Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

A Few Recommended Books

I live by the mantra Read and learn, or stagnate. While I don’t read as much as I’d like to, I do read widely. And regardless of who you are, there is a lot to learn from books (physical or electronic).

Here are a few books that I regularly recommend to people, and to which I regularly return. Yes, I’m still learning from them …

Focus - In this age of distraction and multitasking, it can be difficult to achieve the kind of focus that we need to complete tasks to the level that we expect. In Focus, Leo Babauta explains how to find the focus you need. The idea is simple, but difficult at the same time. Babauta offers great advice on achieving focus and, as he says, working on what’s important.

Making Ideas Happen - Creativity touches all aspects of our lives. And, yes, technical communicators need to be creative too. Often, though, our ideas and creativity clash knocking our ideas off the rails. It doesn’t have to be that way. In this book, Scott Belsky teaches you how to embrace your ideas and creativity, and use a variety of techniques to keep on tracks and realize those ideas.

The Checklist Manifesto - Can a bunch of little boxes on a piece of paper or on a screen help you do your job better? Can they help you avoid making mistakes? Can they help make you more efficient? The answer to all those questions is yes. Well, if done properly. This book is an excellent refresher for anyone who’s familiar with checklists, or if you’re new to them it can open your eyes to a new way of doing things.

Take Control of Your Paperless Office - Are you like most people who are buried in paper, most of which you don’t need? Then this book is for you. Author Joe Kissell offers guidance and strategies on how to clean out all that paper, and make it digital. Not just scanning, but how to organize and make it easy to find those documents.

The Memory Chalet - While his body was being progressively weakened by ALS, historian Tony Judt wrote this memoir about his formative years (and beyond). It’s a beautifully-written book that illustrates not only the power of memory, but also that even if it’s locked in a body that is slowly deteriorating the human mind is indeed a powerful and wonderful thing.

Do you have any books that you regularly recommend to people? Feel free to share them by leaving a comment.

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