Required Reading for a More Productive 2018

January marks the first anniversary of Caveday. We facilitate events in NYC and LA to help people get better work done and teach them how to improve their productivity.

We spend countless hours researching and reading the best articles and books to become experts in productivity, focus training, energy management, and the future of work. Lucky for you we’ve kept our notes and want to share some of the reading we did in 2017 that helped shape our thinking and our company.

We hope it helps you make better decisions and have a more productive, healthy, and meaningful relationship to your work in the coming year.


Designing Your Life” by William Burnett and David Evans
Treat your career and life like a design thinking project. All of the steps and thinking you need to navigate your next big challenge in deciding where to take your life.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport
What if “Do what you love” or “follow your passion” was bad advice? This book explores the other alternative to choosing a career and thinking about it in a new way.

Work and Process
Deep Work” by Cal Newport
Much of the thinking behind Caveday comes from this book and why doing deep, undistracted work leads to the more productivity, satisfaction, and happiness.

Sprint” by Jake Knapp
How to break up projects into segments to build better products faster, prototype, and iterate and learn as you go. The program was designed at Google Ventures and continues to be a process by which companies run.

Stealing Fire” by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
What we can learn from Silicon Valley, Navy Seals, and Scientists about how to use “altered states” to increase performance and inspiration.

Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
Creativity is a spiritual existance in this book. Read about stories and beliefs from Gilbert and other creative people about how ideas and work is magic.

The War of Art” by Stephen Pressfield
Doing important work is when resistance shows up. This book coined the phrase “resistance” and talks about what it takes to turn pro, as a maker, artist, and creator.

Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon
An easy but deceptively insightful book about tracking your progress and showing your process as you make. The second book by Kleon, the first of which, “Steal Like an Artist” is also highly recommended.

Living A Better Life 
The 3 Marriages” by David Whyte
Written by poet David Whyte, this book is a romantic look into the intersection between Self, Work, and Love. It’s a foundation on which Caveday’s mission and beliefs come from.

The Subtle art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson
Unusual and unconventional advice for living a more meaningful life.

A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger
We stop asking good questions by high school, but it is the bedrock on which we learn and understand the world.


Back to the Cave” by Frank Chimero
Humans are born creators, artists, and storytellers. Let’s unpack why we need to be creating things and making things all the time.

What Happens to Ambition in Your 30s?by Lisa Miller, The Cut
Helping people, specifically women, navigate a career in their 30s where work isn’t their vision of being “everything”.

Navigating Stuckness” by Jonathan Harris, Transom
Everyone gets stuck and has ups and downs in their lives. This will help provide a framework for living in the stuckness and navigating out of it.

Company Leadership
How to Send Internal Messages” by Jason Fried, Basecamp
Don’t hijack other people’s time, let them be in control of how and when they reply.

We Don’t Sell Saddles Here” by Stewart Butterfield, Slack
What business are you actually in? Think bigger, think more flexibly. Learn from the guy who ran the team who built Slack and the vision he was creating.

Why Goal Setting Can Be Dangerous If You Make These Mistakes” by Kathy Caprino, Forbes
Learn how to avoid “Brules” — the bullsh*t rules that society and the culturescape oversimplify and make us believe that we want them, but will not make us happier.

Think Like a Bronze Medalist” by Derek Sivers
Silver wishes she was Gold. Bronze is thankful she got a medal.

Unlikely Places and Untangled Goals” by Derek Sivers
Your goals might be more simple than you’re making them.

One Door at a Time” by Jason Fried
Stop focusing on scale and focus on being great at the basics.

Change Your Thinking
To Change Your Life, Trust Your Future Self” by Jeff Wise, The Cut
The greatest rewards come from delayed gratification. Wait it out, and trust that your future self will gain more than whatever your current self wants in this immediate moment.

How Long Is Now” by Seth Godin
Rethink your world by rethinking your timeline.

What 99% Looks Like” by Seth Godin
Ignore the haters and the spec of people who disapprove. Don’t listen to the non-believers, just ship your work.

I Have Fear” by Seth Godin
We don’t say “I am a fever” because it’s temporary. The same should apply to fear.

Work and Process
Don’t Start Your Sprint On Mondays” by Max Sather, Medium
The way our brains work, we need Mondays to catch up and Fridays to work instead of to reflect and meet. Better to start a sprint on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

Create a ‘Skills Inventory’ to Allocate Work and Develop Team Members” by Noel Franus, The Future of Work
Don’t just hire people you like, create an inventory of skills your team has to find out who you should hire and what work to give them.

Be More Productive, Take Time Off” by Jason Fried, NYTimes
Parkinson’s Law says that work fills the time you give it. Learn how Basecamp works 4 days a week in the summer and gets the same amount of work done.

How to Be More Productive by Working Less” by Mark Manson
More hours doesn’t equal better work. It’s just more work. Optimize the hours you put in by only putting in great, deep, focused, work. Here’s how.

You’re Taking Breaks The Wrong Way, Here’s How To Fix That” by Jory Mackay-Zapier, FastCompany
Go for energy and train your brain for stamina with these helpful tools.

Why Deep Work Matters in a Distracted World” by Taylor Pipes, Evernote
Getting back to work after being distracted takes 26 minutes. Learn how other people focus on prioritizing deep work and why it’s never been more important.

Smartphones are the New Cigarettes” by Mark Manson
Addicting, bad for your health, and tons of social pressure.

Some Companies Are Banning Email and Getting More Done” by David Berkus, Harvard Business Review
Cut out the BS by being on email all the time. Learn how other companies are optimizing performance and changing the way their internal communications happen.

Silicon Valley is Not Your Friend” by Noam Cohen, NYTimes
Technology is not built with your best interest in mind. It serves the advertisers and investors, not the users.

Events and Experiences
Patterns of Transformation” by Ida C. Benedetto
How various experiences can transform our mindset, allow us to trust, and change our behavior, and what they all have in common.

Inactionable Advice” by Jason Fried, Basecamp
Stop looking for answers. The answers are in the questions and the experiences to find the answers out for yourself.

Thank you!

We wish you a focused 2018, reaching your goals and sprinting past what you thought was possible.