Great Management Books

Books are no substitute for experience, but they can get you thinking. Here are some I recommend:

  • The First-Time Manager - Discusses eight practical core responsibilities of being a manager. Includes great topics like generation gaps, EQ, the importance of having class and a sense of humor

  • The New One Minute Manager - 100-page story, a man is in search of an effective manager. Reveals the following simple secrets: 1) Set goals; 2) Praise and reprimand behaviors; 3) Encourage people; 4) Speak the truth; 5) Laugh, work, enjoy!

  • First Break all the Rules - (Thanks Anne Lairmore!) Based on research done by the Gallup Organization. Rejects conventional wisdom on most aspects of management. "People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough." Here's a great summary.

  • Becoming the Boss - More for Millennials but gave me a lot of insight into them. "manage yourself, manage your network and manage your team."

  • High Output Management - By Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel. This is probably the best book yet. What does a manager do all day? Collect information, distribute information, nudge, influence, and make decisions. Prioritize high leverage activities. Avoid "meddling" in the affairs of your reports. Monitoring is essential and can be done in different ways appropriate to the circumstances. Great summary here.

  • The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership - By Steven Sample, former president of USC. Great insights into the motivation behind good listening (it's the best way to learn from different perspectives), why not to trust experts blindly, what to read (favor classics that have been vetted over time, avoid news), why you should delegate decision making when possible, and to hire the smartest people. Great summary here.

  • Indispensable! - (Thanks Ravi Sodhi) The importance of standing out as above average in the workplace and how to accomplish that. Emphasizes focussing on the positive and adding value. Also goes into the details of establishing and maintaining your personal brand and why that is important