Updated Jun 27, 2022

Best Remote Work Books

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— Remote work is increasingly becoming the new normal. Both employees and employers are realizing the benefits of remote work. Here's some books we found to be useful in learning how to manage your time, energy and work/life balance when working remotely or managing remote teams. Please let us know of any other impactful books on the subject that we might've missed.

The founders of Basecamp explore the "work from home" phenomenon and show precisely how a remote work setup can be accomplished.

The Industrial Revolution's "under one roof" model of conducting work is steadily declining as technology creates virtual workspaces that allow employees to provide their vital contribution without physically clustering together. Today, the new paradigm is "move work to the workers, rather than workers to the workplace."

Remote work increases the talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens the real estate footprint, and improves the ability to conduct business across multiple time zones, to name just a few advantages. As Fried and Hansson explain the challenges and unexpected benefits of this phenomenon, they show why—with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo--more businesses will want to promote this model of getting things done.

Our favourite quote from Remote

If you can’t let your employees work from home out of fear they’ll slack off without your supervision, you’re a babysitter, not a manager. Remote work is very likely the least of your problems.

A behind-the-scenes look at the firm behind WordPress.com and the unique work culture that contributes to its phenomenal success.

50 million websites, or twenty percent of the entire web, use WordPress software. The force behind WordPress.com is a convention-defying company called Automattic, Inc., whose 120 employees work from anywhere in the world they wish, barely use email, and launch improvements to their products dozens of times a day. With a fraction of the resources of Google, Amazon, or Facebook, they have a similar impact on the future of the Internet. How is this possible? What's different about how they work, and what can other companies learn from their methods?

To find out, former Microsoft veteran Scott Berkun worked as a manager at WordPress.com, leading a team of young programmers developing new ideas. The Year Without Pants shares the secrets of WordPress.com's phenomenal success from the inside. Berkun's story reveals insights on creativity, productivity, and leadership from the kind of workplace that might be in everyone's future.

Offers a fast-paced and entertaining insider's account of how an amazing, powerful organization achieves impressive results.

Includes vital lessons about work culture and managing creativity.

The Year Without Pants shares what every organization can learn from the world-changing ideas for the future of work at the heart of Automattic's success.

Our favourite quote from The Year Without Pants

Fear of this uncertainty motivates people to spin their wheels for days considering all the possible outcomes, calculating them in a spreadsheet using utility cost analysis or some other fancy method that even the guy who invented it doesn't use. But all that analysis just keeps you on the sidelines. Often you're better off flipping a coin and moving in any clear direction. Once you start moving, you get new data regardless of where you're trying to go. And the new data makes the next decision and the next better than staying on the sidelines desperately trying to predict the future without that time machine.

One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you'll achieve extraordinary results.

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there's a better way.

In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four "rules," for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories -- from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air -- and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. DEEP WORK is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

Our favourite quote from Deep Work

If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.

Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business.

Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you're looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.

Read it and you'll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don't need outside investors, and why you're better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don't need to be a workaholic. You don't need to staff up. You don't need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don't even need an office. Those are all just excuses.

What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You'll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.

With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of "downsizing," and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.

Our favourite quote from Rework

What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.

What do you do? Tim Ferriss has trouble answering the question. Depending on when you ask this controversial Princeton University guest lecturer, he might answer: "I race motorcycles in Europe." "I ski in the Andes." "I scuba dive in Panama." "I dance tango in Buenos Aires." He has spent more than five years learning the secrets of the New Rich, a fast-growing subculture who has abandoned the "deferred-life plan" and instead mastered the new currencies-time and mobility-to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now. Whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, this book is the compass for a new and revolutionary world.

Join Tim Ferriss as he teaches you:

  • How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want?
  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs?
  • How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist?
  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and freuent "mini-retirements"?
  • What the crucial difference is between absolute and relative income?
  • How to train your boss to value performance over presence, or kill your job (or company) if it's beyond repair?
  • What automated cash-flow "muses" are and how to create one in 2 to 4 weeks?
  • How to cultivate selective ignorance-and create time-with a low-information diet?
  • What the management secrets of Remote Control CEOs are?
  • How to get free housing worldwide and airfare at 50-80% off?
  • How to fill the void and create a meaningful life after removing work and the office

Our favourite quote from The 4-Hour Workweek

For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it "eventually," just do it and correct course along the way.

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I don't buy fancy things. I donated $2 million to Wu-Tang. I got a mixtape in return. It was a wonderful investment.
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