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Best Productivity Books: The 70 BEST Books on Taking Action

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.

Looking for the best productivity books of all time?

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Start Here: My Top Productivity Picks

Having read scores of books on the topic, my top recommendations for anyone serious about getting more done are always:

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 of best productivity books and best time management books below contains books on focus and concentration, books on efficiency, books on time management, books on beating procrastination and books on getting more done.

(Note: For more book recommendations and book summaries that might help – don’t miss these awesome reading lists of best books on self discipline, best books on communication, best books on emotional intelligence and the best books on mindset.)

Don’t stress too much about what to read first! Scan the titles, browse the summaries, pick something that excites you, trust your gut and take action.

Enjoy these best productivity books and best time management books of all time. Good luck, go well and remember: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

The 70 Best Productivity Books Ever Written

Why these best productivity books and not others? To stay objective, I rank all my book recommendations by a combination of what’s most loved (Goodreads rating), what’s most popular (Goodreads review count) and what’s proven timelessly relevant (first publication date).

This isn’t a whimsical list. It’s a data-driven, crowdsourced collection of the best productivity books ever published as decided by book lovers just like you.

And if you think something's missing? I LOVE book recommendations so if there are any other best productivity books that you think deserve mentioning, email me and I’ll be sure to include them in the next round of updates.

Until then, enjoy this ultimate list of the 70 best productivity books of all time...

Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Productivity Books of All Time

The top 10 best productivity books of all time are...

Best Productivity Books: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey (FREE Summary)
Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is 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.
Published 1989 // 372 pages // Rated 4.1 over 623,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: First Things First
2. First Things First - Stephen R. Covey (FREE Summary)
First Things First is an action-oriented time-management manual, filled with frameworks and exercises to help you do more of what matters and less of what doesn't - by the author of the #1 book on this list, Stephen Covey.
Published 1993 // 384 pages // Rated 4.1 over 40,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: Goals!
3. Goals! - Brian Tracy (FREE Summary)
How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible
Goals! was the first book I ever read on productivity and probably the most readable and complete guide to goal-setting ever written - by sales legend and time-management master, Brian Tracy.
Published 1989 // 291 pages // Rated 4.2 over 14,200 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: The Effective Executive
4. The Effective Executive - Peter F. Drucker (FREE Summary)
The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
The Effective Executive is THE timeless classic on leadership and management; on getting the right things done - by the dean of business and management philosophy, Peter F. Drucker.
Published 1966 // 208 pages // Rated 4.1 over 32,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: The Slight Edge
5. The Slight Edge - Jeff Olson (FREE Summary)
Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success & Happiness
The Slight Edge is a short, punchy, practical guide to the why, what and how of using simple daily disciplines to achieve breakthrough success - by serial entrepreneur, speaker and author, Jeff Olson.
Published 2005 // 168 pages // Rated 4.3 over 21,900 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: The Compound Effect
6. The Compound Effect - Darren Hardy (FREE Summary)
Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
The Compound Effect offers 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.
Published 2010 // 162 pages // Rated 4.2 over 39,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: Getting Things Done
7. Getting Things Done - David Allen (FREE Summary)
The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Getting Things Done is THE classic life-changing manual on getting organised and building a robust productivity system that can handle whatever life throws at you - by productivity guru, David Allen.
Published 2002 // 267 pages // Rated 4.0 over 146,600 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: The 80/20 Principle
8. The 80/20 Principle - Richard Koch (FREE Summary)
The Secret to Achieving More with Less
The 80/20 Principle is a perennial guide to mastering the Pareto principal and doing more with less - by management consultant, venture capitalist and best-selling author, Richard Koch.
Published 1998 // 288 pages // Rated 4.0 over 23,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: The Checklist Manifesto
9. The Checklist Manifesto - Atul Gawande (FREE Summary)
How to Get Things Right
The Checklist Manifesto is a fascinating investigation into the ability of checklists in business, medicine and every day life to promote greater efficiency, consistency and safety - by surgeon and public health researcher, Atul Gawande.
Published 2009 // 208 pages // Rated 4.0 over 59,100 reviews on Goodreads
Best Productivity Books: The Power of Habit
10. The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg (FREE Summary)
Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
The Power of Habit is 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.
Published 2012 // 375 pages // Rated 4.1 over 417,300 reviews on Goodreads

Books 10-70: The 60 Best Productivity Books to Read Next

Here are the next 60 best productivity books from my database...

