Over the course of his conversation with Ezra Klein, productivity expert and author Chris Bailey discusses the ways our attention is hijacked by everything around us — and how we can get it back. He also talks about what it truly means to be an expert, why we should stop using busyness as a status symbol, and the virtues of knitting (or any other mindless hobby).
Bailey’s recommendations for “productivity books” take a holistic view, covering meditation and nutrition in addition to traditional productivity coaching.
1) Getting Things Done by David Allen
David Allen’s best-selling manual on time management was the book that inspired a teenage Chris Bailey to start thinking about productivity. The central idea, “that our head is for having ideas, not for holding them,” informed much of Bailey’s work in Hyperfocus.
2) Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
While Bailey finds parts of Bhante Gunaratana’s book on meditation “a bit hippy-dippy,” he credits it as the book that introduced him to mindfulness. (A free PDF of the full book is available online.)
3) How Not to Die by Michael Greger
Michael Greger’s book on the mostly plant-based diet that can help prevent some of the leading causes of death was previously recommended by vegan activist Melanie Joy. Bailey considers it a productivity book because it “will get your back time, one of the most limited ingredients we have to living our lives.”