Thoughtful entrepreneurs are well aware that the day will come when they need to hand over the reins to someone else. (The wisest in that subset are the ones who realize that the day will come much sooner than they might like to imagine!)
The natural response to living with daily reminders of this looming reality is to seek ways to raise up the next generation of leaders and hopefully free them from the burden of making the same mistakes as their predecessors.
I’m passionate about investing in people, especially young people just starting out on their professional journey. Sometimes the days slide by faster than I am comfortable with. And, every now and then — like this year, for example — I find myself struggling to come up with last-minute gifts for the young people I care about and mentor. You too?
Listed below are 12 titles from industry experts that are all excellent choices for those up-and-coming leaders on your list. While most are targeted to young readers, I’ve thrown in several titles that are excellent for potential leaders of any age. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which is which.
1. Admitted: The Missing Guide to Craft a Winning Application and Study Abroad by Soundarya Balasubramani
If you happen to know someone living outside the U.S. who is hoping to get into their dream university in the States and set themselves up for a successful career post-education, this all-in-one guide for aspiring international students will provide immeasurable assistance as they navigate the often-daunting paperwork.
2. Now That’s Momentum: How the Next Generation Can Think Like Entrepreneurs to Succeed at Work and Life by Dylan Gambardella and Justin Lafazan
More than 50 successful entrepreneurs and business leaders share how entrepreneurial thinking guided them on their journey. If you or someone you know is wondering how to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset as well as get some inside tips on helpful strategies, this is an awesome title for yourself or gift-giving.
Gaining entrance to an Ivy League college or university is easier said than done. Thankfully, this book contains the inspiring stories of 23 Gen Z and Millennial leaders who are transparent about sharing their insights to getting into top universities and succeeding in life.
4. When Kids Lead: An Adult’s Guide to Inspiring, Empowering, and Growing Young Leaders by Todd Nesloney and Adam Dovico
Any K-12 teacher will tell you that every classroom has at least one budding leader in its midst. Much of educational effort is given over just maintaining order. However, this book provides a roadmap and primer for K-12 educators. Its intention is to help them nurture the leadership skills they uncover in their students.
5. The Mindfulness Journal for Teens: Prompts and Practices to Help You Stay Cool, Calm, and Present by Jennie Marie Battistin
Parents often “forget” how tough it was to be a teen. There’s a tremendous amount of social pressure exerted nowadays with social media promoting anxiety. This mindfulness journal focuses on helping teens practice breathing exercises and guided meditations. It also provides dozens of writing prompts to help teens focus.
6. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
One of the things I liked most about this book is that it is beautifully illustrated. It both educates and inspires as it shares the true stories of 40 trail-blazing black women in American history. With so much bad news out there these days, this book offers refreshing stories of courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
7. First Serve Yourself: How Young Leaders Around the World Are Winning On Their Own Terms by Vik Kapoor
If the new millennia is about anything at all, it’s about how we are breaking molds and finding success through non-traditional means. In his book, Kapoor provides unconventional success stories to help leaders amplify their influence and impact in any area of their lives and equip younger leaders to find courage and clarity.
8. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
Most authors use a management approach to successful life hacks. This book, on the other hand, augments the traditional mode of change by utilizing design thinking. This unique approach enables readers of all ages to construct their own approach to living out a life they find to be purposeful and fulfilling.
9. The Young Leader’s Guide: To Internships, Scholarships, and Fellowships in Washington D.C and Beyond by Steeve Simbert
Plenty of young people preparing to graduate from high school are filled with anxiety as to how they will pay for their time at college or university. Based on his life story of obtaining more than $300,000 in scholarships to fund his undergraduate and graduate degrees, Simbert shares the steps he took to fund his education.
10. Millennial’s Guide to Management and Leadership: What No One Ever Told You About How to Excel as a Leader by Jennifer P. Wisdom
Recognizing that Millennials represent a current and future crop of promising leaders, Wisdom (the author) offers up what I consider to be a great collection of strategies and tips aimed at helping Millennials become the successful leaders and managers we all know they can be.
11. Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your Next-Gen Leader by Danita Bye
Has any generation been the butt of more bad jokes than Millennials? Author Danita Bye refuses to write off an entire people group and instead provides a practical guide aimed at helping current leaders nurture the next generation of Millennial leaders by tapping into their considerable strengths and character.
12. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
What I like about this book is that it is filled with true stories that range from military to big business and at the same time, true to its title, emphasizes the importance of making sure every employee is taken care of as a first priority. Sinek shares leadership strategies required to build a workplace that fosters trust and cooperation.