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12 Productivity Books That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

12 Productivity Books That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

Productivity is part art, part science. If you’re reading this article, you’re must be a dreamer with gigantic goals. You’re looking to improve yourself and craving to achieve more irrespective of how or bad you’re at the moment.

Nobody comes inborn with all the necessary knowledge to get the most out of your day. I did not either. Over the years, I learned different tips and tricks from various sources, with books being the most prominent.

Books help you on your journey no matter what that is. That’s because, they’re written by people who have walked down the same path, experienced different scenarios, and tried various methods. Listening to what an author in your expertise has to say will open your mind to new ideas.

Productivity books

That said, don’t expect books to change your life altogether. I evaluate how the apply the lessons provided by different people to fit into my life. Likewise, if you’re reading a productivity book, you’ll have to tweak the tips provided and make them work for you. Some of the techniques will work as-is, while the rest will yield the best results when you tailor them to yourself.

12 Productivity books to help you get more done

Here are 12 books that provide valuable insight to get more done. You must note that not all of these are productivity books. Some of them help you get into the right mindset to execute the plans you have. Reading them all will need a colossal effort but the time you put in will be well worth it if you implement what you come across.

So, let’s get started.

1. Getting Things Done – David Allen

  • Pages: 352
  • Average reading time: 11 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4/5

If you’re struggling to manage your to-do lists, emails, or if your work-life lacks structure, you must read this book.

The author provides a structural blueprint to keep track of your tasks by breaking them into categories like:

  • Need action
  • Waiting For
  • Someday/maybe
  • Reference material

The book recommends applying the same approach to emails and the folders on your computer too. Once you make a practice of following the structure, no pending task will slip through the cracks.

But, you’ll have to modify the sections as per your life. I have changed them to drop a few and add a couple to suit my style and needs. The author suggests using a notepad or an app to track your tasks, but I use a combination of both. Similarly, you should aim to understand the concept and apply it to your schedule.

The book can seem long and boring, but I recommend reading through it.

Related article: How to organize your email using the GTD method

2. Essentialism – Greg McKeown

  • Pages: 272
  • Average reading time: 9 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.04/5

If you’re clocking long working hours every day and still not making enough progress, you must read this book.

We’re in an era dominated by information. To give you a scale, today we consume in 2 days, what an average person a few hundred years back would gather over a lifetime. While such exposure has led to significant improvements for the human race, it has caused disadvantages too.

A rampant problem of the current world is managing to focus on the right thing. The book helps you chip off all the unnecessary bits helping you refine your time like a well-sculpted artifact.

Is this book similar to the 80/20 principle? Yes, it is. But, the author provides actionable advice to apply the concept in your life for different scenarios.

The author provides conceptual diagrams to explain his ideas making the book an interesting read.

3. Deep Work – Cal Newport

  • Pages: 304
  • Average reading time: 10 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.20/5

If you have the habit of working amidst distractions, you should read this book.

I realized the difference focused work makes only after I started practicing it. I had earlier read how some people can get more done than a normal Joe in half the time. I thought that was all hogwash.

Today, I am a staunch believer of the concept and it was the book Deepwork which set the foundation of distraction-free work into my schedule.

It operates on a simple premise of cutting out all the noise for improving your prioritization on the task at hand. The author provides pointers on achieving that using different models.

Whether you’re a student, a new hire starting your career, or an experienced professional, the book can do wonders for your productivity.

Related article: How to overcome distractions using Deep Work

4. Power of habit – Charles Duhigg
  • Pages: 416
  • Average reading time: 13 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.1/5

If you struggling to break bad habits or cultivate good ones, you should read this book.

This book does not touch upon productivity or time management. Yet, it helps you understand how many of your actions are unconscious and driven by the habit loop.

Do you feel like checking the refrigerator every now and then? Do you turn on the TV every time you sit on the couch? Do you peek into your Instagram feed when you’re bored?

Once you read the book, you’ll know why your brain performs such actions by the force of habit. You’ll learn simple tricks to break out of the loop too.

By understanding the science, you can free yourself from the shackles of certain bad habits which impact your productivity.

5. The One Thing – Gary Keller

  • Pages: 240
  • Average reading time: 8 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.13/5

If you’re targeting multiple goals and struggling to achieve any of them, you must read this book.

The title of the book conveys the crux of the content. The author highlights the importance of keeping your eyes on one target and relentlessly pursuing it.

If you aim for diverse areas of expertise, your focus will get diluted. That doesn’t mean you skip all the other essential aspects of life. The book recommends mastering one field instead of trying to become the jack of all trades.

If you spend your time and energy to develop one core area, the same will reflect in your productivity too.

6. The 10x Rule – Grant Cardone

  • Pages: 240
  • Average reading time: 8 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.02/5

If you’re doubting yourself or lacking motivation, you should read this book.

The 10x rule focuses on the concept of massive action to achieve your dreams. The book teaches you how to 10x your mindset, not your productivity.

The title is a little misleading because the value 10x is only a reference. If you’re doing reasonably well in life, multiplying your efforts and results by 10x is an overstatement.

