Do the Right Things in the Right Order with Our Top Productivity Books

Top Productivity BooksYou’ll probably agree that we’re not very wide off the mark in proposing a fairly simple definition for productivity: “doing more in less.”

However, it seems that no matter how much we do in no matter how little time, there’s always something left on our to-do list.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, most of the people would tell you that you have to find a better technique. Some others – as the ones we’ve included on our list – will tell you something else.

Namely, that there’s more than one secret to productivity, and that productivity should not be about doing everything on your to-do list.

Maybe it’s should be about doing the right things in the right order.

So, without further ado –

Our Top Productivity Books

#1. “The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power” by Brendon Burchard

The Motivation Manifesto SummaryIf you’ve ever watched “Oprah”, you probably already know that Brendon Burchard is one of the “most influential leaders in the field of personal growth.” And he’s probably the most successful and highest-paid motivation trainer in history.


Well, not because he says something original. But, because everything that he says, he says it in such a manner that makes you jump out of your bed and start doing something. Well, not just something – exactly those things that he asks you to do.

The Motivation Manifesto” is one of the best productivity prerequisites. Keep it under your pillow. And learn its 9 declarations by heart – and start putting them into practice right away:

We shall meet life with full presence and power! We shall reclaim our agendas! We shall defeat our demons! We shall advance with abandon! We shall practice joy and gratitude! We shall not break integrity! We shall amplify love! We shall inspire greatness! And we shall slow time!

#2. “Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog SummaryIn the introduction to one of his numerous bestsellers, “Eat That Frog,” Brian Tracy explains the curious title straight away. He writes: “Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

For what it’s worth, it may not have been Twain – but Nicholas Chamfort. But, either way – the point stands. The great thing about it is that it’s only 1 of the 21 Brian Tracy is trying to make.

The other include “plan every day in advance” and “prepare thoroughly before you begin,” as well as “consider the consequences” and even “practice creative procrastination.” Nothing especially new or not known, but everything worth repeating and remembering – and inspiring throughout.

Especially great as an introduction!

#3. “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg

Smarter Faster Better SummaryBefore you say anything – we didn’t know which of Charles Duhigg’s books to choose either. And the only reason why both of them aren’t here (of course we have “The Power of Habit” in mind) is our dedication to the “one author/one book” ideal.

And, after all, we did include “Smarter Faster Better” among our top entrepreneurship books. So, we were kind of obliged to include it here as well!

In “Smarter Faster Better,” Duhigg thoroughly explores eight productivity concepts. Each of them essential to establishing the habits of a productive person. The eight concepts are: motivation, teams, focus, goal setting, managing others, decision making, innovation, and absorbing data.

But what may interest you more than the theoretical discussion is the Appendix: “A Reader’s Guide to Using These Ideas.”

No peaking!

#4. “StrengthsFinder 2.0: Discover Your Strengths” by Tom Rath

StrengthsFinder 2.0 SummaryNow, this is an interesting case.

Now, Discover Your Strengths” was such a great book that it found place both among our top management and top motivational books.

Well, “StrengthsFinder 2.0” is its update!

Written by Tom Rath, the book builds upon the work of the Don Clifton, the father of Strengths Psychology. The main idea behind it: there are 34 strengths and each individual is a unique combination of at least two of them!

How does this help you in terms of productivity?

In at least two ways! First of all, the book is linked to an online assessment tool which we’ll help you find your key strengths. Secondly, once you find them, it will help you realize how you can use them.

Because productivity is not about spending countless hours to develop strengths you don’t own. It’s about perfecting those you already have.

After all, you won’t try and teach a fish to fly, would you?

#5. “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity” by David Allen

Getting Things Done SummaryCarola Endicott, director of “Quality Resources,” says that David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” should come with a warning sign.

Its content:

“Reading ‘Getting Things Done’ can be hazardous to your old habits of procrastination. David Allen’s approach is refreshingly simple and intuitive. He provides the systems, tools, and tips to achieve profound results.”

OK – Endicott may have gone a little overboard with the “simple” part. We warn you that “Getting Things Done” is “jargony” enough that it includes its own “Glossary of Terms.”

But, there’s a reason why “Lifehack” calls it “the modern Bible of productivity books” and why its philosophy has as many followers as a small religion. (Really: they are called GTDers!)

And the reason is simple: it works!

#6. “Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More” by Jason W. Womack

Your Best Just Got Better SummaryYour Best Just Got Better” is a book which can help you become exactly what its title claims to be. And the path is there – in its very subtitle.

So, Jason W. Womack’s philosophy is as simple as 1-2-3!

1: Work Smarter!

“Duh?!”, you say. “But how?”

It’s simple as having an IDEA and a MIT. Or, in other words, as simple as remembering these acronyms and doing what they say you should do: identify, develop, experiment, and assess. While never forgetting your Most Important Things.

2: Think Bigger!

No more than four mantras should do the trick: “I did it before,” “They were able to do it,” “They think I can do it,” and “I know I can do it!” (Read our great summary to see how.)

And 3: Make More!

What you need so as you can make more is a feedback. In all of these areas: results, experience, contribution, measurement, service, and habits.

That’s it: your best just got better!

#7. “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms” by Vishen Lakhiani

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind SummaryMost of the books about changing your life and productivity habits are few-step manuals. And, naturally, the inclusion of “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” on our list begs the question: why is this book so different than the rest?

Well, Vishen Lakhiani’s style – just like his laws – is unconventional. Down-to-earth, inspiring, well-structured. And – memorable!


Like it or not, you’ll catch yourself using its neologisms over and over again. You’ll understand them, however, only if you read the book. And, soon after – believe us – you’ll start using them.

First, you’ll want to transcend your culturescape – and, while doing that, you’ll see that you’ve been raised on brules. But, by the time you reach the seventh law – living in a blissipline – you would have already bended reality so much that you’ll be a king or a queen of a world of your own – a sort of a yourscape.

#8. “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People SummaryThe ones who read – know: Stephen R. Covey is a frequent guest on lists such as this one. And “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – the first non-fiction book to sell 1 million copies of its audio version – is practically a mainstay in many different categories.

Unsurprisingly, we’ve listed it among our top leadership and top self-help books.

So, what’s so special about it?

Well, almost everything!

It’s well-researched and well-planned, simply written and is perennially applicable. Covey deduces that effective people are different than the rest because they share seven habits. Namely, they are proactive, they begin with the end in mind, and they put first things first; also, they have a win-win mentality, they seek first to understand, then to be understood, and they synergize; finally, they sharpen the saw.

The first three habits are related to their independence; the second three to their interdependence. The final – self-improvement – is the bridge.

But, wait – there’s one more!

#9. “Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions” by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths

Algorithms to Live By SummaryIf you feed your computer with enough information about a certain topic, you’re guaranteed that you’ll get the right answer, right?

But, if so – why aren’t we doing the same with our lives? Surely, there has to be some way to scientifically figure out whether it’s better for the tired me to do some more work tonight, or just relax and watch something on Netflix!

Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths are right there with you! There is, they say – and more than one, in fact! So, they have prepared for you a unique cheat-book, “Algorithms to Live By.”

What you’ll find out inside may amaze you. True, life may be a complex category, but some of our habits are actually simple. For example, there seem to be three simple algorithms to perfectly manage your time.

And one to find your perfect love!

#10. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport

Deep Work SummaryThe world is full of distractions. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to think what is distraction anymore? Namely, are Facebook and Twitter distracting us from work – or is work distracting us from Facebook and Twitter?

That will not do, says Cal Newport!

Leisure is leisure, but work is work! And when it is real work, it needs to be “Deep Work.”

And, according to Newport, deep work begins with embracing boredom and quitting social media. You think that Beethoven wrote the “9th Symphony” in a night, or that Michelangelo drew the Sistine Chapel before lunchtime?

No – they worked deeply for a long period of time! And they valued deeply deliberate practice and distraction-free environments.

Don’t believe us?

Then ask yourself this: why do so many writers go to the library to write?

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Final Notes

If productivity is doing the right things in the right order, then the books which will help you discover which are the right things for you and which is the best order to do them – are the top productivity books you can find on the market.

And we believe that these 10 fit the description better than any others.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind Summary

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind Summary10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms

If you’re not winning in life – you’re probably living in accordance with the wrong rules. Vishen Lakhiani claims that he has developed the ultimate cheat sheet.

Or, in other words: “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.”

About Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen LakhianiVishen Lakhiani is a Malaysian-born entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and author. He is the founder of three successful companies, Blinklist, Dealmates, and Mindvalley, a learning company with more than half a million students worldwide.

“The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” is Lakhiani’s only book so far. More at

“The Code of the Extraordinary Mind Summary”

As stated in the subtitle of Vishen Lakhiani’s book, the code of the extraordinary mind is, in fact, a set of 10 unconventional laws; which, of course, if followed, can redefine your whole life.

It all starts with understanding where you are. Or, as Lakhiani would say, understanding your culturescape. The culturescape is what Freud would call your superego: the rules and the norms which shape how you should act and feel.

So, law #1: transcend the culturescape!

Understand which of the truths you’ve been thought are absolute – because most of those you know are relative. And can be changed.

Which brings us to the second law: question the brules!

A brule is, basically, a BS-rule. The four main examples: the college brule (i.e. “have good grades and you’ll succeed”), be loyal to your culture brule (i.e. “marry within your ethnicity”), be loyal to your religion (“be pious”) and the hard work brule (“work from 9 to 5 and you’ll succeed”)

Lakhiani has broken all of these rules and has succeeded.

Hence: brules.

The second part of “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” is the Awakening process. And it consists of three laws.

Law #3: Practice Consciousness Engineering.

It’s as simple as this: you’re probably using Windows 7 or 10 right now on at least i3 Intel processor, aren’t you? Well, update your beliefs and habits the same way you update your computer hardware and software!

Next, law #4: rewrite your models of reality.

Or, in other words, rewrite the book on self-confidence. Replace those beliefs which disempower you and start thinking positively.

Law #5: upgrade your systems for living.

Systems for living is, basically, another word for habits and daily routines. High performers know which habits are the best for them – and work to master them.

Now, you’re ready for the third phase: recoding yourself. This one consists of three laws once again.

The sixth law is bend reality.

And the idea behind it is that you’re living in the now, while working for the future. People are usually unhappy because they confuse the present and the future. Don’t ever do that: you have more than you think already, even as you’re reading this sentence!

Law #7: live in blissipline.

Blissipline is short for “discipline of bliss.” And it is something you can achieve via three simple steps: gratitude, forgiveness, and giving.

Law #8: create a vision for your future.

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s only by having a vision for the future that you can actually understand what you are supposed to do in the present. And its creation starts with three simple questions: “1. What experiences do you want to have in this lifetime?” “2. How do you want to grow?” and “3. How do you want to contribute?”

Now, you’re ready for the four and final step: becoming extraordinary! And to do that, you need to practice the two final laws.

Law #9: be unfuckwithable.

Lakhiani’s definition of his word: “When you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself. Nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity can touch you.” And you can get to this place by establishing self-fueled goals and realizing that you are enough.

The final law is “embrace your quest.”

And we believe that that’s self-evident.

Key Lessons from “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind”

1.      Transcend the Culturescape You’re Born Into
2.      Awake to Your Inner Power and Recode Yourself
3.      Become Extraordinary

Transcend the Culturescape You’re Born Into

The culturescape is the set of norms and beliefs you’re born and raised with. Most of them are not true at all. In fact, most of them are brules, i.e. BS-rules.

In other words: you don’t need to get good grades in college to succeed. And it’s even better if you marry outside your ethnicity. Religion is not essential; if you need it – you can choose it. Finally – if you work hard, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Awake to Your Inner Power and Recode Yourself

The Awakening starts with consciousness engineering. Or, in other words, updating your norms to the current state of affairs. Then, you need to rewrite your models of reality (your beliefs) and upgrade your systems of living (your habits).

Now, you’re prepared for a recoding. First, bend reality by living in the present and working for the future – instead of vice versa. Then, develop the bliss discipline – or the blissipline. Finally, create a vision for the future which makes sense of your present.

Become Extraordinary

In order to be extraordinary, you need to adhere to two simple laws: “to be unfuckwithable” and “to embrace your quest”. The former is about getting rid of your fears and anxieties through self-fueled goals. And the latter – about knowing where you’re going from the start.

And enjoying the journey throughout its full length.

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“The Code of the Extraordinary Mind” Quotes

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Click To Tweet If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking. (Via Buckminster Fuller) Click To Tweet Have big goals—but don’t tie your happiness to your goals. You must be happy before you attain them. Click To Tweet Let’s celebrate our extraordinary ability to evolve emotionally, mentally, spiritually throughout life, taking on new ideas, thoughts, philosophies, and ways of being and living. Click To Tweet Your beliefs can influence both you and the people around you. What you expect, you get. Click To Tweet    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: