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7 books to help rethink your relationship with productivity

Because we're so over being overwhelmed & overcommitted.

While books supporting hustle culture still outnumber those challenging it, we’re grateful for increasing interest in titles that push back against productivity at all costs. Here are a few of our favorites to help you in your journey to slow down. 

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman 

Oliver Burkeman's bestseller offers a refreshing perspective on time management that goes beyond the typical productivity hacks. With wit and wisdom, Burkeman explores the profound challenge of how to make the most of our limited lifespan — just over four thousand weeks, if you're lucky. Drawing from the wisdom of philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers, he guides readers on a journey to embrace the concept of finitude and construct a more meaningful life. Say goodbye to the never-ending quest to "get everything done" and learn to make deliberate choices about how you spend your precious time. This book is a game-changer for anyone seeking to make better decisions about time management and life itself.

How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

For those of us caught in the whirlwind of the attention economy, "How to Do Nothing" by Jenny Odell is a transformational read. In a world where our worth is often measured by our constant data productivity and our devices demand our unwavering attention, Odell's book is a refreshing field guide to dropping out of this exhausting race. She urges us to recognize our attention as a precious and finite resource, one that we can actively reclaim and direct towards more meaningful pursuits.

It's not a simplistic rejection of technology, but rather a profound call to pay attention in a different way. By doing so, we gain the power to engage in more meaningful political action, rethink our relationship with the environment, and discover new dimensions of happiness and progress. "How to Do Nothing" is an eye-opening action plan that challenges the dominant narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism, making it a must-read for those seeking a more deliberate and fulfilling way to navigate our modern world.

Digital Minimism by Cal Newport

Newport, known for his insights on deep work and productivity, introduces the concept of digital minimalism — a philosophy that has already changed countless lives. Digital minimalists are those who find calm and fulfillment in the analog world, prioritizing real connections over digital noise. Newport not only identifies this quiet movement but presents a compelling case for its relevance today. The heart of his book lies in a practical 30-day "digital declutter" plan, a roadmap to help you regain control over your tech use and reconnect with what truly matters. "Digital Minimalism" is your guide to aligning technology with your values and goals, empowering you to lead a more focused and intentional life.

Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price, Ph.D.

If your desire for a break or change of pace has ever been accompanied by worry, anxiety or guilt that you’re being lazy, Devon Price offers a much-needed perspective shift. Price, once an overachiever who pushed their limits, realized the toll this mindset took on their health. Their book delves into the psychological origins of the "laziness lie" and how it continues to pervade our lives, especially in the age of digital work tools. Leveraging a substantial body of research, Price debunks the myth that we're not doing enough, even when we're working harder than ever before. This book provides practical and accessible advice to free ourselves from the constant pressure to do more and reminds us that our self-worth isn't tied to our productivity. With real-life stories and expert insights, "Laziness Does Not Exist" is a timely and essential read for those seeking balance and well-being in an increasingly demanding world.

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Peterson

"Can't Even" by Anne Helen Petersen is a powerful exploration of millennial burnout that's essential reading for those of us navigating the neverending demands of today's world. Petersen delves deep into the cultural shifts, workplace pressures, and societal expectations that have led to the epidemic of burnout among millennials. Tapping into a wealth of research and interviews, she offers a comprehensive and relatable look at how burnout affects not just our careers but also our personal lives, relationships, and overall well-being. This book is a rallying cry for change and a profound insight into the challenges facing our generation. Whether you're a millennial looking for validation or seeking a way to combat burnout, "Can't Even" is a must-read that sheds light on the burnout culture we millennials need to confront and change.

Dropping The Ball by Tiffany Dufu

Dufu's personal journey from the continuous pursuit of doing it all to the art of letting go is both inspiring and transformative. In this memoir and manifesto, she shares her profound insights on reevaluating expectations, streamlining to-do lists, and embracing the support of others, all while flourishing in your career and nurturing meaningful relationships. Dufu's message is especially pertinent for women juggling the demands of work and family. She offers a fresh perspective on the challenges women face in leadership roles and provides actionable advice to break free from the perfectionism trap.

"Dropping the Ball" empowers you to expect less from yourself and more from those around you, allowing you to focus on what truly matters and achieve your real goals. It's a powerful guide to creating the rich, fulfilling life we all aspire to have from a founder who raised more than $1M to build The Cru and grew it until it was acquired by The Luminary in 2023.

Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Soojung-Kim Pang delivers a refreshing reminder that overworking isn't the path to success; in fact, it can be detrimental to both your well-being and career. Pang challenges the prevailing notion that relentless work is the only way forward. Drawing on scientific research and fascinating examples from history, he demonstrates that "deliberate rest" is the true key to productivity and a better life. This book is your guide to understanding the value of rest, from sleep to leisure, and how it can rejuvenate your energy, boost creativity, and ultimately enhance your effectiveness. In a culture where overwork is the norm, "Rest" offers a compelling case for slowing down to achieve more.

If you’ve read any of these, let us know what you took away!

Did we miss one of your favorites? Drop the title and/or link in the comments, so we can keep learning and unlearning with you.

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