As someone who could spend hours—and I mean hours, I am a writer after all—in a Barnes and Noble, I believe there’s truly no present better than a book.
Sure, I could probably name plenty of items that are technically cooler. But because there are so many options out there, books can be personalized for just about any person in any situation. And if you choose just right, they can have a huge impact on someone’s life.
Which is why they’re the perfect holiday gift for your professional network—from that difficult boss to your work wife to that one contact who got you an interview at your favorite company.
So, to help you tackle that long list of people you need to shop for this holiday season, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite professional development books.
1. For the Person Who Needs That Extra Push: Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Fun fact: Shonda Rhimes, the producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, is an introvert. Which means she struggles just as much as anyone to take risks and put herself out there. So, she decided to take a year and say yes to everything—here’s her incredible journey, and some awesome lessons you can learn from her experience.
2. For the Insider (or the Outsider): Work Rules!: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock
Who doesn’t love getting the inside scoop into successful businesses? Bock used to be Head of People Operations at Google, meaning he knows a heck of a lot about management, hiring, and moving up (and if he doesn’t, he has research to back it up). This is the perfect read for both managers and employees looking for productivity tips from the experts.
3. For the (Proud) Introvert: Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home) by Morra Aarons-Mele
Host of the podcast Hiding in the Bathroom, Aarons-Mele proves in her book that any personality—even the quiet, unassuming types—can be successful. A great pair to Susan Cain’s Quiet, this read will help you create a life that works for you, whatever your vibe.
4. For the Smooth Talker: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson
Whether you’re in sales, work closely with clients, or see yourself getting involved in tough conversations down the road, this book will help you prepare, persuade, and persevere in just about any interaction (work or non-work related).
5. For the Boss (Figurative or Literal): Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
Radical Candor is full of tips, stories, and frameworks for tackling all those difficult work situations—for managers and co-workers alike. As an exec of Google and Apple, Scott knows a thing or two about being an effective manager, and you’ll want to implement her advice immediately.
(Pst: Read an excerpt here!)
6. For the Multipotentialite: The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills by Daniel Coyle
Built around research from some of the most successful people, this book will truly help anyone improve in every aspect of their life. Plus, it’s broken down into bite-sized tips for those who don’t have all day to boost their professional reputation.
7. For the Dreamer: Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life and Achieve Prosperity Today by Lisa Nichols
As someone who’s truly started from the bottom (a single mother on public funding), Nichols knows what it takes to make your dreams a reality—and her inspiring story and expert coaching will help you craft the mindset you need to live a rich life (both in the money and happiness respect).
8. For the Inspiring Leader: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
This timeless book, written by famous author and former executive Seth Godin, will teach you how to be the kind of leader who creates cohesive, trusting, and productive teams. Whether you’re a new manager, aspiring boss, or natural leader, you’ll want to give this a browse.
9. For the Powerful Influencer: The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World by Nilofer Merchant
Think you have what it takes to change the world? Merchant will convince you in her book that any idea—no matter how crazy—can become something great. After digesting her advice, you’ll discover a sense of self-empowerment you didn’t know you had in you.
Want to know more about the author? Read her interview here.
10. For the Success-Driven: High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard
If you’re all about building good habits, this is the read for you. Based on one of the largest surveys conducted, Burchard reveals the most important routines of high-performing individuals—and they’ll help you be more productive, develop into a leader, and find confidence in everything you do.
11. For the Financially Savvy: Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner
Budgeting, saving, investing—they all sound great in theory, but many of us don’t really know how to do them right. Kobliner’s book is the ultimate guide to getting your finances in order (no matter your age or experience). Learn how to spend, save, and invest smart, and protect your money for whatever comes your way.