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We tested it: 10 great books on productivity

We tested it: 10 great books on productivity

In one of our most recent posts, we tackled what it means to be productive, and why it is imperative to redefine the concept to foster growth and build a healthy relationship with work. The next step is retraining your brain to be the «right» kind of productive, whichever way you decide this applies to your unique work-life. To put this into practice, you might want to find new working methods. Here are our recommendations for books that provide helpful advice to help you through this process.

*

We purposely did not provide links to online retailers as we encourage you to look if it is available at your local independent bookstore first. See below for helpful links.


The first book you need to read

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

If you haven’t read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, this is where you need to start. With 25 million copies sold since 1989, this is a must-read no matter the kind of work you do. His vision falls in line with our definition of productivity: obtaining the results you want while also caring deeply for what you do. He lays out 7 guiding principles to follow, lessons that have proven to be timeless and universal.

The book that will help you in your day-to-day

Getting things done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

You will find this book in almost every productivity reading list, and with good reason. You want concrete advice to put into practice to help reduce stress while being productive? Getting Things Done gives clear guidelines for a more organized life. David Allen adheres to a definition of productivity that we approve of: the more you are able to carve time for relaxation, the more productive you will be.

The book with tons of inspirational routines

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei (editor)

If you need extra inspiration on how to create your new work routine or update your existing one, this book is a compilation of how different respected authors and personalities in the working world approach their workday. While not a step-by-step instruction guide, it provides insight in the days of different productive people.

The book that will teach you that less is more

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Part of redefining productivity involved focusing on quality over quantity. This book helps you do just that. It explains why doing less, but better, will allow you to contribute to your highest potential. Learning what is essential to your work is one of the hardest things you will need to do while reviewing how to approach your work. As the author notes: « essentialism isn’t one more thing: it is a different way of doing everything ». Essentialism will teach you how to do build the discipline to do « the right thing, in the right way, at the right time »

The book for managers who want to know what to focus on

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

In the same mindset as Essentialism, The Effective Executive identifies practices that are vital to create effective businesses. Inspired by executives, this book will help you manage your time better so you focus on what is most important to your business.

The book to help you identify your #1 priority

The ONE Thing: the Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

We live chaotic lives, running in every direction, trying to pursue a number of goals but having difficulty achieving any. This book argues that to be able to live a rewarding life and be successful at work; you need to narrow your focus on, ideally, ONE goal. This goes back to our quality over quantity principle! The ONE thing helps you cut through the clutter and focus your resources on achieving what is critical to your life.

The book that will teach you to concentrate deeply

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Once you’ve identified that one task you want to focus on, you might find it difficult to give it your full attention. In Deep Work, Newport argues that the rise of technology hindered our ability to focus deeply on tasks that are cognitively demanding. This book will give you tips, backed by science, to get in the zone, creating more meaningful work faster.

The book to get rid of bad habits and build good ones

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Changing your vision of productivity and the methods you had developed to cope with it is easier said than done. This book gives you a glimpse into why that is. Duhigg explains the science behind how and why habits are created. Most importantly, however, he gives tips to help you identify the bad ones, maintain the ones that work for you, and create new ones that will last.

The book to get your thoughts in order

The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Program to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness by Professor Steve Peters

We all have moments where we feel like a hamster is running at full speed in a wheel in our heads. In this book, Professor Peters helps you get a grasp on your thoughts and emotions, and manage them better by using the metaphor of a chimp ruling your brain. To be able to reach a satisfying level of productivity, you need to understand how your mind works in various situations, and how to make the best use of it. This book will help you do that!

The book that puts happiness first

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

We are trained to think that happiness will follow success, Anchor argues the opposite. He believes that happiness drives success. A person in a positive state of mind will be more creative, energetic, engaged, and productive in the workplace. Backed by extensive research in psychology and neuroscience, this book will give you practical tips on how to foster a positive mindset to maximize your potential.


From practical tips to apply every day to the optimal state of mind for productivity, these books span a variety of subjects that will allow you to create a productive and fulfilling work-life. We hope you find some inspirations in them.

What books helped you become more productive at work? What books made you change how you approached the concept of productivity? We would love to hear your recommendations!

We are strongly in favor of supporting small local businesses. Here are links to help you locate independent bookstores in your area:

For the Province of Quebec: Le Panier bleu and Ma Zone 

For the rest of Canada: New Pages and Penguin Random House Website

For the United States of America: the Indie Bookstore Finder and Bookshop 

In one of our most recent posts, we tackled what it means to be productive, and why it is imperative to redefine the concept to foster growth and build a healthy relationship with work. The next step is retraining your brain to be the «right» kind of productive, whichever way you decide this applies to your unique work-life. To put this into practice, you might want to find new working methods. Here are our recommendations for books that provide helpful advice to help you through this process.

