triking a healthy balance between work and life is very important for most of us. Studies have shown that there are significant health benefits for separating the two. Nevertheless, the task is not easy. This list of best books on work-life-balance will guide you on taking the direction on separating work and life.
Best Books on Work-Life-Balance: THE LIST
|1. Do Less|
|2. Faire Play|
|3. Blaze Your Own Trail|
|4. Not Doing|
|5. The 4 Day Week|
|6. The Hard Break|
|8. The Weekend Effect|
|9. Grow Your Value|
|10. All Dreams on Deck|
|12. Startup Life|
|13. Don’t Bring It to Work|
|14. The 4-Hour Workweek|
|15. Life Matters|
|16. 10 Simple Solutions to Worry|
|17. The Inner Edge|
|18. Business Dad|
|19. Take Back Your Time|
|20. Creating a Life|
1. Do Less | By Kate Northrup
This is a book for working women and mothers who are ready to release the culturally inherited belief that their worth is equal to their productivity, and instead create a personal and professional life that’s based on presence, meaning, and joy. As opposed to focusing on “fitting it all in,” time management, and leaning in, as so many books geared at ambitious women do, this book embraces the notion that through doing fewer women can have–and be–more. The addiction to busyness and the obsession with always trying to do more leads women, especially working mothers, to feel like they’re always failing their families, their careers, their spouses, and themselves. This book will give women the permission and tools to change the way they approach their lives and allow them to embrace living in tune with the cyclical nature of the feminine, cutting out the extraneous busyness from their lives so they have more satisfaction and joy, and letting themselves be more often instead of doing all the time. Do Less offers the reader a series of 14 experiments to try to see what would happen if she did less in one specific way. So, rather than approaching doing less as an entire life overhaul (which is overwhelming in and of itself), this book gives the reader bite-sized steps to try incorporating over 2 weeks!
2. Faire Play | By Eve Rodsky
Tired, stressed, and in need of more help from your partner? Imagine running your household (and life!) in a new way…
It started with the Sh*t I Do List. Tired of being the “default” parent responsible for all aspects of her busy household, Eve Rodsky counted up all the unpaid, invisible work she was doing for her family–and then sent that list to her husband, asking for things to change. His response was…underwhelming. Rodsky realized that simply identifying the issue of unequal labor on the home front wasn’t enough: She needed a solution to this universal problem. Her sanity, identity, career, and marriage depended on it.
The result is Fair Play: a time- and anxiety-saving system that offers couples a completely new way to divvy up domestic responsibilities. Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With 4 easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a series of conversation starters for you and your partner, Fair Play helps you prioritize what’s important to your family and who should take the lead on every chore, from laundry to homework to dinner.
“Winning” this game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space–the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Stop drowning in to-dos and lose some of that invisible workload that’s pulling you down. Are you ready to try Fair Play? Let’s deal you in.
3.Blaze Your Own Trail | By Rebekah Bastian
A modern, feminist take on the classic choose-your-own-journey book, inspiring readers to embrace the fact that there is no singular right path – just your own!
So many women enter their adult lives believing that they should know where they are going and how to get there. This can make life decisions feel intimidating and overwhelming. While some choices that lie ahead are fairly predictable, such as those surrounding career, partnership, and motherhood, the effects of these choices can lead to more complicated and unexpected turns that are seldom discussed.
Rather than suggesting a rule book, Rebekah Bastian, vice president at Zillow and recognized thought leader, inspires you to Blaze Your Own Trail. “I have the benefit of being a living example of crooked paths, magnificent screw-ups, and shocking successes,” she writes. Through storylines and supportive data that explore workplace sexism, career changes, marriage, raising children, existential crises, and everything in between, you will learn to embrace and feel less alone in your own nonlinear journey. Even better, you have a unique advantage while living in the pages of this book: you can turn back decisions and try other routes. There are nineteen possible outcomes many routes to get there. You will find that you have the strength to make it through any of them!
4. Not Doing | By Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner
Given today’s increasing pace of change and the constant, excessive busyness that results, it’s not a surprise that so many people are struggling, feeling stretched beyond their limits, overwhelmed, and exhausted, besieged by the demands of complex projects and workplaces. They are engaged in a kind of “doing” that is more effort and struggle than the kind of “doing” that comes from a place of presence, openness, and aliveness. Not only is the latter method of “doing” ineffective and unsustainable, but ultimately leads to stress, anxiety, and burnout.
