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.

The books I picked & why

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen R. Covey,

Book cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Why 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.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

By Cal Newport,

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

Why 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.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

By Seth Godin,

Book cover of Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Why 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.

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?

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.

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

By Oliver Burkeman,

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

Why 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.

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