While it’s nearly February and you’re wondering where on earth January went, you may be already teetering on the edge of reneging on their New Year’s resolutions.
If your resolution was to up the ante in scanning business books to improve your professional life and productivity but it’s tough going, do not fret.
While services like getAbstract promise to help you “know more in less time,” not every business book is a 400-plus page tome that takes a month to read.
Here are three short books I’ve discovered (through social media and word-of-mouth) and recommend as quick reads:
1. Eat That Frog!
I actually read this 2007 title a few years ago but return to it each January to remind me how to focus on the task at hand and not get lost in the random influx of digital distractions. The premise behind Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time is that if you eat a frog the first thing in the morning, then your day can only get better.
What the 127-page book essentially suggests is that although humans might have progressed to making lists of tasks and to-dos to complete each workday, many people find it easier to tick off the quick and easy things, leaving the big, onerous task till the last minute.
Tracy empowers the reader with suggestions for getting started on the bigger deliverables and not putting off the elephant (or frog) in the inbox.
As someone prone to procrastination, I’ve found Eat That Frog a very useful resource for strategies for getting things done earlier and avoiding all the stress and bother.
2. Marketing: A Love Story.
This book, published last year, caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, it’s inexpensive, costing just $2.99 on Amazon’s Kindle. Second, the author, Bernadette Jiwa, was thoroughly recommended by marketing god Seth Godin.
In Marketing: A Love Story: How to Matter to Your Customers, Bernadette Jiwa takes readers on a whirlwind trip through the field of content marketing and storytelling in a matter-of-fact yet engaging manner.
Compiled from a series of popular blog posts, the 80-page book is a short compendium of the latest thinking (with examples) about what great marketing is in a digital age. The ideas about marketing strategy, context and storytelling are as relevant right now as those in a longer book on these subjects but condensed into far fewer pages.
The biggest takeaway for me was how Jiwa insisted that people “stop selling stuff and start telling stories.” The days of sledgehammer marketing are over. Put your customer at the heart of how you position your product or service and tell stories about how it will make them feel. This is the way forward in a world where consumers are much more savvy about how they’re being marketed to.
Related: 6 Ways to Stay Mentally Fit for Life
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
It might seem odd to poin to a tiny book of 206 pages designed to reduce clutter at home as a business book. But I believe that reducing clutter in your professional life can only lead to clearer thinking and increased productivity.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, published last yearby Marie Kondo, is an accessible read, full of great ideas and reasons behind her methods to reduce the amount of personal stuff in life to inspire positive results: a “calm, motivated mindset.”
My favorite section is the one on books. Apparently I’m not alone in my habit of hoarding books I’ve never read but might “sometime” read. Suggesting that “sometime” will almost always never come, Kondo in a direct but refreshing tone encourages people to let go of such books, thereby removing the pressure to read them.
Think about your workstation or desk. Consider your email inbox or all the files bloating your computer’s desktop. Spending some time on a “spring cleaning” of your work environment (physical and virtual) could replenish your mind, help you focus and become less overwhelmed and more productive.
Do you have any short reads to recommend and why?
Related: The 4 Best Ways to Keep Inspired