There are multiple aspects to being an effective manager, but the bottom line is: you will be responsible for overseeing and supervising a company’s activities and employees. Besides thoroughly understanding the business, you also have to be a motivator, a leader. Given all that, I still feel like being a manager is possibly the best job in the world, and the most complex.
There are thousands of books about management but what follows are those that have withstood the test of time. So, whether you are a manager or hope to be one, these books will help you move towards that goal.
A cautionary note: the publishing dates given are the original date of publication (unless noted). Most of these books are so good they’ve undergone multiple updates or revisions.
50. On Becoming a Leader
By Warren G. Bennis (Basic Books, 1989)
Deemed the dean of leadership gurus by Forbes magazine, Warren Bennis has for years persuasively argued that leaders are not born they are made. Delving into the qualities that define leadership, the people who exemplify it, and the strategies that anyone can apply to achieve it, his classic work On Becoming a Leader has served as a source of essential insight for countless readers.
In a world increasingly defined by turbulence and uncertainty, the call to leadership is more urgent than ever. Featuring a provocative new introduction.
49. Financial Intelligence
By Karen Berman and Joe Knight (Harvard Business Review Press, 2006)
Companies expect managers to use financial data to allocate resources and run their departments. But many managers can’t read a balance sheet, wouldn’t recognize a liquidity ratio, and don’t know how to calculate return on investment. Worse, they don’t have any idea where the numbers come from or how reliable they really are.
In Financial Intelligence, Karen Berman and Joe Knight teach the basics of finance–but with a twist. Financial reporting, they argue, is as much art as science. Because nobody can quantify everything, accountants always rely on estimates, assumptions, and judgment calls. Savvy managers need to know how those sources of possible bias can affect the financials and that sometimes the numbers can be challenged.
Accessible, jargon-free, and filled with entertaining stories of real companies, Financial Intelligence gives nonfinancial managers the financial knowledge and confidence for their everyday work. Karen Berman and Joe Knight are the owners of the Los Angeles-based Business Literacy Institute and have trained tens of thousands of managers at many leading organizations. Co-author John Case has written several popular books on management
48. Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive
By Harvey B. Mackay (Harper Business, 2005)
This straight-from-the-hip handbook by bestselling author and self-made millionaire Harvey Mackay spells out the path to success for readers everywhere. They will learn how to: Outsell by getting appointments with people who absolutely, positively do not want to see you, and then making them glad they said “yes!”
Also, outmanage by arming yourself with information on prospects, customers, and competitors that the CIA would envy – using a system called the “Mackay 66.” Outmotivate by using his insights to help yourself or your kids join the ranks of Amercia’s one million millionaires. And 0utnegotiate by knowing when to “smile and say no” and when to “send in the clones.”
47. When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long Term Capital Management
By Roger Lowenstein (Random House Trade, 2001)
In this business classic–now with a new Afterword in which the author draws parallels to the recent financial crisis–Roger Lowenstein captures the gripping roller-coaster ride of Long-Term Capital Management. Drawing on confidential internal memos and interviews with dozens of key players, Lowenstein explains not just how the fund made and lost its money but also how the personalities of Long-Term’s partners, the arrogance of their mathematical certainties, and the culture of Wall Street itself contributed to both their rise and their fall.
When it was founded in 1993, Long-Term was hailed as the most impressive hedge fund in history. But after four years in which the firm dazzled Wall Street as a $100 billion moneymaking juggernaut, it suddenly suffered catastrophic losses that jeopardized not only the biggest banks on Wall Street but the stability of the financial system itself. The dramatic story of Long-Term’s fall is now a chilling harbinger of the crisis that would strike all of Wall Street, from Lehman Brothers to AIG, a decade later.
46. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by being Remarkable
By Seth Godin (Portfolio Hardcover, 2003)
A personal favorite of ours, as we religiously read his blog every day. You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. In Purple Cow, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for marketers who want to help create products that are worth marketing in the first place.
45. Growing a Business
By Paul Hawken (Simon and Shuster, 1988)
Nearly everyone harbors a secret dream of starting or owning a business. In fact, 1,000,000 businesses start in the United States every year. Many of them fail, but enough succeed so that small businesses are now adding millions of jobs to the economy at the same time that the Fortune 500 companies are actually losing jobs.
