Best Books on Productivity: 70 Books to Accomplish More Of What Matters (2020)

Books on Productivity - Best Productivity and Time Management Books
8 MINUTE READ

Books on Productivity - Best Productivity and Time Management Books

In Brief: Having read scores of books on the topic, my top recommendations for anyone serious about getting more done are always:

That said, productivity is a HUGE topic. It’s about effectiveness (“doing the right thing”) and it’s about efficiency (“doing the thing right”). It’s about self-management and it’s about working with others. It starts with your very next action and it ends with your mission and meaning in life.

That’s why the list below contains books on productivity, books on focus and concentration, books on efficiency, books on time management, books on beating procrastination and books on getting more done.

(N.B., For some great reads and book summaries on building relationships and unleashing the power of your mind – don’t miss F2M‘s awesome reading lists of the best books on social skills and the best books on mindset.)

Something I’ve missed? I LOVE recommendations. Leave me a comment and I’ll be sure to include your suggestion in the next round of updates.

Until then, good luck, go well and remember: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

The Best Productivity and Time Management Books

The books below are ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, the number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The goal is to give a good balance of what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s stayed timelessly relevant.

Where should you start? Treat this list of books on productivity like a menu. Start at the top, work your way down and begin with the first couple of titles that jump out at you. Remember, you can always come back for more later. Enjoy!

