Bookshelf: Mind Your Mind

The busy person's guide to self-improvement.

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, published September 2, 2013 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

 Stack of books
We scoured this season's shelves to find the best tips on innovation and concentration, big and small. Make decisions in the morning, eliminate the word "literally" from your communication, tame your inbox—and you'll be well on your way.

Be Good

by Randy Cohen

Want to do your part to reduce the toxic tone of online discussion? Always use your real name.

The Plateau Effect

by Bob Sullivan, Hugh Thompson

Try to make important decisions in the morning, when self-control and willpower are at their best.

Success Under Stress

by Sharon Melnick

Check email only at specific times, so that your workflow is not continually interrupted by new-mail notifications.

Word Up!

by Marcia Riefer Johnston

Choose your terms wisely. "'I have a problem' makes you sound like a whiner," Johnston writes. Try "I have a concern" instead.

The First 20 Hours

by Josh Kaufman

"Finding" time for something is impossible. If learning a new skill is important to you, make time by eliminating hours you're dedicating to lower-value activities.

Thinking in New Boxes

by Luc de Brabandere, Alan Iny

Innovation requires an openness to alternative models and ways of thinking. Steer clear of idea killers like "let's get back on track."

How to Not Write Bad

by Ben Yagoda

Avoid clichéd, often misused words like "unique," "literally," and "personally."

Give and Take

by Adam Grant

When people ask for help, oblige them—no strings attached. Don't think about whether you'll receive anything in return.