Books: The Gifts That Keep Giving

“It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women.”

– Louisa May Alcott

“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

– Mark Twain

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you musings about gift giving. I will return to my current theme after the holiday season. Thanks!

I’ve been pondering the meaning of holiday time this week. I’ve also been reflecting on the true meaning of gifts, and writing about it on my three blogs. This will be my third post that ties in to the other two. The holiday season is now in full swing and that means family time. A break in routine. A break from work or school. A time for gift giving and expressing gratitude, empathy, and affection for your inner circle. But what are the real gifts we need to give one another? Here’s another question I raised in my latest Tumblr post, which you can read here:

Is it better to give or to receive? 

Here are more questions I also wrote in my latest Huffington Post piece about gifts female entrepreneurs really need:

“What does the gift you give really say about you? How does it enhance your Story or the one intersecting with yours, that of the recipient? What memories will it evoke months/years from now and what kind of legacy will it provide?”

Upon further reflection, I believe that one of the best tangible gifts we can give to ourselves and others is the gift of books. Of knowledge. Of reading. In my October 2013 blogpost here on WordPress, Why Reading Matters,  I wrote why reading is so important for people in general but for entrepreneurs in particular:

“Reading is about sharing ideas that revolutionize our thinking; literally and figuratively. Reading thus has the power to reshape individual Self Concept (especially when we read for fun to recharge our batteries) and behavior and collective deeds and actions as a nation.  Reading matters because one’s inner landscape, moral compass, and wellbeing can be profoundly and permanently transformed, through the cumulative intake of the written words and teachings of others. Reading is about discovering words that endure, and that are conveyed in a way that touches upon human truths and foibles, teaching timeless lessons for the mind, heart, and soul.”

So I would like to propose a short and sweet list of presents to give yourself and others, (no matter what your gender, background, industry, or current job description is), through the gift of reading these books. They will be listed in my very soon to be published (January 2014) book from Maven House Press, The NICE Reboot: How to Become a Better Female Entrepreneur. But they are not limited to this arena and contain universally appealing ideas and lessons. I’d like to suggest 7 books; one for every day of the next week:

Penina’s Pointer: Books; The Gifts That Keep Giving-Seven Suggestions:

1. Give the gift of understanding and harnessing time.

Hammond, Claudia (2013). Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time. New York: Harper Perennial

2. Give the gift of thinking differently about creativity.

Kleon, Austin (2012). Steal Like an Artist. New York: Workman Publishing Company.

3. Give the gift of thinking differently about work.

Fried, Jason, and David Heinemeier Hanson (2010). Rework. New York: Crown

Publishing Group.

4. Give the gift of thinking differently about life choices and pursuits.

Sinek, Simon (2009). Start With Why. New York: Penguin Group.

5. Give the gift of humorous inspiration and female empowerment.

Fey, Tina (2011). Bossypants. New York: Hatchette Book Group.

6. Give the gift of empathy and acknowledgment of the importance of pets:

Levin, Martin (2011). All I Know About Management I Learned from My Dog. New

York: Skyhorse Publishing.

7. Give the gift of reconnecting with your “inner child”.

Read the poems and stories by the critically acclaimed and unconventional Shel Silverstein, author of The Giving Tree (has an accompanying CD) and the awesome boxed set containing these 3 classics: Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up.

Books are the only tangible presents which foster both inherent genius and hard-earned talent and fuel our ambition using our minds and hearts/souls. Books contain universal truths that unite us in a way that other tangible gifts (such as gadgets and clothes) can’t. Those gifts increase the divide between the “Haves” and “Have-Nots”, and decrease the balance between humanity and technology, which is becoming more crucial by the day. Furthermore, books are the only tangible gift that help a person reap numerous, long-term, and meaningful, intangible rewards. As I wrote in my Tumblr post this week:

“Truth lingers in the hearts and minds of those who feel it and heed it. True gifts can do the same. Let’s all work this week on giving real and meaningful presents;  to ourselves, to others, to help us be and do something great. The spark is inside each of us, waiting to be ignited. When sparks are ignited, the shared fire and illumination begins.”

I wish you all illuminating and enjoyable reading experiences, meaningful and fun holiday experiences, and success in your continued pursuit of truth and knowledge. Knowledge is power, and that is a commodity that is easier to acquire. Thanks to libraries, Amazon, the Internet, and social media, especially blogs, one can find an endless source of reading material. Untapped, famous, obscure, and surprising sources from which to “power up”, “power down” and weave our Story’s tapestry with both architectural precision and whimsical artistry. As I told Diane Bertolin when she interviewed me for her blogpost on 12/20/13:

“Together we can all work together to do something great.”

Be Great! Read! Happy Holidays!






About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
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