While some people can find hours upon hours to curl up in their most comfortable chair with coffee and hand and read a good book, most of us do not have that time. Between working, raising a family, volunteering and other commitments; it is often hard to snag an hour or two to read a good book. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on reading altogether. Luckily for you we have done the hard work and found ten excellent books for busy people, whether you are into self-help, mystery, comedy or literary works of art.
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1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
This famous military book was written in ancient China between 770 and 476 BC and although Sun Tzu is credited as the author, many historians believe this to be untrue. Tzu was a high ranking general, strategist and philosopher. The book didn’t become a bestseller until 2000 when it was understood that a lot of the strategies in the book were relevant in marketing and finance. This 62 page book is divided into 13 chapters and discusses the basic principles of war. The chapters are short enough to read on a lunch break, or even a coffee break.
2. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
This classic non-fiction book is just 138 pages and packed with amazing advice. This important feminist text is based on a series of lectures she delivered at two women’s colleges in 1928. It offers such great advice such as “So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say’. This important piece of literary history can be picked up and put down over and over again without you ever forgetting what it is about. Plus what is more motivating to work hard than this type of book?
3. Poke the Box by Seth Godin
This bestselling author has created this little but powerful book to inspire you to create the change you want to see in your life. At only 95 pages, it is a quick read that will have lasting implications. The goal of the book is not only for you to learn more but to do more. It challenges you to think about the last time you took an initiative in a way that meant something to yourself. This book pushes you to take a different approach to your work and pushes you to not be compliant but instead take initiatives. Busy people with little time to read will find this especially intriguing and might just find they have more time to read after practicing some of the theories in Poke the Box.
4. Very Good Lives by J.K Rowling
In 2008 Rowling delivered an unforgettable commencement speech at Harvard University, one that was watched by millions of viewers. If you are simply too busy to try and watch the entire speech, it has been turned into book form and it’s the perfect book for busy individuals. Rowling asks the reader how we can embrace failure and how we can use our imagination to better both ourselves and others? At 81 pages this short book can be read in just over an hour or over several days. Harvard President exclaimed it one of the most memorable commencement speeches he has ever heard, and we agree!
5. Working by Studs Terkel
If you are so busy working that you barely have time to read, this is the book for you. Split into nine different sections the book takes the reader through different people who all hold different jobs. It examines the different perspectives people have about their jobs and why they pour their lives into it. It will either make you want to work harder, challenge you to understand what your work means to you or offer you little empathy for that job you dislike.
6. The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton by Lucille Clifton
If you are scoffing at the idea of reading poetry because you are insanely busy, stop that right now. Poetry can actually be the perfect thing to read if you are “too busy”, and considering Clifton wrote most of these poems while sitting at her kitchen table looking after six kids; surely you can put in the effort to read them. Luckily the poetry is pretty straight forward and direct, leaving you with emotions, ideas and reflections on your daily life.
7. Mile 81 by Stephen King
Craving a little mystery but don’t have enough time to make it through one of Stephen King’s fabulous novels? Why not pick up the 70 page Mile 81, noted as being one of the best short stories by King of all times. Funny yet scary, readers will see King’s Imagination shine through in this short story. That’s all we can tell you though, wouldn’t want to ruin the book for you!
8. 10-Minute Declutter by Barrie Davenport and S.J. Scott
If you are too busy to be reading it is likely you are too busy to declutter your house. That is where this short book will come in handy solving both those problems. This book focuses on using only 10 minutes a day to declutter your house and organizing each space in your house. At 160 pages this book should only take a couple hours to read and if you read one chapter at a time and implement one strategy at time, before you know it, your house will be organized and you will have read the entire book.
9. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
If you are looking for something to make you laugh without having to watch a half an hour sitcom, make sure to pick up Halpern’s book. What started as Twitter account of 28 year old Justin Halpern sharing his dad’s hilarious quotes has now been turned into a comical book that will have you begging for more. Divided into short chapters -a total of 176 chapters- makes the book easy to sneak in during a morning break or while you wait at your daughter’s ballet rehearsal, chances are you will be laughing out loud.
10. Animal Farm by George Orwell
You may have read it in high school, or perhaps you just used the Coles notes; either way this is a great book to read again, especially if you don’t have a lot of time. Although Orwell finished the book in 1944 it was rejected by several publishers because of its content. George Orwell paints an allegory of the Russian Revolution leading to the communism in the Soviet Union, at a time when both Great Britain and USA were in an alliance with the Soviet Union, and didn’t want to provoke Stalin. At 154 pages this book can be read over several days.
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All of these books have something in common; they are all short enough to finish in a couple of hours or over several days. They offer excellent writing, meaningful life lessons or just a chance to escape reality for a while. Do yourself a favor, no matter how busy you are make sure to carve some time in your day to read at least a few pages.