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Books to Gift this Holiday Season

10 new books to curl up with as 2019 winds down.

Books, like leftover turkey and your uncle's recycled jokes, are gifts that keep on giving. So whether you'll be snuggling in front of the fire, soaking up the sun in warmer climes or schlepping the family to Grandma's house (a perfect time for audiobooks!), here are 10 new books to consider gifting to workplace colleagues and friends—or yourself—this holiday season. 

 Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!


Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life (BenBella Books, 2019)

For some of us, bright, shiny objects of any variety present endless possibilities, none of which advance the actual work at hand. Nir Eyal, a former Stanford Graduate School of Business professor and author of the best-seller Hooked (Portfolio, 2014), shows us the difficulties of staying on task in modern times and offers principles and strategies to control our time and attention. Packed with tips and techniques to dampen the constant allure of distractions in the workplace and in the home, Indistractable reveals the keys to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of us. 

Nine Lies About Work

Reboot: The Art of Growing Up (Harper Business, 2019)

The central premise of Reboot, written by CEO whisperer and popular podcaster Jerry Colonna, is simply “better humans make better leaders,” and it’s in the process of learning to lead that we can help ourselves become better humans. This “radical self-inquiry” is an invitation to explore “the Big Why of our work,” that is, what it is that really drives us. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines, including spirituality, business, psychology and physiology, Colonna ultimately emboldens leaders to create the kinds of companies we want to work for. Always entertaining, even heartbreaking at times, Reboot is a single-sitting read that challenges us to “finally, fully, grow up.” Especially effective in audiobook format. 

Dare to Lead

You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life (Gallery Books, 2019)

In You Are Awesome, Neil Pasricha—author of the best-seller The Happiness Equation (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016) and of the blog 1000 Awesome Things—offers nine easy-to-remember concepts to help readers discover a “secret” life of inner strength. Pasricha is a gifted storyteller whose energetic and intimate style helps make this well-researched, laugh-out-loud-funny book stand out among the throng of tomes on resilience, and You Are Awesome succeeds in animating the axiom that tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

Atomic Habits

Why Are We Yelling? The Art of Productive Disagreement (Portfolio, 2019)

Despite the title, this isn’t a spot-on description of that last family reunion, but instead a thoughtful and empowering guide to understanding our own biases and how conflict can actually be a source of introspection, growth and joy. In Why Are We Yelling?, Buster Benson, an expert in facilitating challenging conversations in demanding environments, explains how arguments happen, how to handle them and how to resolve them. Try as we might, no one can completely avoid conflict, but anyone can learn how to argue better and more productively. Benson also reveals the psychological underpinnings of awkward, unproductive conflict and the critical habits anyone can learn to avoid it. Provocative as it is enlightening, and backed by brain science, Why Are We Yelling? offers fresh approaches to conflict and connection. 

Measure What Matters

What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture (Harper Business, 2019)

Workplace thought leader Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Here, Ben Horowitz, best-selling author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Harper Business, 2014), suggests that it’s the assumptions organizations use to make decisions that truly drive culture. Horowitz brings this to life by highlighting four formidable models of leadership and culture building—including the leader of the only successful slave revolt, the Samurai, who shaped modern Japanese culture; Genghis Khan, whose reputation precedes him; and Shaka Senghor, a man convicted of murder who transformed prison culture. Horowitz connects these leadership examples to modern case studies and offers guidance to help any enterprise build and sustain a successful culture, even amid the most daunting conditions.


The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life (Harper Business, 2019)

As the title suggests, author Todd Herman shows readers how to create an alter ego character to maximize their potential. It’s a deceptively simple concept at first blush, but this isn’t a book about how to “fake it till you make it.” Instead, Herman implores us to find our inner superhero, an alter ego who can accomplish the seemingly impossible. He shows us how to find the very best version of ourselves at the most important moments of impact and equips us with the tools to show up as that person over and over until it becomes, well, you! The Alter Ego Effect presents a practical, relatable, simple but not simplistic, and most of all easy-to-implement methodology for channeling your inner superhero.

Moment of Lift

Connect First: 52 Simple Ways to Ignite Success, Meaning and Joy at Work (McGraw-Hill Education, 2019)

Dr. Melanie Katzman’s book contends that durable relationships are the bedrock of enduring success, meaning and joy at work, and in Connect First, she generously offers readers research-based, relatable and reliable approaches (52 to be exact) to connect to yourself, your organization and the world around you and to develop the bonds that make a real difference. These are the same potent techniques she has used with leaders and employees as a clinical psychologist and corporate consultant at the world’s top companies. With compassion and clarity, Katzman delivers a book with a treasure trove of tools for “igniting success, meaning and joy at work.”

The Surprising Science of Meetings

Taking the Work Out of Networking: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count (Gallery Books, 2018)

A longtime Silicon Valley communicator, collaborator and connector, author Karen Wickre reflects on her lifelong interest in making meaningful connections and building a “brain trust” for life. A self-proclaimed introvert, Wickre writes not just for introverts, but for anyone who finds the work of networking to be awkward and off-putting. This book shows readers how to embrace their quiet nature and “make genuine connections that last and that we can nurture across the world for all kinds of purposes.” A delight to read cover to cover, Taking the Work Out of Networking is a practical guide to developing a lifelong habit of establishing and, most importantly, maintaining connections based on generosity and thoughtfulness.

Back to Human

Extinguish Burnout: A Practical Guide to Prevention and Recovery (SHRM, 2019)

Who hasn’t suffered at one time or another from exhaustion, cynicism and a lack of effectiveness? But combine them over time and you’re flirting with a disaster of catastrophic magnitude: burnout. Defined as the depletion of personal agency (the apparatus driving our ability to initiate and execute actions), burnout effectively wipes out our ability to be effective, much less engaged. And the cost of burnout is astronomical in all its forms and phases, including the profound and lasting effects it has on employees and workplace cultures. Through extensive research and real-world stories and examples, workplace culture experts Rob and Terri Bogue take a deep dive into the signs, sources and solutions of burnout and deliver an essential resource that will help anyone identify, prevent and recover from it.

The Making of a Manager

Solve Employee Problems Before They Start: Resolving Conflict in the Real World (SHRM, 2019)

With compassion, clarity and conviction (and a dash of comedy for good measure) popular speaker and employment law attorney Scott Warrick distills conflict resolution to three simple moves: Empathic Listening, Parroting and Rewards (EPR). Because no one can use their EPR skills unless they can control themselves, he also shows readers how to become an Emotionally Intelligent communicator, because mental toughness is a critical component in resolving conflict. The formula is simple: If you can control yourself, you can learn and master EPR skills to resolve any conflict in any situation, and build durable trust with others in your personal life and throughout your organization.

Matt Davis manages the SHRM Book Publishing program. 

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