21 Books for 2021
Well, hello, 2021! 👋 It’s so nice to be turning the page and moving on from the extravaganza that was last year…
Speaking of turning pages, there’s something about reading (or listening) to a book we enjoy that also takes us to a different time. It allows us to temporarily escape from our daily grind and adds more value to our lives through the skills and lessons we learn along the way.
Aside from a quick escape, one of the best benefits of reading is that it helps improve concentration, allowing us to stay productive at work. The more we read, the more we train our brain to pay attention, push distractions away, and get things done.
Reading is also a proven way to reduce stress, improve our cognitive engagement, and even sharpen our emotional intelligence and conversational skills (we have a book listed especially for this one). On top of all that, reading introduces us to new ideas and widens our perspectives, which helps us find more creative ways to solve problems.
The list goes on and on…
So if you’re one of those people who want to keep reading, learning, and boosting your productivity, our ClickUp team rounded up 21 books that we think you’d enjoy this year.
Let’s get into it!
1. Why We Sleep
How well have you been sleeping? Sleep is one of the most important, yet least understood, parts of our lives. In this book, neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker sheds light on a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming and how our sleep quality affects productivity, learning, mood, and energy levels. On a deeper level, it helps regulate hormones, prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, and slow the effects of aging and increase longevity.
“Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day — Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death.”― Matthew Walke
Recommended by Matt, Frontend Engineer
2. The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded
(Career Guides, Leadership)
Are you starting a new job? Transitioning from face-to-face work to a remote setup? Just got promoted? Transitions are a critical time for leaders, and moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager will face. Whatever transition you are facing in the future, this book can help you manage it by implementing successful strategies and reducing missteps during the most crucial phase of your new role- the first 90 days!
“The most important decisions you make in your first 90 days will probably be about people.”― Michael D. Watkins
Recommended by Wes, COO
In this memoir of leadership and success, the Walt Disney Company CEO, Robert Iger, shares his ideas and values he embraced during his 15 years with the most beloved and magical company. His vision focused on 3 clear ideas:
- recommit to the concept that quality matters
- embrace technology instead of fighting it
- think bigger-think global
“Ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can.”― Robert Iger
With a vision like this, Iger has been recognized as one of the most innovative and successful CEOs of our time. This book will not only leave you feeling inspired, but it will encourage you to live by the principles necessary for authentic leadership.
Recommended by Amy, Product Coach
Do you have fears that are preventing you from living your true potential? Author Gay Hendricks talks about going beyond your internal limits, releasing outdated fears, and learning new powerful skills and habits to unlock your authentic greatness. Read this book and make 2021 your best year yet!
Recommended by Lily, Customer Support Specialist
(Workplace Culture, Creativity, Self-Help)
This book is a guide to shaping a life, career, and reality that nourishes the spirit and feeds the soul―without compromises or apologies.
Joseph: “I love that he comes from a place talking about not losing the passion that made us creatives in the first place. We all have to turn that into a job that does take away from the rawness of what we do creatively. John has always preached about passion in design, life, and work.”
Recommended by Joseph, Brand Marketing Manager
What if you aim to improve each day? How much of a difference does 1% make? If you can get just 1% better each day, you’ll end up with results that are nearly 37 times better after only one year. This book shows how small, incremental, everyday routines compound into massive, positive change over time.
Leila: “One of our core values here at ClickUp is to grow 1% every day, and this book aligns so much with just that. Each day is a learning opportunity, and if we can aim to get a little better and learn something new every day, then we’d be able to improve our lives and relationships with others, too!”
Recommended by Leila, Editorial Coordinator
(Personal Development, Self-Improvement)
By author Napoleon Hill in 1937, this book reveals how our subconscious mind and attitudes affect our ability to reach our goals and fulfill our true human potential. He provides the readers with 14 principles in the form of a “Philosophy of Achievement.”
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”― Napoleon Hill
Recommended by Zack, Customer Support Specialist
If you like the book Big Little Lies, well then, you’re in for a treat. Imagine getting a letter from your husband to be opened after his death, revealing the deepest, darkest secrets… secrets that have the potential to destroy not only their lives but the lives of others as well. Hmmm, I’m intrigued!
