Books on business productivity: All the tips, tricks and hacks

Books on business productivity: All the tips, tricks and hacks

Posted: Wed 9th Aug 2023

Sometimes we find inspiration in books on the first page, others seem to take an age to get through.

And funnily enough, as we're talking productivity here it should be simple to find the tips, tricks and hacks we're all looking for! Books on personal development and business success are big sellers but where do you start?

At a Lunch and Learn webinar on productivity with Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones, I was asked which books and podcasts I'd recommend. So I took a browse through my bookcase and Audible library and have summarised a few of my favourites here.

Getting started

The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins, who has some great YouTube interviews and clips too. I'd say this is one of the most accessible methods out there and will spur you into action.

If you're struggling to get started, form a new habit and get on the road to productivity, you could do far worse than starting with the straight-talking Mel.


The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is very digestible, as is the unpleasant-sounding Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. They both address how to focus on the main tasks at hand, which ones are going to help your business or goals and how to get the nasty stuff done first.

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, whose daily short videos are good. He's pretty driven when it comes to being productive, holding yourself accountable and measuring the impact of your actions.

The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran is great for really accelerating 12 months' progress and planning. Be warned, it takes a lot of commitment but the payoffs can be great. I'd say it's like a hard productivity bootcamp.


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg covers how the science of habits can be used to increase willpower. It's worth reading into how we build habits in order to address productivity.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson deals with how we can make simple daily decisions and consistent choices for success. It's not a self-help book so don't be put off by my choice of the word "success" here. But in terms of understanding habit-forming principles, it's great.

If you're desperate to get up early, Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod will kick you into action, as will anything by the Big Man Tony Robbins (no relation to 5-second Mel). Or perhaps just buy a mini trampoline and bounce on that, it seems to get him going.


Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck will cover off any doubts you might have about the stories we tell ourselves about our talents and abilities being fixed. The power of mindset is huge and impacts our endeavours, which can be influenced by our attitude to growth and developing our abilities.

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey is a bookshelf stalwart but not always read cover to cover. His methods are wide-reaching so you can thank Mr Covey for many leadership and coaching tools and tricks out there as in the right hands, they've been very effective.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr is also a good one for considering what your inner mentor might have to say to counter your inner critic. It's a good book for women wanting to take bold action and manage fear and self-doubt.


Everyone will find inspiration in different places, but the two most impactful books I've read are by John O'Leary and Viktor Frankl. Michaela Haas with Bouncing Forward is also a great read on the power of post-traumatic growth.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is an enlightening read on the areas of finding purpose and focus even during the bleakest of times. It's not an easy read but offers a fascinating insight into our ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances and to find significance in the art of living.

John O'Leary's On Fire remains one of my favourite books and it helped me to make sense of a decision point I was trying to fathom out. Also, his Live Inspired podcast series never fails to inspire, with his guests who often see beyond great challenges to do things we can aspire to learn from.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek is also worth diving into. And he's got loads of YouTube clips too on how to differentiate in leadership and business by understanding your "why".

I work with business owners on making sense of all this and putting pragmatic and sensible plans in place to work more efficiently and productively. There's no point in consuming all this information and not doing anything meaningful with it.

It's worth noting that there's a myriad of fabulous independent booksellers out there so all the links here are just for reference. Some are quoted from US sources but all are available in the UK.

Relevant resources

Emma Mills-Sheffield started Mindsetup after spending 15 years in industry leading major sales projects, process improvements, training programmes, workshop facilitation and coaching. She worked for KPMG, WSP and in the creative and digital industries and has experience across the public sector, FTSE100 and Fortune500 companies. As an independent business consultant, she now focuses on helping businesses drive efficiency and productivity and build resilience to get the best from their organisation but also importantly for their employees. Her approach is based on identifying how businesses can run more efficiently and through coaching and training how employees can develop and thrive in the workplace. But more importantly, and what sets Emma apart, is her experience in resilience, growth, empathy and knowing that life is short, which means she offers a very different approach to coaching and business consultancy. Her mantra is “life is short” as she believes in having fun at work as well as working hard. Emma is also one of 2020’s f:Entrepreneurs which celebrates female entrepreneurs, is a Fellow of the RSA, the Chair of the Board for the charity Grassroots Suicide Prevention and mentors many small businesses and students. Typically she works with businesses on: - Business strategy & planning - Leadership coaching - Operational efficiency - Organisational development - Team development

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