Anyone brave enough to start their own business deserves something special from Santa. Here are some great gifts for the entrepreneur or home office worker that are way nicer than anything their former bosses would have bought them.
Look super cool in meetings with this pen that does so many things it might as well have dropped from James Bond's pocket. The
Echo Smartpen by Livescribe
allows you to write notes and record audio, and then upload, search and share what you've written and recorded. Pretty advanced. The pen holds 400-800 hours of recorded audio. It has a standard 3.5 mm jack for earphones, or simply play back your recording from the pen's mic. Connect the pen to your computer via a micro USB cable to transfer files. The high-contrast OLED display makes it easy to navigate the Smartpen's apps. The Echo Smartpen starts at $169 for the 4GB model. Available specifically at
, Staples, the Apple Store and Brookstone.
There's nothing like a humorous reminder of what your entrepreneur friend gave up to launch his or her own business: crazy co-workers and workplace drama. Both the American and British versions of the popular TV series are widely available on DVD and Blu-ray. The recently released Season Six of the American show starring
retails for $60 (DVD) and $70 (Blu-ray). Available at electronics stores and bookstores.
Canon multifunction machine
Canon Pixma MX860
does a lot for a little. It prints, scans, copies and faxes. Plus it has built-in Wi-Fi to connect wirelessly to multiple computers, which makes it perfect for a home office or small business. Special features include a 2.5-inch LCD display and a built-in card slot that reads MS Duo, SD/MS, and Compact Flash cards. The machine has the ability to print on various sizes of paper and envelopes, essential in any business. And since Canon is a photo company, this machine comes with photo editing software and photo printing capabilities. The MX860 was recommended by the savvy folks at cnet.com, the website known for its electronics reviews. They liked its features and speed for the price. Retails for about $200 at office supply and computer stores.
Echo ZE backup drive
Even if your laptop crashes, your business won't, with this handy, built-in backup device. The
is a tiny automatic backup drive from
. It "lives" in a computer's USB drive port and ensures that files are backed up. It's smaller than a quarter, and need never be removed. It comes with software to facilitate the backups, and don't worry--it encrypts the files it stores. Unlike online backup services, there is no monthly fee to pay. Prices are $50 for 8GB, $90 for 16 GB and $140 for 32GB. Mac and PC compatible. Available at office supply and computer stores.
Freedom Chair by Humanscale
Anyone who has ever suffered with an uncomfortable office chair has probably never dreamed life could be this good while sitting at a desk. The Humanscale company has made rocket science out of chair design, engineering the world's most award-winning line of chairs. The ways you can adjust this chair seem endless because the Freedom Chair was designed specifically to encourage frequent, spontaneous changes of posture. There are no locks and no tension springs to negotiate. In their place are elegant mechanisms that automatically support your body in every position you'll assume throughout the day. The
starts at around $1,000, and goes up from there depending on the fabric. It comes in task chair and headrest chair styles. In the Chicago area it is available at furniture stores such as Walter E. Smithe and
, and other retailers of ergonomic products such as Relax the Back stores. Check humanscale.com/products/retailers.cfm for a retailer near you.
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
There are a lot of business books out there, and a busy entrepreneur probably has little time to read them. Besides, how do you know which one to choose? Fortunately, two professionals have done your homework for you. After years of reading, evaluating, and selling business books, Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten became respected experts on the category. Last year they published
"The 100 Best Business Books of All Time."