My Holiday to-read and not-to-read Lists

For this Holiday season, I, for one, will be traveling. Between now and the first of January, I will spend at a minimum 24 hours in a car and 27 hours on a plane. Needless to say, I might have some reading time. Here are a few reading recommendations for your travel time that might enhance your holiday perspective with the family and friends you’re about to see.

The Do’s:

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This book is a classic for a reason: it is filled with what normal people see as logical approaches to interacting with others. In the unfortunate reality that we sometimes forget we actually live in, it’s rare that this approach is actually anyone’s knee-jerk reaction. So, do your whole family a favor and remind yourself of how approaching people with kindness and respect really can lead to the best outcomes in family and business.

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam M. Grant

I find this book empowering on so many levels, but it comes with a very strong disclaimer: if you are an inherently selfish person Give and Take will make absolutely no sense to you. For the inherently selfless person that find themselves emptied by their family who takes advantage of their giving attitude, this is the perfect book to learn how to stay true to yourself and use your selflessness as your greatest advantage.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

Do you care too much what people think of you or get extremely defensive around your overly critical family? Cool, start here. Mark Mason walks you through a rational approach of how most people say they aren’t “giving a f*uck” but are actually giving others complete control over their emotions. So, how do you actually stop giving a f*ck? I think the complete answer is TBD but this is a good start.

How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by Gregory Berns

This book is basically the left brained person’s version of Marley & Me. It is a beautiful narrative about a psychologist’s journey around studying his personal dog. If you want to learn but feel like you should pretend that you have some semblance emotions in this holiday season — this is for you.

The don’ts:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

We all have that one person, the weird cousin or the lonely aunt that is, quite frankly, just a junky person. After reading Essentialism, you are going to tell everyone about how if “you just get rid of a few things” or “have better priorities” your life would just be infinitely better. I am not sure when the right time to enforce your newly empowered opinions on your family members is, but I can guarantee it’s not at Christmas dinner. Keep this one on your list, but save it for later.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

This is probably one of my favorite books I have ever read. Unfortunately though, you have to be careful, not everyone is ready for your radically candid opinions no matter how much they need to hear them. Kim Scott does a phenomenal job of rationalizing the benefits of honest and extreme feedback throughout this book, but tactfulness during implementation of these ideas has an extreme learning curve. Add this one to your New Year’s resolution and use the whole year (or two) to practice before you try it on your family.


This season, focus on family and a lighthearted approach to your encounters. For more book suggestions, check out my GoodReads.