Paul Hawken — entrepreneur and best-selling author — wrote Growing a Business for those who set out to make their dream a reality. He knows what he’s talking about; he is his own best example of success. In the early 1970s, while he was still in his twenties, he founded Erewhon, the largest distributor of natural foods. More recently, he founded and still runs Smith & Hawken, the premier mail-order garden tool company. And he wrote a critically acclaimed book called The Next Economy about the future of the economy.
The purpose of business, he points out, is not to take risks but rather to get something done.
44. The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies
By Michael Watkins (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013)
Since its original release, The First 90 Days has become the bestselling globally acknowledged bible of leadership and career transitions. In this updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition, internationally known leadership transition expert Michael D. Watkins gives you the keys to successfully negotiating your next move—whether you’re onboarding into a new company, being promoted internally, or embarking on an international assignment. In The First 90 Days, Watkins outlines proven strategies that will dramatically shorten the time it takes to reach what he calls the break-even point, when your organization needs you as much as you need the job.
A new edition includes a substantial new preface by the author on the definition of a career as a series of transitions; and notes the growing need for effective and repeatable skills for moving through these changes. As well, updated statistics and new tools make this book more reader-friendly and useful than ever.
43. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
By David Allen (Penguin Books, 2002)
In today’s world, yesterday’s methods just don’t work. In Getting Things Done, veteran coach and management consultant David Allen shares the breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country.
Allen’s premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential.
42. Leadership and Self Deception
By Arbinger Institute (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002)
The “disease” of self-deception (acting in ways contrary to what one knows is right) underlies all leadership problems in today’s organizations, according to the premise of this work. However well intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance.
This straightforward book explains how leaders can discover their own self-deceptions and learn how to escape destructive patterns. The authors demonstrate that breaking out of these patterns leads to improved teamwork, commitment, trust, communication, motivation, and leadership
41. What Management Is
By Joan Magretta (Free Press, 2002)
Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned executive, this book will give you a firm grasp on what it takes to make an organization perform. It presents the basic principles of management simply, but not simplistically. Why did an eBay succeed where a Webvan did not? Why do you need both a business model and a strategy? Why is it impossible to manage without the right performance measures, and do yours pass the test? What Management Is is both a beginner’s guide and a bible for one of the greatest social innovations of modern times: the discipline of management. Joan Magretta, a former top editor at the Harvard Business Review, distills the wisdom of a bewildering sea of books and articles into one simple, clear volume, explaining both the logic of successful organizations and how that logic is embodied in practice.
40. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do about It
By Michael E. Gerber (Harper Business, 1995)
An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business. Gerber walks you through the steps in the life of a business—from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed—and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise. Most importantly, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business.
39. My Years with General Motors
By Alfred Sloan Jr. (Crown Business, 1963)
From the book flap: Only a handful of business books have reached the status of a classic, having withstood the test of over thirty years’ time. Even today, Bill Gates praises My Years with General Motors as the best book to read on business, and Business Week has named it the number one choice for its “bookshelf of indispensable reading.”
The book became an instant bestseller when it was first published in 1963. It has since been used a a manual for managers, offering personal glimpses into the practice of the “discipline of management” by the man who perfected it. This is the story no other businessman could tell–a distillation of half a century of intimate leadership experience with a giant industry and an inside look at dramatic events and creative business management.
38. Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the Industrial Enterprise
By Alfred D. Chandler (MIT Press, 1962)
It is impossible in a bare outline to do anything like justice to the subtlety (if also, sometimes, the prolixity) of the argument and to the wealth of telling instances with which it is illustrated. The argument is not dogmatic or rigid and allows plenty of room for deviations, variants, and exceptions…. There is no doubt that this is a book of first-class importance…significant, not only for its substantive conclusions, original though these are, but as an example of the way in which fruitful relations can be established between economic and business history.”
This book shows how the seventy largest corporations in America have dealt with a single economic problem: the effective administration of an expanding business. The author summarizes the history of the expansion of the nation’s largest industries during the past hundred years and then examines in depth the modern decentralized corporate structure as it was developed independently by four companies–du Pont, General Motors, Standard Oil (New Jersey), and Sears, Roebuck.
