Best Books for Managers: You Need to Manage People If You Start Your Company

   

While some of us are naturally good at being leaders and managers, some of us are put into a situation where we need to be leaders and, hopefully, good managers. Thus, it’s best to brush up on your management skills to help manage employees and businesses without causing too many issues. While experience is one method to learn how to manage people, books can also be beneficial.

Similar to attending a class, books give you the basic knowledge you need to know how to keep everything in check. A good leader will know how to manage a large number of employees while also learning to delegate the work towards other people. If you’re going off of just experience, you can see how quickly this method could cause problems.

By picking up a good read on management skills, you can easily avoid issues that may occur off of learning by experience. Plus, you can develop long term strategies that can help you keep investors and business partners.

So, why should we read the best manager books? I find that leadership skills change every two to three years, so being ready for the upcoming years is essential.

I’ve tried to get away with pushing back books or avoiding extra classes. However, once I started to read the best books for managers, I noticed a massive difference in the way I was able to strategize.

What I’ve found in the books is that they teach you valuable skills. Some of these include ones that aren’t so obvious. Skills that they teach you are Networking, teamwork exercises, verbal skills, and how to recover from failure.

So, if you’re sick of attending classes, seminars or don’t have the time or patience for other forms of education, a book can definitely help. I find it more productive to learn at your own pace, especially for business. You can easily pick up a book on management and really focus on what it’s telling you.

Best Books for Managers

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

I've seen so many people thrust into management in high-growth companies with so little guidance. From now on, I will hand them this book. Its practical wisdom is immediately useful for the newly minted manager — and us old ones.
Ev Williams
Co-Founder/Twitter, CEO/Medium
The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More

The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More

Another worthy mention would be The 80/20 Manager: The Secret To Working Less And Achieving More, by Richard Koch.
Cristian-Dragos Baciu
Direct Response Copywriter
Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Perhaps Managing Humans by Michael Lopp would be the most practical - it's a great read, and for people making the leap from developer to manager, it's full of useful advice.
Dave Child
Founder/Readable & ApolloPad
The New One Minute Manager

The New One Minute Manager

The human world occurs in language so best get good at it!
Bill Liao
General Partner/RebelBio, SOSV.com
Management Tips: From Harvard Business Review

Management Tips: From Harvard Business Review

Another favourite of mine, although is not like a real book, is Management Tips from Harvard Business Review. This is the handbook for every manager. It is full of actionable insights and the beauty of it is that you can apply them immediately. I always have it on me because each page contains a tip and I write the date on the page every time I use it. I promise you that using this system will supercharge your management powers in no time.
Radu Marcusu
CEO/Upswing
Monday Morning Leadership: 8 Mentoring Sessions You Can't Afford to Miss

Monday Morning Leadership: 8 Mentoring Sessions You Can’t Afford to Miss

As insightful as it is concise. Its 'to the point' style provides a clear roadmap for becoming a better manager.
Dan Amos
CEO/AFLAC, Incorporated
Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

As a CEO, I have often thought about the balance of trusting data vs. gut in decision-making. I claim to be data-oriented, but in the moment, I often rely on my understanding of human nature. As I read about Tony La Russa’s maniacal focus on baseball’s mass of statistics, coupled with this nuanced understanding of his players and opponents, it was obvious that neither is enough on its own: The leader who truly understands the numbers will make the best gut decisions.
Sam Yagan
CEO/IAC’s Match Group
The Restaurant Manager's Handbook

The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook

This is the bible for starting and running a restaurant. I recommend you get the printed version and the Kindle version. Use the Kindle version for quick reference and the printed version for study.

Chuck Rogers
Owner/Chuck Rogers Consulting
Managing Oneself

Managing Oneself

In "Managing Oneself" Peter Drucker talks about how different people have different ways of receiving information. I realised that hearing is much more effective for me than reading and so since then I only really listen to audio books. Incidentally, that book is 100% free on audible and is shorter than most podcasts. Well worth your time.
Lewis Smith
Entrepreneur & Developer/BodyTracker
The Halo Effect: ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers

The Halo Effect: … and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers

It questioned the delusions of business books and the pseudoscience that some use. It reminded me that the advice given in business books may not necessarily be right for you, your team, your business or the current situation.

