Published on September 24, 2019
Read time 13 minutes
The 25 Best Productivity Books to Unleash Your Absolute Best
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We are in a constant race against time – with so much we have to do, and so much we aspire to do. But we all get the same time – those 24 hours in the day – to work hard, to achieve and then to rest ourselves so we can continue the same cycle the next day.
People who get things done acquire the ability to understand the mechanics of time and master it. Successful people can get more done at the same time and achieve more. With a magnanimous productivity level, these go-getters can think, act and plan in a way to meet their goals almost effortlessly.
Except, it is not effortless. With some hard work, discipline, and willpower, you can, too, conquer your obstacles and lead a more productive life complete with a sense of achievement.
So, why not hear it from the experts. Ever think about how to begin your journey to a more productive life? Here is a list of books that can help you to begin and keep you on track.
The Best Productivity Books to Read in 2020
If procrastination has gotten the best of you over time, you need to read Eat That Frog today. Luckily, you don’t have to procrastinate to finish it in one go, as it’s a fairly short book featuring 21 techniques to deal with procrastination.
The title of the book is derived from a famous Mark Twain quote, ‘Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day’. Frog is the metaphor for your most challenging task.
Throughout the book, Tracy presents readers with ideas and techniques to improve their time management skills and productivity. Rated a solid 4.6, you don’t want to procrastinate to read this one.
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As the title suggests, Essentialism presents readers with a systematic way of discerning what matters the most and getting it done. It’s pretty human to get overwhelmed with all the to-dos you have to accomplish during the day. That’s why Essentialism empowers you to make smarter decisions by identifying where to spend your precious time and energies.
One of the quotes from the book says, ‘his stress went up as the quality of his work went down. It was like he was majoring in minor activities.’ Throughout the book, McKeown discusses the importance of focusing on only the absolutely essential things.
Another 4.6 rated book, give it a read and regain your focus.
The next best productivity book is probably one of the most referred to books when it comes to managing your personal and professional life. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is an interesting take on an individual’s personal and professional habits that help him achieve more. The central focus of the book is not to eliminate bad habits, but to develop new ones to stay on track.
The book doesn’t put a barrier on the preferred target audience. Anyone, from top-tiered executive position to a college student, can choose it for personal development. If you’re keen on becoming more productive, this is what you should look forward to as your next read. The 4.5 rating of the book says it all.
Don’t let the title fool you into believing that there are any shortcuts for achieving your goals. The book essentially embodies the implementation of the 80/20 principle in your professional life. The idea is that 80% of your productivity comes from 20% of your time, and the rest of 20% of your productivity eats up 80% of your time. Fascinating, isn’t it?
This productivity book is a real treat for readers because Tim uses his own life experiences to guide people about working more efficiently. You can find some solid tips to shape your professional life in a more productive way and that too without draining yourself of all of your energies.
Change the way you do things with this 4.4 rated book.
#5 position in our list of best productivity books goes to The Power of Less. Demonstrating the similar principle of Essentialism, this book also focuses on eliminating the distractions from your life and identifying the essential goals. The central idea of the book revolves around freeing yourself from the overwhelming clutter of unnecessary tasks and how to do less to achieve more.
A simple take on productivity, Babauta presents readers with some practical tips that go beyond fancy philosophical concepts, encouraging readers to identify and reflect on their critical tasks first.
Make the most of the resources you have with this 4.2 rated book and work smarter.
First on our list of the best productivity books is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. With a set of entertaining stories, deliberately paused and resumed throughout the book, Charles Duhigg writes in a fascinating way about how habits work, how to change existing habits and how to create new ones.
Duhigg takes on a case study approach while talking about individuals, social groups and organizations. Focusing on how the right habits can steer your way to higher achievements, this book is a must-read. With a rating of 4.04, you don’t want to miss out on this piece.
The Desire Map is #7 on our list of the best productivity books. In this book, Danielle LaPorte gets to the crux of goal setting – your heart’s desire. She highlights focusing on the innermost feelings that aspire you towards setting goals.
This book shows you a way to use your core feelings as a guidance system for making choices, to accentuate the positive that happens and not disregarding the negative that prevails. All in all, this books helps you regard feelings as road signs so you can feel good while achieving a lot more in life.
Rates as 4.02, this book can change the way you feel – and think.
If you’re looking for less philosophy and more of a hands-on approach to getting things done, this book is for you. David Allen writes to the point starting from taking your to-do-list and turning it into a “got-it-done” list.