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989), Stephen R. Covey (Summary)
    Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    A perennial masterpiece on leading a happy, productive and purposeful existence and an unmissable stop for any pilgrim of personal improvement – by educator, author and speaker, Stephen Covey.
    372 pages. Rated 4.1 over 452,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  2. The Effective Executive (1966), Peter F. Drucker (Summary)
    The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
    THE timeless classic on leadership and management; on getting the right things done, by the dean of business and management philosophy, Peter F. Drucker.
    208 pages. Rated 4.1 over 25,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. Goals! (1989), Brian Tracy
    How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible
    291 pages. Rated 4.3 over 10,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. First Things First (1993), Stephen R. Covey
    384 pages. Rated 4.1 over 34,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. The Slight Edge (2005), Jeff Olson (Summary)
    Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success & Happiness
    A short, punchy, practical guide to the why, what and how of using simple daily disciplines to achieve breakthrough success – by serial entrepreneur, speaker and author, Jeff Olson.
    168 pages. Rated 4.4 over 15,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. The Compound Effect (2010), Darren Hardy (Summary)
    Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
    A concise, practical guide to mastering small choices that determine big outcomes which dictate the course of your life – by best selling author, publisher and motivational speaker, Darren Hardy.
    162 pages. Rated 4.4 over 21,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. Getting Things Done (2002), David Allen (Summary)
    The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
    THE classic, life-changing manual on getting organised and building a robust productivity system that can handle what ever life throws at you – by productivity guru and coach, David Allen.
    267 pages. Rated 4.0 over 113,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. The Power of Habit (2012), Charles Duhigg (Summary)
    Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
    A page-turning dive into the power and ubiquity of unconscious habits in shaping our decisions and destinies (plus a practical guide to changing them) – by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Charles Duhigg.
    375 pages. Rated 4.1 over 282,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. Atomic Habits (2018), James Clear (Summary)
    An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
    A powerful and practical guide to transforming your habits, making change stick and achieving remarkable results – by author and habit-guru, James Clear.
    319 pages. Rated 4.3 over 46,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. The One Thing (2012), Gary Keller
    The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
    240 pages. Rated 4.2 over 35,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  11. Deep Work (2016), Cal Newport (Summary)
    Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
    A timely reminder of the value of deep, focussed work and the dangers of losing yourself in the shallows of entertainment and distraction – by author and associate professor, Cal Newport.
    296 pages. Rated 4.2 over 52,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  12. The 80/20 Principle (1998), Richard Koch
    The Secret to Achieving More with Less
    288 pages. Rated 4.0 over 18,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  13. The Checklist Manifesto (2009), Atul Gawande
    How to Get Things Right
    208 pages. Rated 4.1 over 41,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  14. The Power of Full Engagement (2003), Jim Loehr
    Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
    222 pages. Rated 4.0 over 11,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  15. The Now Habit (1988), Neil A. Fiore
    A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
    206 pages. Rated 3.9 over 13,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  16. Rework (2010), Jason Fried
    279 pages. Rated 3.9 over 129,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  17. Scrum (2014), Jeff Sutherland
    The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
    237 pages. Rated 4.2 over 12,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  18. The Miracle Morning (2006), Hal Elrod
    The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM
    172 pages. Rated 4.0 over 33,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  19. Managing Oneself (2007), Peter F. Drucker
    72 pages. Rated 4.1 over 7,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  20. Your Brain at Work (2009), David Rock
    Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
    246 pages. Rated 4.1 over 8,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  21. Essentialism (2014), Greg McKeown
    The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
    260 pages. Rated 4.0 over 41,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  22. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day (1908), Arnold Bennett
    92 pages. Rated 3.7 over 4,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  23. Do the Work (2011), Steven Pressfield
    112 pages. Rated 4.0 over 14,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  24. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011), Marie Kondō
    The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
    224 pages. Rated 3.8 over 241,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  25. The 4 Disciplines of Execution (2011), Chris McChesney
    Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
    296 pages. Rated 4.1 over 4,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  26. Making Ideas Happen (2010), Scott Belsky
    Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
    256 pages. Rated 4.0 over 18,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  27. Eat That Frog! (2007), Brian Tracy (Summary)
    21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
    A punchy, concise guide to identifying what matters, setting powerful goals and then getting to work on them right away – by productivity and self-development legend, Brian Tracy.
    128 pages. Rated 3.9 over 39,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  28. The Paradox of Choice (2004), Barry Schwartz
    Why More Is Less
    265 pages. Rated 3.9 over 26,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  29. The 10x Rule (2011), Grant Cardone
    The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
    240 pages. Rated 4.0 over 11,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  30. High Performance Habits (2017), Brendon Burchard
    How Extraordinary People Become That Way
    393 pages. Rated 4.2 over 4,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  31. Make Your Bed (2017), William H. McRaven
    Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World
    144 pages. Rated 4.0 over 43,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  32. Organizing from the Inside Out (1998), Julie Morgenstern
    The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