37. The Principles of Scientific Management
By Frederick Winslow Taylor (Cosimo Classics, first printing 1911)
Another classic, even today. It seems, at first glance, like an obvious step to take to improve industrial productivity: one should simply watch workers at work in order to learn how they actually do their jobs. But American engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) broke new ground with this 1919 essay, in which he applied the rigors of scientific observation to such labor as shoveling and bricklayer in order to streamline their work… and bring a sense of logic and practicality to the management of that work.
This highly influential book, must-reading for anyone seeking to understand modern management practices, puts lie to such misconceptions that making industrial processes more efficient increases unemployment and that shorter workdays decrease productivity. And it laid the foundations for the discipline of management to be studied, taught, and applied with methodical precision
36. The Functions of the Executive
By Chester I. Barnard (Harvard University Press, 19710)
Most of Barnard’s career was spent in executive practice. A Mount Hermon and Harvard education, cut off short of the bachelor’s degree, was followed by nearly forty years in the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. His career began in the Statistical Department, took him to technical expertness in the economics of rates and administrative experience in the management.
35. Blue Ocean Strategy
By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne (Harvard Business Press, 2005)
This international bestseller challenges everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success. Since the dawn of the industrial age, companies have engaged in head-to-head competition in search of sustained, profitable growth. They have fought for competitive advantage, battled over market share, and struggled for differentiation. Yet, as this influential and immensely popular book shows, these hallmarks of competitive strategy are not the way to create profitable growth in the future.
34. Focal Point
By Brian Tracy (American Management Association, 2004)
The true secret of high achievers is that they know how to find their “”focal point”” — the one thing they should do, at any given moment, to get the best possible results in each area of their lives. In “Focal Point,” Tracy brings together the very best ideas on personal management into a simple, easy-to-use plan. ”Focal Point” helps readers analyze their lives in seven key areas and shows them how to develop focused goals and plans in each.
33. The One Minute Manager
By Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson (William Morrow, 1981)
For more than twenty years, millions of managers in Fortune 500 companies and small businesses nationwide have followed The One Minute Manager’s techniques, thus increasing their productivity, job satisfaction, and personal prosperity. These very real results were achieved through learning the management techniques that spell profitability for the organization and its employees. The One Minute Manager is a concise, easily read story that reveals three very practical secrets: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands. The book also presents several studies in medicine and the behavioral sciences that clearly explain why these apparently simple methods work so well with so many people. By the book’s end you will know how to apply them to your own situation and enjoy the benefits. That’s why The One Minute Manager has continued to appear on business bestseller lists for more than two decades, and has become an international sensation. It belongs on your bookshelf (or on your tablet or Kindle).
32. The Art of Strategy
By R. L. Wing (W.W. Norton and Company, 1991)
Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It’s the art of anticipating your opponent’s next moves, knowing full well that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve simple common sense, much is counterintuitive, and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world.
Using a diverse array of rich case studies—from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history—the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. Are the winners of reality-TV contests instinctive game theorists? Do big-time investors see things that most people miss? What do great poker players know that you don’t? Mastering game theory will make you more successful in business and life, and this lively book is the key to that mastery.
31. Jack: Straight from the Gut
By Jack Welch (Warner Books, 2005)
Nearly 20 years ago, former General Electric CEO Reg Jones walked into Jack Welch’s office and wrapped him in a bear hug. “Congratulations, Mr. Chairman”, said Reg. It was a defining moment for American business. So begins the story of a self-made man and a self-described rebel who thrived in one of the most volatile and economically robust eras in U.S. history, while managing to maintain a unique leadership style.
Jack Welch surveys the landscape of his career running one of the world’s largest and most successful corporations.
30. The Essays of Warren Buffett
By Warren Buffett and Lawrence A. Cunningham (Cardozo Law Review, 2001)
The definitive work concerning Warren Buffett and intelligent investment philosophy, this is a collection of Buffett’s letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway written over the past few decades that together furnish an enormously valuable informal education. The letters distill in plain words all the basic principles of sound business practices. They are arranged and introduced by a leading apostle of the “value” school and noted author, Lawrence Cunningham.