This book, by the authors of the award-winning Not Knowing: the art of turning uncertainty into an opportunity (Best Management Book of the Year), explores the limits and dangers of “doing”; how do they play out in our lives and workplaces; what is driving, or contributing, to our excessive activity; and what would a different kind of “doing” look like, that is less about control and struggle and more about well-being, harmony, and creativity.
5. The 4 Day Week | By Andrew Barnes
In The 4 Day Week, entrepreneur and business innovator Andrew Barnes makes the case for the four-day week as the answer to many of the ills of the 21st-century global economy.
Barnes conducted an experiment in his own business, the New Zealand trust company Perpetual Guardian, and asked his staff to design a four-day week that would permit them to meet their existing productivity requirements on the same salary but with a 20% cut in work hours. The outcomes of this trial, which no business leader had previously attempted on these terms, were stunning. People were happier and healthier, more engaged in their personal lives, and more focused and productive in the office.
The world of work has seen a dramatic shift in recent times: the former security and benefits associated with permanent employment are being displaced by the less stable gig economy. Barnes explains the dangers of a focus on flexibility at the expense of hard-won worker protections and argues that with the four-day week, we can have the best of all worlds: optimal productivity, work-life balance, worker benefits, and, at long last, a solution to pervasive economic inequities such as the gender pay gap and lack of diversity in business and governance.
The 4 Day Week is a practical, how-to guide for business leaders and employees alike that is applicable to nearly every industry. Using qualitative and quantitative data from research gathered through the Perpetual Guardian trial and other sources by the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology, the book presents a step-by-step approach to preparing businesses for productivity-focused flexibility, from the necessary cultural conditions to the often complex legislative considerations.
The story of Perpetual Guardian’s unprecedented work experiment has made headlines around the world and stormed social media, reaching a global audience of over 4.5 billion. A mix of trenchant analysis, personal observation, and actionable advice, The 4 Day Week is an essential guide for leaders and workers seeking to make a change for the better in their work world.
6. The Hard Break | By Aaron Edelheit
What if the real secret to greater productivity, happiness, and success is a habit that is thousands of years old?
Productivity has become an international obsession. We celebrate a work culture where people boast of long working hours, their extreme schedules, and how little they sleep. A constant stream of emails, texts, tweets, and more keeps us connected every minute and we rarely put our phones down. Every moment needs to be maximized and no time can be wasted.
And yet most of us also feel something is wrong. All of these attempts at optimizing business and life aren’t really making us happier. Ironically, it might not be making us all that productive either. In this groundbreaking book, noted entrepreneur and money manager Aaron Edelheit breaks down the myths around productivity and offers a startlingly simple solution: the Sabbath.
Through his personal journey of discovering the joy of taking a “hard break” of one day a week to reset, Edelheit profiles not only his own life transformation but how this same practice has been changing the lives of well-known entrepreneurs, celebrities, and politicians alike.
For anyone who has ever struggled to find a good balance between life and work, this book offers an essential roadmap for how to make the right choices, attain more success, put life back into perspective and gain more happiness all by taking a hard break for yourself.
7. Pause | By Rachael O’Meara
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or stuck? Discover the power of the pause.
Sometimes life throws you for a loop. You’re stressed out at your job; you’re torn between work and family; your motivation and productivity are taking a nosedive. Your impulse might be to lean in and tough it out, but what you may really need to do is take a step back. Reassess your life with a clear head and dive back in with purpose and poise. In this enlightening book, Rachael O’Meara guides you through the steps of your own pause journey:
– The signs that you’re in need of a meaningful break
– Planning your optimal pause—whether it’s as short as a day or as long as an epic journey
– Reentering the world with renewed clarity and purpose.
Incorporating the latest findings from psychology and neuroscience and peppered with inspiring stories of successful pauses, this book will show you that the fastest way to happiness is to slow down. Whether you pause by taking a five-minute walk outside, spending a day unplugged from digital devices, or taking a few weeks off to yourself, Pause will give you the tools to find what “lights you up” and the ability to lead the most satisfying and fulfilling life you choose.
