Are you struggling with self-discipline? Is your productivity slipping as a result? One way to improve your productivity is to read the best productivity books on the market.

Learning new productivity hacks, techniques, and strategies is a simple and effective way to improve your work and personal life. We have compiled a reading list of the top productivity books to help you maximize your time.

With these books, you’ll learn how to properly allocate your time so that you can focus on the things that are most important to you.

Power up your workday

Reach your goals faster with time tracking and work management.

Try Hubstaff

15 must-read books on productivity

Check out these titles that can help you achieve peak productivity.

Suppose you’re seeking productivity techniques and tips on a variety of topics. In that case, this list of 15 book recommendations is a perfect place to start.

See which one appeals to you most by reading the descriptions and the “After reading this book” sections.

Table of contents

  1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  3. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller
  4. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
  5. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy
  6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  7. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey
  8. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
  9. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  10. Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert Pozen
  11. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
  12. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
  13. Atomic Habits by James Clear
  14. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings–and Life by Laura Vanderkam
  15. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Read: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Discover the power of stress-free productivity by reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Reduce stress and increase productivity by mastering the Getting Things Done method of task management. This method will help you finish your most difficult work first for a better handle on your tasks.

You can gain control of your work by following a simple but effective five-stage process:

  1. Don’t try to memorize your to-do list. Write out your tasks.
  2. Clarify what each job is and why you’re doing it.
  3. Organize everything into a structured list.
  4. Prioritize important tasks on your to-do list.
  5. Start working on your tasks.

Once you have clarity and control, you’ll be more productive and feel less stressed. This way, you can take charge of your work instead of letting it consume you.

After reading this book, you’ll not only learn how to utilize GTD to manage your work better, but you’ll also uncover more about who you are as a leader and person.

You’ll also learn:

  • How to maximize brain power
  • How to bring big ideas to life
  • How being tired is no excuse for limiting your productivity

“You can do anything, but not everything.”

David Allen, Getting Things Done

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Read: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Do you sometimes feel like your goals are out of reach? Read Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to make the most of life.

The book has been at the top of bestseller lists for years and is one of the most acclaimed self-help books. As the title suggests, you’ll discover seven good habits of productive entrepreneurs. They include:

  • Be proactive. While you can’t control everything, you can control yourself. You have the freedom to choose how you anticipate and engage with the world around you.
  • Begin every task with the desired outcome. What is your primary goal? You can create a to-do list or a structured business plan to help you get there.
  • Set priorities. Make sure you are prioritizing your tasks based on their importance. You could use a time management matrix to help you set priorities. 
  • Look for a win-win scenario. Create a collaborative environment, and encourage communication and teamwork.
  • Listen. Understand the problem before offering a solution. Practice empathetic listening. 
  • Synergize. An idea can come from anywhere. Empower everyone on your team to exchange ideas freely and safely. 
  • Take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Make time to rest and renew your energy.

After reading this book and following Covey’s advice, you’ll be more likely to achieve the goals in both your personal and professional life.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

3. The ONE Thing by Gary Keller

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller

Read: The ONE Thing by Gary Keller

New York Times bestseller The ONE Thing by Gary Keller shows us how many of our accepted mantras and habits hinder our growth and progress.

Gary Keller teaches you how to live with focus, purpose, and productivity without sacrificing other aspects of your life.

Read The ONE Thing to learn how to:

  • Prioritize your to-do list to achieve your goals
  • Ask focusing questions
  • Have self-discipline and form positive habits
  • Pick one task and give it your full attention
  • Use your willpower to make decisions carefully 
  • Say no to tasks that are not important to preserve your time 
  • Visualize your goals and map out your path to success
  • Balance life and work successfully

After reading this book, you’ll be able to set your goals and utilize the right time management tools and techniques to achieve them.

“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls– family, health, friends, integrity– are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

Gary Keller, The One Thing

4. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Read: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Deep Work explores how technological advancement has harmed our ability to focus on specific tasks for long periods. Author Cal Newport also shares his favorite strategies for overcoming these technological obstacles.