Recommended by Steph, Customer Support Specialist
(Marketing for Small Businesses, Entrepreneurship)
About 80% of businesses fail within the first 5 years; why is that? In this book, business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber highlights the common assumptions, expectations, and technical expertise that gets in the way when running a business. This book has been voted #1 by Inc. 500 CEOs and continues to help small businesses all over the world dispel the myths of starting your own business.
Recommended by Mason, SEO Specialist
(Improved Memory, Applied Psychology)
“Our lives are the sum of our memories. How much are we willing to lose from our already short lives by … not paying attention?”― Joshua Foer
Author Joshua Foer explores common mnemonic tools for improving memory, including Mind Mapping, a note-taking technique. This book clarifies how memory and understanding are NOT two different things, but building up the ability to reason and retain information goes hand in hand. Not only does our SEO Specialist, Jeremy, recommend it, but Bill Gates does too!
Recommended by Jeremy, SEO Manager
(Human Rights, Women Empowerment)
Speaking of Bill Gates, his wife Melinda Gates, a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls, wrote a compelling book where she powerfully illustrates issues that need our attention. Melinda wants her readers to understand that there are many ways of lifting women up and that the only ones who truly understand what they need are the women she is trying to help. Listening to their stories is a huge part of this book.
“When people can’t agree, it’s often because there is no empathy, no sense of shared experience. If you feel what others feel, you’re more likely to see what they see. Then you can understand one another. Then you can move to the honest and respectful exchange of ideas that is the mark of a successful partnership. That’s the source of progress.”― Melinda Gates
Recommended by Erica, Sr. Content Manager
(Personal Transformation, Self-Help)
Everyone doubts themselves here and there, but when does it get to the point of self-sabotaging? In this book, author Jen Sincero gives a pep talk to help you identify and change the beliefs and behaviors that stop you from creating the life you totally love and how to create it NOW.
“Because so often when we say we’re unqualified for something, what we’re really saying is that we’re too scared to try it, not that we can’t do it.”― Jen Sincero
So, what’s stopping you from trying?
Recommended by Andi, Customer Support Specialist
(Social Psychology and Interactions)
Do you ever stumble on how to talk to strangers? Well, then this is the book for you! Explore what goes wrong when we talk to strangers and how we make those conversations go right! This book will help you see strangers in a different light and how you view yourself.
“Because we do not know how to talk to strangers, what do we do when things go awry with strangers? We blame the stranger.”― Malcolm Gladwell
Recommended by Nick P, Customer Support Specialist
(Motivational Management, Leadership)
If you’re looking for daily messages to inspire and motivate you, then this is a book for you! Every day of the year, you’ll find short but powerful quotes, historical anecdotes, and provocative commentaries to help you gain the wisdom, self-knowledge, and resilience you need to live well.
“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.” – Seneca
Recommended by Heather, Human Resource Manager
I know what you’re thinking… the title sounds a little serious, but actually, this book is inspiring, tender, and funny! Author Lori Gottlieb demystifies therapy and explores the ups and downs of life with humor and grace. She’ll have you laughing and crying as you read about her break down the problems of her patients, her therapist, and herself.
“Sometimes the only thing to do is yell, “F*ck!”― Lori Gottlieb
Recommended by Janae, Customer Support Specialist
(Philosophy of Ethics and Morality)
What is the point of living? Why do bad things happen to good people? What am I supposed to do to make myself happier?Author John B. Peterson breaks it down to 12 life principles to live by and addresses why you should stop telling lies to others and yourself, why you should stop doing things you know are bad for you, and how to pursue what is truly meaningful for you.
“Perhaps you are overvaluing what you don’t have and undervaluing what you do.”― Jordan B. Peterson
Recommended by Michelle N, Customer Support Champion
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a monk? Even if you don’t, Jay Shetty’s book will inspire and empower you to take practical steps every day to help you improve your relationships, and live a less anxious, more meaningful life, just like a monk would. By combining ancient wisdom and his own rich experiences in the ashram, Shetty is able to turn those experiences into advice and exercises that we can all do!
