It's that time of year again. When you're so busy scrambling around at the last minute trying to buy gifts for your family that you completely forget about your colleagues! The biggest challenge in colleague gifting is finding something that is both useful and inexpensive.
Our solution? A business book! A book that inspires leadership, entrepreneurship, passion, and creativity can help propel their career, and possibly benefit your team as a whole.
Here's a curated list of 15 great business books under $15 to give as 2015 holiday gifts:
1. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
What turns products into habits? And how do you make those habits long-lasting? Author and entrepreneur Nir Eyal unlocks the secret to building habit-forming products with his four-step process called the Hook Model. We were even lucky enough to interview Eyal about his book and how the Hook Model helps you better understand your customers.
2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
An oldie but goodie: Dr. Robert B. Cialdini reveals the psychology behind why people say "yes" and how to put the art of persuasion into practice. This book explores the six universal principles of persuasion, and teaches you how to use them as well as how to combat them.
3. Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger & Matthew Kohut
As required reading at both Harvard and Columbia Business School, this book has a lot to offer. Everyone wishes they could be as influential as Oprah Winfrey or Taylor Swift. However, since most of us do not fall under the international celebrity category, what qualities make us influential? Neffinger and Kohut discuss how the balance of strength (root of respect) and warmth (root of affection) is the key to becoming charismatic and influential, and they reveal ways to apply that balance in your daily life.
4. So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport
Have you ever heard the phrase "follow your passion?" Well, Newport says stop. He claims that pre-existing passions usually have nothing to do with why people end up loving their jobs and can be a source of anxiety and stress. In this book, Newport explores the welcoming world of people who love their jobs. He shares their strategies and experiences, as well as the obstacles they've faced and lessons they've learned along the way.
5. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant
Praised by Amazon, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post as one of the best books of 2013, this book really brings home the spirit of the holidays. Grant shows how the secret to success is not necessarily talent or passion, but how we interact with others. He reveals how giving without receiving anything in return can positively impact success and transform organizations.
6. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's account of psychological contentment, he describes "flow" as being a state of consciousness that makes our experiences easier to manage and more enjoyable. During flow, a person may experience joy, creativity, and feel completely engaged with whatever they're doing. In this book, he explains in-depth about how to reach this state, and even control it, on a regular basis.
7. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Today, innovation is more important than ever. With more and more technologies readily available at our fingertips, the battle between the young startups and the tech giants continues to grow. Ries uncovers why some startups fail and others don't, and why it's important to have an even balance of efficiency and uncertainty in your startup mix. His scientific approach helps growing teams maximize their strengths, recognize their weaknesses, and embrace agility.
8. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Cow are pretty much everywhere. And once you've seen one cow, you've seen them all. Unless you see a Purple Cow; you'd probably remember where and when you saw it. In this book, Godin talks about the qualities that make companies like Starbucks, Netflix, and Apple into Purple Cows. He urges you to put the Purple Cow into everything you create, dream, and think.
9. Drive by Daniel H. Pink
This book argues against the idea that people are motivated by material items such as money. Instead, Pink suggests that people are motivated by improving themselves, expanding their own knowledge and experiences, and directing their own lives. Pink's techniques for changing perspective help people transform how they think, work, behave, and live.
10. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Written by world-renowned author and Nobel Prize Winner, Daniel Kahneman, this book takes you on an astounding journey through the way we think and looks at the psychology of what motivates us. One side of the brain is known as fast, impulsive, and intuitive, while the other side is slower, cautious, and logical. He provides insight into our decision-making process and how we can avoid the mistakes that often lead to trouble.
11. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
What's the recipe to magic? Written by co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, Catmull dives into what it's like to work at and be a leader in one of the most successful film and animation studios in the world. Also featured on our top books every manager should read list, this book really takes you behind the scenes and explores how to be a great leader at an exceptional company.
12. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
One of my personal favorites, this one is hard to put down. In this book, you join a young boy named Santiago on his quest to Egypt after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there. The story's theme revolves around finding one's destiny, and Coelho recognizes it as more of a self-help book rather than literature. On Santiago's journey, the author hopes readers find the truth in following their dreams and encouraging others to do the same.
13. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
They say imitation is the finest form of flattery. But if you're the imitator, what does that make you? This book teaches you how to build on a whole new idea of your own making, and transform it from "zero to one."
14. The 4-hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
We all know the newest from of currency is time, not money. This ultimate life productivity guide provides worksheets, templates, and shortcuts for getting more done during the week without sacrificing quality or income. It shares real-life examples of how people have doubled their income while shortening their workweek.
15. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
Another feature on our top books for managers list, this one exposes the sacrifice involved in being a good leader. Through actual examples and experiences, Sinek proves that individuals only perform well when they feel safe within their group — confirming that the most successful teams value trust and cooperation above all else.