BOOK #1: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
The self-help book industry runs rampant with cliches, euphemisms and gimmicks. Allen's book is a breath of fresh air in that it consolidates the most sound approaches in a way that speaks volumes to both the high-powered CEO and the graduate student just trying to get her dissertation organized!
Allen's approach is centered around the idea that "things that have your attention should have your INTENTION." Although we know that is common sense, Allen offers a method of storing and processing the multitude of attention items, so that one can focus on one item at a time without worry about what's on the back-burner.
In addition to offering concrete ideas for organization, Allen also addresses the emotional and psychological impediments to getting things done. Unlike other authors, he does not patronize his readers or make them believe that they should aspire to be paragons of organizational virtue. He's a realist and offers many instances of "if you can't do this, try this."
Even if one does not adapt Allen's entire system for a lifetime, components like the "2-minute rule" and the "Next Action Decision Making Standard" will positively impact personal productivity and mindset. This book will NOT help those who aren't yet at the place where they want to make a positive change.
Allen has defined the "core methods that don't change with the times, and which, when applied, always work." Having read many books on organization and procrastination, I do believe this is the last book I will need to read.
(Cross-posted at LiveJournal blog, 1/50 for the 50 Book Challenge)