“Society’s definition of a happy life is everybody’s and nobody’s. The only way to build a meaningful life is to filter out that noise and look within.” ― Jay Shetty
Recommended by Selene, Customer Support Specialist
While having money is a nice thing, what you do with your life is way better because true wealth lies in your experiences on earth, do you agree? This ruthless yet humorous book suggests that there are only so many things we can give a f*ck about, which means we need to figure out which ones really matter.
“In my life, I have given a f*ck about many people and many things. I have also not given a f*ck about many people and many things. And like the road not taken, it was the f*cks not given that made all the difference.”― Mark Manson
Mark says it how it is, and that’s what’s so good about this book!
Recommended by Kathryn, Training and Development Manager
19. Yes Please!
(Business and Professional Humor)
If you love Parks and Recreation, Mean Girls, Baby Mama, and basically any Amy Poehler movie, then you’ll love this book because she wrote it! Poehler includes a collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras, and advice in this book, making it such an interesting read!
Here’s a little snippet for you:
“Please don’t drive drunk, okay? Seriously. It’s so f*cked up. But by all means, walk drunk. That looks hilarious. Everyone loves to watch someone act like they are trying to make it to safety during a hurricane.”― Amy Poehler
Recommended by Aubrey, Community Manager
(Women’s Friendship Fiction)
If you’re into rock n’ roll in the ’70s, then this book is for you! Daisy Jones & The Six were an insanely famous rock band in the ’70s, but they are older at the time of the book. Author Taylor Jenkins Reid created messy, beautifully flawed characters and felt like real people in a fictional story, which many readers loved about this book!
“I wanted you to feel immersed in it, and not like you were reading fiction, but like you were there. For me, the best way to do that was to mimic what I would argue is the best medium for stories about rock, which is a rock documentary. I wanted it to feel like an episode of Behind the Music as if you were hearing it from the people directly. That there was no filter. The conclusion I came to was that it had to be an oral history.” ― Taylor Jenkins Reid
Sarah: “It’s an awesome story written like a documentary; I love that it feels different than most books. A must-read for music lovers!”
Recommended by Sarah, Marketing Coordinator
What’s the most important leadership role you’ve ever had? How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? These are some of the critical questions author and research professor Brown these questions in the no-BSstyle that millions of readers have come to expect and love.
“Daring leaders work to make sure people can be themselves and feel a sense of belonging.” ― Brené Brown
Her work shines a light on some of the most common myths and assumptions about our modern-day workplace culture and shares her refreshing and human take on being a leader. So if you want to learn more about what makes a great leader and how to be one, then pick up this book!
Recommended by Linds, SEO Specialist
Bonus: They Ask, You Answer
Ever wish there was a proven way to dramatically increase your company’s traffic, leads, and sales?
They Ask, You Answer (named the best digital marketing book of all time by Book Authority) unveils the evolutionary, award-winning business framework that has helped thousands of companies achieve extraordinary growth by mastering the principles of inbound marketing.
By teaching you how to obsess over one simple question — “What is my customer asking?” — this book will transform the way you:
- Build trust with buyers through content
- Attract right-fit prospects
- Revitalize your sales process
They Ask, You Answer details the incredible story of how world-renowned Author and Keynote Speaker Marcus Sheridan saved his swimming pool company from going under during the 2008 recession. Years later, Marcus now shares how his business escaped near bankruptcy to become one of the largest fiberglass pool companies in the US using this simple method that can work for any business, in any industry.
Recommended by Bob, ClickUp customer
Well, there you have it!
21 books for 2021.
As you can tell from this list, our team loves to read about a plethora of subjects. The more we read, the more creative, focused, and productive we become, and in turn, it helps us to be more educated and better humans.
We want that for you too! We hope you find one (or all 21) of these books to be as insightful as we have. Be sure to add them to your booklist this year! 😊
Pro Tip: You can use our checklist template to keep track of your reading list and check off what you read as you go! 📚✔︎