Allen takes on a structured approach by giving great examples of how to sort your work through projects, organizing and follow up actions. The idea is to get your ideas out of your head and into implementation. With a rating of 3.99, make sure this book is on your list of the best productivity books.
With a self-explanatory title, Time Warrior: How to defeat procrastination, people-pleasing, self-doubt, over-commitment, broken promises and chaos by Steve Chandler highlights common mistakes we tend to make in life causing us frequent setbacks. Chandler especially highlights the human factor of people-pleasing and self-doubt that result in loss of focus of the bigger picture.
Through a 101-chapter journey, this book helps you create your own, powerful cognitive style by structuring time tracking, multi-tasking, and other behaviors. Rated 3.92, this book should be on your must-read list of the best productivity books.
If you can’t find your answers with the existing systems or feel like you have a better way to approach things, this book is for you. Categorizing the third set of people as Linchpins, these people differ from management and labor and need to find their own ways. Linchpins are mentally resilient people that can get things done through intelligent risks.
Instead of following a certain path, Linchpins create their own, thus, becoming indispensable to their environments. Instead of learning to fit in, this book teaches you to think differently. Rated 3.88, this book by Seth Godin is for the Linchpin within you. Linchpin by Seth Godin grabs the 10th spot in this roundup of the best productivity books.
If you’re someone living in a constant fear of time running out, Laura is here with some good news for you. We all have the same amount of hours during the day, but some people get more done than you. Why? Because they’re managing time effectively. That explains the title. Don’t worry, this is not just another time management book with some fancy tips.
This productivity book comes with the notion that there is a total of 168 hours a week. You can get the most out of them by keeping your focus on your core competencies. Find ways to maximize your productivity through these competencies and offload all other tasks to other people. The key lies with prioritizing tasks, and tracking where your hours are going, and you’re good to go.
3.8 rated productivity book, it’s worth a look.
New York Times bestseller, the power of full engagement comes with the idea that you need to manage your energies rather than your time. The book essentially focuses on the idea of self-management. That is, it’s not about how you many tasks you can fit in your day, but how you manage your own energy in a positive way.
According to the authors, there is an energy pyramid that determines the different levels of energy we use to fuel ourselves. These levels are physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. In order to reach the highest levels of energy, you need to fully engage all these 4 types. The capacity to recover energy is also crucial when it comes to meeting your personal goals.
The book has an attractive rating of 4.5.
You can tell by the name that this productivity book is aimed towards making you a smarter individual. Throughout the book, Charles Duhigg presents 8 ideas that are targeted towards helping you maximize your productivity. It’s a self-help book that allows you to change the way you think, not what you think, and reveals the secrets of being productive.
Duhigg urges readers to get in the habit of telling yourself stories and add more options or opportunities for making informed decisions in your personal life and business. With a 4.3 rating, dig into the contents of the book and see how it changes your life.
The Productivity Project is a result of Chris Bailey’s year-long research on personal productivity. The book has a pretty interesting story behind it, which further makes you want to give it a read. Bailey made drastic changes to his lifestyle and run experiments on himself to explore ways to become more productive.
The book focuses on three critical factors that derive our productivity – time, attention, and energy. Simply put, Bailey shows how these three elements impact your productivity and how need to manage them in order to obtain maximum output.
The 4.3 rating of the book should be enough to motivate you to give it a read.
You’re probably wondering why use ninja as a means of measuring productivity? That’s what our next productivity book is all about. According to Graham, there are certain attributes of ninjas that, when applied to humans, can directly impact our productivity. Some of these include ruthlessness, mindfulness, Zen-like calm, agility, and stealth & camouflage.
How to be a productivity ninja addresses all your time management concerns and compels you to focus your attention only on the right things. A 4.0 rated productivity book, it’s a fantastic read for anyone looking to make the most out of their day.
If you’re constantly battling with your time management skills and how you always think 24 hours of the day are too less, Extreme Productivity is for you. It’s just like a crash course to help you manage your time in the best way possible. The book is divided into sections to help you handle different aspects of your personal and professional life.
Extreme Productivity provides solid, tactical advice on how you can prioritize and organize your tasks in a way that they bring out the maximum productivity. A fast-read with 4.1 rating, this book is worth your time.
#17 on our list of the best productivity books is Rory Vaden’s classic, Procrastinate on Purpose. The procrastinator inside you is probably doing a happy dance right now, and it should.
