Productivity books to read in 2021

December 30, 2020 Wise Assistant


How can you be more productive this year?

There are plenty of “hacks” online promising the best tips to be more productive. These are good ways to jumpstart productivity but nothing compares to a good book full of helpful insights to shift to a more productive lifestyle.

At Wise Assistant, we believe work-life balance is key and we feel that this can be achieved by being more productive with the time that we have. Here’s our top list of productivity books recommended by the team at Wise Assistant.

Full Disclaimer: We truly love these books! If you decide to purchase them through the links in this post, Wise Assistant receives 10% of the purchase from Amazon. We promise to use this money to build better products and continue to provide useful content like this.

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

Atomic Habits is our #1 productivity book because it provides a comprehensive framework for improving your lifestyle and being more productive. This #1 New York Times Best Seller has sold over 1 million copies and changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Author James Clear is a leading expert in habit formation and provides pragmatic strategies to incorporate into your everyday life. Learn techniques such as how to make time for new habits, re-design your environment to make success attainable, and overcome lack of motivation. James believes that anyone can change their habits for the better! All you need is a proven system to jumpstart your success.

  • #3 Most Sold Book on Amazon
  • #1 New York Times Best Seller
  • 4.8 out of 5 Stars with 21,359 global ratings

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

Tiny Habits is another team favorite at Wise Assistant, personally celebrated and advocated by CTO Ryan Brandt and a staple of the engineering team.

Tiny Habits is all about making small adjustments to your lifestyle - two push-ups rather than hours of working out. The author of this New York Times Best Seller has helped tens of thousands of people achieve their goals of losing weight, reducing stress, sleeping better, or achieving whatever goal they can dream up. At Wise Assistant, we believe in Fogg’s mission with all our heart. Evolution can be easy and the hardest part is just getting started.

  • Editor’s Pick Award on Amazon
  • New York Times Best Seller
  • 4.7 out of 5 Stars with 2,009 global ratings

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

Principles: Life and Work is a New York Times Best Seller authored by Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful and respected investors and entrepreneurs. In his book, Dalio shares many lessons he’s learned from life, economics, and business. He likens investing to machines and provides practical lessons to make better decisions and navigate challenges in life and work.

Dalio outlines helpful tools and techniques for individuals, organizations, and institutions looking to improve their productivity. We truly love this book for it’s straightforward approach and sound decision-making framework.

  • Editor’s Pick Award on Amazon
  • #1 New York Times Best Seller
  • 4.6 out of 5 Stars with 6,513 global ratings

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

As the name suggests, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, is all about finding balance through two systems of Fast and Slow thinking.

Kahneman describes System 1 as fast, intuitive, and emotional; meanwhile, System 2 is slower, deliberate, and logical. Kahneman argues that many of our biases or overconfidence can be understood by how these systems shape our decision-making framework. This book is an engaging read that offers practical and insightful strategies to improve your life for years to come. This amazing book has changed the lives of millions.

  • Editor’s Pick Award on Amazon
  • New York Times Best Seller
  • 4.6 out of 5 Stars with 14,587 global ratings

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

The 12 Week Year is a book that we’ve celebrated internally at Wise Assistant as a cornerstone for how we approach our work. Where most organizations and people think of annual goals and plans, the 12 Week Year helps to re-imagine the annual planning strategy.

The book defines the year in terms of only 12 weeks, in which there is no time to become complacent. This focus creates a sense of urgency to get things done and get them done NOW! We leverage the practices in this book to improve our results in work and life. If you’re a manager or leader looking to transform your team, leading experts recommend The 12 Week Year to accelerate your journey to success.

  • #1 Best Seller on Amazon
  • 4.7 out of 5 Stars with 1,975 global ratings

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

The #1 Amazon Books Best Seller, Eat That Frog!, is a truly life-changing book. This book focuses on helping readers avoid procrastination and get more work done. Author Brian Tracy describes how successful people don’t try to do everything but instead focus on the most important tasks that make the most impact each day.

For Tracy, “eating a frog” is a metaphor for tackling the most challenging tasks of the day - FIRST! In its pages, Tracy provides tactics on how to organize each day to accomplish critical tasks and work effectively. In the end, effective time management simply requires determination, discipline, and intentional decision-making.

  • #1 Best Seller on Amazon
  • 4.7 out of 5 Stars with 3,165 global ratings

Deep Work (Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World) by Cal Newport

Author and professor Cal Newport describes Deep Work as the ability to focus, without distraction, on a demanding task. With the endless distractions brought by technology and media, Deep Work describes one of the most powerful skills in the modern workforce today - the ability to focus.

Newport likens Deep Work to a superpower and, instead of simply calling all distractions “bad”, Newport focuses on the benefits that can be achieved with sustained focus. Divided into two parts, Newport first argues for readers to cultivate deep work into their lives before providing four “rules”, which he outlines as a rigorous regimen to get you there.

  • Cost: $13.95
  • 4.6 out of 5 Stars out of 5,519 global ratings

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

The Checklist Manifesto is all about one simple idea: maintaining a “to-do” list and what it reveals about how we manage our lives. Author Atul Gawande describes the shift in technology enabling impressive results. Nonetheless, avoidable defeats continue to happen every day in healthcare, law, finance, and business. Gawande describes how our knowledge has been eclipsed by our ability to deliver some results and advocates for a simple solution to address this. In the Checklist Manifesto, Gawande reveals what a proper checklist is capable of, across a variety of fields from business to medicine.

  • #1 Best Seller on Amazon
  • 4.6 out of 5 Stars with 3,792 global ratings

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit delves into the science behind habits, how they are formed, and changed. Charles Duhigg, an award-winning business reporter, distills massive amounts of knowledge with examples taken from the boardrooms of corporations like Proctor & Gamble.

This book makes a strong argument for the secret of unlocking success in life and business, as simply understanding the mechanisms of habit formation. Duhigg convinces us that we can achieve whatever outcomes we desire through healthy habits, whether that’s exercise, productivity, wealth, or success. By harnessing this science, we have the power to ultimately transform our business, our personal lives, and inadvertently the entire world.

  • New York Times Best Seller
  • 4.6 out of 5 Stars 13,042 global ratings

BONUS: #GoDo: How to Live Life on Purpose by Tolanya Dreary

#GoDo: How to Live Life on Purpose is a staple of the team at Wise Assistant, even going so far as to help define the slogan and purpose for the company.

#GoDo is all about creating a life of meaning by understanding your own purpose, identity, defining goals, and creating your future through prediction. #GoDo goes beyond productivity to provide practical resources to transform your lifestyle to be more purposeful.

Author and social entrepreneur, Dreary, helps readers harness the power of visualization and mindfulness to achieve their wildest dreams. While this wonderful book made our list of top productivity books for 2021, it’s a personal favorite of the founders, and we’ve decided to do an in-depth review and summary - providing you with tools from the book to change your life immediately for the better.

Read the full review on #GoDo: How to Live Life on Purpose