7 Books That Will Make Your Work-Life Better

Holly Genovese

Staff Writer

Holly Genovese is a Ph.D student in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also completing graduate portfolio programs in African and African Diaspora studies, as well as Women's and Gender Studies. Her writing has been published in Teen Vogue, The Washington Post, Electric Literature, The La Review of Books, Literary Hub, Hello Giggles, and many other places.

Sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.

Motivate yourself to turn an idea into a business with audiobooks like Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau, or learn how to follow-through and accomplish projects with Finish by Jon Acuff. From entrepreneurial guides to business deep dives, audiobooks from Penguin Random House Audio can help you achieve your goals.

Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley

If you know me at all, this won’t be surprising, but Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley will help improve your work life by simplifying your obligations and guilt outside of work. Everything from collecting out of place items into a hamper on Sundays to writing in your planner, Emily Ley gives concrete suggestions to strategize your life outside of work so that you can begin the week refreshed. It’s a great read. If you love this, there are also planners, journals, etc., created by the Emily Ley brand.

How To Love Waking Up: A Hands-On Guide To Becoming A Morning Person by Sam Uyama

Nobody can actually teach you how to become a morning person, but I found the guide How to Love Waking Up: The Hands on Guide to Becoming a Morning Person by Scott Uyama helpful. It gives some practical tips: by becoming a morning person, you can take your time getting ready and be a little more with it at work.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children might seem like a weird suggestion, but hear me out: It doesn’t have to be this book specifically, but a good novel that moves quickly and isn’t super challenging (no Ulysses here) is a perfect productivity tool. I made a rule that I would only read fun-fiction on the bus and it really made my day a lot more relaxing. Same rule applies for lunch. Getting lost in some easy reading during the day will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to work.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It’s hard not to be inspired to write a novel, work harder, or climb a mountain after reading Tiny Beautiful Things. If this doesn’t fuel your work, nothing will.


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved this book (and the cover!)! Even if you don’t consider yourself creative, or an artist, Gilbert helps you hone in on what excites you and the value of big risks, in work and in life. While it’s aimed at creative women, I think this book is valuable for anybody who needs a little motivation.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

For those who want their productive inspiration with a little less pink, in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg explores the importance of developing habit in accomplishing big goals. It sounds simple, but it’s a really interesting read, filled with tons of social science and anecdotes from very productive people.

Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion by Academy of American Poets, Inc.

Poem A Day: 365 Poems For Every Occasion by Academy of American Poets. I am a firm believer that starting your day with a poem will improve everything. Give it a try. This book gives a diverse range and is an easy goal to set for your mornings.