5 Must-Read Books on Purpose, Productivity, and Power


The pandemic has freed up a fair bit of time for the lot of us. And while many have championed great achievements such as completing the entire Netflix catalog or learning to bake sourdough bread, part of me feels it would be a shame not to recommend some of my most recent reads.

I’ve been on a binge lately – not on Netflix, but specifically on books that elevate our own personal perspectives, as well as fine-tuning our internal calibrations. In other words, I crushed through a few books that help increase power in output – from habit forming to negotiations.

Here are my favourite books I’ve consumed so far this year.

The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield

Great for learning purpose

I was recommended The Warrior Ethos as a short read on the law of integrity. Most of the book cites examples of different warrior cultures in history (Spartans, Alexander the Great, WW2 generals, etc), and explores what drives their dedication, honour, morals, and pride – defining a culture that is impenetrable. It also covers how that culture/mindset differs and conflicts with modern civilization and our societal rules.

Cool short read with lots of moving short stories! At times I wished it delved deeper into topics, but the author left that to the history books.

  • Total pages: 114
  • Available on Amazon.ca for $13

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Great for learning purpose

Solid book on powering up your habit system. Fantastic suggestions by a guy who almost died from a rogue baseball bat to the face and how he was able to rehabilitate himself to greater heights. Includes tactical advice on how to actually create results.

Two of the main tactics I took away was the simple notion of making bad habits hard to access, and chaining or batching existing habits with new habits immediately afterwards. For an extreme example, if you want to stop watching TV, unplug it from the wall and put it in the closet after every time you’ve watched it. Simple read, high impact.

  • Total pages: 320
  • Available on Amazon.ca for $29

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Great for learning power

Written by the former head of negotiations of the FBI, Voss teaches hard tactics to use during negotiations. Simply put, if you can convince terrorists to release hostages, you can pretty much bargain just about anything in life. Lots of tactics to manipulate psychological and behavioural outcomes.

Biggest takeaway: When someone says no to you, never ask “Why”. Always start with “How”, especially in the famous negotiator tagline, “How do you expect me to do that?”. It makes them feel like they have to work for you to find a solution.

  • Total pages: 288
  • Available on Amazon.ca for $16

This book is one of the biggest game changers so far – if you only choose one book to read this year, this might be it. Well, either this or…

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Great for learning productivity

An incredible introduction into the ways of the Stoics. Helps you identify challenges you’re facing, both in a personal and career sense, and reposition your thought process to make problems into opportunities. Lots of examples of acts of resilience by the most famous people in history.

The biggest takeaway? The whole book IS the biggest takeaway, but at its core, learning how to recognize and turn a bad situation into a great opportunity is literally the key to a happy and successful life. Follow his Daily Stoic newsletter, his postscript podcast with Tim Ferris, and his follow up book Stillness is the Key for the importance of being in the moment.

  • Total pages: 224
  • Available on Amazon.ca for $33

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Great for learning purpose

Ordered this a few years ago after catching a recommendation from Will Smith, and finally got around to reading it. Short fictional story that follows the uphill life and challenges of a young shepherd.

Without spoiling too much, this book gives great perspectives for those with an open mind and seeking purpose in life. Rightfully esoteric, it’s also one of the best selling books of all time and recommended by many famous folks like Bill Clinton, Madonna, etc. 

  • Total pages: 208
  • Available on Amazon.ca for $15

About the author

Reggie Tan

Lifestyle blogger. Growth hacker in fintech & blockchain. Futurist. I write for myself.

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By Reggie Tan

RAMONE is a composition of non-fiction short stories and introspections by Reggie Tan.

reggie tan

Howdy. I first started blogging on RAMONE.ca in 2009, with a dedicated focus on men's lifestyle and stories of inebriation. Shortly after, I was listed as a top Canadian blogger, and over the next decade, I've collaborated with hundreds of notable brands.

Then I grew up. As of late, I've graduated to writing about life experiences, well-researched opinions, and hopefully a few things you might find useful.

This is my memory vault.

reggie tan

About me-Power user of technology. Style guy. Avid gamer. Obsessed with the Cybertruck. Lyrical poet. I like my beats bottom heavy. Madaline is ∞. Only God can judge me. INTP. Birthed in the East Coast of Canada by a pair of cool Filipino parents. Cautiously ADHD. I prefer my whisky neat with a tumbler of room-temp water. Otherwise, a pint of your best draught will do.

I'm a member of the anti-social club. Happily retired from Facebook or Instagram. My verified Twitter account was recently hacked. I do use LinkedIn for business.

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