8. The Weekend Effect | By Katrina Onstad
Encroaching work demands—coupled with domestic chores, overbooked schedules, and the incessant pinging of our devices—have taken a toll on what used to be our free time: the weekend. With no space to tune out and recharge, every aspect of our lives is suffering: our health is deteriorating, our social networks (the face-to-face kind) are dissolving, and our productivity is down. The notion of working less and living more, once considered an American virtue, has given way to the belief that you must be “on” 24/7.
Award-winning journalist Katrina Onstad pushes back against this all-work, no-fun ethos. Tired of suffering from Sunday night letdown, she digs into the history, positive psychology, and cultural anthropology of the great missing weekend and how we can revive it.
Onstad follows the trail of people, companies, and countries who are vigilantly protecting their time off for joy, adventure, and most important, purpose. Filled with personal and professional inspiration, The Weekend Effect is a thoughtful, well-researched argument to take back those precious 48 hours, and ultimately, to save ourselves.
9. Grow Your Value | By Mika Brzezinski
Mika Brzezinski, Morning Joe co-host and New York Times best-selling author of Knowing Your Value, has built a career on inspiring women to assess and then obtain their true value in the workplace. In her books and in her conferences, Mika gives women the tools necessary to advocate for themselves and their financial futures. But that is only the first step; once you know your value, you need to grow it — both professionally and personally.
Drawing on deeply revealing conversations with powerful and dynamic women, input from researchers and relationship experts, and her own wealth of experience, Mika helps women pinpoint their individual definition of success. She advises her readers to define the “professional value” that encompasses their worth in the workplace, and the “inner value” made up of their core beliefs and goals.
Women can stop feeling overwhelmed, overscheduled, frantic, and forever guilty — but only if they choose their objectives confidently and unapologetically, and focus their efforts accordingly. Mika encourages women to stop seeking the unobtainable “work-life balance,” and instead pursue a life of honesty and authenticity, where career and home life combine rather than collide.
10. All Dreams on Deck | By Jeremy Cage
Set sail for the adventure of your life and work!
As Katie Couric, journalist, author, and Yahoo Global News Anchor attests, ”Jeremy Cage has written a great book that everyone who thinks about how to better balance work-life issues would benefit from reading….he’s also shown us how to better navigate life’s personal and professional challenges.”
All Dreams on Deck will help you articulate your most important dreams in work and life and will then give you a practical approach for realizing those dreams. Through engaging, real-life examples, you will be inspired to live life to your full potential.
Author Jeremy Cage, President of the Cage Group, begins with the premise that there is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only life balance–of which work is an important part. With this as the foundation, he will guide you through a simple and actionable approach to determining the most important components of your life–the Grab Bags in your LifeBoat–then chart the course to making all the dreams in that LifeBoat a reality.
Jeremy, who has lived and worked in nine countries, has used this approach to help thousands of executives, managers, and their teams unleash their potential. He has also realized his own dreams by taking a sixteen-month sabbatical to sail around the world with his family before returning to the US to launch several exciting new companies. So rather than theoretical mumbo jumbo, Jeremy presents compelling, real-life examples of how to dream specifically, get highly intentional about those dreams, plan and prepare well–then summon the courage to set sail.
11. Upgrade | By Rana Florida
The 7 Key Principles to achieving YOUR business and life goals
In this groundbreaking new book, Rana Florida shares their formula, giving you the tools to achieve unimaginable success in work and life. Upgrade gathers the best practices, not just from CEOs and business executives but from entrepreneurs, innovative thinkers, and creative leaders.
The upgrade includes interviews with Sir Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, Mark Cuban, Andre Agassi, Kenny Scharf, Zaha Hadid, Governor Martin O’Malley, Tory Burch, Tim Brown, and many other leading figures. Despite this cast’s vastly different backgrounds and skills, Florida’s research concludes that there are seven key principles to achieving your business and life goals:
- Envision the future
- Find your passion
- Get creative
- Design your time
- Take risks
- Embrace failure
Unfortunately, this is exactly what the majority of us don’t do. Instead of developing a real strategy to upgrade and optimize our lives, too many of us just slog through life in a state of “managed dissatisfaction.”
