Giving gifts to professional contacts can be a fraught endeavor. A bottle of wine? Maybe she doesn’t drink. A gift card? How impersonal.
But a book? Books can be just the right balance. They tell your contact or colleague that you put some thought into their gift, but they’re not overly personal. And if the colleague doesn’t like it? Well then it was inexpensive, so feel free to donate it.
When looking for gifts for professional contacts, business and productivity books are often a great choice. Here are five great options that would all make great gifts!
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
by Daniel Pink
In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink tried to tell us why we do what we do. In When, he tries to tell us when we should do it.
This book provides science-based advice about when we should take certain actions — what time of day, time of year, and time of our lives. After reading it, you (and your contacts) will know the best time to solve insight problems, analytical problems, when you’ll be in the best mood, when you should hold business meetings, and even when you should schedule doctor’s appointments.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss has talked to more millionaires, billionaires, and successful businesspeople than the rest of us have ever even heard of. And he put together some of their best tips and tricks, from morning routines to health tips to mindfulness exercises and more.
While some of the advice may be things you’ve heard before, there are nuggets of genius in Tools of Titans that your contacts are sure to find inspirational.
Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life
by Gary John Bishop
This is the non-woowoo, no-nonsense self-help book that aims to get you off the hamster wheel and back in control of your own life. Unfu*k Yourself draws on the idea that negative self-talk becomes your reality, and updates it for the less spiritual, more practical businessperson.
It may not be the perfect gift for your more conservative contacts who could be turned off by the name. But for the person who needs a kick in the pants, this may be it.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
by Cal Newport
Many people find themselves dissatisfied with their work, complaining that they haven’t found something they’re passionate about. While your professional network probably wouldn’t admit this to you, it’s safe to assume that this feeling isn’t uncommon among your contacts.
In So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport argues that passion for your work comes after you put in the time to become excellent. Once you’ve created a valuable skill set, then you can turn that into the life and career you want. So even though your colleagues and contacts may not be enthused about their current work, they may still be on the path to the necessary mastery. This book can help them to find their way on the path to becoming pros and finding that passion.
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story
by Dan Harris
10% Happier describes television news anchor Dan Harris’ personal journey from PTSD sufferer and drug abuser to meditation evangelist.
This is the skeptic’s meditation handbook, written by a savvy, successful person in a high-stress and high-stakes career. He argues that mindfulness and regular meditation won’t solve all of your problems. But it makes him about 10% happier…which is why he continues to meditate daily. And he makes a compelling case for why everyone else should, too.
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
by Phil Knight
For anyone interested in hard work and success stories, the tale of Phil Knight and Nike is a must-read. From $50 that he borrowed from his father, Phil Knight built Nike into a behemoth corporation with over $30 billion in annual sales.
In Shoe Dog, Phil Knight shares the struggles he faced and missteps he took as he built Nike. He is honest about some of the less-than-ethical decisions that he made that got him to his current level of success, and it makes for a fascinating read.
Your contacts or colleagues may want to chat with you about the book you give them after they’ve read it, so make sure to read it yourself, too!
You may glean some valuable takeaways that you can bring to your own life. Plus, you can build rapport and a deeper connection with members of your network. That’s a pretty good reason to pick up a book, wouldn’t you say?