The best books for people who want to do and enjoy work they find meaningful

Who am I?

I love playing music and games, helping others in therapy, being a father and husband, among other things. It’s taken me some time to figure out how to not only stay on top of them all, but to enjoy myself along the way. The answer to doing so is about finding and guiding play in work. Picasso's statement rings true: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Mastery and feelings of success flow when work is imbued with play. As a psychoanalyst and now as a writer, I work with both clients and readers to help them find meaning and mastery in the day-to-day.


I wrote...

Workflow Mastery: Building from the Basics

By Kourosh Dini,

Book cover of Workflow Mastery: Building from the Basics

What is my book about?

The central theory is that mastery and meaningful work develop from guided play. The question is then how do we guide play? Workflow Mastery is a deep dive into what it takes to guide play, find success in our lives, and get to where we want to go. It describes, in both practical and psychological depth, how we can get into what we decide to put in front of ourselves. The book is structured to gradually build from simple to complex concepts, but separated so you can decide where and how to improve your own workflows to whatever degree makes sense to you.

This book is currently only available here.

The books I picked & why

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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

By David Allen,

Book cover of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Why this book?

Getting Things Done started my journey of productivity. The central idea completely organizing my thinking: that you can use your own sense of trust to both build and measure a working system. Do you feel that something will get back to you when and where it would be useful to you? If not, what can you do to get it there? The more you can honestly answer these questions, the more it will be off of your mind, and the more you can guide where you want your mind to be.


Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, Book & Online Audio

By Kenny Werner,

Book cover of Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, Book & Online Audio

Why this book?

When I read Werner's Effortless Mastery, the first thing that happened was that my style of piano playing and composing transformed. What was once very methodical became free-flowing. Secondly, whatever I learned at the piano, then seemed to transfer to my writing and other projects. An absolute unsung hero of both mastery and productivity, Werner does a fantastic job of describing the work of getting your mind into that state of play where learning and creating happen best. 


How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking

By Sonke Ahrens,

Book cover of How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking

Why this book?

Ahrens opened up my eyes to a method of building on, diving into, and creating notes without them getting lost. I love feeling productive whether I agree or disagree with something. I now have a way to connect my ideas together and gather them when creating articles, books, and courses. It didn't use to be fun to take notes, but now it is since I know I can get back to and update things for however long I like without ever feeling obligated to them.


Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

By George Leonard,

Book cover of Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

Why this book?

Mastery goes hand in hand with getting on top of work. Leonard gave me the long view. He does an excellent job of describing how mastery is better considered a process, a path you travel more so than a line you pass. Viewing one's craft as a series of peaks and plateaus and, more importantly, staying on the path is the work of mastery. 


How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery

By Lawrence Leshan,

Book cover of How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery

Why this book?

Leshan has an enjoyable brass tacks approach to meditation. As a psychotherapist himself, I found his approach to be in tune with my own. Meditation helps a person better recognize the impact of emotion and thought on one's sense of agency, which is vital in any discussion about creating and accomplishing goals.


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