Here in one place are the priceless pearls of business and investment wisdom, woven into a delightful narrative on the major topics concerning both managers and investors. These timeless lessons are ever-more important in the current environment. For those who think this is just a book for investors, think again. Wise musings by a very smart businessman.
29. Business Model Generation
By Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (self published in 2009)
This is a practical, inspiring handbook for anyone striving to improve a business model or craft a new one. It was written to change the way you think about business models Business Model Generation will teach you powerful and practical innovation techniques used today by leading companies worldwide. You will learn how to systematically understand, design, and implement a new business model or analyze and renovate an old one. The book practices what it preaches. Co-authored by 470 Business Model Canvas practitioners from 45 countries, the book was financed and produced independently of the traditional publishing industry. It features a tightly-integrated, visual, lie-flat design that enables immediate hands-on use.
28. Competition Demystified
By Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn (Penguin Publishing Group, 2007)
Bruce Greenwald, one of the nation’s leading business professors, presents a new and simplified approach to strategy that cuts through much of the fog that has surrounded the subject. Based on his hugely popular course at Columbia Business School, Greenwald and his coauthor, Judd Kahn, offer an easy-to-follow method for understanding the competitive structure of your industry and developing an appropriate strategy for your specific position.
Over the last two decades, the conventional approach to strategy has become frustratingly complex. It’s easy to get lost in a sophisticated model of your competitors, suppliers, buyers, substitutes, and other players, while losing sight of the big question: Are there barriers to entry that allow you to do things that other firms cannot?
27. The Innovator’s Dilemma
By Clayton M. Christensen (Harper Paperbacks, 2003)
A book that was on Steve Jobs’ bookshelf. It teaches the theory of disruptive innovation and why great companies fail when they ignore disruptive products in their competitive space. A favorite of countless other great CEOs, the book challenges conventional wisdom on what businesses should be focused on and when they should deviate from business as normal.
Essential reading for managers. And executives in the c-suite.
26. Turn The Ship Around
By L. David Marquet (Portfolio, 2013)
“Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers.” David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where there is no margin for error, it was crucial his men did their job and did it well.
But the ship was dogged by poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention in the fleet. Marquet acted like any other captain until, one day, he unknowingly gave an impossible order, and his crew tried to follow it anyway. When he asked why the order wasn’t challenged, the answer was “Because you told me to.” Marquet realized he was leading in a culture of followers, and they were all in danger unless they fundamentally changed the way they did things. That’s when Marquet took matters into his own hands and pushed for leadership at every level.
Turn the Ship Around! is the true story of how the Santa Fe skyrocketed from worst to first in the fleet by challenging the U.S. Navy’s traditional leader-follower approach. No matter your business or position, you can apply Marquet’s radical guidelines to turn your own ship around. The payoff: a workplace where everyone around you is taking responsibility for their actions, where people are healthier and happier, where everyone is a leader.
25. The Effective Executive
By Peter Drucker (Harper Business, 2006)
A favorite read of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results. Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time, choosing what to contribute to the organization, knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect, setting the right priorities, and knitting all of them together with effective decision-making.
Ranging widely through the annals of business and government, Peter F. Drucker demonstrates the distinctive skill of the executive and offers fresh insights into old and seemingly obvious business situations.
24. Six Thinking Hats: An Essential Approach to Business Management (Revised and Updated)
By Edward De Bono (Back Bay Books, 1999)
How well do you think? Your success may depend on it.
Six Thinking Hats can help you think better-with its practical and uniquely positive approach to making decisions and exploring new ideas. It is an approach that thousands of business managers, educators, and government leaders around the world have already adopted with great success.
