…or you. That’s ok, too. 


Want to fill someone’s holiday with serious inspiration to succeed in 2017? If you’ve got an entrepreneur on your list, they will be thrilled with these suggestions for inspiring books. These are not “how to” business books, but stories of leaders and innovators. These are the timeless books that encourage you to keep up the hustle, be genuine, and stay motivated in the face of adversity.


Business Adventures by John Brooks


Warren Buffet lent this to Bill Gates in 1991 and in Gates’ words “it remains the best business book I’ve ever read.” Need we say more?



Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson


For entrepreneurs who seek encouragement to keep pursuing their passion, this definitive biography of Einstein is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom. Worried that your credentials aren’t enough? Einstein couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate; and yet, he was an incredible thinker whose ideas ushered in the modern age.



Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson


Another definitive biography by Isaacson, this book about Franklin is an inspirational favorite of Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. According to Musk, Franklin “was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.” Fortunately for us, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist like Musk to figure out that reading books like this one inspires us to do great things.


The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday


A 2014 book that is becoming a cult classic, this book is a favorite of Entrepreneur and Author Tim Ferriss, famous for his book The 4-Hour Workweek. Helping business leaders to apply Stoicism—focus on the things you can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher—this inspiring book is perfect for the business leader on your list.

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman


Google cofounder Sergey Brin named the 2 books that inspired him to dedicate his career to blending technology and creativity—and this book was one of them. Winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electrodynamics, Feynman was an advocate for combining art and science. The result? A fulfilling life. The gift of this book is a sure way to experience a joyful holiday season.


Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram


Bestselling Author of The Four Steps to Epiphany Steve Blank says that the cornerstone of Customer Development and the Lean Startup was inspired by this fighter pilot’s philosophy: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.  Reading Boyd’s story inspired Coram to come up with the idea that launched 10,000 startups and new corporate ventures. Blank’s advice? “Read his story.”

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Shroeder


One of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffet’s personal life, philosophy, and complex personality have largely remained a mystery. Most of what has been written about “The Oracle of Omaha” has been about his investing strategies—until this book. Alice Shroeder lets the reader see Buffet’s paradoxes and humanity. Setting out to prove that nice guys can finish first, Buffet has been a champion of honesty in business. Holiday inspiration, indeed.


Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson


Any entrepreneur who might be worried that they don’t have enough business experience to start a business needs to read this book. For starters, Branson and his partners named his first business “Virgin” because they were complete virgins at business. Branson’s business philosophy? “Oh, screw it, let’s do it.” Filled with entertaining stories, this book, written by one of the business geniuses of our time, will encourage anyone to have fun and write their own rules for business.