But it’s never too late to envision an entirely different future―or to actively upgrade your life. It’s not about finding more time, money, or resources. Anyone can do it.
This smart and entertaining guide delves deep into each principle, giving you the insights, tools, and inspiration to take your life from ordinary to extraordinary.
12. Startup Life | By Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor
“Real-life insights on what it takes to make it in a relationship with an entrepreneur”
In Startup Life, Brad Feld–a Boulder, Colorado-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist–shares his own personal experiences with his wife Amy, offering a series of rich insights into successfully leading a balanced life as a human being who wants to play as hard as he works and who wants to be as fulfilled in life and in work. With this book, Feld distills his twenty years of experience in this field to address how the village of startup people can put aside their workaholic ways and lead rewarding lives in all respects.
- Includes real-life examples of entrepreneurial couples who have had successful relationships and what works for them.
- Provides practical advice for adapting to change and overcoming the inevitable ups and downs associated with the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
- Written by Brad Feld, a thought-leader in this field who has been an early-stage investor and successful entrepreneur for more than twenty years.
While there’s no “secret formula” to relationship success in the world of the entrepreneur, there are ways to making navigation of this territory easier. Startup Life is a well-rounded guide that has the insights and advice you need to succeed in both your personal and professional life.
13. Don’t Bring It to Work | By Sylvia Lafair
How can you get to the bottom of workplace behaviors that simply don’t work for you or your organization?
Don’t Bring It to Work explores what happens when patterns originally created to cope with family conflicts are unleashed in the workplace.? This groundbreaking book draws on the success of Sylvia Lafair’s PatternAware program Total Leadership Connections. Throughout the book, she shows how to break the cycle of pattern repetition and offers the tools that can turn unhealthy family baggage into the creative energy that will foster better workplace associations and career success.
Lafair identifies the thirteen most common patterns that correspond to characters familiar to anyone who has ever worked in an office: Super Achiever, Rebel, Persecutor, Victim, Rescuer, Clown, Martyr, Splitter, Procrastinator, Drama Queen or King, Pleaser, Denier, and Avoider. To help overcome destructive behavior problems, she maps out the three main steps for becoming aware of patterns and finding the way OUT:
- Observe your behavior to discern underlying patterns
- Understand and probe deeper to discover the origins of these patterns
- Transform your behavior by taking action to change
The book includes a wealth of real-life anecdotes and practical, workbook-style exercises that clearly show how anyone can get beyond old, outmoded attempts at conflict resolution and empower themselves to make profound differences both at work and in their personal lives.
14. The 4-Hour Workweek | By Timothy Ferriss
The New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Body shows readers how to live more and work less, now with more than 100 pages of new, cutting-edge content.
Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
• How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week
• How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
• How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
• How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
• How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”
The new expanded edition of Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek includes:
• More than 50 practical tips and case studies from readers (including families) who have doubled income, overcome common sticking points and reinvented themselves using the original book as a starting point
• Real-world templates you can copy for eliminating e-mail, negotiating with bosses and clients, or getting a private chef for less than $8 a meal
• How Lifestyle Design principles can be suited to unpredictable economic times
• The latest tools and tricks, as well as high-tech shortcuts, for living like a diplomat or millionaire without being either
15. Life Matters | By A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill
As the home front and the work front become increasingly integrated into contemporary life, success–or failure–in either has an undeniable effect on the other. But it is possible to keep both areas moving forward in positive ways. In this much-anticipated book, A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca Merrill show readers how to navigate the critical relationships between time and money, work and family, to create a harmonious, success-enhancing dynamic between each.
Life Matters guides readers in how to spend time and money in ways that translate the personal values and goals that matter most into daily life experience.
The crucial steps toward this kind of effective living include:
- Exploring the gap between what we deeply value and the reality of daily life
- Aligning resources with goals and values
- Using technology–one of life’s greatest balancing assets–as a tool for creating more time
- Utilizing the concept of dynamic investing, which includes intangibles such as energy, relationships, and integrity
- Succeeding at work and family do not have to be mutually exclusive goals
Also included are invaluable exercises that will help readers achieve greater satisfaction in all areas of life.