In this self-help book, you’ll learn how to overcome distractions and practice deep work. Cal also stresses the importance of resisting the urge to multitask. Even though it seems okay to keep social media on while you work, this book will show you how it makes it hard for you to focus.

You’ll also discover the different strategies for achieving deep work like:

  • The monastic approach 
  • The bimodal approach
  • The rhythmic approach
  • The journalist’s strategy

After reading this book, you’ll understand how to build positive rituals and make your deep work sustainable. Deep Work will help you cultivate awareness of how you spend your time.

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”

Cal Newport, Deep Work

5. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

Read: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog will help you overcome procrastination with a truly unique approach to time management.

If you feel like you’re drowning in your work, the eat the frog technique will help you get more done by prioritizing your most difficult tasks.

The book details many different methods for prioritizing your to-do lists, such as the ABCDE method and the Pareto technique. However, Brian Tracy’s method really stands out by stressing the importance of completing your most painful tasks first.

Tracy asks you to stay optimistic and set the bar high for yourself. You can defeat procrastination by figuring out who you are and what you want to accomplish. Recognize your limitations, create a schedule, and eat your frogs early and often.

After reading this book, you will be able to eat that frog, control your to-do list, and be a more productive you.

“If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” This is another saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the most significant, hardest, and most important task first.”

Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog

6. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Read: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit explores the significance of our daily habits, both good and bad. The book discusses how habits are formed and provides practical recommendations for improving practices at home and in the workplace.

Find out how to eliminate bad habits by substituting them with better ones. With Duhigg’s advice, you’ll learn how to believe in change and in yourself. Willpower, according to Charles, is an essential habit all people should have.

You’ll also discover how crises can be a unique chance for a CEO to change how the business works. By creating a sense of urgency,  marketers can identify habits that attract customers.

After reading this book, you’ll know why anticipation is at the core of habit formation, what resisting marshmallows may tell us about habits, and how to break bad ones.

“If you believe you can change – if you make it a habit – the change becomes real.”

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

7. The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

Read: The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

The Productivity Project is a guide to living a productive and meaningful life. Author Chris Bailey lives by the motto, “less is more.” Work smarter, and manage your time and energy more efficiently to find the ideal working pace for you.

There is evidence in the book that suggests that working 35 to 40 hours a week will provide you the most energy and focus.

Strike the perfect balance between your inner monk and entrepreneur. After reading this book, you’ll learn proven ways to take charge of your daily routine and stop procrastinating. Easy-to-understand strategies and guidance will show you how to get more done in less time and focus on the tasks that matter most.

“When someone says they “don’t have time” for something, what they’re saying is that a task isn’t as important or attractive as whatever else they have on their plate.”

Chris Bailey, The Productivity Project

8. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

Read: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work takes a good look at dysfunctional work culture. 

You can improve your communication approach with customers, rethink your relationships with team members, and restore control of your time for a less chaotic work environment.

Create the perfect work-life balance by focusing on working smarter. In this business book, the authors use real examples from their software company Basecamp to teach you how to reduce stress. This will help you remain calm, focused, and productive at work.

After reading this book, you will know the difference between working hard and working smart. Here are ten takeaways from reading It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.

“Sustained exhaustion is not a badge of honor, it’s a mark of stupidity.”

Jason Fried, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

9. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Read: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Learn to do more with less by following the principles of essentialism. With this method, you’ll learn how to clear your schedule of anything that prevents you from being productive and happy.

Essentialism focuses on doing less but doing it better. A true essentialist has the ability to decide whether tasks are worth the time or not.

In the book, Greg encourages readers to play to stay productive and creative but also be brutal in removing things that aren’t essential.

After reading this book, you’ll have the tools to become an essentialist. Moving forward, you’ll know how to prioritize your tasks in a way that works for you.

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”

Greg Mckeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

10. Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert Pozen

Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert Pozen

Read: Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert Pozen

Extreme Productivity by Robert Pozen will help you improve productivity through effective time management.

Robert suggests the more productive you are, the less you have to work. He believes creating mini-deadlines will help you stay accountable and fight procrastination.

Robert also stresses the importance of being efficient. The point of efficiency is to make enough time for your family and personal life.

