The most recommended attention books

Who picked these books? Meet our 19 experts.

19 authors created a book list connected to attention, and here are their favorite attention books.
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What type of attention book?


Book cover of Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Nita Sweeney Author Of How to Make Every Move a Meditation: Mindful Movement for Mental Health, Well-Being, and Insight

From my list on why meditation is worth your time and effort.

Who am I?

As a thirty-year meditator, certified meditation leader, and award-winning author, it’s my job to keep up on the latest books about mindfulness and Zen practice. Despite seeing new volumes being published regularly, I return to these books as great sources of solid practice information. Each of these authors explains meditation in accessible terms, easy for readers to follow and understand. I can’t remember who said that a confused reader is an antagonistic reader, but they are right. The books I’ve suggested offer clarity. They help readers begin or continue their practice and understand how and why meditation is worth their time.

Nita's book list on why meditation is worth your time and effort

Nita Sweeney Why did Nita love this book?

Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the founding teachers of mindfulness practice in the United States. Wherever You Go There You Are, another simple yet profound gem, sets forth the benefits and techniques for living in the moment. I really enjoy how he talks about the many ways to meditate. There is no one posture, no one practice, it is all about what you do with your awareness. As the subtitle says, the book explains how to take mindfulness meditation off the cushion and into everyday life.

By Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wherever You Go, There You Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explains how anyone can use mindfulness--the art of living each moment fully as it happens--to reduce anxiety, achieve inner peace, and enrich life.

Book cover of Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment - and Your Life

Edward D. Hess Author Of Own Your Work Journey! The Path to Meaningful Work and Happiness in the Age of Smart Technology and Radical Change

From my list on helping you become your best self.

Who am I?

My entire academic life of over 20 years has been focused on how to help people and organizations become their Best Self. I am the author of 15 books. Six of my books were published by Academic Presses: Cambridge University Press; Stanford University Press; and Columbia Business School Publishing. My work has appeared in over 400 global media publications including Fortune magazine, European Business Review, HBR, SHRM, Fast Company, WIRED, Forbes, INC., Huffington Post, Washington Post, Business Week, the Financial Times, CEO World as well as on CNBC Squawk Box, Fox Business News, Big Think, WSJ Radio, Bloomberg Radio with Kathleen Hayes, Dow Jones Radio, MSNBC Radio, Business Insider, and Wharton Radio.

Edward's book list on helping you become your best self

Edward D. Hess Why did Edward love this book?

I love this book. It was the book I used years ago to learn how to do Mindful Meditation which transformed my way of being and enabled me to become a better person and a better learner.

Mindful Meditation taught me how to have a Quiet Mind so I could really listen to others and learn from others. I started out doing Mindful Meditation 3-5 minutes a day. It was hard. But I kept at it improving to 10 minutes then to 20 minutes then to 30 -40 minutes a day.

I learned how to be still and fully present. It helped me build better relationships with others. It is a key building block for Inner Peace.

By Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Invitation to the Practice of Mindfulness

We may long for wholeness, suggests Jon Kabat-Zinn, but the truth is that it is already here and already ours. The practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives. With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play-and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are.

Here, the teacher, scientist, and clinician who first demonstrated…

Book cover of The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts

Chad LeJeune Author Of "Pure O" OCD: Letting Go of Obsessive Thoughts with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

From my list on thoughts, and our relationship with them.

Who am I?

As a clinical psychologist, I listen to thoughts all the time. I’m also having my own, constantly. We rely on our thoughts to help us navigate the world. However, our thoughts can also be a source of suffering. At times, they're not such reliable guides or helpers. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a way of thinking about thinking. ACT captured my imagination early in my clinical career. I trained with ACT’s originator, Steven Hayes, in the early 1990’s. I’ve come to believe that being more aware of our own thoughts, and our relationship to them is key to creating positive change and living a life grounded in our values.

Chad's book list on thoughts, and our relationship with them

Chad LeJeune Why did Chad love this book?

Dr. Baer was a leading clinician and researcher in the area of treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is essentially a problematic relationship between an individual and their thoughts. 

His focus was on struggles with thoughts that we identify as “bad” or unacceptable. This book was one of the first texts to fully describe what has come to be called “Pure O” OCD.  

By Lee Baer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Imp of the Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business

Jeff Davidson Author Of Breathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society

From my list on to help you have more breathing space.

Who am I?

I hold the registered trademark as "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," and work with organizations that seek to enhance their productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. I've spoken to Fortune 50 companies such as IBM, Cardinal Health Group, Lockheed, American Express, the IRS, Wells Fargo, and Westinghouse. My books have been published in 19 languages and have been featured in 68 of the top 75 American newspapers, as well as Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. At heart, I'm a simpler living advocate. I believe in giving back to his community and am an active volunteer for Art Space in downtown Raleigh, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Jeff's book list on to help you have more breathing space

Jeff Davidson Why did Jeff love this book?

To me, this book is a classic, and isolating 'attention' as the real currency of business and individuals is pure genius. The author observes that attention actually has many of the same attributes as money. People who don’t have it want it. People who have it, often want it even more. You can trade attention, and you can purchase it.

