One of the more interesting books I've read in the last year was "The Four Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferris. It's one of those polarizing books which starts arguments amongst people who've read it.
Honestly, it's something of a mixed bag. Ferris made his name in the fitness industry, selling supplements. He has a bit of reputation as something of a bullshit artist. Nice guy, just a bullshit artist.
The thesis of it all is the "four hour work week" and it gives a step-by-step guide on how to untether from your traditional job and move to having a lot more free time to pursue your own personal interests. It's largely bullshit. Most jobs worth having tend to require a lot of physical presence, for one thing. The book seems to be more of a blueprint for becoming a bush-league entrepreneur, which may or may not be what you want out of life. It also assumes you're good with money and don't have much in the way of debt or big obligations. I resemble most of the bullet points on his list of assumptions, so I found it valuable. Most peoples' mileage can and does vary.
The value of the book, I've found, is more in the details than the thesis. There's a ton of advice on automating annoying shit, managing your time and, in general sorting out your life so you're more in control of things. Ferris is a big fan of making annoying and time-wasting work either go away or become someone else's problem. I'd recommend reading it for that alone. Well, for that and for his advice on goal-setting and achieving. And the fact that the book is just a good read. He's occasionally pretty hilarious. And the book itself is rather upbeat and good at making you take a hard look at your life.
One of his productivity tips is to set a time when you're working and then install a website blocker to your browser to aggressively stomp out all the websites you're using to distract yourself. Having tried it for a couple of days now, I can tell you THIS WORKS LIKE A CHARM.
I'm using StayFocusd. In spite of the hilariously Web 2.0 type name, it works exactly as advertised. I'm using the "Go Nuclear" option to block the top five sites I spend way too much time on between the hours of six and eight in the morning. Amazing just how much more writing you get done when you CAN'T pop off every five minutes or so to check up on your news feed.
It's very liberating. I mean, it's not as if news will stop happening when I don't follow it. It's a little embarrassing, though, that I need a program to short circuit my monkey brain from sabotaging my own progress. Ook, ook, I guess.
Also, I just brewed THE COFFEE OF THE GODS this morning. I immediately wrote down what I did. Hopefully I can replicate it. This isn't Reinstein and the super soldier serum. I can make this coffee happen more than once. There's always a bit of doubt in the back of your head when you say that about Chemex brewing, though. It's fiddly, but rewarding.