Steven Stokes
CSO/DUKE
Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age

Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age

I read it after I finished an MA in Writing and it was exactly what I needed to burst my bubble. I loved it because it questioned everything and it perfectly matched my skepticism towards creative writing courses. Regardless of my amazing experience within the creative writing masters, nobody can teach you how to write, but somebody can definitely teach you how to rewrite and how to read. In a world where everybody urges you to be original, creative, Goldsmith states that you can totally be creative with somebody else’s work with a little help from the Internet: word processing, databasing, recycling, sampling, appropriation, coding (‘Pure Poems’ written by Shigeru Matsui in alphanumeric binaries), plundering, programming, and even plagiarizing. Yes, plagiarizing. The most eloquent example (I love it) is this essay entitled ‘The Ecstasy of Influence: A plagiarism’. Jonathan Lethem brilliantly shows us that nothing is original in literature – all ideas has been shared, recycled, stolen, quoted, translated, re-translated, imitated, pirated, patch written, re-written and so on. The essay is the perfect example for this – not a single word or idea belongs Jonathan Lethem. Everything is borrowed from others’ books, ideas, writings. Goldsmith even taught the ‘Uncreative Writing’ course at the University of Pennsylvania where students were not allowed to bring to the class any trace of originality and creativity.
Alina Varlanuta
Creator/The Hole in Your Head
The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life

The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life

Somewhere at the border between business and non-business I’ll place The Diamond Cutter by Michael Roach, a collection of empowering strategies for personal and professional life gathered from the contemporary wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel
Managing The Mental Game: How To Think More Effectively, Navigate Uncertainty, And Build Mental Fortitude

Managing The Mental Game: How To Think More Effectively, Navigate Uncertainty, And Build Mental Fortitude

Jeff Boss is a former Navy SEAL and knows everything about mental fortitude, and controlling your emotions and impulses in the face of critical situations. He uses his expertise in this book to teach others how to develop resilience and fortitude and cope with difficult situations.

Resilience and fortitude are two key qualities of a successful leader, especially when faced with crisis situations or making tough decisions. This book is a great aid in such moments, when you feel unsure of yourself.

Holger Arians
CEO/Dominet Digital Corporation
The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

The Power of Full Engagement was one of the first books that helped me to start to understand myself, and to work to embrace how I feel and be intuitive. The key concept in the book is that you should be either fully engaged in a task, or fully disegaged and finding renewal. For example, finding the natural dips within your day and thinking about rituals and changes you could make. Maybe you go for a 20 minute walk at 3pm when you naturally find yourself less productive.
Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure

Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure

One of the books that Peter Attia feels has had the single biggest impact on his life.
Peter Attia
Founder/Attia Medical
Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor and Lead

Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor and Lead

One of the books, Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement and Lead, contained a story of a Japanese supervisor / mentor and how he was guiding his junior colleague in his thought process to solve a complex problem without ever dictating his actions. The story was told from the student and the mentor’s perspective simultaneously - so you could perceive the story from both angles. During that period, I learned a lot about the importance of determining a root cause to a problem before jumping to a conclusion.
Daniel Buttner
CEO & Co-Founder/Lofelt
Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business

Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business

This book shall become the bible on how to build your dream business, without working yourself into an early grave!
John Lee Dumas
Host & Founder/Entrepreneur On Fire
Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que Biz-Tech)

Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que Biz-Tech)

One of the five books Jeff recommends to young people interested in his career path.
Jeff Gibbard
Chief Brand Officer/From The Future
Remarkable Service: A Guide to Winning and Keeping Customers for Servers, Managers, and Restaurant Owners

Remarkable Service: A Guide to Winning and Keeping Customers for Servers, Managers, and Restaurant Owners

I try to get each of our employees to read this book. Absolutely nothing is more critical to your success than providing remarkable service to your customers. If you do that, customers will come back. That's what makes all the work you are going to do to create a great atmosphere and control your costs worthwhile. If you aren't going to be committed to Remarkable Service from day 1, then you might as well not start.
Chuck Rogers
Owner/Chuck Rogers Consulting
Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

This book is amazing—it didn't change my mind, so much as it has changed the way I think. It helps to understand the difference between the way you make quick decisions, versus considered decisions—it takes different mechanisms in the brain. Understanding which you're doing at any given time can have a profound impact on what you ultimately decide.

John Lilly
Partner/Greylock Partners

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