Season’s Readings: These 8 Books Make Great Holiday Gifts

Books are one of the most meaningful gifts you can give readers on your shopping list, leaving a lasting impact on the receiver. From fiction to non-fiction genres that light up the season, everyone should choose books with the recipient in mind. If you are thinking of gifting books to your family, colleagues, friends or clients this holiday season, #TeamAgilus Senior Leadership Team has some recommendations.  


Our Chief Executive Officer, Craig Brown, recommends The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by Timothy Gallwey.

In The Inner Game of Tennis, Gallwey explains the tension between your conscious and unconscious minds and how the conflict relates to performance using tennis as the backdrop.

Even though it’s an older book, as an executive and a tennis player, Craig believes the concept and lessons covered are relevant today. For example, how do you consistently put yourself in a suitable mental space to perform and do your best work under pressure, whether in business or on the court? Gallwey’s advice applies to many parts of life.


Kathleen Doyle-Linden, Chief Talent Officer, recommends her favourite book this year: The Heart of Business – Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism by Hubert Joly.

Joly writes from his experiences as a successful executive leading change and is known as a leading management thinker. He writes about the importance of employees at the centre of an organization’s purpose and business success. Many books speak to sense and people. However, in Joly’s book Kathleen could hear his voice, which resonated as authentic and tangible when he talked about purpose and humanity. Kathleen believes that society is at the core of integrity, diversity and inclusion, purpose and growth, personally and professionally. 

Have you ever had a ‘what famous people would you invite to a dinner party’ discussion? Well, Hubert Joly would be on Kathleen’s invite list along with Jody Wilson-Raybould, Anne Cleeves and Michelle Obama (as a start)!


Shirley Elliot – Director, Payroll, enjoyed reading The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle.

Do you know what makes groups highly successful? The Culture Code goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations – including Google, the San Antonio Spurs and the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team – and reveals what makes them tick. Daniel Coyle explains the culture-building process by identifying three essential skills that generate cohesion and cooperation and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind.  


Our VP – Enterprise Sales and Solutions, Joe McIninch’s favourite book of 2022 is Cathedral of the Wild by Boyd Varty.

Joe first read Boyd Varty’s book The Lion Trackers Guide Life and thought it was fantastic to translate the concepts of being a wildlife tracker into life and leadership. Some research on the author led Joe to Cathedral of the Wild – a memoir of his life on the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa.

This book is a fantastic coming-of-age tale, full of incredible experiences with animals of all kinds. Joe recommends it to anyone curious about anything, especially anyone who wants to learn more about overcoming adversity and the importance of staying grounded in the present.


Brad Holtkamp – President, Engineering and Technical Operations, recommends one of his favourite books: Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for making small changes or adjustments to have significant results. James Clear reveals practical strategies to build good habits, eliminate bad ones, and master the tiny behaviours that lead to remarkable results. Making small changes will have a transformative effect on your career, relationships, and life.


Pat Kaiser, President – Professional/Light Industrial says that Loonshots by Safi Bahcall is a fascinating book as it is part of history lessons and provides efficient guidance on thinking about new ideas. 

Loonshots - the name comes from “moonshots” a.k.a. setting big goals in the space race, to a “loonshot” – an idea that’s so out there it’s crazy. The book outlines product “loonshots” (new inventions or technologies that disrupt the status quo) and strategy “loonshots” (new ways of tackling a problem or business approach). The key takeaway is that a “loonshot” requires strength of character because there is often initially failure to understand and see the ultimate opportunity.  

While this book was promoted as a business book, Pat thinks it pertains equally to life in general. Her mom always used to say, “if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again!” In addition, there is a quote by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans - in Designing Your Life, where they recommend becoming immune to failure. Essentially meaning you should try to fail more often, because doing so requires taking creative risks that you can learn from.


Our VP – Strategic Marketing, Tamara Smith, has just finished reading a fantastic historical fantasy trilogy: The Bohemian Gospel trilogy by Dana Chamblee Carpenter. The first book: Bohemian Gospel, was her debut novel in 2015.

Starting in 13th-century Bohemia, Carpenter builds a beautiful and unique world based on historical research. The protagonist is an odd girl with miraculous powers. But unlike the typical fantasy tropes of “the Hero’s Journey,” this one is an unpredictable and thrilling page-turner about forgiveness and redemption.

Tamara can’t recommend this series enough. If you love fantasy, history, and a little bit of biblical doctrine turned on its head – this is the series for you! 


Jodie Pollock, VP – Corporate Projects is a fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The latest Novel is one she can’t put down: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.  

This popular historical fiction is about two characters, Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall. They were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same. As it creeps ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge, and with family finally together, Jamie and Claire have more at stake than ever. Jodie highly recommends this book for a vacation read!

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