Instead, the author provides a direction on how you can multiply the value you provide and reap the benefits in the process. Do not assume you’ll work 10x times once you read the book. You’ll rather get into a mindset of achieving far more than you believe you can today.

7. Drive – Daniel Pink

  • Pages: 288
  • Average reading time: 9 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 3.95/5

If you’re facing trouble finding the motivation to chase your goals, you must read this book.

The book has nothing to do with organizing your schedule or getting tasks done. The author goes deep into the concept of motivation and the underlying areas which impact it.

People make the mistake of assuming that rewards like money and fame drive motivation. But, the book bashes the carrot and stick approach. Instead, it proposes leaders and individuals to understand the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

The book highlights how every person is driven by mastery, autonomy, and purpose. Once you understand how these factors function, you’ll stop chasing the goals you care little about. The book helps you identify the right aim so that you naturally put in the effort required to reach the destination.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith

  • Pages: 256
  • Average reading time: 8 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 3.98/5

If you’ve stagnated in your career growth after your initial success, you should read this book.

This book is targeted for people who have already achieved a reasonable amount of success in their lives. The author speaks from the perspectives of executives and people from senior management positions who fail to reach the pinnacle.

The book highlights how such people, though immensely talented and charismatic, fail to notice the subtle differences which separate the best from the best of the best. The book helps you understand how your mindset can limit your growth due to thinking in a silo.

You might expect sophisticated techniques given what the book is targeting. But, the areas spoken about are instead so simple, that people fail to notice them and wonder what they’re lacking. Irrespective of what point you’re in your career, you’ll gain invaluable lessons from the book.

8. Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • Pages: 334
  • Average reading time: 10 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.11/5

If you’re unable to hold your focus on one goal, you should read this book.

Do you recall the feeling when you were working on a task for hours without even realizing how time went by so quickly? The author calls such an experience a flow.

The book mentions that when you’re in a state of flow, you’re undergoing the optimal experience which leads to genuine satisfaction.

The author explains why most people fail to achieve flow in their daily job. He recommends picking an area or a goal that continuously challenges you. The sweet spot of flow lies somewhere between the job being so easy that it bores you and being so difficult that you give up halfway.

The book suggests how to inch closer towards mastery by continuously challenging yourself the right way.

10. Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker

  • Pages: 368
  • Average reading time: 11 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.39/5

If you believe you can sleep 6 hours or lesser and still function at your productive best, you must read this book.

I had read tons of content about the importance of sleep but never believed it. I slept about 5.5 hours a day and I thought I was at my productive best. I realized the difference only after I attempted to sleep 7 hours a day. The book convinced me to do so.

The author has spent over 20 years of his life on sleep research. The suggestions he presents in the book are not empty claims but facts well backed by science.

What happens within your body during your sleep is both mesmerizing and terrifying. Mesmerizing because you’ll understand the superpower of your brain and the magic it does. Terrifying because you’ll know the long term damage of cutting sleep hours.

The book is long and exhaustive, but intriguing throughout. If you read until the last page, I can guarantee you that you will attempt to sleep enough each day.

11. The 12 Week Year – Brian Moran

  • Pages: 208
  • Average reading time: 7 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 3.89/5

You must read this book if you are looking for an effective method to execute shorter projects that require 3 months.

People and organizations target goals as an annual cycle. For the same reason, companies have more work to do at the end of the financial year. Likewise, people take new year resolutions way too seriously, at least in December and January before they’re long forgotten.

This book aims to make similar goals for a shorter span of 3 months. When you think annually, you tend to waste time because one year provides ample opportunity to laze around initially before making a rush towards the end.

The author combines planning, focus, and deadlines to accomplish projects within 3 months. I wrote my first book, The Magic of 2 Seconds, by applying some concepts of this book.

12. The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy

  • Pages: 176
  • Average reading time: 6 hours
  • Good Reads Rating: 4.34/5

If you’re always focused on short term targets and deadlines, you should read this book.

When the term productivity cropped up, did you think about getting more done every day? That’s how most people approach time management.

But, to turn productive, you should also think about the long term results you’ll achieve. The book explains how little changes make a massive difference in the long run. The author drives forward the thought process of building habits that yield results over your course of life instead of breaking your head about short term results alone.

Have you heard how compound interest exponentially increases your finances over the years? This book applies the same concept to achieving your goals by placing more emphasis on progressive action.

Related article: How to improve 1% at a time using the Marginal Gains Technique


Most of these productivity books are best sellers which have changed people’s lives. After you read one or two of them, you might feel like your productivity has skyrocketed and you don’t need any more tips.

But, do not limit your growth by such thoughts. Each of these books offers uniques ideas and perspectives which will add up in the long run. You neither have to finish them all in a month neither read them one after another. Even if you take a few years to finish them amidst other books, they’re still worth it.

A few of these are my all-time favorites. Though I read them years back, I still practice the concepts every day because those lessons are imbibed into my routine.

So, what are you waiting for? Choose one and get started.

Which book do you plan to read first? Leave a comment.

best productivity books

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