What books on personal productivity are you reading?

I drive a lot. Consequently, I try to improve my mind by listing to audio books… My car is my university. It’s also my daughter’s canteen and dog’s bed but that’s a bit off topic.

There are some books which have really resonated over the years, and some which have been so appalling, I’ve nearly driven into a lamp post.

Firstly, does anyone have a personal favourite, which they keep coming back to?

And secondly, have you tied it into your implementation of Omnifocus.

Obviously I am not including anything by David Allen

Currently I am listening to Covey (the other one’s) 4 Disciplines of Execution. I’m broadly sympathetic to it’s message but not entirely sure yet.

Rather unconventionally, I have just finished The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick, which was hysterical- by far the funniest book on productivity I’ve found, and properly rude- bonus points. And swearing (more bonus points, I’m a soldier).

I’ve also quite enjoyed Zen to Done, but realised that it doesn’t account for the maelstrom of stuff that flies towards me each week. “Sorry, Colonel, but I am only committing myself to three tasks this morning” is a phrase which will never pass my lips.



Hi Cristiano.
I enjoy listening to bookworm, a podcast by mike schmitz and @joebuhlig It is NOT on relay.fm UNFORTUNATELY but is in overcast etc.
The books they read (and then podcast their reviews and give intended personal action points) are based largely around the productivity workspace.
They have a forum like this one at club.bookworm.fm and the full lists are there. They give amazon links so you can see which of them have audio book versions.
The podcasts are probably as useful as the books.

Edited to correct a misunderstanding about relay.fm


I second the Bookworm recommendation (though a small correction: it’s not on Relay FM ;)).

If podcasts are your game then Cortex might well fit the bill too, other recommendations would include Mac Power Users and maybe even Automators (full disclose, I’m a host of Automators!).

Back on the book side of things I’m currently reading The Twelve Week Year which you might enjoy :)


Thanks for mentioning Bookworm!

@rosemaryjayne is correct. It’s not on Relay. Though I’d love for it to make it there. Maybe mention that to Mr. Hurley. 😉


Great topic!

I’m currently reading and implementing The 12 Week Year. I made my 12 Week plan in OmniOutliner and I’m executing it out of OmniFocus.


Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a great one.

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I just noticed your post. I would love to understand your 12 week year workflow. Is that something you would feel comfortable sharing?

I don’t have much of a workflow. The book has a lot of worksheets, etc. Instead of planning on the paper worksheets, I planned it OmniOutliner. I then implemented actions out of OmniFocus.

I wish OF had better export or reporting features to share with my accountability partners.

Try “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I just don’t know if there’s an audio book available. The book is somehow deep and intriguing at times. It tells the reader to look for that One Thing you can do or focus on, and by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary. I hope you’ll like it.

By the way, I am a freelancer and here is my website if ever you need virtual assistance or freelancing services. Cheers!

If you can, do. If you can’t, teach.

The trick is to look for reflections on work by someone who has actually produced larger things over longer periods of time.

( Writing a book on productivity is usually a healthy symptom of failing to get anywhere, and looking for creative ways of cutting losses. )

One of the rare exceptions – a case of someone pausing to talk about work itself, after producing an exceptionally large amount of real value, over many years, is:

Robert A Caro. Working. Bodley Head, 2019

I’m recently revisiting the triumvirate, all in Apple’s Audiobooks :

  • Getting Things Done

  • Radio For Anything

  • Making It All Work

I’ve always enjoyed David Allen’s very straight-forward way of speaking. I’m like 1/4 of the way into Making It All Work at the moment.

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i thought about trying Apple’s Audiobooks but i always thought they are not the same as an actual book. is it worth giving it a try? thanks

I like Apple’s Audiobooks because it’s on the watch, has a nice catalog, and stays within the Apple ecosystem. Some of the books (like Ready for Anything) are abridged, but the authors disclose it.

Hi, I read out this books which is given below:
How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity, by David Allen.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey.
Think Like da Vinci: 7 Easy Steps to Boosting Your Everyday Genius, by Michael Gelb. deck card games