I like the way the author explains how we covet our time and resources in relation to attention: people work to preserve and extend what they already have, and so caller ID and email-filtering software are popular because they screen out whatever might divert one's attention."

The authors note that similar to airplane seats and fresh food, attention is a perishable commodity. They cite Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, who proclaimed that, "What information consumes is rather obvious; it consumes the attention of recipients. Hence, a wealth of information…

By Thomas H. Davenport, John C. Beck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This title identifies attention management as the new critical competency for 21st century business. This is a landmark book for every manager who wants to learn how to earn and spend the new currency of business argues that unless companies learn to effectively capture, manage, and keep attention - both internally and out in the marketplace - they'll fall hopelessly behind in our information-flooded world. It is based on an exclusive global research study, with examples from a range of companies. It provides a revolutionary four-part model for managing attention in all areas of business. It presents a multidisciplinary approach…

Book cover of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Melanie Deziel Author Of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

From my list on to make your marketing more creative.

Who am I?

You know how most young kids go through a phrase where they ask “why” about everything, and then they ask it again, and again, and again? Well, I never really outgrew that. I studied journalism because it gave me permission to be curious about new things every day, and to ask experts “why.” Marketing gave me a new way to chase my curiosity: Why are people clicking this ad, opening this email, following that social account or searching for that phrase? I’ve helped 30% of the Fortune 100 answer the questions about why their content is working, or isn’t, and my first book, The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas, was born from my introspective curiosity about how my own idea generation process worked. 

Melanie's book list on to make your marketing more creative

Melanie Deziel Why did Melanie love this book?

This book is a hefty one—I recommend the audiobook if you’ve got a bad back—but it will help you understand how your brain works in a way that almost no other book can. And the better you understand your mind, the better you’ll be able to make it do what you want, and how to protect yourself from the things that might otherwise sabotage your creative thinking.

By Daniel J Levitin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Organized Mind, New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin offers practical solutions to the problems of information overload.

Overwhelmed by demands on your time? Caught in an unproductive spiral of emails and multitasking?

You're not alone. When we're deluged with information our creativity plummets, our decision making suffers and we grow absent-minded. Nowadays, we drown in our inboxes, forever juggle several tasks at once and try to make complex decisions ever more quickly. This is information overload.

Combining the latest neuroscience with everyday examples, Daniel Levitin explains how to take back control…

Book cover of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention

Ian Brodie Author Of Email Persuasion: Captivate and Engage Your Audience, Build Authority and Generate More Sales With Email

From my list on small business marketing.

Who am I?

I'm a writer and consultant on marketing and creating online courses. I’m obsessed with “cracking the marketing code.” Ever since I saw firsthand what a huge impact even small marketing changes could have on a business's success I’ve been determined to figure out what the really big impact but low workload changes are. I’ve written about some of them in my book Email Persuasion and I share others in my blogs and videos.

Ian's book list on small business marketing

Ian Brodie Why did Ian love this book?

Of all the marketing challenges facing us today, the biggest by far is the immensely difficult task of getting and keeping the attention of our target customers in a ridiculously noisy world.

Captivology isn’t necessarily a marketing book per se. But it’s the best guide to the art and the science of capturing attention. It shows you what gets people to take notice of something, to pay it deeper attention, and then to keep coming back and devoting time to it. You can apply these lessons across all your marketing and of all the marketing ideas and concepts I’ve come across in the last decade, this one has had the deepest and most positive impact on me and the results in my business.

By Ben Parr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why are we captivated by sites like Facebook and Instagram, but couldn't care less about MySpace Why do some musicians grow as popular as Beyonce, while others never make the charts Why do some nonprofits, such as Charity: Water, succeed in getting our donations, while other charities are ineffective And why can't anyone seem to ever get the attention of their kids

In Captivology, Ben Parr, former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund, reveals how and why our mind pays attention to some events, ideas, or people and not others. Vividly bringing to life the stories of entrepreneurs, musicians,…

Book cover of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Devora Zack Author Of Singletasking: Get More Done one Thing at a Time

From my list on to singletask what matters most.

Who am I?

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” - Goethe. As Singletasking notes, we’ve become relentlessly disrespectful of the people and experiences right in front of us. Reversing this is a mission of mine. Nothing seems more important than redirecting our lifelong attention to what matters most. As an international author and speaker about both Singletasking and personality styles, I’m convinced paying attention to and honoring each other is the key to a meaningful life and deep relationships.

Devora's book list on to singletask what matters most

Devora Zack Why did Devora love this book?

The subtitle of Focus is The Hidden Driver of Excellence, yet this driver is arguably hidden no more upon the book’s release. As a journalist, psychologist, and top-notch researcher, Goleman is uniquely qualified to delve into the ‘science of attention.’ Plus, he has accumulated plenty of street cred from the various iterations of his Emotional Intelligence canon. 

Goleman compares attention to a muscle; requiring regular use to build it up. I couldn’t agree more. This premise is supported by myriad examples, accompanied by useful techniques for application in all aspects of life.

