You have two resolutions for yourself this year: Read more, and be more productive at work.
Lucky for you, those goals don’t have to require separate actions!
We looked at data on Goodreads to identify 10 of the best productivity books recommended by our community of 85 million readers. From research on the science of forming habits to tips from an expert who works with World Series champions, these highly-rated books can be your guide to a more productive life at work and at home.
Rating on Goodreads: 4.31/5
James Clear demonstrates how the ability to create good habits—and break bad ones—can lead to a more productive personal and professional life. He backs up his scientific research with entertaining true stories from Olympic athletes, physicians, artists, and business leaders who have all mastered this skill. The key? Learning to think about your own identity in a new way.
2. Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
Rating on Goodreads: 4.26/5
The bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist offers life-changing, illustrated advice and encouragement on how to stay creative, whether you’re facing personal burnout or bogged down by distractions. Fans of this short but inspiring book state that it’s “a reminder of what we need to do to remain creative despite the chaos of the world around us.”
3. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Rating on Goodreads: 4.24/5
If you’re very easily distracted and interested in using your time more productively, this is the book for you. From the author of Deep Work comes a guide for anyone looking to escape the endless distractions of cell phones, computers, smart watches, and more. The Georgetown professor will introduce you to the “less is more” philosophy, using stories of modern digital minimalists to prove his point.
4. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal
Rating on Goodreads: 4.13/5
According to Stanford lecturer Kelly McGonigal, the key to unlocking powerful resolve is in our hands. She explains why just five minutes of exercise or one minute of slow breathing can give anyone a boost of willpower. Goodreads members say McGonigal has “a knack for communicating difficult science in lay terms with a sense of humor to boot.”
5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Rating on Goodreads: 4.07/5
For award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg, the ability to form healthy habits drives every type of success, whether you want to manage a great team or build an influential product. In this book, he uses groundbreaking scientific research to explain why and how habits can unlock anyone’s potential.
6. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
Rating on Goodreads: 4.04/5
The simple checklist is more powerful than we realize, according to award-winning multitasker Atul Gawande. The surgeon and Harvard professor shows us the true power of this common productivity tool, from helping set realistic goals in our daily lives to guiding global business decisions. The modern world is full of too many complexities, Gawande argues, but a checklist, when used correctly, can provide clarity and focus.
7. Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life by Jason Selk and Tom Bartow (With Matthew Rudy)
Rating on Goodreads: 4.03/5
Ever started a new habit but then found yourself trailing off after a few days or weeks? (Is everyone raising their hand?) Performance coach Dr. Jason Selk (he’s trained World Series champions!) teams up with a star business coach to confront the eight fundamental blockers that hold us back. You will learn how to “fight through” the most difficult stage of habit formation and why recognition is a key ingredient to motivation. “This is probably the best self-management and personal effectiveness book I’ve ever read,” states one reader.
8. Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be by Marshall Goldsmith
Rating on Goodreads: 3.97/5
Ever found yourself overreacting to a comment by a co-worker? Or getting frustrated by a seemingly random task? In this book, executive coach Marshall Goldsmith explains what makes people behave in unexpected and often inappropriate ways, then shows how that cycle can be broken, and offers techniques on how to make lasting positive changes that’ll help you achieve your goals.
9. Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction by Chris Bailey
Rating on Goodreads: 3.92/5
Chris Bailey, creator of the A Life of Productivity project, wants us to pay attention. The best way to do that, he reveals, is by understanding the two different modes of our brains—the intense concentration of hyperfocus and creative reflection of “scatterfocus.” Surprisingly, both are important to your productivity. His book will show you how to maximize both mental modes in order to do your best work in less time.
10. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil A. Fiore
Rating on Goodreads: 3.88/5
We all know procrastination is the enemy—this practical book will give you the tools to understand and combat it. From examining how anxiety—over a looming deadline or a big presentation—plays a major role in our productivity to finding more time for guilt-free relaxation, this smart, uplifting guide will show you how to achieve more, worry less, and leave procrastination behind for good. One Goodreads reviewer says “Reading through its pages I found myself nodding my head a lot because it described my internal struggle with work almost perfectly.”
Photo of person looking at book in bookstore courtesy of d3sign/Getty Images.