9 Beach Reads for Ambitious People

Instead of bringing a trashy romance novel to the beach this summer, stuff your beach bag with the following productivity books to reenergize you before your return to the office.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This classic's conversational tone makes the disciplined life seem doable as well as worthwhile--and you'll look like the most ambitious person on the beach.

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

In this slim and swift-moving handbook, Tharp teaches readers how to be structured enough about creativity to summon it on command.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris

Time and adventures: Topics perfect for a relaxing getaway. Ferriss’s 2007 manifesto is good for making people ask what kind of adventures they’d like to try, and how to make those happen.

Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck

With her self-deprecating humor, Beck guides readers toward figuring out what their essential selves want in life.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Rubin’s memoir of her own attempts to become happier zips along while simultaneously showing readers the steps they need to take.

Manage Your Day-To-Day by by Jocelyn K. Glei

With varied voices, you can dip in and dip out of this collection of essays as you contemplate how to spend less time on email and more on what matters.

The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Duhigg examines the research on how to replace bad habits with good ones, so you can get more done--or at least stop noshing on chocolate chip cookies.

Switch by Chip and Dan Heath

The authors describe how change happens in people and organizations, with anecdotes that are entertaining enough to give this one a place ocean-side.

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Allen's book is practical in figuring out how to get more done on Monday morning. It’s a nice balance to a lot of the big picture books on this list--something to flip through before you head out to the waves.

9 Beach Reads For Ambitious People

Instead of bringing a trashy romance novel to the beach this summer, stuff your beach bag with the following productivity books to reenergize before your return to the office.

Yes, you go to the beach to get away from work. But a bit of distance from normal life could be just what you need to think about your big goals, and how you intend to get there.

These nine productivity books aren’t typical beach reads. Nor is this an exhaustive list of the “best” productivity books out there--while other books may have more transformative and dense messages; they won’t leave your bag if the latest John Grisham novel is in there. These books hit a sweet spot with interesting tips in page after page, and they will hold your attention while you soak up the sun.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey’s classic is still the productivity tome all are judged against. Though some examples sound increasingly dated 25 years post-publication, the advice to take control of your life, and focus on the important, not urgent, continues to resonate. Covey’s conversational tone makes the disciplined life seem doable as well as worthwhile.

The Creative Habit

by Twyla Tharp

Choreographer Twyla Tharp can turn the raw material of a few bodies into a mesmerizing scene. It looks like magic, but none of it is. In this slim and swift-moving handbook, she teaches readers how to be structured enough about creativity to summon it on command.

The 4-Hour Workweek

by Tim Ferris

You probably aren’t going to create a passive income stream and retire to Tahiti at age 36. But, removed from the literal aspect, Tim Ferriss’s 2007 manifesto is good for making people ask what kind of adventures they’d like to try, and how to make those happen. Anyone can make more money, but no one can make more time. People with lots of time are the truly rich among us.

Finding Your Own North Star

by Martha Beck

Martha Beck is Oprah’s favorite life coach. With her self-deprecating humor, she guides readers toward figuring out what their essential selves want in life. It doesn’t matter how productive you are if you’re heading in the wrong direction, Beck advises. This book provides plenty of practical tips for building the life you want, rather than what the mythical “everybody” has in store.

The Happiness Project

by Gretchen Rubin

Research increasingly finds that happy people are productive people. Gretchen Rubin’s 2010 memoir of her own attempts to become happier zips along while simultaneously showing readers the steps they need to take. Yes, happiness will require work. But if you want a productive life, it’s worth a shot.

Manage Your Day-to-Day

by Jocelyn K. Glei

This compilation of essays from 99U looks at how to structure your life to make meaningful work possible. With varied voices, you can dip in and dip out as you contemplate how to spend less time on email and more on what matters.

The Power of Habit

by Charles Duhigg

We are often slaves to our routines. In his 2012 bestseller, Charles Duhigg examines the research on how to replace bad habits with good ones, so you can get more done--or at least stop noshing on chocolate chip cookies.

Switch

by Chip and Dan Heath

Chip and Dan Heath describe how change happens in people and organizations. If you read a lot of productivity literature, then you’ll be familiar with all the major studies referenced. The anecdotes are entertaining enough to give this one a place ocean-side.

Getting Things Done

by David Allen

David Allen’s perennial best-seller does not tell stories of successful companies, or inspirations from executives who turned companies around. While Allen lacks a narrative compared with the beach reads above, his book is practical in figuring out how to get more done on Monday morning. It’s a nice balance to a lot of the big picture books on this list--something to flip through before you head out to the waves.

Which productivity books would you bring to the beach?

[Image: Flickr user Tim Bartel]

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6 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing this great list for the summer! I just finished a book I want to recommend called "Conversations That Sell" by author and business woman Nancy Bleeke (http://www.conversationsthatsell.com/). What I loved about this book is that it outlines modern and realistic strategies for personal sales techniques. It is so important to know your client, and know how to have a proper business conversations without coming across as "canned" or generic. This book uses real world examples to demonstrate the power of preparation and foresight when entering into a sales/business, meeting, pitch, etc. I really feel like I've had a shot in the arm after this read and fully plan on utilizing several of the strategies and ideas I found in this book in my business going forward. Hope you will check it out!

  • Meghann Bjarnesen Minton

    I read "Let My People Go Surfing" by Yvonne Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia) on my wedding/honeymoon in Hawaii. While it was a "career" book, it did bring me a great amount of insight, had a wonderful narrative, and felt appropriate for the location. Then again, I also read the memoir that I found in one of the beach shacks we stayed in, written by that 13 year old girl who had her arm eaten by a shark...so you know, balance.

  • Scott Caldwell

    The absolute last thing in the world I would want to read at the beach is anything to do with my career. That is not a lack of ambition, it is just a realisation that to be more productive I need to value the times when I don't need to have both eyes on work and money. I'll be a much better colleague on my return because of it.

    Therefore, my trips to the beach will be spent sipping cold beer and reading a James Bond novell for the umpteenth time.

  • I'm amazed that this is the best that can be suggested to read at the beach: books written by 'experts' who's only claim to fame appears to be having written a self-help book.

    What about literature? I don't mean romance novels (which I assume are aimed at women only), how about reading proper literature? Tolstoy, Proust, Faulkner....no?

    None of that at the beach?

  • Really? You need to be so engaged that you need to read about productivity at the beach? Why on earth, would anyone in their right mind do such a thing? Maybe if you feel that you need to be productive at the beach you need to wake up and realize that life is passing you by. You're so busy amassing wealth, success, prestige, whatever that you don't have time to enjoy the incredible beauty of where you are at and disconnect.

    Look in the mirror people. Enjoy nature, your family, sunshine, a good story or even a trashy novel if that excites you.

  • ireadromance

    Although I appreciate the title list you suggest above, I am not pleased with the phrase, "trashy romance novel." Haven't we moved on from such wording? Is it not possible to appreciate all genres and non-fiction areas? Use of such language makes me re-think the knowledge of this list and its maker.