22 Best Productivity Books for Startup Founders

Stack of books on a library shelf.

There are a lot of things to worry about when you're starting a business. You have to think about the product, the market, the competition, and acquiring customers. Finding ways to constantly stay productive during the hours you have will make a big difference in your long-term success.

Get expert advice from authors who have been in your shoes and know what it takes to stay productive even during the most chaotic of times.

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Top Books on Productivity for Entrepreneurs

The books below won't just teach you how to stay productive but they'll give you the right tools to make lasting changes. They'll show you how to manage your time, prioritize your tasks, and get more done in less time.

Also Recommended: Check out our list of the best startup books.

1. ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’ by David Allen

If you're looking for the right structure and strategy that can help keep you productive even throughout stressful times, "Getting Things Done” will get you there.

David Allen puts forth an entire organizational system that successful founders and entrepreneurs have used for more than a decade. You'll get systems that prioritize everything from menial tasks to the most crucial responsibilities.

2. ‘Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World’ by Cal Newport

Deep Work” by Cal Newport helps those who find themselves getting caught up in distractions with ways to produce better results in less time.

This book is great for those who have grown up with the distractions of social media and the internet and need help refocusing their attention. You'll learn how to focus your attention, eliminate distractions, and increase your productivity.

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

Productivity is often a case of building habits over a period of time that lead to lasting change. In "Atomic Habits,” James Clear provides readers with a framework for doing just that.

You'll learn how to create good habits and break bad ones while understanding the science behind why we form habits in the first place. This book is perfect for entrepreneurs who want to make changes that stick.

4. ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is known as the human guinea pig for a reason. He's tested out a lot of different productivity strategies, and in “The 4-Hour Workweek,” he outlines some of his most successful methods.

Entrepreneurs of every industry have used his tips because they are proven to work and have a basis in scientific research that shows what humans can do to be more productive.

5. ‘No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline for Success in Your Life’ by Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is a well-known author in the productivity and self-development space. In "No Excuses!,” he provides readers with actionable advice that can be implemented immediately to see results.

Tracy’s insights on self-discipline should help you gain better control of your job as well as your personal goals and overall happiness. There are helpful exercises at the end of each chapter that help you apply the lessons in the book to your real life.

Looking for more book recommendations? We asked startup founders to share their favorite books on entrepreneurship, and here's what they said.

6. ‘Rework’ by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

Contrary to many of the other business books that focus on the nuts and bolts, "Rework” asks readers to turn inward in order to find solutions. Heinemeier and Fried believe all you need to do is stop wasting time talking and consuming content and start working.

This book is the perfect combination that gives you business advice along with tips on how to stay productive enough to see your efforts succeed.

7. ‘Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction’ by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey recognizes the distractions the modern world brings and provides strategies to overcome them. He delves into the science of productivity in order to better understand how we can make the most of our time.

Bailey’s book is perfect for anyone who struggles with focus and concentration. It will give you a better understanding of how you work best and how to make changes to your routine in order to be more productive.

8. ‘The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Many entrepreneurs see the end result of a person's hard work and assume they must be special. The truth couldn't be any further from that. In fact, the most successful people are often those who focus on a single task and see it through to the end.

The ONE Thing” is perfect for anyone who feels like they're trying to do too much at once. It will teach you how to focus on your one thing and let go of everything else.

9. ‘Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less’ by Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt is an accomplished author with several best-selling books, but his latest work might be his best yet. "Free to Focus” is a step-by-step guide that helps you eliminate distractions, focus on your most important tasks, and achieve more in less time.

Learn the nine ways Hyatt outlines that can help you win at work so that you have time to focus on what really matters, your family, your health, and your relationships.

10. ‘Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life’ by Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal contemplates how good life can be when you follow through on your intentions and stay focused. In "Indistractable,” he teaches readers the psychology behind being distracted and how being productive has less to do with putting down screens and more to do with inner turmoil.

These lessons are part practical and part inspirational to help you stay on task no matter what life throws your way.

11. ‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown

In "Essentialism,” Greg McKeown teaches us that less is more and that by doing less, we can actually achieve more. He helps readers focus on their essential goals and let go of the non-essentials.

This book is perfect for anyone who feels like they're spreading themselves too thin. By being disciplined in what we need, we can find more room to get what we want.

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

Charles Duhigg does a fantastic job in "The Power of Habit,” teaching us the science behind our habits and how we can change them. He helps us understand that our habits are not destiny but rather something we have control over.

If you're looking to break some bad habits or develop some good ones, this is the book for you. It will teach you how to identify your triggers and create a plan to change your behavior.

13. ‘Manage Your Day-to-Day’ by Jocelyn K. Glei

Jocelyn K. Glei does more than just give you tips on how to stay productive — she interviews 20 of the leading creative minds to provide a complete toolkit for productivity.

The workplace has demanded more and more of an entrepreneur's time, and with Manage Your Day-To-Day, Glei helps founders realize what they need to do in order to accomplish their goals.

14. ‘168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think’ by Laura Vanderkam

Everyone in the world has the same 168 hours in a week, yet some people seem to accomplish so much more than others. In her book "168 Hours,” Laura Vanderkam helps us understand how we can use our time more efficiently.

She provides tips and tricks on everything from time management to goal setting to help you make the most of every hour. There's valuable insight to prioritizing what really matters in life so that it never seems to get too bad.

15. ‘How to Stop Procrastinating’ by S.J. Scott

S.J. Scott lays it all out in a straightforward way anyone can understand in "How to Stop Procrastinating.” There are eight specific reasons they lay out why people procrastinate, and Scott helps give you the tools to overcome them all.

In this book, you'll learn ways to create actionable goals, how to say no to people, and important ways to plan your week so that you don't have to worry about procrastination.

16. ‘The 5AM Club’ by Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma has been a leadership and elite performance expert for over 20 years, and in "The 5AM Club,” he lays out a simple yet effective framework to help you get the most out of your day.

The book is based on the idea that if you wake up at five in the morning, you have two extra hours to work on your dreams and goals before the rest of the world even wakes up.

17. ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey

Countless numbers of entrepreneurs and startup founders have read and been impacted by Stephen Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Covey lays out seven habits that will help you be more effective in every area of your life. He helps you understand that true effectiveness comes from a character ethic rather than a personality ethic.

18. ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ by James E. Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Instead of focusing on the amount of time that every person has in their day, "The Power of Full Engagement” teaches how to manage your energy in order to get what you want. Understand the basics of managing energy, from eating the right foods to getting the right amount of sleep.

19. ‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracy

Most people put off what they don't want to do until the last second but "Eat That Frog!” helps you understand that if you do the things you don't want to do first, the rest of your day will be a breeze.

You'll learn 21 different ways how to set priorities, how to overcome procrastination, and how to get more done in less time.

20. ‘Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence’ by Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and journalist who has done his research on the scientific data behind focus and attention. In "Focus,” he outlines how to use your attention like a muscle and how you can build it to become powerful and strong to get your goals accomplished.

21. ‘Smarter Faster Better’ by Charles Duhigg

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize winner and investigative journalist, and in "Smarter Faster Better,” he helps us understand the science of productivity. Duhigg delves into case studies and stories to help explain how people become productive and what we can do to replicate those conditions in our own lives.

22. ‘The 80/20 Principle’ by Richard Koch

Most people see a list of things to do and start working on anything they can that helps them feel accomplished. Kock tries to dispel this concept as a myth, and in "The 80/20 principle,” he shows readers how they can focus on the most important 20% of priorities to get 80% of their results.

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