16. 10 Simple Solutions to Worry | By Kevin L. Gyoerkoe and Pamela S. Wiegartz
We all worry about things from time to time, but some of us just can’t seem to stop expecting the worst―even when our expectations are very unlikely to occur. This condition, chronic worry, is disruptive all by itself, and it can lead to other, more serious anxiety problems. This little book―the fifth in New Harbinger’s Ten Simple Solution series―offers a handful of easy and effective techniques for getting rid of worry once and for all.
Drawing on powerful psychotherapeutic techniques, 10 Simple Solutions to Worry is a succinct resource of cognitive-behavioral techniques for controlling worry and reducing stress. Exercises include self-assessments, motivation builders, relaxation training, and cognitive restructuring. After identifying and changing the negative thoughts that result in worry, you’ll learn to replace worry behaviors with other, more positive, and constructive activities.
17. The Inner Edge | By Joelle K. Jay
Dr. Joelle Jay’s The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership draws on timeless principles and Jay’s experiences with hundreds of leaders from America’s most successful and admired companies, setting out ten essential components of leading well and living well.
In The Inner Edge, Dr. Jay offers customized coaching to help leaders overcome challenges, leverage opportunities, and maximize their talents, teams, and time. Through vivid examples, conversations with accomplished leaders, insightful perspectives on leadership, and thought-provoking questions and exercises, Jay shows readers that leadership is not just a label, but a way of life. Finding your edge, gaining clarity, focusing and taking action, expanding your knowledge―under Jay’s training these and other principles become concrete achievable assets for living and leading. The result is an essential resource for helping leaders get results for their organizations in a way that capitalizes on―and enriches―their own unique identity.
Includes a foreword by internationally renowned executive coach Howard Morgan, co-founder and managing partner of the Leadership Research Institute and the author of The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching.
Provides exercises and worksheets―original versions of the same tools and techniques used by top executive coaches to help leaders succeed in their roles and for their organizations.
Offers vivid examples and quotes from real leaders based on over 100 interviews with top leaders in some of the nations biggest, most admired companies.
18. The Fearless Organization | By Amy C. Edmondson
In this unique parenting guide, a veteran businessman and father of two reveals how work and parenting don’t have to be separate, competing efforts, but instead can help and enrich each other. Tom Hirschfeld shows how many of the skills and abilities required to succeed in today’s economy — such as motivation, team building, empathy, negotiation, and planning — can be applied just as successfully to parenting. Filled with lessons from business history, tips from successful executives, and practical wisdom that could come only from real-life experience, Business Dad is the perfect job manual for the most important job a businessman can undertake: fathering.
19. Take Back Your Time | By John de Graaf
The typical American worker puts in nine weeks more on the job than his or her European counterpart. The costs of this overwork are enormous, both personally and societally. This bracing collection of essays is both a wide-ranging analysis of the phenomenon and a blueprint for change. With contributions by such notable names as Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life, and David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World, this book shows what ordinary citizens can do to restore balance to themselves and their communities. Take Back Your Time is the official handbook for Taking Back Your Time Day, a national event rallying support for reclaiming a proper work-life balance.
20. Creating a Life | By Sylvia Ann Hewlett
Hundreds of books have been written about the problems confronting women who want to combine a fulfilling career with motherhood. Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s Creating a Life cuts away the myths and lies that surround the subject. It goes to the very heart of the dilemma. Her message is simple: if you want to have children, plan for them with the same intensity you bring to your career ambitions. Creating a Life is essential reading for a generation of women who have the chance to get it right, and create a life.
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Work-Life-Balance
Having a work-life balance may be difficult but it’s not impossible. From enjoying the pleasures of life and even enjoying the pleasures of work. Research shows that balancing everything is a necessity for optimal health.
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.
Meet Maurice, a staff editor at Bigger Investing. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur who owns multiple successful websites and a thriving merch shop. When he’s not busy with work, Maurice indulges in his passion for kayaking, climbing, and his family. As a savvy investor, Maurice loves putting his money to work and seeking out new opportunities. With his expertise and passion for finance, he’s dedicated to helping readers achieve their financial goals through Bigger Investing.