Previously Published in Forbes
By Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Forbes Contributor
If you’re planning to brave the crowds in order to get the best deals, don’t forget that career development items are gifts that keep on giving long after the holidays are over. From books to services, there is something for everyone career-minded on your list, whether they’re an entrepreneur, freelancer or traditional 9-5 professional:
For The Entrepreneur
The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business by Ed “Skip” McLaughlin is a great overview on how to plan, launch and grow a business, including examples from McLaughlin’s own launch and then exit. I particularly liked his tips on pre-selling before your launch, as well as ideas on how to identify your “distinctive competence” – the area of business you should be in.
If your business owner friend is too busy to read, consider a subscription to Audible so she can listen to books while commuting or exercising. Or you can spring for conference tickets if your entrepreneur friend prefers learning at live events.
For The Freelancer
The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want by Diane Mulcahy covers time management, money management, even vacation management for the freelancer. I particularly liked the reflective questions Mulcahy poses at the end of each chapter so you can assess your own readiness in that area.
Another helpful gift for your freelancer friend would be membership to a co-working space so s/he can have a dedicated place to work and community outside the home. A lighter budget option would be a gift card to a café with free WiFi.
For The Professional
Fulfilled! Critical Choices: Work, Home, Life by William Schiemann offers strategies and self-assessment tools for achieving success in all areas of your life. One of my favorite quotes from the book summarizes the proactive theme of going after what you want: you can create a far different outcome if you work from design, instead of accepting what comes your way by default.
In the interest of helping your 9-5 friend find a more balanced and fulfilled life, you may want to spring for services that make their life easier – a ClassPass so they can try different exercise options, a Blue Apron subscription so they can have some home-cooked meals even when they’re time-pressed, or some TaskRabbit hours to get errands done.
For the more data-minded, whether entrepreneur, freelancer or professional, I would also recommend Brainhack: Tips and Tricks to Unleash Your Brain’s Full Potential by Neil Pavitt. This book is a compendium of different productivity and peak performance strategies. Another good general pick is The Science of Selling: Proven Strategies to Make Your Pitch, Influence Decisions and Close the Deal by David Hoffeld. Everyone needs to sell, not just the sales professional. This book shares top selling strategies backed by scientific data on how the mind makes trust and buying decisions, so you get best practice and the proof behind what makes them so effective. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a nice journal, business card case, or gift card to their favorite restaurant for networking – hopefully that next networking event is taking you out to say thank you.