11 Remarkable Books About Productivity That Everyone Should Read

By Kaitlyn Johnston
A diverse selection of bestselling self-improvement and productivity books spread out on a vibrant red background.

These motivational narratives will put you on the path to lasting success.

We all want to get better at getting things done, whether as a student, a CEO, or a stay-at-home parent. The following productivity books will help you do just that. Far from dry and jargony, the inspired reads below are engaging and enlightening, offering a wealth of perspectives on reducing stress and finding satisfaction in what you do.

Feel-Good Productivity by Ali Abdaal

Feel Good Productivity: How to Do More of What Matters to You

By Ali Abdaal

In Feel Good Productivity, Dr. Ali Abdaal, the world’s most-followed productivity expert, teaches you how to boost your accomplishments, crush your goals, and — most importantly — feel great while you’re doing it. Abdaal ditches daily-grind clichés and replaces them with an intuitive system of “energizers,” “blockers,” and “sustainers” that together reshape the way we think about work. According to Abdaal, the key to productivity isn’t a 12-hour workday or pushing yourself well beyond your breaking point, it’s about finding joy in what you do. Insightful and practical, Feel Good Productivity is a road map to success and fulfillment that doubles as a “much-needed antidote to hustle culture” (Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck).

Cover of the book 'atomic habits' by james clear, highlighting its status as a #1 new york times bestseller and its sale of over 15 million copies.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

By James Clear

A #1 New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits by James Clear shows you how to build better habits, put the bad ones to rest, and conquer the little things that get in your way. Clear distills findings from psychology, biology, and neuroscience to help readers shift their perspective on productivity — the problem isn’t you, he reveals, it’s your routine. Change the routine, and you break the cycle of unproductive behavior, placing yourself back on track to achieving results in work and life.

Rework - the revolutionary business book by jason fried & david heinemeier hansson, encouraging innovative thinking with a crumpled paper symbolizing old ideas being reshaped.


By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Jason Fried is a cofounder of the web software company 37Signals; David Heinemeier Hansson is a cofounder of the project-management software Basecamp and the creator of Ruby on Rails. The pair know a thing or two about productivity, and in this New York Times bestseller, they share the unconventional tactics that made their ventures a success. Breaking from your typical how-to business manual, Rework declares that meetings are a distraction, plans are counterproductive, and paperwork will get you nowhere without action. With simple rules and actionable advice, Rework encourages you to skip the preplanning phase, stop fretting over the competition, and get started today on making your dreams a reality.

A book cover for "essentialism" by greg mckeown, featuring a visual metaphor of a tangled line that unravels into a clear circle, symbolizing the disciplined pursuit of less amidst chaos.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

By Greg McKeown

For anyone who’s felt overworked, overwhelmed, and hopelessly unproductive, this acclaimed productivity book by Greg McKeown is an ideal next read. McKeown’s approach to productivity is not to do more but to do only what’s necessary. Essentialism teaches us how to separate inessential tasks from truly crucial endeavors so we can stop wasting time and start focusing our energy on what really matters.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

By Laura Vanderkam

Ask any overburdened person how they’re doing, and you’ll likely hear a familiar refrain: So much to do, so little time. It’s an all-too-common struggle. But is it entirely accurate? In 168 Hours, Laura Vanderkam offers a lesson in time management — or, more accurately, prioritization. Drawing on conversations with an array of successful individuals, Vanderkam presents a simple yet radical approach to recalibrating your weekly schedule and improving your productivity. While we can’t add more time to the 168 hours in a given week, we can become smarter in how we spend that time — and with whom we share it.

Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes That Stick

By Wendy Wood

In Good Habits, Bad Habits, Wendy Wood offers an eye-opening look at the science behind habit formation and human behavior. The author cites decades of research to reveal the outsize role that our unconscious mind plays in day-to-day activities. Indeed, according to her findings, we spend a whopping 43 percent of our day doing things automatically, without consciously thinking about them. Why, then, do we place so much emphasis on willpower or grit when it comes to altering our behavior? Willpower, Wood argues, just isn’t enough. You need to harness the science of habit to effect lasting positive change, and in this productivity book, she teaches you how to do it.

A book cover with a bold, yellow background featuring the title "deep work" in large black letters, with the subtitle "rules for focused success in a distracted world" beneath it, and author cal newport's name at the bottom with a mention of another book titled "so good they can't ignore you.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

By Cal Newport

A Wall Street Journal bestseller, Deep Work by Cal Newport is a masterclass on improving output in a world defined by distraction. Newport believes in truly deep work, and in his productivity book, he teaches you how to maximize your focus by curtailing diversions. Alongside incisive commentary on the state of our perpetually distracted culture, Newport offers practical, applicable advice on staying in the zone, blocking out the noise, and getting your work done well.

The image shows the cover of a book titled "the checklist manifesto: how to get things right" by atul gawande, who is also the bestselling author of "better and complications." the cover is dominated by a large, white checkmark centered on a red background. the text is in white and black, contrasting with the red backdrop for clear visibility.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

By Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande’s New York Times bestseller The Checklist Manifesto is all about how to get things done the right way by relying on a simple device: the checklist. A respected surgeon and writer, Gawande extolls the virtues of this productivity-boosting strategy. Through captivating accounts of high-stakes successes, Gawande makes a convincing argument for integrating checklists into every facet of your life.

A bright yellow book cover for "rest: why you get more done when you work less" by alex soojung-kim pang, featuring a quote from arianna huffington and an illustrative image of a colorful striped deck chair, symbolizing relaxation and the theme of the book.

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

By Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

In an era of overworking and burning out, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang advocates for taking it easy — and points to it as the path to positive results. Pang pushes back against the notion that rest comes only after a job is complete. He argues that deep and deliberate rest is essential to productivity; it revives the spirit, freshens the mind, and gives us the energy to tackle the day. In Rest, Pang interweaves eye-opening scientific findings with case studies of successful — and well-rested — individuals to champion relaxation as the foundation for sustainable success.

Cover of the book "drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us" by daniel h. pink, featuring bold red lettering on a white background with praise from malcolm gladwell.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

By Daniel H. Pink

How do you incentivize desired behavior? The traditional approach is to offer a reward: Complete the task or exceed the goal, and you’ll get a bonus. In his bestselling productivity book Drive, Daniel H. Pink invites us to drop the carrot–stick model — because it isn’t working. Pink cites decades of research to suggest that chasing rewards is not what truly motivates us. He reveals the three sources of genuine motivation that push people to succeed, debunks ineffective motivational strategies from the business world, and shares new techniques to transform your approach.

A yellow pencil with a slightly worn eraser traces a curving line above the title "thinking, fast and slow" by daniel kahneman, noted as a new york times bestseller and nobel prize winner, with a glowing review from the financial times at the bottom.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

In his groundbreaking bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize–winning economist and psychologist Daniel Kahneman introduces us to the human mind’s dual systems of thought. The first system, Kahneman explains, is fast — driven by emotion and intuition. The second is slower, more logical, and considerate. Kahneman illuminates the inner workings of this interconnected structure, revealing how thinking fast and slow influences every choice we make, and he teaches us how to harness its power to avoid mental pitfalls, make better decisions, and, ultimately, improve productivity in our lives and work.

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