“The main difficulty of thinking is confusion,” writes Edward de Bono, long recognized as the foremost international authority on conceptual thinking and on the teaching of thinking as a skill. “We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.” The solution? De Bono unscrambles the thinking process with his “six thinking hats”:
* WHITE HAT: neutral and objective, concerned with facts and figures
* RED HAT: the emotional view
* BLACK HAT: careful and cautious, the “devil’s advocate” hat
* YELLOW HAT: sunny and positive
* GREEN HAT: associated with fertile growth, creativity, and new ideas
* BLUE HAT: cool, the color of the sky, above everything else-the organizing hat
Through case studies and real-life examples, Dr. de Bono reveals the often surprising ways in which deliberate role playing can make you a better thinker. He offers a powerfully simple tool that you-and your business, whether it’s a start-up or a major corporation-can use to create a climate of clearer thinking, improved communication, and greater creativity. His book is an instructive and inspiring text for anyone who makes decisions, in business or in life.
23. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
By Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, 2002)
In “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” Patrick Lencioni offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, “The Five Temptations of a CEO” and “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive.” This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams. Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech’s CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail?
Lencioni’s utterly gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight. Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team.
Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.
22. The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action
By Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton (Harvard Business School Press, 1999)
Why are there so many gaps between what firms know they should do and what they actually do? Why do so many companies fail to implement the experience and insight they’ve worked so hard to acquire? The Knowing-Doing Gap is the first book to confront the challenge of turning knowledge about how to improve performance into actions that produce measurable results.
Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton, well-known authors and teachers, identify the causes of the knowing-doing gap and explain how to close it. The message is clear–firms that turn knowledge into action avoid the “smart talk trap.” Executives must use plans, analysis, meetings, and presentations to inspire deeds, not as substitutes for action.
Companies that act on their knowledge also eliminate fear, abolish destructive internal competition, measure what matters, and promote leaders who understand the work people do in their firms. The authors use examples from dozens of firms that show how some overcome the knowing-doing gap, why others try but fail, and how still others avoid the gap in the first place.
21. Now, Discover Your Strengths
By Marcus Buckingham and Donald O Clifton (Free Press, 2001)
Based on a massive Gallup study of 2 million people, this book shows individuals how to cultivate their own career strengths and strengths, managers how to capitalize the talents of their people, and executives how to build an entire organization around the talents of each employee. Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents, by our teachers, by our managers, and by psychology’s fascination with pathology, we become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, while our strengths lie dormant and neglected.
Marcus Buckingham, coauthor of the national bestseller “First, Break All the Rules, ” and Donald O. Clifton, Chair of the Gallup International Research & Education Center, have created a revolutionary program to help readers identify their talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance.
At the heart of the book is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder(R) Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. The program introduces 34 dominant “themes” with thousands of possible combinations, and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success. In developing this program, Gallup has conducted psychological profiles with more than two million individuals to help readers learn how to focus and perfect these themes.
20. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
By Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (Simon and Shuster, 1999)
In “First, Break All the Rules,” Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its massive in-depth study of great managers–those who excelled at turning each employee’s talent into performance. The world’s greatest managers differ in sex, age, and race. They employ different styles and focus on different goals. Despite their differences, great managers share one trait: They break virtually every rule conventional wisdom holds sacred. They don’t believe that, with enough training, a person can achieve anything he sets his mind to. They don’t try to help people overcome their weaknesses. They disregard the golden rule. They even play favorites.
Companies compete to find and keep the best employees using pay, benefits, promotions, and training. But these well-intentioned efforts often miss the mark. The front-line manager is the key to attracting and retaining talented employees. This amazing book explains how the best managers select employees for talent rather than for skills or experience, how they set expectations, how they motivate people, and how they develop people. Gallup’s research–based on 80,000 managers in 400 companies–produced twelve simple questions that distinguish the strongest departments of a company from the rest. “First, Break All the Rules” introduces this essential measuring stick and proves the link between employee opinions and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction, and rate of turnover.
19. The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company (Revised, 20th Anniversary)
By Jack Stack (Crown Business, 2013)
“The Great Game of Business” started a business revolution by introducing the world to open-book management, a new way of running a business that created unprecedented profit and employee engagement.
The revised and updated edition of “The Great Game of Business” lays out an entirely different way of running a company. It wasn’t dreamed up in an executive think tank or an Ivy League business school or around the conference table by big-time consultants. It was forged on the factory floors of the heartland by ordinary folks hoping to figure out how to save their jobs when their parent company, International Harvester, went down the tubes.
