There are only so many hours in the day. Yet, we still manage to spend the vast majority of that time on completely unproductive things. If you’re looking for more motivation to get off Facebook/Snapchat than just a telling off from your boss, read these books and be inspired.  

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The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande

Best for: Those who hate (but really need) lists

Let’s start with an Indian name. Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande tells interesting stories of how checklists have helped people around the world. Then he makes a compelling case for you to use checklists in your own life to plan things in advance.

Deep Work: Rules For Focussed Success In A Distracted World, Cal Newport

Best for: Those who’re addicted to Facebook at work

An assistant Computer Science professor at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, Newport published Deep Work in January this year with one intention only: to provide us with rules for focused success in a distracted world. If you have ever opened Facebook at work to comment on your friend’s status, then jumped to watch a YouTube video and eventually spent the next couple of hours without actually doing any work, then this book will help you focus.

Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy

Best for: Procrastinators who save the biggest (and most challenging) job for last.

A short book with a big message, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed success expert Tracy’s bestseller tells you how to complete the most important thing at work on any given day. The core thought is that we delay doing the biggest item on our to-do list, so we might as well do it as soon as we reach the office. The kick you get from having accomplished your biggest task will put you at ease for the rest of the day.

The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker

Best for: Those who never seem to be able to strike when the iron is hot.

The late management consultant and educator Peter F Drucker showed us the path to being great executives: do the right things at the right time. Note that former GE boss Jack Welch and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos like this book.

The Power Of Less, Leo Babauta

Best for: Those who tend to take on too much work and quickly become overwhelmed.

It’s a quick read, at under 200 pages and shows us how to break goals into manageable tasks to increase your efficiency and focus only on selected tasks. This book also tells us why we need to declutter to create space for new habits and tasks. Leo Babauta is the brains behind the immensely popular Zenhabits website.

Do The Work, Steven Pressfield

Best for:Creative people who wait around too long for their next great idea.

Yes, you are a creative person. And yes, you also have self-doubts. Do The Work is exactly the type of book you need to read if you are looking for that kick in the rear to focus on what you need to get done. Author and screenwriter Steven Pressfield doesn’t break new ground but, like a good trainer, he encourages you to give it your best shot each time you’re in the creative ring.

Smart Thinking, Art Markman


Best for: Anyone who believes that they just aren’t smart enough to make it big


The difference between average growth and superstar success boils down to smart thinking. This book motivates you to think that you’re smart enough to do whatever you want to. Markman, a psychology professor at University of Texas at Austin, uses geek-speak and cognitive behaviour to convince you that your mind can work the way you make it think. All in all, Smart Thinking is a great little book to become a better thinker and doer.

The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss


Best for: Dreamers who want to travel more, work less, and get rich in the process.


The 4-Hour Workweek is considered a gospel of sorts among new-age workers. And while his ideas seem sort of difficult to accept because of his First-World tone (one of the big ideas in the book is outsourcing your work to people in the sub-continent for a few dollars), the main learning you can take from Ferriss’ book is how to create a lifestyle that allows you to fulfill all your dreams before you retire.

Getting Things Done, David Allen


Best for: Those who are always stressed out.


Stress-free and productivity don’t generally go hand-in-hand. Which is why Allen’s book is so important. Getting Things Done stresses (pun intended) the fact that unless you are relaxed, you can’t be at your productive best. That doesn’t mean work will happen while you relax and watch a re-run of Game of Thrones. It means getting all your thoughts and to-dos in a manageable list so you can focus on your everyday tasks.

The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo


Best for: Those who just can’t let go of the clutter in their lives.


Marie Kondo is the godmother of tidying up your closet. Her idea is simple - prosperity through simplicity. The less clutter your life has, the more prosperous you will be. Let go of things and worries if you want to soar! Like many readers before you, if you follow her ideas, you might find that your life has changed, too.

  BONUS: Wait But Why: Year One, Tim Urban Best for: Procrastinators Tim Urban, who gave that famous TED talk on procrastination, now has an e-book containing all the blogs from his ultra-cool website.


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