11. The One Thing - Gary Keller
The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
Published 2012 // 240 pages // Rated 4.1 over 56,600 reviews on Goodreads
12. 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management - Hyrum W. Smith
Published 1994 // 240 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,400 reviews on Goodreads
13. The Power of Full Engagement - Jim Loehr
Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
Published 2003 // 222 pages // Rated 4.0 over 15,200 reviews on Goodreads
14. The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod
The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life: Before 8AM
Published 2006 // 172 pages // Rated 3.9 over 61,800 reviews on Goodreads
15. Rework - Jason Fried
Published 2010 // 279 pages // Rated 4.0 over 152,700 reviews on Goodreads
16. Your Brain at Work - David Rock
Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long
Published 2009 // 246 pages // Rated 4.0 over 10,600 reviews on Goodreads
17. The Now Habit - Neil A. Fiore
A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
Published 1988 // 206 pages // Rated 3.9 over 15,900 reviews on Goodreads
18. Deep Work - Cal Newport (FREE Summary)
Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
Deep Work is 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.
Published 2016 // 296 pages // Rated 4.2 over 109,500 reviews on Goodreads
19. Managing Oneself - Peter F. Drucker
Published 2007 // 72 pages // Rated 4.0 over 12,500 reviews on Goodreads
20. Eat That Frog! - Brian Tracy (FREE Summary)
21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Eat That Frog! 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.
Published 2007 // 128 pages // Rated 3.9 over 58,100 reviews on Goodreads
21. Scrum - Jeff Sutherland
The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Published 2014 // 237 pages // Rated 4.2 over 18,400 reviews on Goodreads
22. Making Ideas Happen - Scott Belsky
Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
Published 2010 // 256 pages // Rated 4.0 over 21,700 reviews on Goodreads
23. The Paradox of Choice - Barry Schwartz
Why More Is Less
Published 2004 // 265 pages // Rated 3.8 over 32,500 reviews on Goodreads
24. Focal Point - Brian Tracy
A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals
Published 2001 // 224 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,400 reviews on Goodreads
25. Essentialism - Greg McKeown
The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Published 2014 // 260 pages // Rated 4.0 over 79,000 reviews on Goodreads
26. No Excuses! - Brian Tracy
The Power of Self-Discipline
Published 2010 // 304 pages // Rated 4.0 over 12,100 reviews on Goodreads
27. Time Management - Brian Tracy
Published 2008 // 112 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,800 reviews on Goodreads
28. Atomic Habits - James Clear (FREE Summary)
An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Atomic Habits is a powerful and practical guide to transforming your habits, making change stick and achieving remarkable results – by author and habit-guru, James Clear.
Published 2018 // 319 pages // Rated 4.4 over 304,200 reviews on Goodreads
29. The 4 Disciplines of Execution - Chris McChesney
Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
Published 2011 // 296 pages // Rated 4.1 over 7,700 reviews on Goodreads
30. The Daily Drucker - Peter F. Drucker
366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done
Published 2004 // 448 pages // Rated 4.1 over 900 reviews on Goodreads
31. Twelve Principles of Efficiency - Harrington Emerson
Published 1919 // 448 pages // Rated 4.3 over <100 reviews on Goodreads
32. Time Management from the Inside Out - Julie Morgenstern
The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule--and Your Life
Published 2000 // 285 pages // Rated 4.0 over 2,400 reviews on Goodreads
33. The Shallows - Nicholas Carr
What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
Published 2010 // 280 pages // Rated 3.9 over 25,900 reviews on Goodreads
34. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondō
The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Published 2011 // 224 pages // Rated 3.9 over 319,800 reviews on Goodreads
35. The Dip - Seth Godin
A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit
Published 2007 // 80 pages // Rated 3.8 over 31,600 reviews on Goodreads
36. No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs - Dan S. Kennedy
The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Time Productivity and Sanity
Published 1996 // 182 pages // Rated 4.0 over 800 reviews on Goodreads
37. Do the Work - Steven Pressfield
Published 2011 // 112 pages // Rated 3.9 over 19,500 reviews on Goodreads
38. The Energy Bus - Jon Gordon
10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
Published 2007 // 192 pages // Rated 3.8 over 18,400 reviews on Goodreads
39. The 10x Rule - Grant Cardone
The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
Published 2011 // 240 pages // Rated 3.9 over 20,900 reviews on Goodreads
40. Procrastination - Jane B. Burka
Why You Do It, What To Do About It
Published 1982 // 240 pages // Rated 3.9 over 1,600 reviews on Goodreads
41. Making It All Work - David Allen
Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life
Published 2003 // 286 pages // Rated 3.9 over 3,000 reviews on Goodreads
42. Organizing from the Inside Out - Julie Morgenstern
The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life
Published 1998 // 247 pages // Rated 3.8 over 7,000 reviews on Goodreads
43. The 12 Week Year - Brian P. Moran