What these workers created was a revolutionary approach to management that has proven itself in every industry around the world for the past thirty years–an approach that is perhaps the last, best hope for reviving the American Dream.
18. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement (Revised, 30th Anniversary)
By Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox (North River Press, 2012)
Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal is the gripping novel which is transforming management thinking throughout the Western world.
The author has been described by Fortune as a ‘guru to industry’ and by Businessweek as a ‘genius’. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry – even to your bosses – but not to your competitors.
17. The Circle of Innovation
By Tom Peters (Vintage 1999; first published 1997)
In 1982, business guru Tom Peters co-authored In Search of Excellence, one of the most influential business guides of all time. More recently, through 400 seminars in 47 states and 22 countries, Peters reexamined, refined and reinvented his views on innovation–the #1 survival strategy, he asserts, for businesses of the next millennium.
16. Toyota Production System
By Taiichi Ohno (Productivity Press, 1988)
In this classic text, Taiichi Ohno–inventor of the Toyota Production System and Lean manufacturing–shares the genius that sets him apart as one of the most disciplined and creative thinkers of our time.
Combining his candid insights with a rigorous analysis of Toyota’s attempts at Lean production, Ohno’s book explains how lean principles can improve any production endeavor. A historical and philosophical description of just-in-time and lean manufacturing, this work is a must read for all students of human progress. On a more practical level, it continues to provide inspiration and instruction for those seeking to improve efficiency through the elimination of waste.
15. Out of the Crisis
By W. Edwards Deming (MIT-CAES, 1982)
Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment.”
According to W. Edwards Deming, American companies require nothing less than a transformation of management style and of governmental relations with industry. In Out of the Crisis, originally published in 1982, Deming offers a theory of management based on his famous 14 Points for Management. Management’s failure to plan for the future, he claims, brings about loss of market, which brings about loss of jobs. Management must be judged not only by the quarterly dividend, but by innovative plans to stay in business, protect investment, ensure future dividends, and provide more jobs through improved product and service. In simple, direct language, he explains the principles of management transformation and how to apply them
14. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t
By James C. Collins (Harper Collins, 2001)
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
13. Competing for the Future
By Gary Hamel, C. K. Prahalad (Harvard Business School Press, 1994)
New competitive realities have ruptured industry boundaries, overthrown much of standard management practice, and rendered conventional models of strategy and growth obsolete. In their stead have come the powerful ideas and methodologies of Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad, whose much-revered thinking has already engendered a new language of strategy.
In this book, they develop a coherent model for how today’s executives can identify and accomplish no less than heroic goals in tomorrow’s marketplace. Their masterful blueprint addresses how executives can ease the tension between competing today and clearing a path toward leadership in the future
12. The Essential Drucker
By Peter F. Drucker (Harper Business, 2001)
Father of modern management, social commentator, and preeminent business philosopher, Peter F. Drucker has been analyzing economics and society for more than sixty years. Now for readers everywhere who are concerned with the ways that management practices and principles affect the performance of the organization, the individual, and society, there is The Essential Drucker — an invaluable compilation of management essentials from the works of a management legend. Containing twenty-six selections, The Essential Drucker covers the basic principles and concerns of management and its problems, challenges, and opportunities, giving managers, executives, and professionals the tools to perform the tasks that the economy and society of tomorrow will demand of them.
11. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
By Clayton M. Christensen (Harvard Business School Press, 1997)
In this revolutionary bestseller, Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership — or worse, disappear completely. And he not only proves what he says, he tells others how to avoid a similar fate. Focusing on “disruptive technology” — the Honda Super Cub, Intel’s 8088 processor, or the hydraulic excavator, for example — Christensen shows why most companies miss “the next great wave.” Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, “The Innovator’s Dilemma” presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.
10. The Six Sigma Way
By Peter S. Pande et al, Robert P. Neuman, Roland R. Cavanagh (McGraw Hill, 2000)
Six Sigma was originally developed at Motorola in the 1980’s and has become one of the most widely discussed and reported trends in business over the past two years, thanks largely to the phenomenal successes of the Six Sigma program at one of the world’s most successful companies, GE.
9. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
By Stephen R. Covey (Simon and Shuster, 1990)
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems.