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For more than two decades, psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman has been scouting the leading edge of the human sciences for what's new, surprising, and important. In Focus, he delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset that matters enormously for how we navigate life. Goleman boils down attention research into a three parts: inner, other, and outer focus. Goleman shows why high-achievers need all three kinds of focus, as demonstrated by rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and…

Book cover of Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

James Poskett Author Of Horizons: A Global History of Science

From my list on how technology is ruining everything.

Who am I?

I grew up with digital technologies. It was the 1990s. Things could only get better. Or so we were told… I went to study computer science at Cambridge in the 2000s. Switched subjects a few times, and ended up with a degree in the history and philosophy of science. By the time I graduated, life had changed. The world economy was on the brink of collapse, China was on its way to becoming a superpower, and right-wing nationalism was on the rise. That experience absolutely shaped me as a historian and writer. The world of science and technology suddenly seemed a lot more politically fraught.

James' book list on how technology is ruining everything

James Poskett Why did James love this book?

This is a rare book. It is written by a philosopher. It can be read in an afternoon. And it will change your life. Forget your next self-help book. Read this instead. In Stand Out of Our Light, James Williams gives a straightforward (but extremely satisfying) account of the digital ‘attention economy’ and what is wrong with it. Williams used to work for Google, before he realised that things weren’t quite right. After all, the world built by big technology companies isn’t the one many of us would choose.

By James Williams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Stand Out of Our Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Former Google advertising strategist, now Oxford-trained philosopher James Williams launches a plea to society and to the tech industry to help ensure that the technology we all carry with us every day does not distract us from pursuing our true goals in life. As information becomes ever more plentiful, the resource that is becoming more scarce is our attention. In this 'attention economy', we need to recognise the fundamental impacts of our new information environment on our lives in order to take back control. Drawing on insights ranging from Diogenes to contemporary tech leaders, Williams's thoughtful and impassioned analysis is…

Book cover of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Gloria Mark Author Of Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity

From my list on attention and why it is the ultimate currency.

Who am I?

In 2000, I entered the University of California, Irvine as an assistant professor. Suddenly faced with multiple research projects, courses, committees, grant-writing, and student mentoring, I found myself switching screens and tasks like crazy. But I was also glued to my computer. I began to wonder if this was normal? Trained as a psychologist, I decided to study empirically what was happening to our attention. I began research over two decades on attention and discovered how our attention spans have shrunk over time (to a mere average of 47 seconds). Fast forward, I've continued to study our relationships with our technology, uncovering different types of attention and busting myths associated with focus and productivity. 

Gloria's book list on attention and why it is the ultimate currency

Gloria Mark Why did Gloria love this book?

I started out my career path as an artist, and when creating art, I regularly got into a state of what is known as flow. Hours would pass before I realized that it was already deep into night and I should be at home.

We think we know what flow is but Csikszentmihalyi tells us what it really is—a combination of the right amount of challenge and skill. Flow describes a state when one experiences the ultimate form of creativity—when a person is so immersed in an experience that time doesn’t matter.

Learning why people pursue experiences that can get them into flow is fascinating. Few psychologists have presented such optimistic views of people as Csikszentmihalyi.

By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Csikszentmihalyi arrives at an insight that many of us can intuitively grasp, despite our insistent (and culturally supported) denial of this truth. That is, it is not what happens to us that determines our happiness, but the manner in which we make sense of that reality. . . . The manner in which Csikszentmihalyi integrates research on consciousness, personal psychology and spirituality is illuminating.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

The bestselling classic that holds the key to unlocking meaning, creativity, peak performance, and true happiness.

Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an…

Book cover of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

Stephanie Dueger Author Of Preparing for Parenthood: 55 Essential Conversations for Couples Becoming Families

From my list on to feel more prepared for parenthood.

Who am I?

As a trained therapist, educator, and coach for expectant and new parents, I understand on a deep level the importance of creating a strong foundation in building a family. I also was personally humbled at how difficult the transition to parenthood was for me and the challenges it presented in my relationship with my husband. While we’ve grown exponentially, I wanted to make it a little easier for other expectant parents to avoid some of the pitfalls that aren’t spoken about as much in becoming parents. I also wanted to help the new little beings arriving in the world to have more resourced, present parents. It’s a win-win.

Stephanie's book list on to feel more prepared for parenthood

Stephanie Dueger Why did Stephanie love this book?

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a world-renown specialist in mindfulness – the mind-body experience of being fully present and aware in the moment. Mindfulness is an effective practice for optimal emotional and physical health and well-being. We know that people around the world parent in many different ways, depending upon their background, culture, life experience, etc. What I love about this book is that if you want to learn to be more present in our highly-distracted, busy world, there is a gentle way to move toward having more of this presence in life, no matter your background – with your children, partner, and others. The wisdom of mindfulness found in this peaceful book helps develop greater empathy and connection with ourselves and those in our family.

By Myla Kabat-Zinn, Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shows parents how they can enrich their own and their childrens' lives through raising their awareness of life's gifts.