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Dec 10, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Looking to spoil that beloved business student in your life this holiday season? Check out these out-of-the-box gift ideas. From books and DVDs to the season's hottest accessories and gadgets, you're sure to find something on this list:


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead - Sheryl Sandberg Neil Scovell

Wrap up this literary phenomenon, stick a bow on it, and pass it out like candy. The international bestseller has ignited conversations about what it means to be a woman with ambition. Know anyone who fits the bill? Give this book to them.

Here's a taste: of 197 heads of state, 22 are women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally. Only 18 of the Fortune 500 CEOs of women.

Sandberg takes us on the path of what it means to be a woman in business and the things women can do to help themselves -- and women across the globe. 

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea - Jonathan Frankel

If being a business student has a friend or loved one feeling adrift in a sea of complications, give them the real-life story of José Salvador Alvarenga. In November 2012, he left the Mexican coast for what was supposed to be a two-day fishing trip. But a ferocious storm hit and he washed ashore in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, with nearly all technology and equipment lost at sea. After an ordeal of starvation, hope and despair, mental torment, loneliness, and regularly feeling like he was at death's door, he reappeared, some 6,700 miles from where he left off, in the Marshall Islands on January 29, 2014! 

If he survived, so can you.

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

How we think matters, especially in business. Kahneman takes on a journey of our two thinking systems and the instinctive biases we have which can cloud our better judgment. System one is fast, intuitive, and emotional. System 2 is slower, more logical, and more deliberative. Find out why you need to do both, especially in the business world, which can often feel too fast.



Based loosely on the activities of Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and hedge fund manager Steve Cohen of S.A.C. Capital Advisors, Showtime's hit Billions gives viewers an insider's look at high-stakes winner-take-all scenarios which are more real than you think.

Citizen Kane

This 1941 Orson Welles classic should be on every business student's watch list. Ever wonder about the perils of greed and unethical practices? How about what's really important in life? This film tells the story of the rise and fall of a newspaper tycoon who loses himself in his quest for power. Beautifully told through flashbacks, the film tracks news reporters as they try to understand the tycoon's dying words. 

The Big Short

If Citizen Kane doesn't teach you about greed, this one will. This 2015 biographical drama chronicles the housing bubble financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the small, eclectic bunch who predicted -- and profited -- from it. With cameos from stars across Hollywood's spectrum -- including actress Margot Robbie and the late Anthony Bourdain -- this film doesn't disappoint.

Accessories and Gadgets

Fitness tracker

Balancing health with business school is no easy feat. Fitness trackers make it a bit easier to stay physically fit -- or at least easier monitor fitness. Business students will likely love the data, analysis, and charting of their own physical activity. Also, most trackers have lots of options depending on wants and needs. You can't go wrong with one of these!

Whiteboard with markers

If your business student prefers a more back-to-basics approach, a good old-fashioned whiteboard with some snazzy dry-erase markers might do the trick. What business student love a brainstorming and strategy session with whiteboards and markers? 

Mini zen garden

Here's something fun for any business student's desk: a mini zen garden. Take a break from a busy day and encourage your beloveds to destress with one of these. They'll probably use it more than they admit!

Learn more about studying business. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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