The best productivity books from a productivity ninja

Who am I?

So quite a few years ago now, while juggling a hundred and one things – some paid, some voluntary; some work-related, some not – I developed a new obsession in my quest to change the world: productivity. I have now written multiple books on the subject, and I am the founder of Think Productive which helps people and organisations around the world to increase productivity & wellbeing. These are the top 5 books that have shaped the way I look at productivity and the way I work and live my life.


I wrote...

How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do

By Graham Allcott,

Book cover of How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do

What is my book about?

When it comes to overflowing inboxes, ever-expanding to-do lists, and endless meetings, traditional time-management techniques—like those in bestselling books by David Allen or Dominic Wolff— simply don't cut it in the age of information overload

Thankfully there's a better way. Graham Allcott, founder of the global productivity workshop company, Think Productive, presents How to be a Productivity Ninja, his brilliant—and originally self-published—guide to cutting through the procrastination, getting more done, and enjoying your work and your life more as a result. Using techniques including Ruthlessness, Mindfulness, Zen-like Calm, and Stealth and Camouflage, you will get your inbox down to zero, maximize your attention span, and learn to work smarter, not harder.
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Graham Allcott Why did I love this book?

This book probably needs no introduction. It was the first time management book that I read, and it had a really big effect on me. I remember really enthusiastically jotting down ideas from this book and making changes to how I worked. It's an absolute classic! The book would probably look really different if written today, but I think a lot of the ideas are just so evergreen.

By Stephen R. Covey,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller - over 25 million copies sold
The No. 1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century

"[Thirty] years after it first appeared, the wisdom of The 7 Habits is more relevant than ever. On an individual level people are burning out, and on a collective level we are burning up the planet. So Dr. Covey's emphasis on self-renewal and his understanding that leadership and creativity require us to tap into our own physical, mental, and spiritual resources are exactly what we need now." Arianna Huffington

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written,…


Book cover of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Graham Allcott Why did I love this book?

This book has such an annoyingly catchy title! I really wish I'd come up with that. The central premise is that if we eliminate distractions and really make space to do real quality thinking, that's what makes us productive. I am totally on board with that and very much share Cal's view of the importance of deep work, and he explains it so well. Also, Cal has been on my podcast, Beyond Busy, twice, and he is such a great guy.

By Cal Newport,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Deep Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your attention the most. When Cal Newport coined the term 'deep work' on his popular blog, Study Hacks, in 2012, he found the concept quickly hit a nerve. Most of us, after all, are excruciatingly familiar with shallow work instead - distractedly skimming the surface of our workload and never getting to the important part. Newport began exploring the methods and mindset that foster a practice of…


Book cover of Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Graham Allcott Why did I love this book?

I'm sure this is not Seth's best-selling book, but for me, it's the most impactful one. He talks a lot about procrastination, doing work where you are indispensable, being creative, and ultimately he just defines productivity in a way that has so much heart to it and that I really relate to. I also think Seth, out of all the people whose books I read, is the most natural writer. I just love his writing.

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Linchpin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this compelling, accessible and purpose-filled book bestselling business author Seth Godin shows how you have the potential to make a big difference-and make yourself indispensable in the process-wherever you are.

Why are some people easily outsourced, downsized, or freelanced into obscurity, while others have their pick of opportunities? In his most powerful book yet, Seth Godin argues that it's more essential than ever to become indispensable - to become a linchpin. Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations: they invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They love…


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

Graham Allcott Why did I love this book?

When I first read this book, like so many people, it totally changed how I view productivity, and still today, it has a massive influence on how I organise my life – both personally and professionally. Ironically, this book had been sitting on the shelf of my chief executive office, gathering dust for quite some time before I read it... due to me being too busy and stressed out to pick it up! Reading Getting Things Done then made me realise the waste that goes on – not through negligence, but from the stress and chaos of information overload – and the need for stress-free productivity.

By David Allen,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Getting Things Done as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book Lifehack calls "The Bible of business and personal productivity."

"A completely revised and updated edition of the blockbuster bestseller from 'the personal productivity guru'"-Fast Company

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.

Allen has rewritten the book from start to finish, tweaking his classic text…


Book cover of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

Graham Allcott Why did I love this book?

This book is brilliant and really worth a read. Oliver Burkeman is someone who embraces positive thinking, but from a kind of cynical perspective, so the Antidote is happiness for people like me who can't stand positive thinking. It's a really practical and entertaining celebration of negative thinking that helped me embrace insecurity, uncertainty, and failures in life.

By Oliver Burkeman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Antidote as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Self-help books don't seem to work. Few of the many advantages of modern life seem capable of lifting our collective mood. Wealth—even if you can get it—doesn't necessarily lead to happiness. Romance, family life, and work often bring as much stress as joy. We can't even agree on what "happiness" means. So are we engaged in a futile pursuit? Or are we just going about it the wrong way?

Looking both east and west, in bulletins from the past and from far afield, Oliver Burkeman introduces us to an unusual group of people who share a single, surprising way of…


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Book cover of Being Your Cat: What's really going on in your feline's mind

Celia Haddon Author Of Being Your Cat: What's really going on in your feline's mind

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