List of BooksPMBA

10 Exceptionals Books about Productivity and Creativity in a Glance

So I just finished the Productivity & Effectiveness category of my crazy Personal MBA Challenge. Here is the list of the ten books with a quick resume and what I think about it so you can know in a glance if this book can be helpful for you πŸ˜‰ .



The Creative Habit - Learn it and use it for life

One Sentence Summary:

Creativity is learned, nourished and maintained; for inspiration to flow through us and spring forth from the mind, you must prepare, have rituals that invoke it, to know our creative DNA – what we are made for, use our memory and connect disparate things with each other, organize work documents so that we always know where to find them, know how to scratch the surface of things to extract the essential, use the accidents and incidents that that appear in our life, have an idea-base which serves as a backbone for our creation, use our talents wisely, recognize roadblocks and the moments that overtake us, know how to fail, and pace ourselves over the long term – to the very end.

Strong Points:

  • Good book, in which the pleasant format judiciously adds value to the contents.
  • Packed with ideas, tricks and ways to develop and maintain creativity.
  • Full of practical exercises and practially inexhaustible.
  • Twyla Tharp tells us about numerous relevant personal experiences

Weak Points:

  • A bit too much emphasis on purely artistic creativity.
  • Some passages are not believable showing a certain lack of scientific knowledge in the author.
  • Book is a bit too packed and crowded at times.

My score : Rating white RatingwhiteRatingwhiteRatingwhiteimage

Read more reviews about The Creative Habit on Amazon.

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 The Path of Least Resistance - Learn to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life

One Sentence Summary: Our freedom in life, like our freedom of movement in a building, is partly defined by its structure, thus to be able to create our life, and move towards our ideal, it is better to change its structure rather than change our behavior within the same framework, this book teaches us to do so by showing how we can create a structure in our life, which draws us inexorably, and almost effortlessly, along the path of least resistance- and pushes us to create what we really want for ourselves.

Strong Points:

  • Complete method, rich and profound
  • Concrete use of a system to change our lives
  • Many passages that stand out for their intelligence and the impact they cause
  • A dense book which will only be completely understood after several readings

Weak Points:

  • Very dense
  • Lots of jargon
  • Lots of repetition
  • Complex

My rating: image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Read more reviews about The Path of Least Resistance on Amazon.

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Boost Your Productivity


Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

One-Sentence Summary: To be efficient, your mind must be crystal clear, like spring water; to get to that point you need to get rid of all the parasitic thoughts that permanently distract you, which you can accomplish by putting  everything that you want to, or must do into an external automated system, thus relieving your brain of the need to think – which it does badly, without directed prioritization and without consciously choosing the right moment.

Strong Points:

  • Complete and coherent method
  • Presented in a simple manner
  • Intelligent and how-to friendly

Weak Points:

  • In spite of the levels of altitude defined by the author, this method will not make you more intelligent or more conscious of what you really want: you could become more efficient at something that you hate doing.

My rating: image image imageimageimageimageimageimage image

Read More Reviews about Getting Things Done on Amazon.

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The unwritten laws of Business - Couverture 

One Sentence Summary: To succeed in your career, you must understand and apply many unwritten rules with respect to the work, the chain of command, colleagues, project management, the organizational structure, what managers expect from their subordinates, character, personality, and personal development; sometimes these laws seem obvious but even so, those presented in this book are regularly forgotten.

My score : Rating white RatingwhiteRatingwhiteRatingwhiteimage

Read more reviews about The Unwritten Laws of Business on Amazon.

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The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

The Effective Executive, The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done - Peter F. Drucker 

One Sentence Summary: An executive – one who makes decisions that affect your business – must be effective, that is, he must do what it takes; this book teaches us to do that, by teaching us to learn how to watch our time and to organize it, to ask ourselves about what we contribute rather than what is owed to us, to nurture the energy in ourselves and in others by focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses, concentrating on priorities by trimming the past and having the courage – rather than the intelligence – to determine what they are, making effective decisions based on 5 basic principles, and to understand that every choice has alternatives.

Strong Points:

  • Concise and relevant
  • Many practical applications proposed, mostly in the form of relevant questions to ask
  • For any person exercising responsibility in the workplace – an executive in the broad sense
  • A solid foundation on which to build efficiency
  • Can be read as a summary of the fundamental principles of efficiency

Weak Points:

  • The examples may seem a bit out of date
  • Water has passed under the bridge since then, and many books have appeared to deepen the concepts covered by the author

My rating: image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Read more reviews about The Effective Executive on Amazon.

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Cut To The Chase 99 and 99 Other Rules to Liberate Yourself and Gain Back the Gift of Time 

One Sentence Summary: Our time is the most precious thing we have; to look after it, it is important to know how to get straight to the point by understanding a number of rules; this book presents 100 of them.

Strong Points:

  • Short and concise
  • Lots of excellent rules, most of them good 
  • Lots of pictures, with a sense of humor and a penchant for poetry.

Weak Points:

  • Does not deal with the subject in depth 
  • Lots of sports imagery and notably football, which might put some readers off – or not

My rating: image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Read more reviews about Cut to The Chase on Amazon.

