Best productivity books: the only 5 you need to read

There’s a lot of productivity advice out there...
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July 5, 2022
Pieces of paper representing the best productivity books

We live in a weird world.

It's so hard to find effective productivity advice so you can properly function in our hyper-stimulating world. Everyday our brains are bombarded with incessant notifications, Instagram, TikTok, annoying emails, spam callers.

'Throw away your phone. Wake up at 4am. Your willpower sucks...' This all-too-common productivity lingo is completely out of touch.

Through years of research and experimentation in the productivity space I have found the most important, useful lessons, coming from the 7 best productivity books you can read today.

I've included some very short lessons from each to prove that they really are the books to read for the best advice out there.

The 5 most important productivity books and their key lessons

Deep Work by Cal Newport

1. Deep Work, by Cal Newport

Key lesson A: Focus on the most important things and assign blocks of time to them in your calendar.

Key lesson B: Constant distraction is destroying our cognitive capacity, so limit it as much as possible. Schedule in time to access distracting things like social media.

Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke

2. Dopamine Nation, by Anna Lembke

Key Lesson: Take a mini dopamine detox / break from your phone every morning to avoid setting a high dopamine baseline for the rest of the day.

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyii

3. Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Key Lesson: Start thoroughly enjoying your work, producing better work and increasing your overall happiness by finding flow. Flow happens when your skill perfectly matches the difficulty of the task at hand.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

4. Atomic Habits, by James Clear

Key Lesson: Start very small with habits and they will be easy and rewarding.

Indistractable by Nir Eyal

5. Indistractable, by Nir Eyal

Key Lesson A: Become more resilient to distractions originating in your own head by analysing the emotions (usually negative, such as boredom) that precede them and beware of them. When bored try to ‘surf the urge’ of acting on a distraction by writing it down and coming back to it in a few minutes.

Key Lesson B: When all else fails find an accountability buddy and write a pact that will make failure painful.


Reading the best productivity books like these sets you up with the strategies you need for success. But remember to be kind to yourself! Improvement takes time and we live in a crazily distracting world where sometimes things don't work as they should.

All the best :)

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