I have read many productivity books over the years. These are books that aim to improve your personal productivity. They aim to help you get more done in less time.
Among them, I have some favorites. There are many other books on productivity, of course, but these are the ones that you should read if you want to read just a few of them.
Without further ado, here the five best productivity books to read.
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (book) (summary)
Years after it was first published in 1989, this book is still on Amazon’s best sellers list. That’s amazing because there are hundreds of thousands of books out there. But there is a good reason for that: this book works.
As the title says, the book covers the habits of highly effective people. Among them, the one that is particularly relevant for personal productivity is the third habit: Put First Things First. It uses a matrix (also known as the Eisenhower matrix) that divides your time into four quadrants: important and urgent, important and not urgent, not important and urgent, and not important and not urgent.
The matrix is a simple but useful tool for managing your time. It helps you see how you have spent your time. It also helps you plan your activities.
2. Getting Things Done (book) (summary)
Getting Things Done is also a book that’s still popular years after it was first published. The subtitle of the book describes the topic well: the art of stress-free productivity.
The book shows you how to be productive without being stressed. That requires you to have a productivity system where you can put everything in so that you don’t need to remember it. That clears your mind and helps you avoid stress.
I have been applying this principle for years. While I don’t follow the book’s method exactly, I have found this and other principles in the book useful.
3. The Now Habit (book) (summary)
Do you want to overcome procrastination? If you do, then this is the book that you need to read. It contains some effective methods to overcome procrastination and help you achieve your goals.
For instance, it shows you how to change your self-talk from negative to positive to overcome resistance. It also shows you how to use the concept of persistent starting to achieve big goals.
4. The Power of Full Engagement (book) (summary)
When it comes to personal productivity, energy management is actually more important than time management. If your energy level is high, you can get a lot of things done in a short amount of time. But if your energy level is low, you could spend a lot of time on something and still get almost nothing done.
The Power of Full Engagement is the best book I have read on energy management. It explains how to manage your energy in four dimensions: body, emotions, mind, and spirit.
5. The 4-Hour Workweek (book) (summary)
This book isn’t strictly a productivity book, but it contains useful tips to increase your productivity. One example is the Parkinson’s law which says that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Accordingly, you should set yourself a short deadline in order to be efficient.
Another helpful tip is what’s called “the art of non-finishing.” It says that you shouldn’t feel obliged to finish something if it doesn’t give you enough value for your time. For instance, you don’t have to finish a book if you think you can get more value by reading something else.
I have found these books useful, and I believe they can help you form a solid foundation for productivity.
Do you have other productivity books that you’d like to recommend? Feel free to share them in the comments.
Donald, Great list! I also found the book “Extreme Productivity” by Robert Pozen very useful to apply at my work.
Yes, I like that book as well. I may include it if I update the list in the future. Thanks for sharing!
I found the book Extreme Productivity it is very useful, I got lots of knowledge from this book. I will definitely try to apply these in my work, So that I can make my self more productive.
Thanks for the recommendation, Puja! I may include that book if I updated the list.
Also The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey is a perfect book about productivit
I haven’t read that book. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!
Hi, Dear Donald Latumahina
I read your The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that is a very nice book.
Thank you so much for sharing this nice post.
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