19 Best Books to Read if You’re Suffering from Burnout
Not sure how to deal with burnout? Wondering if there area any burnout books that can help? Check out the 19 best burnout books to help manage stress.
Feeling burnt out? You’re not alone. Modern life can be hectic and stressful, making it easy to feel overwhelmed.
Feeling burnt out is a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion resulting from prolonged stress and feeling overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life. Symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and depression.
Recognizing the signs of burnout and taking steps to manage stress is crucial. A great way to do this is by reading books on the subject. There are many books available that can help you understand and cope with burnout. By exploring the 19 books about burnout mentioned in this article, you can gain the knowledge and tools needed to overcome burnout.
If you’re pushed for time, apps like Headway can also be a helpful tool to access the core teachings of self-help books. Headway offers 15-minute text and audio book summaries so you can learn to meditate, practice mindfulness, and prioritize self-care. Download the Headway app today.
19 Books about burnout by the experts
There are many books available that can help you understand and cope with burnout, giving you the tools to manage stress and regain your energy and enthusiasm. Here are some of the best books to read if you’re suffering from burnout:
1. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author Timothy Ferriss wrote The 4-Hour Work Week with day-to-day grinders in mind. In it, he explores the balance between career and personal prosperity and why the status quo may not allow for such a thing. Dispelling expectations to work until you can’t anymore, the book argues that it’s possible to live a life ‘in the moment’ and reap the rewards of hard work. It’s about escaping the conventional nine-to-five in favor of something greater — your own quality of life.
2. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant
It’s easy to be hard on yourself in a world of high expectations. But that’s no way to live, and as Kamal Ravikant argues in this book, it is a mindset that can lead to your downfall. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It is an in-depth foray into the author’s personal struggle for happiness. It details his journey from despair as a failing CEO to where he is today and how the practice of self-love made it possible.
3. The Power of Now by Eckhart Toll
German-born Eckhart Tolle is an author, teacher, and entrepreneur. He boasts decades of experience in his field of spirituality, having helped countless people around the world find their path to enlightenment. In this New York Times best-selling book, he delves into the topic of self-help to outline the relationship between thoughts and leading a liberated life.
4. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs by Kevin Kruse
Burnout is a modern phenomenon that many experts attribute to today’s fast-paced lifestyle. So it would only make sense that the solution to mitigating it lies in time management. In 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, author Kevin Kruse shares the insights he learned after interviewing seven billionaires, 13 Olympians, 29 straight-A students, and 239 entrepreneurs. Their productivity habits have been condensed into 15 simple items that anyone feeling overwhelmed could benefit from reading.
5. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
Professor and New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown aims to dispel the practice of self-doubt in The Gifts of Imperfection. Her book highlights the high expectations we often place upon ourselves while emphasizing the damage it causes. She encourages readers to reevaluate their mindset in favor of one that is more understanding of the human condition, offering powerful and inspiring guidance along the way.
6. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Burnout starts in the mind yet has the potential to cause cascading effects throughout the body. The key to preventing its sore outcomes requires understanding where things begin — how thinking leads to impactful stress and what can be done to control it. In this book, world-renowned psychologist and Nobel Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman paints a vivid picture of how mental processes work. He details the two primary modes of thought, System 1 and System 2, explaining the nature of each and how to use them to improve one’s day-to-day life.
7. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
For many people, burnout isn’t an excuse for life to stop. Commitments and responsibilities are ongoing, and it’s often a question of ‘how’ you’ll deal with something rather than ‘if.’ For those who fit the criteria, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity has a solution. This widely recognized book is filled with helpful hacks designed to simplify life amid never-ending chaos. Its international best-selling author David Allen goes through his personal productivity methodology in detail to give readers actionable advice they can apply immediately.
8. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
When it comes to managing burnout, you have plenty of options. Meditation is arguably one of the most constructive and is recommended by countless experts to relieve internal stress. In the book Wherever You Go, There You Are, author Jon Kabat-Zinn introduces us to mindfulness by exploring several time-tested techniques and strategies. From sensory awareness to breathing, it outlines a clear path forward for those struggling with crippling overwhelm.
9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Dealing with burnout is hard enough. Having someone tell you to ‘power through it’ or ‘just be positive’? It only adds to the pressure. Fortunately, author Mark Manson has a different approach. In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, he flips the traditional motivational narrative on its head, offering a refreshingly honest perspective for those who are fed up with the status quo. The thoughts outlined in this book have been relied on by millions in search of effective self-help advice, and you may very well find them a great tool for combatting your own personal challenges with burnout.
10. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation by Daniel J. Siegel
Pioneering neurobiologist Daniel J. Siegel applied his years of experience in brain science with the fundamentals of psychotherapy to create this encompassing look into the human mind. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation offers readers a detailed explanation of how their brains work and what practices they can adopt to improve their personal and interpersonal concerns. This is an excellent read for anyone experiencing burnout or any issue related to mental wellbeing, for that matter.
11. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
As the oldest burnout book on this list, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is trusted for sound, holistic advice on improving your state of mind. It was written by the philosopher and Roman emperor in 167 CE, and while never originally intended for publication, it is a must-read collection of insight. Meditations discusses ways of wisdom, behavioral understanding, and mindfulness through the ancient lens of Stoicism. While today’s world is nothing like that of ancient Rome, Marcus Aurelius’ advisory applies just as well to burnout as it would any other human experience.
12. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Burnout can be debilitating. Overcoming it takes self-belief, strength, and, as this book explains powerfully, grit. Psychologist Angela Duckworth uses it as a metaphor for achieving success and explains the importance of overcoming obstacles with effort and passion. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a great read for those looking to regain focus and determination. It’s an inspiring reminder that anything is possible when you work hard enough for it and that your stress is not worthless if it’s made to pursue something greater.
13. The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor
Toxic positivity aside, a good mindset can be invaluable when dealing with burnout. In The Happiness Advantage, expert Shawn Achor makes a strong case for the power of positivity at work and in personal life. He outlines seven core principles of psychology to explain the connection between how we look at the world and how we experience it, ultimately giving readers a clear formula for a healthier and less stressed-out life.
14. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
As a modern problem, many blame burnout on the digital stresses of the twenty-first century. Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism offers readers an effective way to combat this. In it, he explains how to reclaim ownership of your technology and use it in a manner that serves you. His suggestions offer useful advice for curbing your reliance on technology and preventing it from detracting from a balanced lifestyle, hopefully leading to a burnout-free life.
15. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns
First published in 1980, Feeling Good is an extremely enlightening book that anyone struggling with burnout could benefit from reading. Its author David Burns highlights some of the most innovative techniques he’s used as a renowned psychiatrist, including TEAM-CBT, a cognitive behavioral therapy aimed at tackling stress-related issues. He also goes into detail about the root causes of mood disorders and anxiety and how to manage them. The book has sold over five million copies worldwide since its initial release and remains an incredible resource for anyone looking to self-heal.
16. Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath
Burnout is often the product of circumstances that have gone out of control for too long. So why not take the reins? Dan Heath explains how to do just that in her book Upstream. Based on hundreds of interviews and associated research, it probes the psychological factors behind life’s problems and why they develop. The author emphasizes the value of getting ahead of things before they escalate into something bigger, serving as an excellent roadmap for individuals who feel they’re always on the receiving end of life’s obstacles.
Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, But Does by Sonja Lyubomirsky
Ironically enough, trying to be happy can make you unhappy. It’s something many people with burnout experience — while aiming to get out of the rut they’re in, they inadvertently skew their perspective of what happiness is and should be. In her book Myths of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky taps into this problem and explains our misconceptions about joy and contentment. By introducing healthier perspectives, she shows readers a more fulfilling way of life that is far removed from the damaging idea of happiness at all costs and ultimately keeps burnout at bay.
18. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
While not many people know this, burnout is acknowledged by the World Health Organization as a legitimate medical diagnosis. Experts cite its ability to impact multiple aspects of an individual’s wellbeing — not just their mentality but also body and spirit. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone addresses challenges of the mindscape and how they relate to our everyday lives. Author Lori Gottlieb argues the importance of therapy while also sharing personal anecdotes from her life as someone who offers it for a living.
19. The Art of Saying NO: How to Stand Your Ground, Reclaim Your Time and Energy, and Refuse to be Taken for Granted (Without Feeling Guilty!) by Damon Zahariades
The painful truth is that burnout is sometimes a self-inflicted problem. Despite good intentions, it’s easy for people to overextend themselves or say ‘yes’ to everything they’re asked for. As a result, they end up running on empty and unable to step out of their downward spiral. That’s why Damon Zahariades’ The Art of Saying NO is such an invaluable resource. It serves as a powerful reminder to draw the line — both regarding yourself and others — so no one has to experience burnout again. And as the title suggests, it allows readers to do so without feeling guilty.
This list of self-help books offers great insight into the causes and solutions of burnout and many useful tips for getting your health and wellbeing back on track. With the right help and some personal changes, you can tackle burnout head-on and live the empowered life you deserve to have.
Burnout is overwhelming in and of itself — so why add a long reading list to the mix? Headway offers a convenient solution for those who want to get key insights from self-help books in a fraction of the time. Its bite-sized lessons condense the takeaways you need to know, saving time and mental energy. Download the Headway app today.
What are the best books about overcoming burnout?
Some of the most popular titles on the topic of overcoming burnout include The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, Myths of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. These can all be found on the Headway app.
How do I know if I’m burnt out?
Unfortunately, no single test can definitively determine whether or not someone is burnt out. However, it’s important to pay attention to any physical, mental, and emotional changes that may be happening. It may be time to take a step back and evaluate your wellbeing if you recognize signs of exhaustion, irritability, loss of motivation, or difficulty focusing.
What is the fastest way to cure burnout?
While reading a burnout book can help, consider also participating in regular physical activity and aiming for a better work-life balance. Some people may also find it helpful to speak to a medical professional.