With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
8. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Technology Products to Mainstream Customers
By Geoffrey A. Moore, Regis McKenna (Harper Business, 1999)
Here is the bestselling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries. Crossing the Chasm has become the bible for bringing cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets.
This edition provides new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing, with special emphasis on the Internet. It’s essential reading for anyone with a stake in the world’s most exciting marketplace.
7. Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance
By Michael E. Porter (Free Press, 1998)
The essential complement to the path-breaking book Competitive Strategy, Michael E. Porter’s Competitive Advantage explores the underpinnings of competitive advantage in the individual firm. Competitive Advantage introduces a whole new way of understanding what a firm does. Porter’s groundbreaking concept of the value chain disaggregates a company into “activities,” or the discrete functions or processes that represent the elemental building blocks of competitive advantage. Now an essential part of international business thinking, Competitive Advantage takes strategy from broad vision to an internally consistent configuration of activities. Its powerful framework provides the tools to understand the drivers of cost and a company’s relative cost position. Porter’s value chain enables managers to isolate the underlying sources of buyer value that will command a premium price, and the reasons why one product or service substitutes for another. He shows how competitive advantage lies not only in activities themselves but in the way activities relate to each other, to supplier activities, and to customer activities.
6. Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution
By Michael Hammer, James A. Champy (Harper Collins, 1993)
The most successful business book of the last decade, Reengineering the Corporation is the pioneering work on the most important topic in business today: achieving dramatic performance improvements.
This book leads readers through the radical redesign of a company’s processes, organization, and culture to achieve a quantum leap in performance
5. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
By James C. Collins, Jerry I. Porras (Harper Collins, 1994)
This is not a book about charismatic visionary leaders. It is not about visionary product concepts or visionary products or visionary market insights. Nor is it about just having a corporate vision. This is a book about something far more important, enduring, and substantial. This is a book about visionary companies.” So write Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in this groundbreaking book that shatters myths, provides new insights, and gives practical guidance to those who would like to build landmark companies that stand the test of time. Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Collins and Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies — they have an average age of nearly one hundred years and have outperformed the general stock market by a factor of fifteen since 1926 — and studied each company in direct comparison to one of its top competitors.
4. In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies
By Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman (Harper Collins, 1982)
A “New York Times” Bestseller for over three years. To discover the secrets of the art of management, Peters and Waterman studied more than 43 successful American companies. The companies specialized in a number of areas: consumer goods, high technology, and services.
What Peters discovered was that regardless of how different each company was, they shared eight basic principles of management that anyone can use on their way to success. Here they are, amply illustrated with anecdotes and examples from the experiences of the best-run companies in the world.
3. Strength Finder 2.0
By Tom Rath (Gallup Press, 2007)
Do you do what you do best every day? The author asks. Probably not. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths. To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced StrengthsFinder in the 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths.
Based on a 40-year study of human strengths, Gallup created a language of the 34 most common talents and developed the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to help people discover and describe these talents. In 2001, the initial version of this assessment was included with the bestselling management book Now, Discover Your Strengths. The discussion quickly moved beyond the management audience of this book. The goal was to start a global conversation about what’s right with people. It appears that the world was ready to have this conversation.
The book ignited a global conversation, while StrengthsFinder helped millions discover their top five talents. In StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular online assessment. With hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, StrengthsFinder 2.0 will change the way you look at yourself—and the world—forever.
2. Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices
By Peter Drucker (Harper Business, 1993; first published in 1985)
Management is an organized body of knowledge. “This book,” in Peter Drucker’s words, “tries to equip the manager with the understanding, the thinking, the knowledge and the skills for today’s and also tomorrow’s jobs.”
This management classic has been developed and tested during more than thirty years of teaching management in universities, in executive programs and seminars and through the author’s close work with managers as a consultant for large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools. Drucker discusses the tools and techniques of successful management practice that have been proven effective, and he makes them meaningful and easily accessible.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People
By Dale Carnegie (originally published in 1936. Current edition paperback, Pocket Books)
A 60 year old classic. You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you! A must read for managers, employees…anyone. Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. As relevant as ever before, Dale Carnegie’s principles endure, and will help you achieve your maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age. Learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.