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If I'm interested in increasing my personal productivity. What publications or books should I read based on reviews and number of copies sold?

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Richard, welcome to productivity.SE. I've modified your post to put it in the form of a question and reworded the body to try and make a good subjective question where you're asking people for their recommendations, rather than a list of popular productivity books. The latter is more of a poll-type question that is generally discouraged on SE sites. –  Adam Wuerl Jul 29 '11 at 14:41
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@Richard Clunan: This entire site is about "Personal Productivity" covering a large range of concerns. Your question is very broad and open-ended, so users are just reciting random, popular books and techniques without any indication of what problem you are actually trying to solve. These sites work better when you ask very specific questions about problems you encounter in your day to day work. What problem are you trying to solve? What problems have you encountered? I'm sorry, but I have to close this as overly vague and incomplete. –  Robert Cartaino Jul 30 '11 at 2:39
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closed as not a real question by Robert Cartaino Jul 30 '11 at 2:39

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

7 Answers

Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

Allen, a management consultant and executive coach, provides insights into attaining maximum efficiency and at the same time relaxing whenever one needs or wants to. Readers learn that there is no single means for perfecting organizational efficiency or productivity; rather, the author offers tools to focus energies strategically and tactically without letting anything fall through the cracks.

He provides tips, techniques, and tricks for implementation of his workflow management plan, which has two basic components: capture all the things that need to get done into a workable, dependable system; and discipline oneself to make front-end decisions with an action plan for all inputs into that system. In short, do it (quickly), delegate it (appropriately), or defer it.

While an infomercial for the author's consulting practice, this road map for organizational efficiency may help many who have too much to do in too little time, both professionally and in their personal lives.

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Stephen Covey, although also considered a management guru, is definitely one of the most well-known and sold personal productivity authors. His 1989 7 habits of hightly effective people is still one of the most must-read books around.

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1 habit, be proactive.. –  Soner Gönül Sep 8 '11 at 12:45
    
You can save some time and money by reading the Wikipedia page. –  Soner Gönül Sep 19 '12 at 9:19
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The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo and is aimed at establishing a standard to measure productivity. Roughly, the technique consists in scheduling 5 minutes breaks after 25 minutes of focused work. Every of these 25 minutes is named "pomodoro" and every succesfull pomodoro is a +1 in your productivity report.

Popularity

It's hard to tell how many copies were sold but the technique is well known in this Q&A community, not to mention the author is giving away free copies in his site, but a quick search in Google shows over 400k results specifically about "Pomodoro Technique".

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Speed Reading

by Tony Buzan

The newly revised and updated edition of the classic book on improving reading speed and comprehension. Buzan offers a flexible approach to reading, combining traditional information on speed reading with the latest discoveries about the potential and workings of the brain.

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Recommended reading for being more productive:

  • Kerry Gleeson: The Personal Efficiency Program: How to Get Organized to Do More Work in Less Time
  • Michael Linenberger: Master Your Workday Now!
  • Stephen Covey: 7 habits of highly effective people
  • Leo Babauta: zenhabits ( http://zenhabits.net) and his eBooks (see here: http://zenhabits.net/about/)
  • David Allen: Getting Things Done

I found all those books interesting and helpful and (as far as I remember) they all got quite positive feedback in reviews at big online bookstores — you might check that yourself.

There are many parallels between the concepts, but they have different focuses and partly different strategies. In my opinion, one should/can pick the best ideas of each one — those that are working best.

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While not strictly productivity, Edward de Bono's 6 Thinking Hats is one of the best ways to organize both your thinking and your productivity. It's a very short book, and a very simple system, but it's very rich in applications and will definitely boost your own ability to produce.

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