*

We purposely did not provide links to online retailers as we encourage you to look if it is available at your local independent bookstore first. See below for helpful links.

*

We purposely did not provide links to online retailers as we encourage you to look if it is available at your local independent bookstore first. See below for helpful links.


The first book you need to read

The seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey

If you haven’t read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, this is where you need to start. With 25 million copies sold since 1989, this is a must-read no matter the kind of work you do. His vision falls in line with our definition of productivity: obtaining the results you want while also caring deeply for what you do. He lays out 7 guiding principles to follow, lessons that have proven to be timeless and universal.

The book that will help you in your day-to-day

Getting things done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

You will find this book in almost every productivity reading list, and with good reason. You want concrete advice to put into practice to help reduce stress while being productive? Getting Things Done gives clear guidelines for a more organized life. David Allen adheres to a definition of productivity that we approve of: the more you are able to carve time for relaxation, the more productive you will be.

The book with tons of inspirational routines

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei (editor)

If you need extra inspiration on how to create your new work routine or update your existing one, this book is a compilation of how different respected authors and personalities in the working world approach their workday. While not a step-by-step instruction guide, it provides insight in the days of different productive people.

The book that will teach you that less is more

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Part of redefining productivity involved focusing on quality over quantity. This book helps you do just that. It explains why doing less, but better, will allow you to contribute to your highest potential. Learning what is essential to your work is one of the hardest things you will need to do while reviewing how to approach your work. As the author notes: « essentialism isn’t one more thing: it is a different way of doing everything ». Essentialism will teach you how to do build the discipline to do « the right thing, in the right way, at the right time »

The book for managers who want to know what to focus on

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

In the same mindset as Essentialism, The Effective Executive identifies practices that are vital to create effective businesses. Inspired by executives, this book will help you manage your time better so you focus on what is most important to your business.

The book to help you identify your #1 priority

The ONE thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

We live chaotic lives, running in every direction, trying to pursue a number of goals but having difficulty achieving any. This book argues that to be able to live a rewarding life and be successful at work; you need to narrow your focus on, ideally, ONE goal. This goes back to our quality over quantity principle! The ONE thing helps you cut through the clutter and focus your resources on achieving what is critical to your life.

The book that will teach you to concentrate deeply

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Once you’ve identified that one task you want to focus on, you might find it difficult to give it your full attention. In Deep Work, Newport argues that the rise of technology hindered our ability to focus deeply on tasks that are cognitively demanding. This book will give you tips, backed by science, to get in the zone, creating more meaningful work faster.

The book to get rid of bad habits and build good ones

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Changing your vision of productivity and the methods you had developed to cope with it is easier said than done. This book gives you a glimpse into why that is. Duhigg explains the science behind how and why habits are created. Most importantly, however, he gives tips to help you identify the bad ones, maintain the ones that work for you, and create new ones that will last.

The book to get your thoughts in order

The Chimp Paradox: The Acclaimed Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness by Professor Steve Peters

We all have moments where we feel like a hamster is running at full speed in a wheel in our heads. In this book, Professor Peters helps you get a grasp on your thoughts and emotions, and manage them better by using the metaphor of a chimp ruling your brain. To be able to reach a satisfying level of productivity, you need to understand how your mind works in various situations, and how to make the best use of it. This book will help you do that!

The book that puts happiness first

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

We are trained to think that happiness will follow success, Anchor argues the opposite. He believes that happiness drives success. A person in a positive state of mind will be more creative, energetic, engaged, and productive in the workplace. Backed by extensive research in psychology and neuroscience, this book will give you practical tips on how to foster a positive mindset to maximize your potential.

From practical tips to apply every day to the optimal state of mind for productivity, these books span a variety of subjects that will allow you to create a productive and fulfilling work-life. We hope you find some inspirations in them.

What books helped you become more productive at work? What books made you change how you approached the concept of productivity? We would love to hear your recommendations!

We are strongly in favor of supporting small local businesses. Here are links to help you locate independent bookstores in your area:

For the Province of Quebec: Le Panier bleu and Ma Zone 

For the rest of Canada: New Pages and Penguin Random House Website

For the United States of America: the Indie Bookstore Finder and Bookshop 



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