Two Graduation Gift Ideas (Books, of course)

Graduation season is again upon us and two recent books that I’ve read would make great gift ideas for high school, college, or graduate level folks who are moving on to the next adventure in their lives.

The Library by Stuart Kells (

The first is The Library Book: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells.

This book is a like going down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia. You know — when you search for something book related and one interesting thing leads to another and before you know it, way too much time has gone by. You might not even remember what you initially searched for. In the case of The Library, that vibe is right there in your hands.

This is a book for book and library lovers, the kind who like old books, books collecting, history, architecture, biography, and odd stories. It’s a book you can pick up to enjoy for a long reading session or one you can dip into here and there.

Kells is a book-trade historian, an authority on rare books, and has written several prior books. Visit his website here.

The Leader's Bookshelf by James Savridis and R. Manning Ancell (

The second book is The Leader’s Bookshelf by James Savridis and R. Manning Ancell.

This book doesn’t just argue that reading is important for leaders, it shows the reader why it is. Savridis is a retired U.S. Navy Admiral who holds a Ph.D. in international relations and currently serves as a Dean at Tufts University.

Savridis outlines reading is own his life, his leadership experience, and gives advice on how to read. He interviewed over 200 other four-star officers from various branches of the military on what book influenced them and why. Although the focus is on military leaders, this is a book for leaders in all fields. Older or experienced readers will delight in the breadth of recommended titles.

You can read the first 26 pages to get a sense of the book here.

Get one for your graduate and one for yourself.

I’d recommend these books for all readers because whatever your reading experience/level you’ll get lost in both and walk away feeling entertained and like you’ve learned a thing or two. Both are excellent jumping off points for further study.

The specifics:

Title: The Library Book
Author: Stuart Kells
Publisher: Counterpoint Press, 2018 (288 pages)
Source: Advance reading copy
Bottom line: A fascinating and fun tour through library and book history.

Title: The Leader’s Bookshelf
Author: James Savridis and R. Manning Ancell
Publisher: Naval Institute Press, 2017 (272 pages)
Source: Review copy
Bottom line: An interesting book about books, whether or not you’re looking to improve your leadership skills.

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