Best Books on Productivity: 70 Books to Start Accomplishing More Each Day (2019)

Best Productivity and Time Management Books
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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:

  • David Allen’s Getting Things Done – to get your “stuff” collected, clarified and organised (#6 below);
  • Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – to prioritise what to do and what not to (#1 below); and
  • F2M’s TRACKTION Planner – a no-nonsense daily planner that helps you get organised and accomplish more of what matters each day.

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 delivered timelessly relevant advice.

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.
    Rated 4.1 over 404,100 reviews on Goodreads
  2. First Things First (1993), Stephen R. Covey
    Rated 4.1 over 31,700 reviews on Goodreads
  3. The Slight Edge (2005), Jeff Olson
    Rated 4.4 over 14,200 reviews on Goodreads
  4. Goals! (1989), Brian Tracy
    How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible
    Rated 4.3 over 10,000 reviews on Goodreads
  5. The Effective Executive (1966), Peter F. Drucker
    The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
    Rated 4.1 over 23,400 reviews on Goodreads
  6. 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.
    Rated 4.0 over 103,200 reviews on Goodreads
  7. 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.
    Rated 4.4 over 16,700 reviews on Goodreads
  8. The Checklist Manifesto (2009), Atul Gawande
    How to Get Things Right
    Rated 4.0 over 36,900 reviews on Goodreads
  9. The 80/20 Principle (1998), Richard Koch
    The Secret to Achieving More with Less
    Rated 4.0 over 17,200 reviews on Goodreads
  10. The Power of Full Engagement (2003), Jim Loehr
    Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
    Rated 4.0 over 10,800 reviews on Goodreads
  11. Managing Oneself (2007), Peter F. Drucker
    Rated 4.1 over 6,900 reviews on Goodreads
  12. The Miracle Morning (2006), Hal Elrod
    The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM
    Rated 4.0 over 25,300 reviews on Goodreads
  13. Your Brain at Work (2009), David Rock
    Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
    Rated 4.1 over 7,300 reviews on Goodreads
  14. The One Thing (2012), Gary Keller
    The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
    Rated 4.2 over 28,700 reviews on Goodreads
  15. 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.
    Rated 4.1 over 236,800 reviews on Goodreads
  16. The Now Habit (1988), Neil A. Fiore
    A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
    Rated 3.9 over 12,300 reviews on Goodreads
  17. Principles (2011), Ray Dalio
    Life and Work
    Rated 4.2 over 11,200 reviews on Goodreads
  18. Rework (2010), Jason Fried
    Rated 3.9 over 120,400 reviews on Goodreads
  19. 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.
    Rated 3.9 over 34,000 reviews on Goodreads
  20. The Paradox of Choice (2004), Barry Schwartz
    Why More Is Less
    Rated 3.8 over 24,500 reviews on Goodreads
  21. 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.
    Rated 4.2 over 37,600 reviews on Goodreads
  22. Making Ideas Happen (2010), Scott Belsky
    Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
    Rated 4.0 over 17,600 reviews on Goodreads
  23. Organizing from the Inside Out (1998), Julie Morgenstern
    The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
    Rated 3.9 over 5,000 reviews on Goodreads
  24. The 10x Rule (2011), Grant Cardone
    The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
    Rated 4.1 over 8,700 reviews on Goodreads
  25. Essentialism (2014), Greg McKeown
    The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
    Rated 4.0 over 31,700 reviews on Goodreads
  26. Do the Work (2011), Steven Pressfield
    Rated 4.0 over 12,900 reviews on Goodreads
  27. Scrum (2014), Jeff Sutherland
    The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
    Rated 4.2 over 9,800 reviews on Goodreads
  28. The 4 Disciplines of Execution (2011), Chris McChesney
    Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
    Rated 4.1 over 3,600 reviews on Goodreads
  29. The Shallows (2010), Nicholas Carr
    What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
    Rated 3.9 over 18,600 reviews on Goodreads
  30. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011), Marie Kondō
    The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
    Rated 3.8 over 205,000 reviews on Goodreads
  31. It’s All Too Much (2006), Peter Walsh
    An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff
    Rated 3.9 over 5,100 reviews on Goodreads
  32. Making It All Work (2003), David Allen
    Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life
    Rated 3.9 over 2,500 reviews on Goodreads
  33. Ready for Anything (2003), David Allen
    52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
    Rated 3.8 over 3,900 reviews on Goodreads
  34. Atomic Habits (2018), James Clear
    An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
    Rated 4.3 over 10,400 reviews on Goodreads
  35. Time Power (2004), Brian Tracy
    A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible
    Rated 4.0 over 500 reviews on Goodreads
  36. The 12 Week Year (2009), Brian P. Moran
    Rated 3.9 over 3,100 reviews on Goodreads
  37. The Power Of Less (2008), Leo Babauta
    The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential
    Rated 3.8 over 6,900 reviews on Goodreads
  38. Living Your Best Year Ever (2011), Darren Hardy
    Rated 4.3 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
  39. Mini Habits (2013), Stephen Guise
    Smaller Habits, Bigger Results
    Rated 4.1 over 3,400 reviews on Goodreads
  40. Manage Your Day-to-Day (2013), Jocelyn K. Glei
    Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
    Rated 3.9 over 15,700 reviews on Goodreads
  41. Relentless (2014), Tim S. Grover
    From Good to Great to Unstoppable
    Rated 4.1 over 4,100 reviews on Goodreads
  42. Do More Better (2015), Tim Challies
    A Practical Guide to Productivity
    Rated 4.2 over 2,000 reviews on Goodreads
  43. Make Your Bed (2017), William H. McRaven
    Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World
    Rated 4.0 over 29,500 reviews on Goodreads
  44. Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (2006), Mark Forster
    Rated 4.0 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
  45. In Praise of Slowness (2004), Carl Honoré
    Challenging the Cult of Speed
    Rated 3.7 over 3,700 reviews on Goodreads
  46. High Performance Habits (2017), Brendon Burchard
    How Extraordinary People Become That Way
    Rated 4.3 over 2,800 reviews on Goodreads
  47. Smarter Faster Better (2016), Charles Duhigg
    The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
    Rated 3.9 over 19,900 reviews on Goodreads
  48. Better Than Before (2015), Gretchen Rubin
    Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
    Rated 3.8 over 25,900 reviews on Goodreads
  49. The Art of the Start 2.0 (2015), Guy Kawasaki
    The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
    Rated 4.1 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
  50. 18 Minutes (2011), Peter Bregman
    Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
    Rated 3.9 over 3,700 reviews on Goodreads
  51. The Start-Up of You (2012), Reid Hoffman
    Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
    Rated 3.9 over 6,700 reviews on Goodreads
  52. Zen to Done (2007), Leo Babauta
    Rated 3.8 over 1,900 reviews on Goodreads
  53. Smartcuts (2014), Shane Snow
    How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success
    Rated 3.9 over 4,700 reviews on Goodreads
  54. 168 Hours (2010), Laura Vanderkam
    You Have More Time Than You Think
    Rated 3.7 over 4,800 reviews on Goodreads
  55. The Productivity Project (2016), Chris Bailey
    Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy
    Rated 4.0 over 3,700 reviews on Goodreads
  56. The Procrastination Equation (2010), Piers Steel
    How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done
    Rated 3.8 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
  57. Ready Aim Fire! (2014), Jim M. Woods
    A Practical Guide to Setting And Achieving Goals
    Rated 4.3 over <100 reviews on Goodreads
  58. Time Warrior (2011), Steve Chandler
    How to defeat procrastination, people-pleasing, self-doubt, over-commitment, broken promises and Chaos
    Rated 4.0 over 700 reviews on Goodreads
  59. Measure What Matters (2018), John Doerr
    Rated 4.0 over 4,800 reviews on Goodreads
  60. Make Time (2018), Jake Knapp
    How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
    Rated 4.1 over 1,500 reviews on Goodreads
  61. 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
    Rated 4.1 over 1,300 reviews on Goodreads
  62. Own the Day, Own Your Life (2018), Aubrey Marcus
    Optimised practices for waking, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping and sex
    Rated 4.1 over 2,600 reviews on Goodreads
  63. Willpower Doesn’t Work (2018), Benjamin Hardy
    Discover the Hidden Keys to Success
    Rated 4.2 over 800 reviews on Goodreads
  64. Personal Kanban (2011), Jim Benson
    Mapping Work Navigating Life
    Rated 3.8 over 1,700 reviews on Goodreads
  65. Clockwork (2018), Mike Michalowicz
    Design Your Business to Run Itself
    Rated 4.4 over 200 reviews on Goodreads
  66. The Personal Efficiency Program (1994), Kerry Gleeson
    How to Get Organized to Do More Work in Less Time
    Rated 3.5 over 100 reviews on Goodreads
  67. Getting Results the Agile Way (2010), J.D. Meier
    A Personal Results System for Work and Life
    Rated 3.8 over 900 reviews on Goodreads
  68. Productivity for Creative People (2016), Mark McGuinness
    How to Get Creative Work Done in an "Always on" World
    Rated 4.1 over 100 reviews on Goodreads
  69. Twelve Principles of Efficiency (1919), Harrington Emerson
    Rated 3.2 over <100 reviews on Goodreads
  70. Organize Tomorrow Today (2015), Jason Selk
    8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life
    Rated 4.0 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
Arthur
Arthur
Arthur is a productivity coach and writer who helps top young execs and entrepreneurs achieve game-changing results in their work without giving up the rest of their lives. His favourite productivity tool is his daily planner. "Look after the days and the years will look after themselves."

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Richard
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Richard

Have you read Atomic Habits by James Clear?

Steve
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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
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Helge

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