Do you know when I realized I was an adult?

When I got luggage for Christmas and was excited.

I got a new suitcase and was thrilled/depressed. I was thrilled because it had a tri-fold department that would keep my shirts from getting wrinkled when I flew. I was depressed because I cared whether shirts got wrinkled.

I like luggage and was glad to get that gift, but do you know what makes an even better present?

A book.

Do you know why? You’re about to because here comes a list of reasons:

1. Books are passports.
When you give someone a book, you give them much more than just a collection of ink and paper. You give them a passport to a different world. You give them the keys to a whole new kingdom. You give them an invitation to a new way of looking at things. A tie is just a tie. A blender is just a blender. A book is never just a book. When Brian Jones gave me “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” in 1999 he gave me a survival kit for the corporate world I was about to enter. I never forgot it and to this day I still give copies of the book to other people.

[Tweet “A book is never just a collection of paper and ink. A book is a passport.”]

2. Books are personal.
I used to think “it’s the thought that counts” was just a phrase grandmothers said to make you feel better about the terrible homemade gifts they got from grandchildren who were bad at glitter infused crafts. Now I know it’s true. When you give someone a book, it’s always personal. It always has thought behind it. In a sea of 3 million possibilities you picked out one book for one friend. It’s especially personal if it’s a book you already read and loved.

3. Books are for now and later.
My favorite thing about books is that they tend to find you at the exact moment you need them most. Have you ever had that experience? A friend gives you a book and you don’t read it right away. You read a few pages but it doesn’t hit you. So you put it on a shelf and forget it even exists. Later that month or year, something in your life changes and the book almost jumps off the shelf. You pick it up a second time and it’s like it was written just for you. When you give someone a book, it’s like you’ve given them a time capsule to open later.

[Tweet “Books have a funny way of finding you when you need them the most. “]

I think about books as gifts because I’ve written some that didn’t make good gifts. If you gave someone my book, “Quitter,” it felt like you were saying, “Hey, here’s a book about quitting a terrible job, like the one you have. Loser.” You couldn’t give that one to people.

Do Over is just the opposite. It’s a book about learning to love your job. It’s funny and personal and helpful. It makes a great gift for:

A stay at home mom curious about doing something new. Parents Magazine named it the “Mom must read of the month.”

Someone in their 20s who wants a guide to navigating the ever changing world of careers.

A military member about to transition into or out of the armed services. (You talk about a big Do Over

, entering civilian life is a gigantic transition.)

Anyone who wants to add more meaning (and fun) to a job. We’re all going to spend 40-60 hours of each week for 40-60 years of our lives working, shouldn’t we invest in them?

In summary, Do Over is a bright, yellow surfboard for anyone surfing the career waves.

Give a friend, a family member or yourself a copy this Christmas.

But regardless of which book you buy this year, I challenge you to buy one for one friend.

Books are big gifts that look small on the outside.

Give big.