Ideas for Last Minute Office Gifts 2022

By Maren Perry, MA, PCC, President

As is now an established Arden Coaching tradition, each year we offer you our list of what we’re reading in the hopes that it might help your last minute office gifts list, and inspire you for the year ahead.

Read our list of what we’re reading in the hopes that it might help your last minute office gifts list, and inspire you for the year ahead.

Last Minute Office Gifts

When considering giving a good book, as to etiquette, we suggest that you:

  • Give from the heart, not from obligation.
  • Give a GIFT, not a LESSON. Don’t give a gift as a hint, as in “I think you need to be a better listener, so here’s a book on listening.” Instead, give them something they may be curious about based on your conversations with them.
  • Give (overly) appropriate gifts, rather than risk offending someone.  
  • DON’T give a gift to curry favor (see first bullet).
  • The thoughtfulness of the item is more important that the item itself. Better to give a thoughtfully chosen token than an extravagant-but-generic item.

For these reasons, and just because they’re generally wonderful, we love giving BOOKS! Sure, they may not be the most original of items, but chosen well, they can express a lot of thought and care, be incredibly valuable to the recipient far beyond the investment from the giver, form the basis of interesting conversations to come, and are easy to purchase and give whether you’re in person or virtual.

Here are some of our favorite workplace books this year:

You’ve Got Algorithm, But Can You Dance?, by Arden Coaching’s very own Roberto Giannicola! Roberto instills this leadership book with his characteristic humor and expertise. All about moving those technical experts to leaders!

Fearless Feedback, by Glenn, Handscomb, Kosterlitz, Marron, Ross, Seigworth and Signorelli. Co-authored by our very own Kelly Ross, this book explores the process of coaching leaders in a 360 process.

The 6 Types of Working Genius: A Better Way to Understand Your Gifts, Your Frustrations and Your Team, by Patrick Lencioni. The latest in Lencioni’s library, a great way to understand a project cycle and how your team’s strengths and gaps contribute to how easily your projects flow. We use the assessment for Working Genius with our team development projects!

How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. A powerful combination of memoir and explanation of racism in its structural elements. Illuminating the systemic biases and offering us a path forward. For the reader on your list who wants to be moved and challenged (and appropriately so)!

Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, by Heidi Grant Halvorsen. This book is not new, but it’s brilliant. Columbia University professor explaining the differences between the mindsets of those who reach their goals and those who don’t. There’s a reason the forward to this book is written by Carol Dweck.

Mindset, by Carol Dweck. Growth mindset is the whole game. Read how and it serves you in general and particularly in navigating uncertainty.

The Coaching Habit, by Michael Bungay Stanier. The subtitle says it all: “Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever.” This is a simple to read book laid out over seven basic questions you can practice. Practical, concise, specific.  

Emotional Equations, by Chip Conley. A nice blend of emotional intelligence meets engineering brain. Formulas like “Innovation = Creativity minus Cynicism”  

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo. Racism isn’t just something “bad people” do. This book helps us understand how behaviors such as silence are complicitous and helps us understand how to engage more productively.

Executive Presence, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett.  Ever wonder what the heck Executive Presence actually is and how to break it into components you can do something about? You’re in luck!

Designing Your Life, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. A completely practical guide to anyone wondering “what’s next for me?!” Whether it’s at work or in the rest of life, these Stanford Professors teach this material in one of the most popular classes on campus and you’ll see why. Easy to read, grasp and apply — great exercises!

Remember: with any of these, the thoughtful personal note you provide along with the book will be the true gift and go toward establishing the connection between you, the recipient, and the book. If you’ve read a book you’re gifting and enjoyed it, say why. If you’ve not read it but heard it was good, tell them why you think they might enjoy it.

Give from the heart… and you can’t go wrong.

Please send us your last minute office gifts recommendations to [email protected]! We’d love to add your recommendations to our bookshelf! Maybe we’ll feature your suggestion in 2023!