The Best Management Books

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 16, 2019

No company can thrive and survive without good management. Therefore, investing in quality managers is of the utmost importance for all businesses big and small. Some companies invest in experienced managers while others grow their managers from the ground up. If you’re about to take your first managing assignment or just want to sharpen your managerial skills, getting one of the best management books might be a good option.

Quick Look: Best Management Books

What You Should Look for in a Communication Book

Those looking for the right book on management should pay close attention to three main criteria. They include the author’s experience and expertise, the particular discipline of management, and the size of your company.

Author experience

Before you buy a book, you should do a thorough check on the writer. Find where they’ve worked and whether they have any relevant experience that would indicate they know what they’re talking about.

Also, while you’re at it, search for recommendations by other experts, as these may be the strongest indicators of the book’s quality.

People vs. project management

Next, consider the type of management role you have or are about to take. If you’re a people manager, you should focus on books on people management.

On the other hand, project managers should focus on project management books. However, there are also books that both groups should read.

Size of company

Finally, take the size of your company into considerations. If you work in a multinational corporation, a book on how to manage small companies and startups probably won’t do you much good.

Likewise, if you’re at the helm of a small business, books on managing huge projects and teams in Fortune 500 companies is probably not very applicable. However, there are also books with advice that can be universally applied.

Our Picks for the Best Management Books

The list below contains ten of our favorite books on management. They were selected based on the criteria presented in the previous section.

What Management Is by Joan Magretta

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Joan Magretta, a former editor at Harvard Business Review, penned this excellent beginner’s guide back in 2002. The book went on to become an instant classic and remains among the 21st century’s most popular and recommended books on management.

In What Management Is, Magretta explains the core concepts of management, as well as many of the often skipped-over subjects related to project and people management. Her message is that a manager’s main task is to make the different parts of the system come together for the greater good.

The author also offers a unique view of how management principles can successfully be applied in other areas of life. A must-read for all beginners.

The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker

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The great Peter D. Drucker wrote many excellent books on business and management and if you have to read only one, you can’t go wrong with any of them. However, his 1967 masterpiece The Effective Executive ranks among the finest books in the field.

Drucker posits that one can be the smartest employee in the entire company but still make a poor manager. The key, Drucker explains, is in the development of five core skills. They are time management, knowledge of where and how to employ strength, prioritization, choosing what to give to the company, and the ability to use the previous four in synergy.

High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

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First published in 1983, High Output Management remains a classic in the field of management. Penned by none other than the legendary Andrew S. Grove, this book sold millions of copies worldwide and is still highly recommended among Silicon Valley managers.

On the pages of this great book, Grove lays out the most successful management techniques for leaders who need to build their business from nothing. He also explains, step by step, how to make and manage highly productive teams and help them attain high levels of performance.

Grove offers the very methods and techniques that helped Intel and other Silicon Valley giants become what they are today. He manages to bring together a relaxed, conversational style and deep insight into the matter.

Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono

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Six Thinking Hats breaks the mold and introduces a brand new approach to management. Far more than techniques and tips, this book attempts to reinvent the way managers think and make decisions.

Edward De Bono names his approach Six Thinking Hats and lays it out in a fun and engaging way. He urges the reader to embrace deliberate role-playing and “switch hats” between the characters to see the problem from different perspectives.

This is an excellent book for managers who are stuck in a rut and need something to charge up their careers. It is also a great read for managers who want to deepen their understanding of thought and decision-making processes.

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George and Peter Sims

True North- Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George and Peter Sims
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  • Who’s it for? Managers seeking self-improvement.
  • Price: Hardcover $15.99. Paperback $50.98.

Instead of dealing with specific management techniques, True North addresses managers who need to find their own style of management. The authors make the case that everyone who’s true to themselves can become a great manager.

George and Sims have conducted in-person interviews with 125 highly successful managers and CEOs in preparation for writing this book. They’ve identified five key principles seen in a great leader. To become a great manager, you will have to know your true self, define your leadership principles and values, have a strong support team, know what your motivations are, and remain grounded in and outside of the business arena.

Humble Leadership by Edgar H. Schein, Peter A. Schein

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Humble Leadership is a perfect pick for people managers who consider traditional management style and rigid hierarchies things of the past. Instead of promoting competition and cutthroat mentality, Edgar and Peter Schein call for a reform and a system based on empathy, trust, and vulnerability.

The authors claim that a manager’s main strength is in his or her ability to open up to the employees and gain their trust. They also give plenty of space to relationship building, working with and managing diverse teams, and complex group work. Finally, Edgar and Peter Schein postulates that humble leadership is exactly what today’s companies need to thrive and survive.

The Essential Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

The Essential Drucker by Peter F. Drucker
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Peter F. Drucker, considered by many the father of modern business management, wrote countless books on business and management. Many of them are best-selling classics.

Better yet, The Essential Drucker is a collection of 26 of Drucker’s core works as chosen by Drucker himself. They cover the common problems, opportunities, and challenges that managers face on a daily basis. The book was written for managers of all levels and types. It provides the essential tools a manager needs for performing the tasks that employees, company, and society expect of them.

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

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The Culture Code is all about building and nurturing a healthy culture in your organization. The author Daniel Coyle examines the inner workings and culture-building strategies employed by Navy SEALs, the San Antonio Spurs, and IDEO and what they are doing right in bringing diverse teams together and making them work to a common goal.

On the other hand, Coyle also offers stories of unsuccessful organizations and projects to highlight things that you shouldn’t do or tolerate in your organization.

Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

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Business always involves risks of failure. Sometimes they’re bigger and other times smaller but always present. Managers that don’t know all the important facts run a higher risk of failure.

However, the former World Series of Poker winner Annie Duke claims of a proven way to make good decisions even when you don’t know all the facts. The key is to, in Duke’s words, adopt a professional gambler’s mindset and ask yourself what is the most probable outcome of each possible choices.

The One Thing You Need to Know by Marcus Buckingham

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Marcus Buckingham rejects the common notion that one must find people’s weaknesses in order to lead them. Instead, he proposes that a manager is far better off if they identify the strengths of their team members and capitalize on them.

Likewise, Buckingham lays out his belief that the path to good people management starts with good management of the self. This book was written in an easy-to-understand manner and concentrates on practical and actionable advice.

Finding the Best Management Books

The relevant books are a great way to deepen your knowledge and management skills. You should base your decision on your interests, needs, and current circumstances.If you’d like to learn more about the nature of the business, give these business books and entrepreneur books a short.

They are full of useful tips and insights. For even more insights and tips, check out these economics books.