In Procrastinate on Purpose, Vaden gives smart insights on how you can multiply your time. That is, how to squeeze in maximum work in your schedule without actually doing all the work yourself. You can do this by following the principles of Eliminating, Automating, Delegating, Consolidating, and Procrastinating.
The procrastination bit of the book essentially explains the principle of waiting until the last moment to get things done, because requirements can change at any time. This simple, yet effective funnel of managing your work can work wonders for you. This is exactly why you need to give this 4.7 starrer a glance.
This marks the end to our roundup of the best productivity books. What are your favorite reads? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
#18 on our list of the best productivity books is Michael Gelb’s incredible masterpiece. A very interesting and inspirational book where you can learn: a) Learn about Da Vinci, b) apply his principles to develop your own mind and help you achieve your intellectual and creative potential, c) inspire others in your social network
Must read for anyone who admires Da Vinci or just who wants to improve their life in general, amazing tips and exercises to emulate.
#19 on our list of the best productivity writeups is a book by J.D. Meier’s which introduces Agile Results; it’s a systematic way to achieve both short and long term results in each and every domain of life.
The book offers you enough planning to get you started but at the same time makes it simple and easy to change course as required.
To summarize, our verdict is that it explains the concepts well and elucidates an exceptionally actionable system to put your ideas into implementation.
20. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get It, by Kelly McGonigal
#20 on our list of the best productivity writeups is a book by Kelly McGonigal in which the author explains the scientific reality of willpower, killing the myths most of us normally take into account. McGonigal really advocates stronger will power based on inspiring facts and real-life examples.
If your problem is difficulty in managing your goals than this book has great value for you and anyone else interested in learning how to achieve their goals more effectively and efficiently.
The author unravels study after study to explain why we lack willpower and how we can potentially get more out of it.
#21 on our list of the best productivity books is a book by Dr. Jim Loehr who is a world-renowned performance psychologist, co-founder of the human performance institute, and author of 16 books including the one we have reviewed.
This is a phenomenal book; it’s about how and why we think about something along a certain line & what motivates us. Excellent insights into common methodologies institutions and individuals use to influence society in large and you in person.
The book will give the reader many “I finally understand this concept now” moments as Jim unpacks the vault of experience he has gained in the field.
22. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, by Neil Fiore
#22 on our list of the best productivity books is a book by Neil Fiore, Dr. Neil Fiore (CA) is the bestselling author of Awaken Your Strongest Self, and Coping with the Emotional Impact of Cancer. He was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne, a manager for Johnson & Johnson, and has worked as a psychologist at the Counseling Center of the University of California, Berkeley.
For most of us procrastination has been a problem in our lives and if that’s applicable in your case as well then this book is worth a read. Most of the techniques incorporated in this book are psychological in nature, but that doesn’t take away their effectiveness one bit.
Having said that I would like to mention that the tone, style, and message won’t be for everyone, but works for those who need a heart-centered path.
If you ever wanted to read a book that promotes a simplistic way of understanding than this book is for you. It takes the best aspects of a couple of popular productivity systems (7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Getting Things Done & Others) and links them with a decree of simplicity.
What I like about this “productivity system” is its low key nature. The approach of having a few inboxes and diaries as possible makes a lot of sense. Also, more importantly, the book puts great emphasis on the need to “do”.
This book. ranked at 24 has been authored by Andre Griffiths. Andrew Griffiths is Australia’s #1 small business author with 11 books now sold in over 50 countries. Described by most as a street-smart entrepreneur, Andrew bought his first business at the age of 17. Since then, and for the best part of 30 years, he has owned and operated many small businesses in fields as diversified as retail, consulting, advertising, publishing, and travel.
Andrew Griffiths “101 Ways to Have a Business and a Life” is a great read! It covers diverse domains such as managing relationships, health, employees, vendors, customers, family and a lot more.
This book stands out from a lot of other offerings based on the author’s life history of how his business took its toll on his relationships and health, and how he decided to alter his life pattern as his business was slowly but surely “slowly killing” him.
25. One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good, by Regina Leeds
This book by Regina Leeds; author of over 10 books and a former actress, is a useful guide for especially people who are disorganized.
I really liked the journaling exercises at the beginning of the project. Also, the breakdown of the chapters has been excellently done and the suggestions for cleaning and organizing are great.
I’d recommend this book to everyone!
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