Americans are reading fewer books than ever but still average over 12 a year. Even if you only get through a book a month, that’s a wealth of knowledge to help you grow as a human. If you’re pairing this with podcasts, watching webinars, and networking with industry experts, then you’re still keeping your brain active and achieving progress.

As a remote worker, you might be wondering which books you can read this year that will help you grow in your chosen lifestyle. Here are nine books that we recommend all remote workers read to improve their lives on a range of different levels.

Learn to Focus with Deep Work

Cal Newport is an expert in remote work and productivity hacks. Deep Work is a concept we’ve discussed before and the title of one of Newport’s most acclaimed books. It involves focusing so intensely on one task at a time that you forget about everything else around you. This is a kind of flow state that enables you to complete tasks to the highest possible standard, in the shortest possible time, without being overwhelmed by stress. For remote workers, understanding how to access this state will help you build your income and progress in your chosen career.

Prioritize Efficiently with The 80/20 Principle

One of the most well-studied theories is the Pareto principle. This states that in all spheres of life, almost 80% of all consequences come from around 20% of causes. Most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time, 80% of business profits come from 20% of its products, and 20% of computer code contains 80% of the errors. It’s not clear why this rule is so universally true but it’s a concept explained by entrepreneur Richard Koch in The 80/20 Principle. This book will help you to focus on the areas of your work where you achieve the most results, helping you achieve more while doing less.

Be Your Own Boss with The Magic of Tiny Business

The world of business has traditionally been seen as a risky endeavor that is only available for a select few. Remote workers have changed this perception, though, with many freelancers working for themselves online. This is referred to by Eco-Bags founder Sharon Rowe as tiny business. This book talks you through Sharon’s entrepreneurial journey and inspires you to view your own work as a humbly-sized business. She explains how you can pursue your passions and control your own destiny without taking out huge loans or working 100-hour weeks. Learn to work from anywhere while running your own sustainable and low-stress business.

Run Remote Teams with The Long-Distance Leader

If you run a remote company, then one of the biggest challenges is keeping a remote team happy. It’s much easier to be a leader in person, where you’re able to have one-on-one interactions with members of staff at any moment. To help solve this problem, business coaches Wayne Turmel and Kevin Eikenberry have released a book called The Long-Distance Leader. As the title implies, this book argues that you can be a good leader, even when taking charge of a remote workforce. Learn to navigate the new virtual workplace and keep your team happy, working together, and achieving great things.

Cut Distractions with The ONE Thing

If there’s one thing that’s been proven again and again, it’s that human beings can’t multitask. At least, not when more than one task requires a high level of brainpower. Despite the wealth of studies revealing this truth, we live in a world of distractions. Most remote workers continue to try and complete multiple tasks at once. If you’re looking to overcome this bad habit, then The One Thing is the book you need. Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan are real estate entrepreneurs who believe that the key to success is incredibly simple: do one thing at a time. You’ll learn how to take your workload and simplify it so that you tackle each task, one-by-one, in order of importance.

Overcome Procrastination with The Now Habit

For all the benefits that come with remote work, there is one major drawback to working from home: the threat of procrastination. Without a clear divide between home and work life, many remote workers find themselves in a perpetual vacation mindset, making it difficult to achieve the levels of productivity they’d hoped for. The Now Habit is a book by psychologist Neil Fiore on how to get those important tasks done straight away, rather than putting them off. It’s a topic we all deal with but a problem that remote workers, in particular, need to overcome.

Find Your Purpose with Ikigai

Part of choosing to be a remote worker is the desire to take control of your own life and pursue work that you find meaningful and fulfilling. This may be something you’re chasing without really understanding it. Naturally, only the Japanese have perfectly encapsulated this desire in a single word: Ikigai. Once you understand the concept, it will be easier to align your life with the pursuit of this vital but elusive goal. Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life is a book written by philosophically-minded authors Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. Spanish-born but experts in Eastern wisdom, they’ll help you align how you make a living with your true purpose.

Retain Balance with Emotional First Aid

Many of the books that remote workers turn to are to do with productivity. They’re all about achieving as much as possible, building wealth, and finding continual growth. While these are all great things, it’s important to retain balance in your life. You don’t need to always be growing in your professional life, especially if it comes at the expense of your relationships or mental wellbeing. Emotional First Aid is a fundamental guide to navigating life’s tougher moments. Written by psychologist Guy Winch, you’ll learn all about the importance of emotional health and how you can build it into your remote work life. 

Your New Bible: The Digital Nomad Handbook

The Lonely Planet is an organization known for producing some of the best travel guides on Earth. Written with meticulous attention to detail and practicality at its heart, any long-term travel enthusiast will have picked up a Lonely Planet guide or two. Now, though, the company is expanding and has written The Digital Nomad Handbook: an essential document for anyone wanting to pair remote work with travel.

Remote work can be a fun and fulfilling life choice. However, it requires constant learning to understand how to manage your workload and achieve fulfillment. If you get through just nine books this year, make it the nine listed above. That’ll give you a well-rounded body of wisdom on which to build a better life.

Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.


Born in Oxford, UK, Thom has been a digital nomad since graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2016. He’s a freelance writer and founder of Thom Brown Travel. Thom specializes in minimalist, ethical, and meaningful travel writing.

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