After reading this book, you’ll know how to prioritize tasks, stop procrastinating, and increase productivity. The goal is to boost your results while reducing your working hours.

“Although most people believe they are ethical, few have actually written down their own code of ethics.”

Robert C. Pozen, Extreme Productivity

11. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Read: The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

When it comes to peak performance, The Power of Full Engagement takes a unique approach. The book aims to examine how we manage our energy across all aspects of life.

The key takeaway is to shift your focus to managing your energy, not your time. Give yourself more breaks and work less to keep your energy levels up and maintain productivity.

The authors stress the importance of your physical health and recommend taking a 15-minute break every 1.5 hours to keep your energy levels up. You’ll also learn how to build rituals and make lifestyle changes one step at a time.

After reading this book, you’ll know how to maximize your energy in a way that helps you live your life with purpose.

“Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance.”

Jim Loehr, The Power of Full Engagement

12. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande

Read: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto, discusses how fundamental checklists can greatly minimize human error in complicated professions like aviation, engineering, and medicine.

Surprisingly, the most obvious yet crucial steps are missed without using checklists. Atul advises that you keep your lists simple, short, and easy to use. Include every necessary step —and don’t leave room for misinterpretations.

Medical checklists have saved many lives globally. If you are making errors in your tasks, Atul says to use a checklist. After reading this book, you’ll learn to appreciate how well-written checklists can prevent serious mistakes and give you more freedom to be creative.

“Under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success.”

Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

13. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Read: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

With scientific research and real-life examples, Atomic Habits explains how little changes in behavior can create new habits that help you achieve your goals.

Read about the four components of habits:

  1. A trigger
  2. The craving
  3. An action
  4. The reward

Understand how habits form, why they need to be satisfying, and how to develop positive habits that change your life forever.

After reading this book, you’ll learn how to cultivate healthy habits and eliminate negative ones. Master positive change and make your habits pleasurable.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”

James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

14. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

Read: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

Learn how to start your day early with Lauren Vanderkam. Her book What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast provides a step-by-step approach to creating a productive morning routine. Here’s a quick breakdown of her thoughts:

  1. Picture your ideal morning
  2. Figure out if your perfect morning is achievable 
  3. Create your new morning routine
  4. Evolve your morning routine to work for you
  5. Start tracking your time to measure the success of your routine

Be mindful of how you spend your time and start your day by doing the things that matter most to you. Many highflyers mentioned in the book get up before 6 am to start their day.

The morning is the best time for self-care, so get up early and do something you enjoy. They also recommend that you plan your weekends ahead of time, so you have something fun to look forward to.

After reading this book, you’ll be able to devote more time to the most important things in your life. Master time-management skills and revolutionize your mornings to enhance productivity and maximize your weekends.

“Before the rest of the world is eating breakfast, the most successful people have already scored daily victories that are advancing them toward the lives they want.”

Laura Vanderkam, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings–and Life

15. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

Read: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

Podcast host and Amazon bestseller Tim Ferriss describes the lives of people who have broken free from their office jobs and built a happy life for themselves. In his book The 4-Hour Workweek, he dubs these individuals as the “new rich.”

If you want to live like this, you’ll need to be more productive and find a way to make a steady, almost entirely passive income.

The 4-Hour Workweek shows readers how to live their lives to the fullest and have more freedom. According to the book, the best way to do this is by applying the DEAL formula:

Definition 

Elimination 

Automation

Liberation

After reading this book, you’ll learn about the 80/20 principle and how to set up a passive income stream to liberate yourself from the office. Create your dream plan and live like the “new rich.”

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”

Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

Happy reading!

No matter which title you choose, you’ll gain valuable insights as soon as you start reading. With these helpful books, you’ll be one step ahead of the game. You might even pick up a few tricks along the way that completely alter the way you work.

For an added productivity boost, start a free, 14-day Hubstaff trial. You’ll have access to premier time tracking,  productivity, and proof of work features. You’ll also gain insights into time-wasting apps and URLs, your most productive times of day, and more.


Subscribe to the Hubstaff blog for more posts like this

Try Hubstaff now