Book Summary: Find your focus.

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results

by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The ONE Thing answers the question, what’s the path to success? Opportunities are everywhere, but that abundance is overwhelming. Plus, we swim against the tide of myths about success that keep us playing small. This book explains how focusing on your ONE Thing allows you to do less while having more, achieve exceptional results, and live an extraordinary life.

The key tool is the “focusing question:” What’s the ONE Thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary? It’s a disarmingly simple question that can have a profound impact when applied. It has the power to keep you laser-focused on what matters most — for your long-term goals and any area of your life.

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Book Summary: The how-to guide for focusing on what matters.

Book cover: Essentialism

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown

Essentialism isn’t about time management, goal setting, or other tactics and tricks. It’s about developing a strategic mindset focused on identifying what matters most, continuously navigating toward what’s essential, and pursuing the right activities to achieve what matters to you. It doesn’t challenge us to do more, but to think differently.

To live as an Essentialist, we need to let go of three deeply ingrained beliefs: “I have to,” “It’s all important,” and “I can do both.” And replace these false assumptions with three core truths: “I choose to,” “Only a few things matter,” and “I can do anything, but not everything.”

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Book Summary: 4X your results.

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months

by Brian P. Moran & Michael Lennington

Most of us have had some brush with annual planning and are familiar with the rhythms of a 12-month plan. And in your personal and professional life, you’ve probably noticed that the bulk of the plan’s results get posted in the fourth quarter as everyone pushes to reach their goals before the end of the year. But have you ever wondered why can’t we bring forth that kind of focus, intensity, and effort throughout the year? What could we achieve? What could we get done?

The 12 Week Year answers those questions. It outlines how to dramatically increase your results by condensing your planning and execution into 12-week cycles. In this way, that year-end focus, intensity, and effort will be applied four times a year instead of just once.

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Book Summary: Reclaim your time & your life.

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

By Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky 

Make Time isn’t a book about productivity. It’s a guide for reclaiming your time and your life. It’s about making time for what truly matters to you by choosing a daily “highlight” to focus on, protecting your attention to work on it, and building the energy to complete it. As a result, you can break the default mode of busyness and become more intentional about how you live your life.

Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all prescription, this book offers an intentionally flexible framework along with 87 different tactics that you can use to customize the framework to your specific needs. The authors encourage you to experiment with different combinations of tactics, assess the results, and dial in (iterate) an approach that works best for you.

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Book Summary: Get relaxed control over your life.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

by David Allen

Getting Things Done is a productivity classic. First published in the early 2000s, the methods that productivity expert David Allen covered in this book have endured. As proof, search Google or YouTube for the book title or just “GTD,” and you’ll see that it continues to have a large following.

That’s because the ideas work. It’s also because the system is “device agnostic.” You can implement it with paper or apps. The core principles are simple. And once you get them down, you can manage the system with whatever you have at hand.

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Book Summary: Get more done and get your life back.

Free to Focus book cover

Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less

by Michael Hyatt

Leadership coach Michael Hyatt says success and efficiency aren’t the primary objectives of productivity. Instead, he proposes it is freedom. The freedom to have a rich and fulfilling life at work and elsewhere. To help you find that freedom, he offers a three-part approach to reshape your relationship with productivity and a system to curate your focus rigorously. It’s a system to take control of your time “on and off stage” and create sufficient time margin so you have the freedom to be fully present wherever you are.

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Book Summary: Take charge of your habits.

Tiny Habits book cover

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

by BJ Fogg

Everybody wants to change something, but what we achieve often falls short of what we set out to accomplish. And when that happens, we usually blame ourselves. But we’re not the problem. It’s our approach to change that’s flawed. Tiny Habits replaces that flawed design with one that’s proven to work.

Author BJ Fogg is the founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. And this book is based on his extensive work in behavioral science and design, including fieldwork with over 40,000 people who’ve taken part in Fogg’s programs over the years.

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Book Summary: The missing manual for your habits.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

by James Clear

Atomic Habits offers a straightforward, step-by-step framework for creating good habits, breaking bad ones, and driving long-term behavior change.Based on behavioral science, it provides a comprehensive manual for taking control of your habits. 

More than 40% of our daily actions are driven by habits rather than conscious thought, as mentioned in The Power of Habit summary. When so much of our behavior is automatic, it seems worthwhile to take another, deeper look at managing habits.

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Book Summary: Be the leader your team loves.

Progress Principal book cover

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work

by Teresa Amabile, Ph.D. and Steven Kramer, Ph.D.

This book uncovers the real ingredients of productivity that lead to high-performance teams and organizations. It’s principally based on research involving 238 employees in seven companies who provided daily diary entries (nearly 12,000 of them) that revealed the ups and downs of their “inner work lives” and the impact on their performance.

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Book Summary: Your habits aren’t your destiny.

The Power of Habit Book Cover

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Studying habits is a wise investment if you consider that, on average, 43 percent of our daily actions are because of habits rather than conscious thoughts. Yes, two-fifths of what we do in a day happens while we are on “autopilot”!

That’s usually okay if the outcome of our actions is aligned with our goals or at least furthers our health or safety. But what about those more challenging habits? The ones that make us unhappy with ourselves afterward? The ones that have consequences that we have to rationalize? Or worse, the ones we’ll indulge in regardless of the risks or repercussions?

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