I’m so excited about the wonderful reception there has been to Nonfiction November, a month-long celebration of nonfiction I’m co-hosting with Leslie of Regular Rumination! Throughout the month, we’ll be reading and writing about nonfiction, and encouraging other readers to join us through a series of post topics.
Last week we had a bunch of different people join in to share some of their favorite nonfiction books. You can check out a wrap-up for the week over at Leslie’s blog. This week we wanted to give a variety of options to write, but all focused around sharing several nonfiction books on a single topic:
Be the Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Share a list of nonfiction books on a topic you know a lot about. Or, ask for some advice for books on a particular topic. Or, put together a list of nonfiction books on a topic you’re curious about.
One of the topics that I’ve been obsessed with this year is personal productivity and time and attention management. I’m a pretty productive person, but I’ve found that if I’m not careful I lose track of things that need to get done as well as the time I need to do them. I’ve read several books this year on these topic, and purchased even more that I haven’t made time to read yet that I wanted to share with you.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen — This is probably the Bible of the personal productivity movement. In the book, Allen outlines five-stages of workflow and a system designed to address those steps. I read this book near the beginning of the year and implemented parts of Allen’s process, but have since slacked off since only implementing parts of the system doesn’t really allow you to do GTD well. But the basic principles of the method make a lot of sense to me — write things down, put them in the place that makes sense, review your lists, find ways to give yourself reminders in context and keep strong walls around your systems. I’m hoping to revisit this book sometime before the end of the year so I can really do GTD well.
For More: David Allen has made a big business out of productivity. A couple of his other books that I want to pick up are Making It All Work and Ready for Anything.
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei — This book is a collection of short essays by “leading creative minds” about how to create time during a hectic work environment to do strong creative work. The essays are divided into four sections: building a rock-solid routine, finding focus in a distracted world, taming your tools, and sharpening your creative mind. If you’ve read a lot on time and productivity, then many of these essays won’t cover new ground, but a lot of it was new and helpful to me. It was nice to see about how real people have developed strategies for making time for important work.
For More: The organization that put together Manage Your Day-to-Day came out with a second book last month, Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks and Build and Incredible Career. I bought this one right away, but I haven’t started reading it yet.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam — Last year, I read Laura Vanderkam’s most recent book, All the Money in the World. When I started on this productivity kick, I immediately thought to buy her first book, 168 Hours. In the book, Vanderkam takes on the myth that we don’t have enough time to do what we want by talking with people who have managed to find time to do incredible things. I’ve skimmed some sections of this, but haven’t made the time to read the whole thing. But I’m excited to check it out and see what advice Vanderkam can offer.
For More: Earlier this year, Vanderkam published a paperback that collects three ebook shorts she wrote after 168 Hours, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. The book looks at strategies for maximizing mornings, weekends and work. I’ve read the section on weekends, which gave me many good ideas about planning to make weekends more invigorating. I’m looking forward to the rest.
The Distraction Addiction by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang — I’m not going to say a ton about this book today, since I’m hoping to have a full review up on Wednesday. In brief, Pang looks at ways we can remain connected to ourselves without sacrificing intelligence, attention spans or quality of life. The book was a perfect mix of philosophical and practical advice that resonated strongly with me.
For More: Fellow book lover Rebecca Schinsky has been raving about Clive Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think, which looks to be a book in the same vein. I bought it on impulse and really hope to get to it this month.
I’m not sure if all the time invested in reading about productivity has actually made me more productive. I think I know what the strategies for productivity and focus are, I just continue to struggle to implement them myself. But I want to do better, and think that these books are helping me to slowly get there.
Before we get to the Mr. Linky, a couple of quick programming notes:
- I’ll be doing the wrap up, so check back here sometime on Friday to see a summary of what everyone has been writing about.
- If you post any reviews of nonfiction books this week, include them in the Mr. Linky. I’ll add those to the wrap-up as well.
- If you’re talking about Nonfiction November on Twitter, please use the hashtag #nonficnov for your posts so we can find them. Happy reading!