Every year Fast Company taps some of the most productive people in business, entertainment, politics and more to find out their secrets to getting so much done. We get a peek inside their routines and habits and even some of their favorite books that inspire them.
Here are five books that help fuel the work of 2018’s Most Productive People:
Perhaps unsurprising for a budding enterprise–but rare for one that grew out of an arts society–Janelle Monáe’s company Wondaland (a record label, production studio, brand consultancy, management firm, and more) turned to business books to determine how best to structure itself. One that particularly resonated with them was Ed Catmull’s chronicle of Pixar’s rise, called Creativity Inc. “We really passed that book around,” says Chuck Lightning, Wondaland’s creative director, who says it demonstrated “the importance of figuring out who’s on our team, making sure that everyone we worked with understood what we were trying to do creatively.”
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Even more significant to Monáe and her Wondaland team was Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’s Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, which inspired them to create the company’s Vision Board, along with a set of core values and guiding principles. “We handed [printouts] around to everybody at the meeting when were getting signed at Atlantic [Records] so they could understand what our big, hairy, audacious goals were as an organization,” says Lightning. “And we can always go back to the core values when any shareholder or manager asks us about doing shows or endorsements or whatever. Even in the studio, one of us can always opt out of a lyric by going to the core values–to say, like, “ ’That would make sense if we were making a party song, but this is a song about climate change.’ ”
Log off: How to Stay Connected After Disconnecting
Headlines are important, especially these days, but too much news consumption can be distracting (and dismaying). Limit your all-day intake to two sources: a trusted news-gathering organization and a feed related to your industry, says Blake Snow, author of Log Off: How to Stay Connected After Disconnecting.
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
“Seventy-five percent of Americans can reach their phones without moving their feet 24 hours a day,” says Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. “It’s easier to resist the charms of your inbox if it’s not within reach.”
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success With the Secrets of the ADHD Brain
Some of his tactics may seem extreme: When Peter Shankman was two weeks from a book deadline in 2014, he bought a $5,000 round-trip business-class ticket to Tokyo, hopped on the flight the next day, and returned home 30 hours later with a finished draft. But many of his approaches can apply to anyone, whether they have ADHD (and $5,000 to spare) or not. Shankman offers many tips for boosting your productivity, in his most recent book, Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success With the Secrets of the ADHD Brain.
Social Media Wellness
Sometimes the obvious solution is also the best: Delete the apps from your phone. If everybody did, we’d reduce an incremental creep that makes it harder and harder to resist social pressure, says Ana Homayoun, author of Social Media Wellness.