top 5 productivity books you must read in 2024

BY Mark Howell29 August 202310 MINS READ
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Hey there, productivity seekers! Are you on the hunt for that golden nugget of wisdom to kick your productivity into high gear? Look no further. We've sifted through the labyrinthine world of self-help literature to bring you the crème de la crème of productivity books. You know, the type of books that don't just offer quick hacks but life-changing insights, backed by rigorous research and real-life stories. In 2023, it's time to skip the fluffy stuff and get serious about mastering the art of productivity. Buckle up!

The Science Behind Productivity

First things first, before we dive into our recommended reads, let's talk a bit about the science behind productivity. Why? Well, understanding the why can often unlock the how in deeply transformative ways. You can think of it as learning the alphabet before diving into writing the next great American novel.

Why Your Brain Loves to Procrastinate

Ever wondered why that to-do list seems to grow exponentially as the day drags on? Blame it on your brain's pre-wired affinity for procrastination. Your brain craves instant gratification, making it hard to focus on tasks that deliver long-term benefits. Ah, the eternal struggle between the executive brain and the primal brain, right? Reading books that delve into the neuroscience of productivity can equip you with strategies to tip the scales in your favor.

The Role of Habit Formation

"Rome wasn't built in a day," they say, and neither is a productivity powerhouse. The magic lies in habit formation. Here, the crux is understanding how the habit loop—cue, routine, reward—works and how to exploit it for your benefit. By mastering this loop, you can automate the productivity process, making it almost second nature. Imagine not having to rely on willpower alone!

The main difference between motivation and discipline

Alright, so you're pumped up after reading a motivational quote on Instagram, ready to tackle the world. But wait, is that enough? No, because motivation is like the weather, unpredictable and fleeting. Discipline, on the other hand, is your trusty old compass. It's reliable and steady. The main difference between motivation and discipline is that the former is a fleeting emotional state, while the latter is a learned behavior. Discipline is what you'll need to make lasting changes, and a good book on the subject can be your mentor.

Why These Books Made the Cut

You might be wondering, "Okay, got it, we need books. But why these specific ones?" Great question! We've meticulously combed through an avalanche of options to focus on books that offer a robust, scientifically-backed, and multi-faceted approach to productivity. No mere listicles here; these are full-fledged masterclasses in paperback (or e-ink, if you prefer).

Balanced Coverage of Topics

You see, productivity is not a one-trick pony. It's a multifaceted discipline that encompasses time management, mental well-being, work-life balance, and more. The books we've chosen offer a panoramic view, tackling productivity from various angles and levels of depth.

Real-life Applicability

Anyone can spout off theories, but the true test of a productivity book lies in its applicability. These books don't just reside in the realm of the theoretical; they offer actionable advice. They give you the tools you need to effect meaningful changes in your day-to-day life.

Authenticity and Credibility

Ever picked up a self-help book that felt more like an infomercial? Yeah, us too. These selections are different. They're penned by acclaimed authors and experts in the field who have done the legwork, collected the data, and constructed arguments grounded in reality. You're not just buying a book; you're investing in a wealth of tried-and-true knowledge.

Alignment with Modern Lifestyle

This ain't your grandpa's self-help book. The world has changed, and so have the challenges we face. Remote work, digital distractions, the gig economy—these books address modern hurdles and offer relevant solutions. In short, they get you, and where you're coming from.

The Must-Read List: Unveiled

Finally, the moment you've been waiting for! Drumroll, please... Here are the top 5 productivity books you absolutely must sink your teeth into this year. Brace yourself; each one is a game-changer.

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

Let's be honest, the constant pings and dings of our digital life are more than distracting; they're derailing our productivity. Newport provides a compelling argument for deep work, the kind of focused, uninterrupted work that produces results worth talking about. This book is your roadmap to reclaiming your concentration.

Shallow work or deep work

Here’s the kicker: The main difference between shallow work and deep work is akin to the contrast between skimming the surface of the ocean and diving deep to discover treasures. Shallow work keeps you busy but doesn't add real value. Deep work, on the other hand, is where you create, innovate, and make strides toward your goals.

"Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James Clear

Ah, habits. The building blocks of productivity. James Clear doesn't just explore habit formation; he delves into the science of why we do what we do and how tiny changes can lead to remarkable results. You might call it the ultimate guide to micro-productivity.

Why it’s essential to start small

Clear illustrates the power of compounding growth. Imagine, if you improve by just 1% every day, where could you be a year from now? Starting small isn't a compromise; it's a strategy. One that takes into account our human tendency to bite off more than we can chew and then quit. Start small, but think big. That's the motto.

