Following is a list of books that I believe anyone who is serious about being a good manager – at any level – should read and consider carefully. There is no natural bent to being a good manager – no instinct, no inherent talent. When we think we see those characteristics in people, it is really the manifestation in particular circumstances of careful and deep preparation. Begin yours with these readings.
This is a work in progress and will be updated periodically with new recollections and new readings. Eventually, all of these books will be reviewed on the main pages of this site; this will be indicated below each entry with a link to the review.
You can purchase most of these books from Amazon.com by clicking on the title.
Please stop by frequently, and let us know what you think – and what you recommend.
Adair, John (1984). Action-Centered Leadership. McGraw-Hill.
Allen, David. (2002). Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Penguin.
- See a review of Getting Things Done.
Blanchard, Kenneth H. (1985). Leadership and the one minute manager. Morrow.
Blanchard, Kenneth H., Carew, Donald & Parisi-Carew, Eunice (2000). The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams. Wm. Morrow and Co.
Burns, James M. (1978). Leadership. Harper & Row.
Carver, John and Oliver, Caroline (2002). Corporate Boards that Create Value. John Wiley & Sons.
- See a review of Corporate Boards that Creat Value.
Davis, Morton D. (1997). Game Theory: A Nontechnical Introduction. Dover Publications.
- See a review of Game Theory.
Drucker, Peter F. (1967). The Effective Executive. Harper & Row.
- See a review of The Effective Executive.
Drucker, Peter F. (1973). Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. HarperBusiness.
- See a review of Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices.
Edersheim, Elizabeth Haas (2007). The Definitive Drucker. McGraw Hill.
- See a review of The Definitive Drucker.
Fayol, Henri (1984). General and Industrial Management. (Rev. ed.). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Follett, Mary P. (1973). Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett. (Elliot M. Fox and L. Urwick, Eds.). Pitman.
Follett, Mary P. (1987). Freedom & Co-ordination: Lectures in Business Organization. Garland Pub.
Gladwell, Malcolm (2005). Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Little, Brown and Company
Graham, Pauline (Ed.). (1995). Mary Parker Follett–Prophet of Management: A Celebration of Writings from the 1920s. Harvard Business School Press.
- See a review of Mary Parker Follett — Prophet of Management.
Hayek, F.A. (1944). The Road to Serfdom. The University of Chicago Press.
Johnson, Steven (2001). Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. Simon and Schuster.
Krames, Jeffrey A. (2008) Inside Drucker’s Brain. Portfolio.
- See a review of Inside Drucker’s Brain.
Lewin, Kurt (1975). Field Theory in Social Science; Selected Theoretical Papers. (Dorwin Cartwright, Ed.). Greenwood Press.
Lewin, Kurt (1997). Resolving Social Conflicts; Field Theory in Social Science. American Psychological Association.
Marshal, S. L. A. (2000). Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battlefield Command. University of Oklahoma Press
Maslow, Abraham H. (1993). The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. Arkana.
Maslow, Abraham H. [with new material by Ruth Cox and Robert Frager] (1987). Motivation and Personality. Harper and Row.
McGregor, Douglas (1960). The Human Side of Enterprise. McGraw-Hill.
Mintzberg, Henry (2005). Managers Not MBAs: A hard look at the soft practice of managing and management development. Berrett Koehler.
- See a review of Managers Not MBAs.
Rosenzweig, Phil (2007). The Halo Effect: and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers. Free Press.
- See a review of The Halo Effect.
Rheingold, Howard (2002). Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Basic Books.
Smith, Adam (1776). The Wealth of Nations. Full title is An Inquiry in the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. This book is in the public domain, and is available in a wide variety of repackaged publications.
Strogatz, Steven (2003). Sync: How Order Emerges for Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life. Hyperion.
- See a review of Sync.
Stroup, Jim (2004). Managing Leadership: Toward a New and Usable Understanding of What Leadership Really is – and How to Manage it. iUniverse. (Don’t forget this one!)
Surowiecki, James (2005). The Wisdom of Crowds. Anchor.
Sutton, Robert I. (2010). Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best . . . and Learn from the Worst. Business Plus.
- See a review of Good Boss, Bad Boss.
Taleb, Nassim N. (2007). The Black Swan. Random House.
- See a review of The Black Swan.
Townsend, Robert (1970). Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits. Fawcett Publications.
Watson, Robert and Brown, James Benjamin (2001). The Most Effective Organization in the U.S.: Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army. Crown Business