Who says books about success, money, and productivity need to be boring? Fascinating sources — from COOs, financial pros, and productivity experts to psychologists, journalists, and musicians — are brimming with brilliant advice. Here are seven of the best nonfiction books to inspire you:

1. “The Art of Asking”

Maybe you know Amanda Palmer from the punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls or her blog? Perhaps you’re one of the eight million viewers of her TED talks or follow her marriage to author Neil Gaiman. She’s a lot of things to a lot of people, and now she’s also a best-selling author of a memoir on the power of asking for help.

Delving into the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of asking, Palmer explains why it’s courageous to seek support.

2. “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success”

Embrace failure and you’ll succeed. Counterintuitive as this claim sounds, Megan McArdle shows us how setbacks are the backbone of prosperity by interviewing people as diverse as ER doctors, venture capitalists, bankruptcy judges, and mountain climbers.

If you’re stuck and looking to re-invent yourself, this book will show you how.

3. “New Rules of the Game”

Follow the leader by reading the wise words of Susan Packard, co-founder of Scripps Network Interactive and co-founder and former COO of HGTV. Packard shares a new way to approach your career by thinking of it like a sporting event or game.

With more than 30 years of success, Packard knows how to win in the corporate world. In this book, she’s not just a mentor or role model, she’s also your private coach.

Get the book.

4. “Picture Your Prosperity”

Reading this book is like sitting down with two veteran financial planners and asking them whatever you want. Financial pros Ellen Rogin and Lisa Kueng created the guide to help you personalize your savings goals based on what you want for the future.

Maybe your dream is to pay off those student loan debts, or to arrange a retirement plan that includes a beach house in Panama. Using the latest psychological research, Rogin and Kueng roll out a seven-point plan that fits you.

Get the book.

5. “Work Simply”

Are you an Arranger? A Prioritizer? A Planner? Not sure what any of these labels mean? Turn to this step-by-step guide by productivity expert and corporate consultant Carson Tate.

First, Tate helps you figure out what kind of person you are. Then she gives you concrete tips on how to capitalize on your mindset. With advice both big (how to decorate your office) and super-small (what kind of pen you should use), this book will teach you how to get stuff done.

Get the book.


6. “Rethinking Positive Thinking”

Psychologist Gabriele Oettingen argues that dreamers often are not doers. Relying on decades of scientific research about human motivation, she contends that when you always look on the bright side, your ambition can tank. Why? Because those physiological reactions your body undergoes when you’re feeling great actually have a downside.

A self-help book that embraces negativity? Yes, please.

Get the book.



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