"The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich" by Tim Ferriss

Hold onto your hats because this book will challenge everything you've been told about the conventional 9-5 grind. Tim Ferriss unveils the secrets to lifestyle design, pushing you to think about how you can optimize your life and work for maximum enjoyment and productivity.

The Paradigm Shift: Trading Time for Freedom

Ferriss introduces the revolutionary concept of mini-retirements, a series of planned breaks throughout your life, as opposed to one lengthy retirement at the end. The takeaway? Don't hoard time like it's some kind of endgame currency. Spend it wisely throughout your life to maximize experiences and productivity.

"Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen

If you've been on the productivity scene for a while, you've likely heard of GTD—Getting Things Done. David Allen's classic is as relevant today as it was when it first graced our bookshelves. At its core, GTD aims to clear your mind of clutter, freeing up mental space for focused thinking and creativity.

The "Two-Minute Rule"

One of the most impactful techniques Allen offers is the "Two-Minute Rule." If a task takes less than two minutes, do it immediately. Such a simple rule, but oh, the ripple effect it has on your productivity can be mind-blowing!

"Mindset: The New Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck

Last but definitely not least, this book explores the crucial role mindset plays in achieving productivity and success. Dweck argues that having a growth mindset—a belief that your abilities can be developed—can have a transformative impact on various aspects of your life, from work to relationships.

Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset

What makes this compelling is the main difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset stalls growth because it operates under the belief that abilities are static. A growth mindset, however, sets the stage for continuous learning, resilience, and, ultimately, productivity.

Bridging Productivity Books and Tools like Edworking

Okay, books are phenomenal, but let's add another layer to your productivity toolkit: digital platforms. Specifically, let's talk about Edworking—a comprehensive all-in-one remote work platform designed to skyrocket productivity. With features like Task Management, File Sharing, Docs, Meetings, and Stories, Edworking essentially encapsulates the key principles you'll read about in these books, but in a practical, easy-to-use digital format.

Edworking streamlines operations by integrating key features in one place, from task management and file sharing to real-time collaboration. Just like the authors we've discussed help you master your mental and emotional landscape for productivity, Edworking takes care of the practical aspects. It's like the digital embodiment of all the best productivity practices you'll glean from these must-reads.


There you have it—five incredible productivity books you absolutely need to read this year and a digital tool to help you implement what you've learned. Your journey towards supercharged productivity doesn't have to be a lone quest; you've got tried-and-true wisdom from experts and cutting-edge tools to help you along the way. Ready to turn those pages and smash those goals? Let’s do this! 🚀


How Do These Books Improve Productivity?

The books listed in this article are curated to help you enhance various aspects of productivity. They cover a range of topics from time management to mental clarity, offering a holistic view. Reading these books can give you not just theoretical knowledge but also practical tips and hacks that you can incorporate in your daily life, whether you're a student, a business professional, or an entrepreneur.

What's the Best Way to Implement What I've Learned?

The best way to implement the knowledge you gain is to make incremental changes. Trying to overhaul your life overnight will only lead to burnout. Instead, focus on one or two actionable insights and apply them consistently until they become a habit. Once you’ve mastered them, move on to the next set of tips or strategies.

Can I Find These Books Online?

Absolutely! Most, if not all, of these books are available in various formats including e-books, audiobooks, and traditional paperbacks. Websites like Amazon, Audible, and even your local library's online catalog can be excellent resources.

Are These Books Suitable for People in All Professions?

The beauty of these books lies in their universal applicability. Whether you are an artist, engineer, teacher, or anything in between, the principles these books cover are foundational and can be applied in multiple contexts. Some books do focus on the corporate world, but the principles they describe are easily transferable.

What If I Don’t Like Reading?

If you're not a fan of reading, many of these books are available in audiobook formats. Audiobooks are a fantastic alternative that you can listen to during commutes, gym sessions, or even while doing household chores. Websites like Audible often provide free trials, allowing you to explore before making a commitment.

How Often Should I Revisit These Books?

Productivity isn’t a one-time deal; it's an ongoing process. These books are not meant to be read once and forgotten. They are more like guides that you can come back to whenever you find yourself straying off your productivity path. Some people find it helpful to revisit these books once a year or anytime they need a productivity boost.

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About the Author: Mark Howell LinkedinMark Howell is a talented content writer for Edworking's blog, consistently producing high-quality articles on a daily basis. As a Sales Representative, he brings a unique perspective to his writing, providing valuable insights and actionable advice for readers in the education industry. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for sharing knowledge, Mark is an indispensable member of the Edworking team. His expertise in task management ensures that he is always on top of his assignments and meets strict deadlines. Furthermore, Mark's skills in project management enable him to collaborate effectively with colleagues, contributing to the team's overall success and growth. As a reliable and diligent professional, Mark Howell continues to elevate Edworking's blog and brand with his well-researched and engaging content.
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