Reading specialized books is a powerful and underestimated way to develop new knowledge and question your own practices.
But sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of management books that are both helpful and compelling in order to help you grow and develop.
1. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity – Kim M. Scott
If you want to become a better manager for your employees, this book is for you.
The author draws on her extensive expertise to lay out her method of efficient management and how she fosters positive relationships with employees. The book includes easy-to-apply tips on how to be a personable and productive manager.
“When bosses are too invested in everyone getting along, they also fail to encourage the people on their team to criticize one another for fear of sowing discord. They create the kind of work environment where being “nice” is prioritized at the expense of critiquing and therefore improving actual performance.”
– Kim Malone Scott
💡 Whether or not you happen to be a manager, this read is sure to inspire you to better communicate with your colleagues.
2. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups – Daniel Cole
This book by New York Times bestselling author Daniel Cole explores the successes of organizations renowned for their strong corporate culture and team cohesion. It goes in depth on the processes that cement team cohesion as well as strengthen cooperation.
“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.”
– Daniel Cole
💡 No matter your organization’s size, the tips and insights shared in this book will help you build a solid corporate culture.
3. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek
A true classic. This book isn’t quite about management, but rather about why top leaders succeed. The author articulates the idea that people understand the “why” behind their actions are able to inspire those around them.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
– Simon Sinek
💡 You can also watch this video for an overview of Simon Sinek’s vision.
4. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention – Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer
Take a deep dive into the management methods of Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings. This book opens a window onto the sometimes controversial approaches that contributed to the success of Netflix. The authors hold the readers’ attention by peppering the book with stories and anecdotes.
“In a fast and innovative company, ownership of critical, big-ticket decisions should be dispersed across the workforce at all different levels, not allocated according to hierarchical status.”
– Reed Hastings
💡 If you’re looking for innovative practices, this book is guaranteed to capture your interest.
5. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts – Brené Brown
Drawing on years of experience and compelling research, the author explains how to become a courageous leader who is unafraid to tackle even the most sensitive topics.
“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”
– Brené Brown
💡 This book empowers readers to be positive and empathetic leaders.
6. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers – Ben Horrowitz
This book by a renowned Silicon Valley entrepreneur is chock-full of anecdotes about how he overcame various hurdles in the course of his career. With his trademark candour, Horrowitz offers advice based on his own personal experience.
“Build a culture that rewards—not punishes—people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.”
– Ben Horrowitz
💡 This is a book for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
7. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company – Robert Iger
In this book the CEO of the great and powerful Walt Disney Company shares the knowledge he gleaned over 15 years at the helm. Among other things, he shares how he managed to build Disney into the company it is today.
“Ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can.”
– Robert Iger
💡 This book will be of particular interest to anyone curious about the management techniques that the author leveraged to achieve his extraordinary success.
8. Ego Is the Enemy – Ryan Holiday
As its name suggests, this book addresses the concept of ego. The author explains how ego prevents us from learning and cultivating talent, and holds us back from improving and reaching our full potential.
“Those who have subdued their ego understand that it doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them.”
– Ryan Holiday
💡 This book is for anyone looking for inspiring, concrete advice and examples to help them become better leaders.
9. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – Adam M. Grant
This book invites readers to view doubt as something beneficial that helps us become more productive and innovative. The author offers advice on how to improve as a person and inspire those around you to question their ways of thinking and doing things.
“We learn more from people who challenge our thought process than those who affirm our conclusions.”
– Adam M. Grant
💡 This book is for readers who wish to question their own ways of doing things in order to move forward.
10. Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
This second book by Simon Sinek takes his reflection on “why” even further, examining the steps companies can take to share their vision with their employees and customers in order to spark engagement.
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
– Simon Sinek
💡 This book packed with inspiring stories focuses on the importance of employee loyalty and retention.
11. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman – Yvon Chouinard
If the environment and the outdoors are important to you, this book is sure to resonate with you. The author and founder of Patagonia recounts his youth and his greatest adventures, and shares his company’s philosophies along the way.
“Good design is as little design as possible.”
– Yvon Chouinard
💡 The author gives us a behind-the-scenes look at his vision of entrepreneurship and the values that guide the management of his company.
12. How to Be a Leader: An Ancient Guide to Wise Leadership – Plutarch
This book by Greek philosopher Plutarch continues to be relevant to readers today.
It offers key lessons for becoming a better leader, including why someone would want to be in a position of power.
“For they either believe their colleagues to be their equals and so they fight against them; or they believe them to be superior and so they envy them; or they believe them inferior and so they despise them. We must, however, pay court to the colleague who is superior, make the inferior better, and honor the equal.”
💡 This book is a classic to add to your reading list.
13. Principles: Life and Work – Ray Dalio
This book by successful investor and entrepreneur Ray Dalio discusses the principles that helped him create a highly successful business. According to him, his advice applies to both organizations and individuals and will help them achieve their goals.
“Look for people who have lots of great questions. Smart people are the ones who ask the most thoughtful questions, as opposed to thinking they have all the answers. Great questions are a much better indicator of future success than great answers.”
– Ray Dalio
💡 Readers who like to get the inside scoop on America’s biggest companies will enjoy this book.
14. High Output Management – Andrew S. Grove
First published in 1983, this book continues to be one of the most popular books on managers’ shelves. The author, a former CEO of Intel, shares his views on how to build and run a business, and shares his best ideas for boosting employee productivity and motivation.
“Remember too that your time is your one finite resource, and when you say “yes” to one thing you are inevitably saying “no” to another.”
– Andrew S. Grove
💡 If you’re looking for inspiration to motivate your employees and make your team more successful, you’ll love this book.
15. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear
If your goal is to change your habits, look no further—this is the book for you. Thanks to the author’s many tips, you’ll learn how to create better habits and get rid of those that no longer serve you, so that you can become a better person.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
– James Clear
💡Whether you’re a manager or an employee, this read is sure to be super insightful. You can also watch this video for a glimpse of what’s in the book.