This is another list from my professional development presentation. These books help you develop your ability to do more in less time, thereby increasing the amount of time you can spend on things other than work.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen
This is the key book, but it’s a hard read. It took me well over a year to fully digest it. The principles are simple:
- Get everything into your system.
- Don’t rely on memory.
- Make a decision when something comes in.
- Periodically review.
Enjoy Every Sandwich, by Lee Lipsenthal
This book blew me away. It’s not a productivity book except in the sense of one that says, “Every minute counts.” This is the tale of a doctor who counseled and advised patients facing life-threatening heart conditions on how to enjoy life more who then came down with his own-life threatening condition: esophageal cancer. The form he had was 90% fatal but he beat it the first time. Unfortunately, he didn’t beat it the second. Dr. Lipsenthal did use some techniques that I wouldn’t use, but they aren’t central to his message, which is to live life fully.
Ikigai, by Sebastian Marshall
Sebastian Marshall (blog | twitter) has the goal of being the greatest strategist of the current era. His blog is full of ideas that challenge the status quo, that examine the whys and hows of things, and researches why things were successful in the past. Again, I don’t agree with everything Sebastian says. However, almost every post of his causes me to think deeply. That’s key, especially when it comes to doing more in this lifetime, which is what Sebastian has a primary focus of his writing. This book condenses a lot of his blog writings into a single source and makes for a valuable read.
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, by Alex and Brett Harris
I first read this book wondering if it was a good resource for the teens in my church youth group. It was, but it’s applicable more than to just teens. It reminds us that in general expectations are lower than they once were, and it’s not just for those between the ages of 13-18. Think, for instance, about how much regard you have for politicians, for government bureaucrats, for other drivers on the road with you. See how our expectations for performance have fallen? This books talks about it, talks about why, and how to overcome it all. Yes, it is geared towards teens, especially Christian teens, but a lot of good work in this one.
This book puts to the test everything we think about what separates top performers from everybody else. It presents research after research after research. In other words, you can do hard things, you just have to know how. The previous book convinces you that you can, this one tells you what you need to do.