    247 pages. Rated 3.9 over 5,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  33. The Shallows (2010), Nicholas Carr
    What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
    280 pages. Rated 3.9 over 20,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  34. Mini Habits (2013), Stephen Guise
    Smaller Habits, Bigger Results
    127 pages. Rated 4.1 over 4,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  35. Do More Better (2015), Tim Challies
    A Practical Guide to Productivity
    104 pages. Rated 4.2 over 2,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  36. Living Your Best Year Ever (2011), Darren Hardy
    226 pages. Rated 4.2 over 300 reviews on Goodreads.
  37. Manage Your Day-to-Day (2013), Jocelyn K. Glei
    Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
    248 pages. Rated 3.9 over 17,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  38. Measure What Matters (2018), John Doerr
    320 pages. Rated 4.0 over 9,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  39. Smarter Faster Better (2016), Charles Duhigg
    The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
    400 pages. Rated 3.9 over 23,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  40. Make Time (2018), Jake Knapp
    How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
    287 pages. Rated 4.1 over 3,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  41. Relentless (2014), Tim S. Grover
    From Good to Great to Unstoppable
    272 pages. Rated 4.0 over 5,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  42. Ready for Anything (2003), David Allen
    52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
    165 pages. Rated 3.9 over 4,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  43. Making It All Work (2003), David Allen
    Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life
    286 pages. Rated 3.9 over 2,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  44. Clockwork (2018), Mike Michalowicz
    Design Your Business to Run Itself
    272 pages. Rated 4.3 over 400 reviews on Goodreads.
  45. Better Than Before (2015), Gretchen Rubin
    Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
    298 pages. Rated 3.8 over 29,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  46. The Art of the Start 2.0 (2015), Guy Kawasaki
    The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
    336 pages. Rated 3.9 over 24,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  47. Time Power (2004), Brian Tracy
    A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible
    304 pages. Rated 4.0 over 500 reviews on Goodreads.
  48. It’s All Too Much (2006), Peter Walsh
    An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff
    230 pages. Rated 3.9 over 5,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  49. The Productivity Project (2016), Chris Bailey
    Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy
    304 pages. Rated 4.0 over 4,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  50. The 5 Second Rule (2017), Mel Robbins
    Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage
    267 pages. Rated 3.9 over 16,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  51. The 12 Week Year (2009), Brian P. Moran
    63 pages. Rated 3.9 over 4,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  52. Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (2006), Mark Forster
    224 pages. Rated 4.0 over 700 reviews on Goodreads.
  53. Triggers (2015), Marshall Goldsmith
    Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be
    244 pages. Rated 4.0 over 5,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  54. The Power Of Less (2008), Leo Babauta
    The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential
    170 pages. Rated 3.8 over 7,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  55. Ready Aim Fire! (2014), Jim M. Woods
    A Practical Guide to Setting And Achieving Goals
    110 pages. Rated 4.3 over <100 reviews on Goodreads.
  56. Work Clean (2016), Dan Charnas
    The life-changing power of mise-en-place to organize your life, work, and mind
    304 pages. Rated 4.1 over 800 reviews on Goodreads.
  57. Smartcuts (2014), Shane Snow
    How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success
    272 pages. Rated 3.9 over 5,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  58. The Start-Up of You (2012), Reid Hoffman
    Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
    274 pages. Rated 3.9 over 7,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  59. Own the Day, Own Your Life (2018), Aubrey Marcus
    Optimised practices for waking, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping and sex
    462 pages. Rated 4.0 over 3,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  60. Willpower Doesn’t Work (2018), Benjamin Hardy
    Discover the Hidden Keys to Success
    256 pages. Rated 4.1 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  61. 18 Minutes (2011), Peter Bregman
    Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
    288 pages. Rated 3.9 over 4,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  62. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management (2015), Kevin E. Kruse
    The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs
    308 pages. Rated 4.0 over 1,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  63. In Praise of Slowness (2004), Carl Honoré
    Challenging the Cult of Speed
    336 pages. Rated 3.7 over 4,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  64. Time Warrior (2011), Steve Chandler
    How to defeat procrastination, people-pleasing, self-doubt, over-commitment, broken promises and Chaos
    238 pages. Rated 4.0 over 800 reviews on Goodreads.
  65. Organize Tomorrow Today (2015), Jason Selk
    8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life
    240 pages. Rated 4.0 over 800 reviews on Goodreads.
  66. Twelve Principles of Efficiency (1919), Harrington Emerson
    448 pages. Rated 3.5 over <100 reviews on Goodreads.
  67. 168 Hours (2010), Laura Vanderkam
    You Have More Time Than You Think
    272 pages. Rated 3.7 over 5,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  68. Zen to Done (2007), Leo Babauta
    83 pages. Rated 3.8 over 2,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  69. Productivity for Creative People (2016), Mark McGuinness
    How to Get Creative Work Done in an "Always on" World
    107 pages. Rated 4.1 over 200 reviews on Goodreads.

II. Best Books Of All Time

These are the overall best books to read (by type).

III. Best Nonfiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best nonfiction books to read (by topic).

IV. Best Fiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best fiction books to read (by genre).

Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
Arthur
Arthur
Arthur is a productivity coach and writer who helps top young execs and entrepreneurs be more productive, find more balance and live more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →

7
Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Richard
Guest
Richard

Have you read Atomic Habits by James Clear?

Steve
Guest
Steve

Arthur,
Thank you for all you do! I’m wondering if you can recommend a planner/calendar. Ive tried the Bullet journal, TimeSyatem, and others and they aren’t for me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Many thanks,
Steve

Helge
Guest
Helge

Hi Arthur, thanks for the list! I would add „Principles“ by Ray Dalio to the list.