Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift, or need inspiration yourself, these books come highly recommended by executives who thrive on self-improvement.

1. The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni

“This was a great book and very easy to read. The one piece of it that has stuck with me is the need to repeat yourself, your mission and strategy until you feel like an insane crazy person – in very simple terms. As the number of people I’ve had to lead has steadily increased over the years the more I’ve recognized the wisdom of simple, reoccurring messages towards a uniform goal. I generally refer back to this every time feel the need to explain things in greater detail that are so obvious in my mind. Until I remember that everyone else has a million things on their to do list and keeping the message short and consistent lets them avoid the mental gymnastics of having to remember too many watered-down statements that get lost in the shuffle.”

–Tracey Wiedmeyer, CTO of InContext Solutions, a global provider of virtual reality (VR) solutions for retailers and manufacturers

2. The Five Dysfunctions of A Team by Patrick Lencioni

“I highly recommend this book for anyone leading a team. The author writes from the perspective of a new CEO charged to turn a company around, and her unpopular choice to prioritize building the right team before focusing on revenue or products. Step by step, the reader gets a tutorial on how to build trust with a team, embrace conflict, excite commitment, enforce accountability and drive results. The first two steps, building trust and embracing conflict particularly stood out. At Kabbage, we encourage new hires to refrain from business-heavy and resume-focused introductions, but rather on who they are and ask the same from their new teammates. It initiates teamwork and builds trust in a more impactful way. That way, when conflicts arise, there’s mutual trust between teammates. The book explains why conflict isn’t only important–but vital–to build a successful team.”

–Amy Zimmerman, head of people for small business lending company Kabbage

3. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

“Although I’ve read a number of good business books recently, [this one remains] one of my all-time favorites. I’ve always felt that you can learn more from biographies than from ‘how to’ books. The beauty of this book is that Jobs was a complex man and the book deals with both his good and bad leadership traits as well as his business successes and failures, and there is a lot we can all learn from them. And while there is no doubting that he had a special vision, the one thing that stands out to me about his life is that deep down he was just a person like you and me–a person not afraid to risk failure in order to chase greatness. To this day for inspiration I often refer back to his famous quote that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that were no smarter than any of us and we all have the ability to change things, to influence things and to create things that make the world a better place for us all.”

–Tariq Farid, founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements 

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