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Top 10 Books To Read Recommended By Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, And Elon Musk

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Top 10 Books To Read Recommended By Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, And Elon Musk

Want to know what goes on inside the minds of billionaires, global leaders, and game-changers?

Read what they read.

No matter how successful people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, or Barack Obama are today, they all acquired their knowledge and experience over time. And they admit that books were a big part of the journey.

I know what you’re thinking: what were these books?

Luckily for us, they’ve publicly shared their most recommended and impactful books that have helped them get to where they are today.

We’ve compiled the top 10 books to read, and brought it here for you to enjoy.

Enjoy these 10 books, and share the knowledge with others!

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Top 10 Books To Read

1. Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand

Recommended by: Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban
Topic: Politics & Business
One-sentence summary: “Solve the world’s problem through entrepreneurial solutions.”

When Steve Wozniak was interviewed about what influenced Steve Jobs in the early days of building Apple, he mentioned that Atlas Shrugged was one of the books that Jobs used as his guide to life & business.

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    2. Competing Against Time By George Stalk

    Recommended by: Tim Cook
    Topic: Business, Economy, Productivity
    One-sentence summary: “Time is now added to the other three critical factors in order to remain competitiveness in the market – money, productivity, and quality.”

    Competing Against Time is a book that Tim Cook passes out everywhere and makes it a recommendation for all new hires at Apple to read.

    apple-ceo-tim-cook-is-a-huge-fan-of-competing-against-time-by-george-stalk-jr-its-about-managing-supply-chains-to-get-a-competitive-boost-something-apple-has-to-worry-about-a-lot

      3. Business Adventures By John Brooks

      Recommended by: Warren Buffet and Bill Gates
      Topic: Business & Finance
      One-sentence summary: “A classic story about the American corporate and financial life.”

      What do two of the richest men in the world have in common? They love the writings of John Brooks. Gates writes in his essay about Business Adventures: “Brooks eschews ‘listicles’ and doesn’t ‘boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success.’ Instead, he tells entertaining stories replete with richly drawn characters, setting them during heightened moments within the world of commerce.”

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      Buffett’s classic sayings, such as “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out,” fits right into the style of Brooks writing as well.

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        4. Influence By Robert Cialdini

        Recommended by: Charlie Munger and Guy Kawasaki
        Topic: Psychology, Persuasion, Marketing
        One-sentence summary: “Science-backed methods to persuade just about anyone you want.”

        Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s partner in crime at Berkshire Hathaway, attributes Cialdini’s work as having a big influence on his thinking process. His published work of the 25 Cognitive Biases of humans was very much influenced by Cialdini’s work.

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          5. Life Is What You Make It By Peter Buffett

          Recommended by: Bill Clinton
          Topic: Life, Purpose, Autobiography
          One-sentence summary: “Instead of taking the way of least resistance, choose the path to greatest satisfaction.”

          This autobiography book by Peter Buffett, Warren Buffett’s son, shares the wisdom learned from his family and his experiences. Here’s how Ted Turner, Media Icon and the Founder of CNN, describes it: “With home-spun, heart-felt wisdom Peter Buffett ponders how to make a meaningful life, while making a living.”

          life-is-what-you-make-it-pb

            6. The Happiness Hypothesis By Jonathan Haidt

            Recommended by: Tony Hsieh
            Topic: Happiness, Culture, Philosophy,
            One-sentence summary: “Giving and serving are the way to happiness.”

            “This is probably the book that’s made the biggest impact on my life over the past five years. The author examines the beliefs about happiness of different cultures, religions and philosophers from different periods, and then compares those beliefs with research that’s been done on the science of happiness. The book is thought-provoking and the concepts can be applied to business and to life.” – Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos)

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              7. The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

              Recommended by: Oprah Winfrey and Jack Dorsey
              Topic: Spirituality, Life, Happiness
              One-sentence summary: The book can be summarized in the following four precepts:

              1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
              2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
              3. Don’t Make Assumptions
              4. Always Do Your Best

              dorsey1

                As Jack Dorsey is in the process of running two publicly traded companies, Twitter and Square, he’s forced to mature as a leader. Throughout his journey, he acknowledges The Four Agreement as guiding him in the right path.

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                  8. Self-Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson

                  Recommended by: Barack Obama
                  Topic: Individualism, non-conformity and independence
                  One-sentence summary: “Hold on to your own convictions, despite what society and other people want you to believe.”

                  Self-Reliance is what put Ralph Waldo Emerson on the map as one of the most influential poets and philosophers of the 19th century. President Obama referenced this essay as one of the most significant books to him in an email to Jon Meacham from the New York Times, and even referenced the importance of self-reliance in his 2008 election victory speech.

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                    9. Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin By Walter Isaacson

                    Recommended by: Elon Musk
                    Topic: Autobiography, Entrepreneurship, Benjamin Franklin
                    One-sentence summary: “The rise of Benjamin Franklin from the bottom to the top.”

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                    Elon Musk, the Co-Founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, has said that Ben Franklin is one of his heroes, and likely sees Franklin as the type of American he himself would like to be and become: a combination of statesman, inventor, and businessman.

                    “You can see how [Franklin] was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.” -Elon Musk

                    ben-franklin

                      10. The Remains Of The Day By Kazuo Ishiguro

                      Recommended by: Jeff Bezos
                      Topic: History, World War II, Life & Regret
                      One-sentence summary: “A compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world postwar England.”

                      “Before reading it, I didn’t think a perfect novel was possible. I’m always interested in things that seem to be impossible, but are then achieved.” -Jeff Bezos

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                        Over To You

                        Which of these top 10 books to read caught your interest?
                        Is there a book that’s on your list, that didn’t make it to our top 10 books to read? Please share with us!

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                        Sean Kim

                        Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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                        Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                        Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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                        Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                        “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                        Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                        “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                        Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                        Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                        “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                        This is my mantra:

                        I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                        But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                        Addiction to Productivity is Real

                        Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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                        “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                        Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                        “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                        Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                        “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                        “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                        “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                        There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                        Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                        By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                        Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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                        Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                        Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                        Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                        The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                        Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                        • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                        • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                        • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                        • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                        • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                        • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                        • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                        The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                        Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                        Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                        1. Set Limits

                        Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                        For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                        2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                        Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                        3. Be Vulnerable

                        By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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                        4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                        Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                        Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                        There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                        5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                        Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                        That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                        6. Say Yes to Less

                        Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                        That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                        Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                        7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                        “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                        “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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                        • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                        • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                        • Establish realistic goals.
                        • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                        • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                        • Hold yourself accountable.
                        • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                        • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                        8. Simplify

                        Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                        The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                        9. Learn How to Relax

                        “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                        “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                        “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                        But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                        • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                        • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                        • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                        • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                        • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                        • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                        • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                        • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                        • Visit a massage therapist.
                        • Just breathe.

                        “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                        It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                        Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                        Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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