Published 2009 // 63 pages // Rated 3.9 over 6,500 reviews on Goodreads
44. Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder - Susan C. Pinsky
Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized
Published 2006 // 192 pages // Rated 4.0 over 1,600 reviews on Goodreads
45. Ready for Anything - David Allen
52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
Published 2003 // 165 pages // Rated 3.9 over 4,600 reviews on Goodreads
46. Crazy Busy - Kevin DeYoung
A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem
Published 2013 // 128 pages // Rated 4.0 over 7,200 reviews on Goodreads
47. Do More Better - Tim Challies
A Practical Guide to Productivity
Published 2015 // 104 pages // Rated 4.2 over 3,000 reviews on Goodreads
48. Manage Your Day-to-Day - Jocelyn K. Glei
Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
Published 2013 // 248 pages // Rated 3.9 over 22,900 reviews on Goodreads
49. Make Your Bed - William H. McRaven (FREE Summary)
Little Things That Can Change Your Life... And Maybe the World
Make Your Bed became a best seller by breaking down how you can change your life and change the world into ten simple steps that start with simply making your bed - by former US Navy SEAL, Admiral William McRaven.
Published 2017 // 144 pages // Rated 4.0 over 88,100 reviews on Goodreads
50. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day - Arnold Bennett
Published 1908 // 92 pages // Rated 3.6 over 7,600 reviews on Goodreads
51. Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management - Mark Forster
Published 2006 // 224 pages // Rated 4.0 over 800 reviews on Goodreads
52. Digital Minimalism - Cal Newport
Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Published 2019 // 302 pages // Rated 4.1 over 55,300 reviews on Goodreads
53. Time Power - Brian Tracy
A Proven System for Getting More Done in Less Time Than You Ever Thought Possible
Published 2004 // 304 pages // Rated 4.0 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
54. How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life - Alan Lakein
Published 1973 // 160 pages // Rated 3.9 over 600 reviews on Goodreads
55. Finish - Jon Acuff
Give Yourself the Gift of Done
Published 2017 // 206 pages // Rated 4.1 over 9,700 reviews on Goodreads
56. High Performance Habits - Brendon Burchard
How Extraordinary People Become That Way
Published 2017 // 393 pages // Rated 4.1 over 9,700 reviews on Goodreads
57. Work the System - Sam Carpenter
The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less
Published 2009 // 240 pages // Rated 3.9 over 6,400 reviews on Goodreads
58. Relentless - Tim S. Grover
From Good to Great to Unstoppable
Published 2014 // 272 pages // Rated 3.9 over 11,800 reviews on Goodreads
59. The End of Procrastination - Petr Ludwig
How to Stop Postponing and Live a Fulfilled Life
Published 2013 // 272 pages // Rated 4.0 over 2,400 reviews on Goodreads
60. It's All Too Much - Peter Walsh
An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff
Published 2006 // 230 pages // Rated 3.8 over 7,000 reviews on Goodreads
61. Tiny Habits - B.J. Fogg
The Small Changes That Change Everything
Published 2019 // 320 pages // Rated 4.2 over 10,700 reviews on Goodreads
62. Discipline Equals Freedom - Jocko Willink
Field Manual
Published 2017 // 189 pages // Rated 4.0 over 12,200 reviews on Goodreads
63. Mini Habits - Stephen Guise
Smaller Habits, Bigger Results
Published 2013 // 127 pages // Rated 4.0 over 6,900 reviews on Goodreads
64. The Art of the Start 2.0 - Guy Kawasaki
The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
Published 2015 // 336 pages // Rated 3.9 over 27,200 reviews on Goodreads
65. Four Thousand Weeks - Oliver Burkeman
Time Management for Mortals
Published 2021 // 288 pages // Rated 4.3 over 7,300 reviews on Goodreads
66. The Bullet Journal Method - Ryder Carroll
Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future
Published 2018 // 336 pages // Rated 4.0 over 22,500 reviews on Goodreads
67. The Power Of Less - Leo Babauta
The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential
Published 2008 // 170 pages // Rated 3.7 over 10,000 reviews on Goodreads
68. Make Time - Jake Knapp
How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
Published 2018 // 287 pages // Rated 4.1 over 14,200 reviews on Goodreads
69. Self-Discipline in 10 Days - Theodore Bryant
How to Go from Thinking to Doing
Published 1991 // 160 pages // Rated 3.9 over 800 reviews on Goodreads
70. Stop Screaming at the Microwave - Mary LoVerde
How to Connect Your Disconnected Life
Published 1998 // 240 pages // Rated 4.0 over <100 reviews on Goodreads

More Book Recommendations

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Wish There Was a Faster/Easier Way?

Whenever you’re ready, here are four ways I can help you be more productive, find more balance and live life more on purpose…

  1. Curious? Discover how productive you really are… Take this free, 2-minute assessment to unlock your PQ and discover the top 25 habits you need to get big things done. Take the 2-minute quiz →
  2. Overwhelmed? Get a free chapter of my book… Let me show you how to beat procrastination, permanently, with this free sneak peek inside TAoL’s ultimate productivity primer. Download your free chapter →
  3. Stuck? Grab a 90-Day TRACKTION Planner… Get the tool thousands trust to help them take control of their time, master their habits and hit goals in every part of their lives. Order your 90-day planner →
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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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