Personal Productivity Books

Reading is still the best way for us to learn from the past and incorporate new thoughts, methodologies, and mindsets into our lives. Let’s take a look at some curated categories of books that can help you develop a new mindset or learn from experts in their field.

Guidance from Experts

Tools of Titans

by Timothy Ferriss

This book contains the distilled tools, tactics, and ‘inside baseball’ you won’t find anywhere else. It also includes new tips from past guests, and life lessons from new ‘guests’ you haven’t met.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

by Mason Currey

Kafka is one of 161 inspired minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do.

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

by Arnold Bennett

Are you really “living”, or just existing? Do you want to improve yourself or just continue to muddle through? Do you use the time given to you each day, or just throw most of it away? These questions Bennett asks each of us, and for those who want to really live and learn, offers very valuable advice.

Tribe of Mentors

by Timothy Ferriss

This book contains their answers—practical and tactical advice from mentors who have found solutions. Whether you want to 10x your results, get unstuck, or reinvent yourself, someone else has traveled a similar path and taken notes.

Motivation

Start With Why

by Simon Sinek

Simon shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and that’s the opposite of what everyone else does.

Drive

by Daniel H. Pink

The surprising truth about what motivates us to do what we do. Examine and assess human motivations which Pink details are largely intrinsic.

Crushing It

by Gary Vaynerchuk

Motivation to start building something and a framework you can follow to do so, whether it’s a business, personal brand, or a YouTube channel.

Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

by Mark Manson

If traditional self help books aren’t for you, then Mark Manson’s contrarian writing style might be for you sing practical advice from his life to craft a motivating narrative.

Critically Acclaimed

How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, will teach you: Six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

7 Habits of Highly Successful People

by Stephen R. Covey

Spoiler alert, here’s the 7 habits see if anything strikes a chord- Habit 1: Be Proactive Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind Habit 3: Put First Things First Habit 4: Think Win-Win Habit 5: Seek First To Understand Then Be Understood Habit 6: Synergize Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

Think and Grow Rich

by Napoleon Hill

The most famous of all teachers of success spent a fortune and the better part of a lifetime of effort to produce the Law of Success philosophy that forms the basis of his books and that is so powerfully summarized and explained for the general public in this book.

Awaken the Giant Within

by Tony Robbins

The ultimate program for improving the quality of every aspect of your life (personal or business, physical or emotional) Awaken the Giant Within gives you the tools you need to immediately become the master of your own fate.

48 Laws of Power

by Robert Greene

Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. This bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other infamous strategists. The 48 Laws of Power will fascinate any listener interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.

The Secret

by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers—men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

Biographies

Man's Search for Meaning

by Viktor E. Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. 

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

by Ron Chernow

Drawing on unprecedented access to Rockefeller’s private papers, Chernow reconstructs his subjects’ troubled origins (his father was a swindler and a bigamist) and his single-minded pursuit of wealth. But he also uncovers the profound religiosity that drove him “to give all I could”; his devotion to his father; and the wry sense of humor that made him the country’s most colorful codger.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

by Walter Isaacson

The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America’s first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a “dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people”. Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.

The Virgin Way

by Richard Branson

While building the Virgin Group over forty years, Richard Branson has never shied away from seemingly outlandish challenges that others (including his own colleagues on several occasions) considered sheer lunacy. He has taken on giants like British Airways and won, and monsters like Coca-Cola and lost. This is a unique book on leadership from someone who readily admits he has never read a book on leadership in his life. So expect the unexpected.

How To's & Get Shit Done

Getting Things Done

by David Allen

Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. “GTD” is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.

Deep Work

by Cal Newport

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.

Mastery

by Robert Greene

Each one of us has within us the potential to be a Master. Learn the secrets of the field you have chosen, submit to a rigorous apprenticeship, absorb the hidden knowledge possessed by those with years of experience, surge past competitors to surpass them in brilliance, and explode established patterns from within. Study the behaviors of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci and the nine contemporary Masters interviewed for this book. 

The 4 Hour Work Week

by Timothy Ferriss

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches: 
• How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
• How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
• How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
• How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
• How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

Principles

by Ray Dalio

In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating “baseball cards” for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses, and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision-making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they’re seeking to achieve.

The Automatic Customer

by John Warrillow

Warrillow provides the essential blueprint for winning automatic customers with one of the nine subscription business models, including:
The Membership Website Model:  Offer access to highly specialized, high quality information, recognizing that people will pay for good content. This model can work for any business with a tightly defined niche market and insider information.
The Simplifier Model: Take a recurring task off your to-do list. Any business serving busy consumers can adopt this model not only to create a recurring revenue stream, but also to take advantage of the opportunity to cross-sell or bundle their services.
The Surprise Box Model: Companies send their subscribers curated packages of goodies each month. If you can handle the logistics of shipping, giving customers joy in something new can translate to sales on your larger e-commerce site.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness in Plain English

by Bhante Gunaratana

The Mindfulness in Plain English Collection offers the rich, full context for tapping into the true power of mindfulness, all with the signature warmth of Bhante Gunaratana. It is a beautiful and comprehensive resource for anyone who is ready to take their mindfulness practice to the next level.

Readers will learn about:

  • Structuring your meditation
  • Dealing with distractions
  • Mindfulness versus concentration
  • Mindfulness in everyday life
  • Practicing mindfulness of mind, emotions, and body
  • Going beyond mindfulness to discover the jhanas: deeply calm, joyous, and powerful states of concentration meditation that can lead to a life of insight and unshakeable peace

How Proust Can Change Your Life

by Alain de Botton

Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust’s life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust’s essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.

The Obstacle is the Way

by Ryan Holiday

The book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher. As Marcus Aurelius put it nearly 2000 years ago: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” 

Ego is the Enemy

by Ryan Holiday

Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back. 
 
Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to his­tory. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by con­quering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well. 

Habits

The Power of Habit

by Charles Duhigg

In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

Outliers: The Story of Success

by Malcolm Gladwell

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Smarter, Faster, Better

by Charles Duhigg

At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently.