DISCOVER THE TOP 10 APPS AND TOOLS OF PRODUCTIVITY PROS

Recommended Reading

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Books now and past

We read a lot of books and we often get asked for book recommendations. This list is a compilation of books we have read and that we can recommend to all readers. This page is updated on a continuous basis and we highly advise you to bookmark (control/command + D) this page if you want to stay updated on our latest book recommendations.

At Asian Efficiency we personally use iPads or Kindles to read all our books – it’s much easier to highlight, comment, note and navigate on a digital device. For digital magazine subscriptions, we really like Zinio which is available on all major platforms.

The page is divided in multiple categories and on the right sidebar you can click and jump to any section of this page.

Time Management and Personal Productivity

Eat That Frog by Brian TracyEat That Frog – With 21 tips to beat procrastination, Brian Tracy shares many of his favorite tips that makes him very successful. This is a great book for beginners. Read our review.
Getting Results the Agile WayAgile Results – We are a big fan of this new productivity system that puts a big emphasis on goals. This system is different from GTD and it allows to have more accountability in pursuing your goals.
The Power of Full Engagement by Tony SchwartzThe Power of Full Engagement – Energy, not time, is the primary currency for achieving peak performance at work and in your personal life. This is a new way of looking at time management and we reference this book a lot. Read our review.
The Power of Habit by Charles DuhiggThe Power of Habit – One of the best books on how habits work and you can implement them in your life. It’s very practical, simple to understand and easy to implement. Once you understand the framework behind habits, getting rid of bad habits and replacing them with good ones becomes effortless.
The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigalThe Willpower Instinct – An introductory science book on how willpower works and how you can improve yours. If self-discipline is a challenge for you, then this book is for you. It gives you tips and exercises on improving your self-discipline and willpower.
The Power of Story by Jim LoehrThe Power of Story – A simple and straightforward methodology for creating life stories for the different parts of your life. The summary at the end is the quickest way of coming up with powerful stories and metaphors to help drive each part of your life forward. Read our review.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People7 Habits of Highly Effective People – This high-level principles and habits of Stephen Covey mits implemented allow you to have much more clear understanding about the purpose of your life and work.
Getting Things Done by David AllenGetting Things Done – Arguably the most popular productivity system out there. David Allen gives you a framework that you can easily customize to your own needs on how you get things done.
Ready for Anything by David AllenReady for Anything – David Allen shares his pearls of wisdom from his years of coaching and consulting. A great book with many life lessons and it makes you understand his Getting Things Done philosophy on a much deeper level.
The Now Habit by Neil FioreThe Now Habit – A very comprehensive book on overcoming procrastination. The author covers many aspects on why we procrastinate and offers plenty practical tips for anyone to beat procrastination. If you are a big procrastination, you definitely want to read this book before any other time management book.
Upgrade Your Life by LifehackerUpgrade Your Life – This is Lifehacker’s guide to being more efficient and productive. There is a strong focus on use of technology and it’s a great book if you like how-to books.

Business

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack TroutThe 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – Al Ries and and Jack Trout have studies many marketing campaigns over the years and they have summarized their findings in this concise book. There are 22 chapters and each chapter reveals one of the authors’ insights of successful (and failed) marketing campaigns.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Jack Ries and Al TroutThe 22 Immutable Laws of Branding – It’s written by the same authors of The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. Each chapter contains advice on branding of your company in the way you want it to be perceived and it shows you how to avoid major branding mistakes – all supplemented with real life cases.
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv EkerSecrets of The Millionaire Mind – This book shows you the mandatory mindsets to create wealth for yourself and it will help you create a financial self-image that is setup for success.
Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck Crush It – Study the brilliant mind of Gary Vaynerchuck on how he transformed a small business into a multi-million dollar business by hustling and social media. The book contains a lot of valuable mindsets and business lessons any entrepreneur would value. Read our review.
Influence by Robert CialdiniInfluence – A mix of business and psychology – Influence is a great read for anyone interested on how those two work together in the real world. A ton of examples are given that makes you understand business and psychology much better.
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas StanleyThe Millionaire Next Door – After decades of studying dozens of (multi) millionaires, the author summarized the common beliefs and traits that these people have. It contains a lot of surprising facts that you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Rework by Jason FriedRework – Rework is a business book written by the founders of 37Signals where they share unconventional tips and practices for growing your business. Read our review.
Your Money or Your Life by Joe DominguezYour Money or Your Life – The simplest way to create an in-the-background system for managing wealth. This is the flip-side of popular wealth management programs and advice. Will also help rewire some of your existing beliefs about money, retirement and what’s possible.
The 4-Hour Workweek by TIm FerrissThe 4-Hour Workweek – If you want to escape the 9-to-5 and join the New Rich – Tim Ferriss gives you a step-by-step plan how to do so. By making this lifestyle design change you can work from anywhere you want and make more money in less time. Read our review.
The Personal MBA by Josh KaufmanThe Personal MBA – An introductory book on business. If you have no clue about business, this is a great book to start with. Who needs an MBA when you have this book!
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon HillThink and Grow Rich – A classic in the self-help industry and rightfully so. Napoleon Hill shares his years of studying successful people on how they got wealthy. He also shares many underlying principles of today’s productivity principles.
Never Eat Alone by Keith FerrazziNever Eat Alone – One of our recommended books if you want to improve your networking skills. The author shares his years of insight on how he successfully networked with successful people.
Love is the Killer App by Tim SandersLove is the Killer App – Another take on networking with the emphasis on sharing, looking out for others and being a connector of people. Together with Never Eat Alone you won’t ever have to read another networking book.

Personal Development

Flight Plan by Brian TracyFlight Plan – Becoming successful requires you to have a plan but you have to be able to make adjustments along the way. Brian Tracy explains how you do can do this so you can reach your goals in the fastest way possible – by starting to map out how you get where you want to be.
Switch by Heath BrothersSwitch – We often call it the “self-help book on crack”. The Heath brothers wrote on of our favorite books on self-improvement by sharing an easy to understand framework on making personal changes in your life. Read our review.
Awaken The Gian Within by Anthony RobbinsAwaken the Giant Within – One of Tony Robbin’s best books on personal development, this book gives a step-by-step plan on improving yourself.
Pulling Your Own Strings by Wayne DyerPulling Your Own Strings – Boundaries are extremely important for leading a happy life and this book will teach you through exercises how to enforce your boundaries. If you find it difficult to say “no” or you often feel like you don’t have control over your life, this is a must read.
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People – A classic book on improving your communication and social skills. This is an often overlooked aspect of effective time management – you need good communication skills to work with other people and to manage them. Read our review.
The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy GallweyInner Game of Tennis – Your beliefs and mindsets directly influence how well you do in life. In this book the author shows how to change your viewpoints so you can excel at what you do. The book illustrates it through the years of work the author did with tennis players but you can apply this to any aspect of your life.
The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon HillThe Law of Success in 16 Lessons – If Think and Grow Rich is about the mindsets behind success, the Law of Success is about how you implement them.

Miscellaneous

Thrive by Brendan Brazier Thrive – Food and nutrition have a big impact on your productivity. A former professional Ironman triathlete explains exactly how foods can hurt your productivity but he also offers solutions. He writes about a plant-based diet solution but you don’t necessarily have to adhere to that. The theories and examples in this book will show you how nutrition can boost your productivity. Read our review.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged – A novel by Ayn Rand that tells a story about a world, not dissimilar to our own, on the edge of dystopia. As with most stories, there is a deeper message behind it, and in the case of Atlas Shrugged, the novel is about Rand’s ideas about the human condition and human greatness. Read our review.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho The Alchemist – It’s a short metaphoric tale about getting where you want to go in life. The core theme of the book is the idea of Personal Legends: your story in life, your path, your mission, your purpose. You can finish this short book in one afternoon and it’s a great inspirational read. Read our review.
Brain Rules by John MedinaBrain Rules – One of the best introductory books on how the brain works. By studying how it works it allows you to see ways for you to do things you normally thought were not possible before. Read our review.
Your Brain: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonaldYour Brain: The Missing Manual – A great follow up to Brain Rules, this book offers more insights on the functions of the brain and offers more scientific explanations.
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien SmithTrust Agents – The web is a great place to meet and connect with people. You can see this a book as a way to become an awesome digital citizen and it shows you how to network with people online. A must-have for anyone with a voice online.
The 4-Hour Body by Timothy FerrissThe 4 Hour Body – Tim Ferriss’ years of experiments on hacking his own body are shared, including how to lose weight (very controversial but it works), gain muscles fast, reverse injuries, and more.
Flinch by Julien SmithFlinch – The Flinch is the critical difference between those that do and those that don’t. If you’re flinching, you’re not being productive. Short, free and life-changing – read this. (review).
The Dip by Seth GodinThe Dip – Every worthwhile pursuit requires you to go through peaks and valleys. Seth Godin illustrates with many examples that you need keep working on your goals despite dark times. A quick and inspirational read.
The Myth of the Garage by Heath BrothersThe Myth of the Garage – From the same authors of Switch, the Heath brothers share their best columns published on the web. The second best thing? It’s free.

Photo by spykster.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

srinivas.sista July 14, 2012 at 5:56AM

thank you.

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George Chase July 22, 2012 at 12:18PM

I’ve read a lot of those books already, albiet some a long time ago. Very good choices and for the novice just dropping in: You can trust these guys, if you gain just one thing from any of these books, they will will well worth the price. So often we pick up a book on recommendation and say “why did I buy this thing?” With this list I doubt you will have that experience.

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nthusang dibe August 20, 2012 at 8:00AM

i have the first book on the list by Coovey. its a great book for transformation. From the summary of books it looks like they can make a difference in organisations

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Tim December 23, 2012 at 5:26PM

Do you use a specific program to highlight, comment, note on an iPad

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Aaron Lynn January 16, 2013 at 5:23AM

Hi Tim, I use GoodReader for PDFs (but there are plenty of alternatives out there) and Kindle for books bought through Amazon. I wish there was an easy way to highlight RSS feeds or saved web articles but I haven’t found one yet. – Aaron

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Jonathan January 23, 2013 at 12:38AM

Great list, but where do I start? What would be the first two books you recommend I read?

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Thanh Pham January 23, 2013 at 1:21AM

I would start with Eat that Frog and The Power of Full Engagement.

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Anna September 3, 2013 at 1:55AM

May I offer a suggestion? Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It really should be standard on high school/college reading lists.

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Antonio September 20, 2013 at 11:18AM

G.R.A.S.P. the Solution, by Chris Griffiths
Modern Mind Mapping, by Tony Buzan and Chris Griffiths
The Most Important Graph in the World, by Tony Buzan
Workflows: Beyond Productivity, by Kourosh Dini

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Dan February 20, 2014 at 11:27AM

Hi guys!

I really enjoy reading your blog.

Could you guys share some of the mindmaps for the books you read? This will help understand better the way how to do it.

Thanks for your work!

Reply

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