The Recommender: Holiday Edition

What are you loving this month?

The Recommender: Holiday Edition
Peyton Jenkins, Cofounder of Alton Lane recommends Fulton & Roark Solid Cologne [Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

1. Beth Comstock


Shinola notebooks: “Sometimes there’s nothing better than a well-made physical notebook. Shinola Detroit wraps together quality, experience, and its mission to support American manufacturing in a way that is simply wow, and very now.”

2. Rony Vardi
Founder, Catbird

Zojirushi Coffee Maker: “It’s so simple to use, and, most important, it drips directly into a thermal carafe that keeps coffee hot way longer than any other machine I have tried.”


3. Or Arbel
Creator, Yo and Mirage

Walk Off the Earth: “They’re an amazing YouTube-originated band that does both covers and original songs in a crazy and inventive way—lots of guest artists, lots of guitars, lots of fun.”

4. Peyton Jenkins
Cofounder, Alton Lane


Fulton & Roark Solid Cologne: “It smells great. And because it’s just a solid brick of wax, it’s travel-friendly and without a doubt the manliest possible way to wear cologne.”

5. Nikki Kaufman
Founder and CEO, Normal Earbuds

FlyBarre: “This class combines group fitness (which I loved during my high school and college competitive swimming days) with music, a bit of dance, stretching, toning, and light weights. It’s a great mix.”


6. Mark Davis
President and cofounder, Unicode Consortium

Bron/Broen: “The original series about a murder on the Danish/Swedish border, not the American remake (The Bridge), which was recently canceled. The two leads deliver a complex, evolving interplay.”

7. Tina Wells
Founder and CEO, Buzz Marketing Group


OSEA: “The company stands for Ocean, Sun, Earth, Atmosphere and is an amazing vegan skin-care line. Its one-ounce sizes are an absolute time-saver with all my travel, and the Ocean Cleanser has a cult following.”

Relax it away: Inside Shibui Spa at New York’s Greenwich Hotel

8. David Chang

Samunprai Thai Poultice massage: “Shibui Spa in the Greenwich Hotel is my ideal oasis in New York City. This massage dates back to the 14th century and uses several different techniques—a perfect escape.”


9. Bozoma Saint John
Head of global marketing, Beats Music

The Best of Early Ellington: “Most people are familiar with Duke Ellington’s later career, but it’s special to hear what the sound was like in his early days to really understand how he transformed with time and experience.”

10. Stefan Sagmeister
Graphic designer

Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company

My Struggle, Book 2: A Man in Love, by Karl Ove Knausgaard: “The plot is complex, a highly detailed story about the author’s life. Knausgaard’s writing is steeped in honesty, and even though the story is deeply individual, it proves how similar and ultimately connected we all are.”

Staff Pick

Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company

Sarah Lawson
Editorial assistant

Throw blankets from Glitch Textiles: “The patterns in the weaving are based on data visualizations and images you get out of a malfunctioning camera. They’re also so soft, perfect for a long overdue nap.”


Office Awkwardness, Solved!

Three retail gurus solve holiday-giving conundrums.

Should employees buy holiday presents for their bosses?

“Put it this way: As a boss I don’t ever expect it, but if somebody goes the extra mile and picks up a lunch bill or gives me a gift, it goes a long way. Flattery will get you everywhere.”
— Jonathan Adler; Potter, designer, and author

Can I get creative with my gift-giving?

“I think it depends both on the gift giver and gift recipient. Some people have specific needs, but others, like me, really enjoy it!”
— Rachel Shechtman; Founder, Story


Is digital gift-giving acceptable?

“Absolutely. The great part about a digital gift is that it can be last minute and still really thoughtful. There’s no shipping or deadline, so it works right up until Christmas Eve.”
— Willem Van Lancker; Cofounder, Oyster