Writing post has been on my to-do list for a long time. I have been trying to choose the best of the best management books I have ever read. Although I have faced a “problem” – some important books that have changed the way I am acting as a manager now are not management books at all.
Management Books Worth Reading
Let me share the list of books which I consider a “must read” for every manager:
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The book might be considered as hard one to read because of the difficult language used by the author. It has opened my mind. We are trying to prevent all bad things that may happen to us, our organizations and teams all the time. But maybe we just have to accept the fact that bad things happen sometimes. It is better to build adaptive systems instead of changing resistant ones. Nassim Taleb gives a lot of antifragile systems existing in our surrounding that may help us to design our own systems.
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeff Cox.
It’s a novel about electronic components manufacture and its efficiency problems. In this book Goldratt describes the Theory of Constraints that stands behind every effective management approach (including work process like Scrum or Kanban).
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Deepak Chopra.
NVC is a way of thinking and communication that every manager should apply in daily work. It’s difficult to start communicating in a nonviolent way. But it is good to start thinking that way when conflict arises. This method helped me to save few really important contacts with my employees, clients and business partners.
Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management by Johanna Rothman, Esther Derby.
It was one of the first “management books” I’ve ever read. The most important lesson I’ve learned from the book is the way how a manager should interact with others in the organization – talk to people, collect feedback, learn about their problems. Answers to all questions are usually somewhere in the room, one just needs to put the right question.
Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders by Jurgen Appelo.
This book contains an enormous amount of awesome content for managers. It helped me to discover many other interesting books. I remember myself reading this book for more than 6 months in a row as I was constantly learning some interesting quote or a reference to another position to check on. During those few months of reading Management 3.0 I have ended up reading more than 20 other books which were mentioned by Jurgen.
This is a “must read” for everyone who wants to build and sell new product or service. Lean Startup concept described in this book is a nice summary of an effective product development method based on an empirical approach. The only thing missing is the importance of face to face talking to users and customers. I’ve learned this experience applying Lean Startup method.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.
Classical self-management book. We waste incredibly a lot of time and energy on things that don’t matter or don’t bring any value. The book is perfect guidance for everyone who wants to live in an efficient way.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.
If we are talking about productivity, we have to mention Tim’s Ferris book. This guy is probably one of the most famous life hackers. He speaks about delegating things that are not necessarily should be done by you. I’m still working on that but I can already see great progress. The author describes how to work only 4-hours a week and still earn enough. But who wants to work only 4 hours a week if he loves the job?
Yes, it’s a Science Fiction book about the colonization of Mars. Worth reading for every manager. From this trilogy I have learned about team building effect when everything goes wrong. The book contains a lot of concepts on culture and society.
Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game by Alistair Cockburn.
One of first Agile books I’ve ever read. And it’s still on top of my list. It’s highly recommended if you are at the beginning of your Agile journey. From this book you will learn that Agile is much greater than Scrum.
I hope you like this list of “management books” and find it useful. I would love to hear your opinion on those books. As well as I will be grateful if you will add some books to expand the list. Please join the discussion!