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Bit Literacy -  Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload 

One Sentence Summary : Many people are as unprepared for the onslaught of information in this new era as illiterates would be in a library, even the younger generation, as familiar as they are with computers, are not so with the massive amounts of information that come their way; this book teaches us to manage it via various diverse methods, tools, tips and software.

Strong Points:

  • Overall approach original and intelligent
  • Contents relatively timeless (by comparison to the average information technology book) 
  • Numerous ideas and interesting methods, even for expert digital information users
  • Revolutionary for everyone who is not an expert in digital information

Weak Points:

  • Anti-Microsoft and pro-Apple absolutely not in an objective way 
  • Doesn’t talk about certain technologies like file indexing and voice recognition
  • Methods that make a digital information professional like myself raise his eyebrows; there are certain points on which I absolutely disagree with the author; I will write an article about this soon

My rating : image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage (if you are not an experienced digital user)

image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage (if you are a seasoned expert with your own methods)

Add half a star if you have a Mac and another half star if you are anti-Microsoft.

Read more reviews about Bit Literacy on Amazon.

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The Simplicity Survival Handbook - 32 Ways To Do Less And Accomplish More


One Sentence Summary: In life there is theory and practice, and there are things that “usually” work a certain way, that in actual practice work differently; discover how things really work in the professional world by exploring these 32 Ways To Do Less and Accomplish More and have a more productive and calmer life.

Strong Points:

  • Amazing format, with numerous humorous and helpful drawings
  • Designed not to be read in its entirety: choose the parts that interest you the most
  • Detailed and intelligent content
  • How-tos in the form of bulleted lists that are easy to understand
  • Substantiated with probes, surveys and scientific studies

Weak Points:

  • Above all designed for people who work in large corporations

My rating: image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Read more reviews about The Simplicity Survival Handbook on Amazon.

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Projects Management


Results Without Authority - Controlling a project when the team doesn't report to you

One Sentence Summary: Today in large organizations, it is rare that the project lead has supervisory power over all the people on his project team. He must, however, maintain enthusiasm, motivation and results from people without being able to use the power of his position and powers of coercion; this book teaches us numerous techniques to do so.

Strong  Points:

  • Detailed
  • Good internal organization
  • The author is experienced which comes through in every paragraph.
  • Focused on large corporations

Weak Points:

  • Heavy format, dry and irritating
  • Sometimes a bit too theoretical and conceptual
  • Very focused on large corporations
  • Not translated into French

Translated by


My rating: image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage (if you lead projects in a large corporation)

image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage (if you lead projects in another sector)

Read more reviews on Results Without Authority on Amazon.



Making Things Happen - Mastering Project Management

One Sentence Summary : Project management is a complicated art which requires you to master a number of things such as planning, understanding what needs to be done, writing a good overall vision statement, understanding where ideas come from, understanding what to do with ideas, writing good specifications, understanding how to make good decisions, communication and interpersonal relationships, what to do when things go badly, understanding why leadership is built on trust, making things happen, managing the strategy in the middle and at the end of the project, or understanding questions of power and politics; this book describes in detail each of these components and gives us numerous methods and tricks for mastering them.

Strong points:

  • Very thorough
  • Sprinkled with humorous phrases which lighten it up
  • The author has obviously mastered his subject down to the tips of his fingernails
  • Geared towards the software industry, but contains advice and methods applicable to the management of any project in a large organization.

Weak Points:

  • Very, very heavy
  • A little too geared towards the software industry
  • A little too geared towards large organizations

My rating: image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage (if you are called to lead projects in large organizations – add a star if your company is in the software industry)

image image imageimageimageimageimageimageimage (if you are called to lead projects in another field)

Read more reviews about Making Things Happen on Amazon.

Buy this book on Amazon:

Conclusion, and My Best-Of

Well, I hope that this summary will help you to find what is helpful for you in this category of the Personal MBA πŸ™‚ . Here are my  my three favorite books:

  1. The Path of Least Resistance : I think about the content of this book without stopping. Yet it’s one of the most difficult to read ofthe entire category, but it is a gold mine full of nuggets. Change the structure rather than solve problems, it’s so brilliant, genius, so universal …

  2. Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity : I have applied only part of GTD (see GTD, Implementation – 1) but I already see many benefits in implementing this method: a clean desk, a clearer mind, tasks made more efficiently, and even better sleep. I can not imagine what I will win when I will have fully implemented it πŸ˜‰ .

  3. The Simplicity Survival Handbook : This book is a model of practicality, because of its funny and practical format, and the fact that it is designed so that anyone must only choose, read and apply what is directly relevant to you. And its content is simply awesome.

If you must only retain three books, that would be those in my opinion πŸ™‚ .

2 thoughts on “10 Exceptionals Books about Productivity and Creativity in a Glance

  1. Bonjour Olivier,

    Thanks for taking the time to put this list together listing the strong and weak points on every book.

    Loved your French websites, maybe this will help me improve my French grammar and Zen habits at the same time, although I don’t think the French need much coaching in “The Art of Doing Nothing”. πŸ˜‰

    Enjoyed your post!

  2. Hello Liz,

    I’m happy that you love my French sites πŸ™‚ .

    For the β€œThe Art of Doing Nothing”, ah ah, don’t think that the Corses have the same rhythm than all the French πŸ˜‰ .

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