, it’s the stories about launching and growing the label that resonate with entrepreneurial readers. In Our Noise , Merge founders Mac MacCaughan and Laura Balance share why they didn’t initially have contracts with bands, how they handled increasing demand of their product, and the obstacles they faced in the music industry. Their trial and error approach and slow, stumbling rise to the top makes for great case study – one where success is measured on a different scale.
Perfect for: The indie-rock loving entrepreneur or startup founder who wants to succeed in business while breaking the mold.
2. Who Says It’s a Man’s World – The Girls’ Guide to Corporate Domination – Emily Bennington
For the first time in history, women make up a majority of the workforce. Who Says It’s a Man’s World is a practical guide that can help ensure women start strong, accelerate through and finish their careers successfully. Bennington’s tactical, measurable approach provides a solid alternative to Cheryl Sandberg’s more strategic-focused Lean In . The book provides steps for business reputation management, first-person “from the trenches” accounts by successful women, and step by step guides for career growth.
Perfect for: The woman looking to establish her career path, launch a business, or re-invigorate at any point of her career.
3. A Hologram for the King – Dave Eggers
Maybe you have heard of this book – or you will soon. Tom Hanks is set to play the lead character in the movie adaptation and it was a National Book Award Finalist in 2012. Since it’s fiction, you probably haven’t thought of it as being a business book.
A Hologram For the King provides a close look into the world of an aging middle manager that has been downsized in the 21st century. When traveling to Saudi Arabia to pitch a cutting edge hologram technology to the king, it immediately becomes clear that he’s in over his head. When it comes to selling technology, managing and relating to Gen X and Gen Y teams, and navigating the unspoken rules of international business, he’s fallen woefully behind in the fast-changing world of work.
Perfect for: Business professionals at all levels. Anyone who reads it will have new insight into maintaining successful career over the long term.
That’s the list – three titles that are bound to educate, delight, and motivate anyone on your holiday gift list who’s looking to grow their career, launch a company, or reignite an existing business. Happy gifting!
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