The Best Management Books

Here are ten key business management books you need to read to improve your management skills and people management abilities.

First, Break All the Rules

Gallup's Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman summarize in this book the results of their in-depth study of great managers. The managers who ultimately became the focus of the research excelled at developing each employee's specific talents and growing them into top performers. These managers, as the title says, do not hesitate to break any rule that conventional wisdom says must be followed.

Business: The Ultimate Resource

This book is the most detailed business resource you can imagine. It includes more than 150 original best practice essays, a management library, management checklists, and profiles of top management thinkers. It covers every significant intellectual, practical, and factual area of management. (As a contributing author, my part of this work begins on page 265.)

Now Discover Your Strenghts

Another great book by Marcus Buckingham (and Donald Clifton). Use the insights of this book to help you understand your own strengths (and weaknesses) better. Then stretch and use it to help you understand your people better.

New Yorker Book of Business Cartoons

This collection of New Yorker cartoons about business is an enjoyable read that makes you laugh and think, especially away from the office.

Communicate with Confidence!

Each year, Dianna Booher teaches thousands of people how to communicate more effectively, at work, at home, in any situation. This book distills her tips into a single source that you can use to increase your ability to think on your feet and verbally communicate with confidence.

Executive Thinking

The full title of the book is "Executive Thinking: The Dream, The Vision, The Mission Achieved". However, based on my interview with its author, Leslie Kossoff, I usually refer to it as "Dare to Dream", because most of us are afraid to do just that. Read my interview with her and then see if you don't buy the book.

Good To Great

Collins calls Good To Great a "prequel" to his hugely successful Built To Last, which set a target for all of us. However, that book left out critical information for those of us struggling to move our companies from Good To Great as opposed to those trying to hold on to greatness. The missing piece is clearly identified in Collins' Good To Great.

The 16 Personality Types, Descriptions for Self-Discovery

This book is an interesting twist on the 16 personality types of Myers Briggs. It got me thinking about the differences between management styles and communications styles - is there really any difference? Isn't the KEY management skill the ability to communicate effectively?

One-Minute Manager

by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth H. Blanchard Originally published in 1986, the message of this book is universal and timeless. To get more out of life and more out of your people, this is the guidebook to read. Brief and to the point lessons in the day-to-day application of fundamental management principles.

Leading Change

When an organization needs change, it needs leadership. In this book, John Kotter lays out his eight-step process to create the sense of urgency that will make the changes successful. Remember these eight simple steps the next time you are the one responsible for making change happen.