Best Management Books (Updated 2022) - HappyCoders.eu (2022)

In this article, you'll find recommendations and short reviews on some of the best books on running a business: business management books, business strategy books, and leadership books.

As a business manager, you may also be interested in books about digital marketing and product design books.

Are you still in the early stages of entrepreneurship, or are you just thinking about becoming self-employed, you can find books for self-employed, founders and start-ups here.

(Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't

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by Jim Collins

Link to the book at Amazon

How can good and mediocre organizations be permanently transformed into those that achieve extraordinary and sustainable results

To answer this question, Jim Collins and his team identified and analyzed eleven companies that initially had average (or below average) results over at least ten years compared to the general stock market – and over the next 15 years, exceeded the average return by at least three times.

This book presents the results of this study.

In essence, great companies have a culture of discipline: disciplined people engaging in disciplined thought and taking disciplined action.

At the heart of this culture are level five leaders characterized by humility, selflessness, motivation, hard work, and willpower – not by a strong ego and constant media presence. They first put together excellent people and then consider what the company will do ("first who then what"). Employees are selected primarily based on character traits such as willingness to take responsibility and perseverance, not professional competence.

Great companies have confidence that they will prevail in the end, but always face the brutal facts of their current reality.

They focus on one product or one service that they are deeply passionate about, that they can be the best in the world, and that customers are willing to pay for ("hedgehog concept") ... instead of diluting their time and passion in a variety of areas.

A great company is not created overnight. Like a flywheel, it continuously builds momentum until it is unstoppable. There is no such thing as the one miraculous moment, the one great breakthrough.

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It is fascinating how entertaining the book is written despite its scientific basis. It is filled with numerous examples and anecdotes and opens your eyes to how great things can be achieved, even outside of business.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes, absolutely.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

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by Jim Collins

Link to the book at Amazon

The first part of this book is a kind of autobiography. Ben Horowitz, now one of Silicon Valley's best-known founders and venture capitalists, recounts his turbulent career. Starting with his childhood, his first management position at Netscape, his first company Loudcloud, its near-bankruptcy during the DotCom crash in 2000, its transformation into the software company Opsware, and its sale in 2007 to HP (for $1.6 billion), all the way to the founding of the prestigious investment firm Andreessen Horowitz.

In the second part, he describes the strategies he used to guide his company through the crisis period of the early 2000s. He gives concrete advice, e.g., how to hire the right people, how important it is to train them well, how important regular (crisis) communication is, how to keep your employees motivated despite hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime (without which the company would not have survived), and how to demote or fire your employees in the "right" way, should that be necessary - for instance, when the company (and thus the demands on the position) have changed faster than the employee could grow with it.

The book's first part is exciting, humorous, and worth reading for anyone who worked in the IT industry during the DotCom crash.

The second part focuses on managing rather large, publicly traded companies with supervisory boards and multiple levels of management. Small business owners can certainly take away a piece of advice or two, for example, about the "right" way to terminate an employee, but they will wonder for most of the chapters how much this should ever be relevant to them.

In any case, the reader does not receive dry management theory, but pragmatic tips from hard-core practice and the most unpleasant management situations.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes.

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

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by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

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Link to the book at Amazon

Netflix is one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. What is the secret behind this success?

In their bestseller, founder and CEO Reed Hastings and author Erin Meyer write about the unique corporate culture accountable for Netflix's success. The unprecedented flexibility it fosters has transformed the company from a DVD shipper to a streaming service to an international film producer.

The cornerstones of Netflix's corporate culture are excellent employees, transparency, and minimal control at all levels:

  1. Netflix hires only the best employees, pays them top salaries, and adjusts them on its own initiative. Salary increases of 30% or more are not uncommon. In this way, the company retains its top talent, and employees are motivated to achieve creative excellence.
  2. Absolute honesty, regular feedback – also to superiors (direct and indirect) – and a consequently high level of ability to accept and adopt criticism are expected from all employees.
  3. Leadership takes place through "context" instead of control. Instead of controlling the number of working hours or vacation days, travel budgets, or working methods of employees, the only guideline is: Act in the company's interest! Within this framework, employees have maximum freedom to make decisions.

The fact that these freedoms encourage errors is generally accepted. Innovation and flexibility always take precedence over error prevention.

Among the numerous anecdotes from the company's history, many deal with mistakes at all company levels (up to the CEO) – and the lessons the company has learned from them.

The book is easily written, well structured, and highly entertaining – a must-read for every entrepreneur and those who want to become one.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes.

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

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by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Link to the book at Amazon

What distinguishes long-standing, decade-long successful companies such as Coca-Cola, Disney, Walmart from their less successful competitors who were in the market at the same time and under the same conditions and opportunities, and who are also well-known, but only succeeded in phases?

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras spent years of research on this question. In this book, they present their results.

The lastingly successful companies have one thing in common: a core ideology that they preserve over decades, around which they constantly stimulate progress and change.

The core ideology consists of authentic core values which the founders believe and which are rigorously protected, such as innovation, quality, and decency. As well as a purpose, a "guiding star on the horizon – forever pursued but never reached" (David Packard) – such as "bringing happiness to millions of people" or "improving the lives of people around the world".

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Progress is driven by "big hairy audacious goals" – BHAGs: goals that inspire and motivate people; goals that are formulated in simple terms and require no explanation, such as "we will bring a man to the moon and safely back to earth before the end of the decade". Employees of successful ventures have absolute confidence in achieving their goals – failure is unimaginable for them. Lasting companies never rest on their accomplishments – once they have reached a goal, they set new ones.

The book is very entertaining, thanks to the many illustrative and lively examples – a recommendation for all interested in lasting success. The findings are not only applicable in professional but also in private life.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes, absolutely.

Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Management of Innovation and Change)

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by Clayton M. Christensen

Link to the book at Amazon

Why do large, established companies falter or are even driven out of business entirely by rapidly growing start-ups as soon as groundbreaking innovations make their way into the market?

And how can large companies prevent this?

In "Innovator's Dilemma," business professor Clayton M. Christensen gets to the bottom of these questions:

Established companies have optimized their culture and processes to continuously improve their products along evolutionary paths according to the wishes of their regular customers.

Disruptive products often initially have poorer quality, reliability, and performance than established products (think of the first digital cameras, for example). As a result, they target small market niches that are insignificant to large companies, consisting of customers who care about other features (e.g., sending the captured image instantly via email). Sales that can be generated with these products in their initial phase are uninteresting for large companies and cannot cover their cost structures.

Thus, they leave the market to start-ups (often founded by former employees), for whom the revenues are very interesting and who are betting on the enormous growth potential of the new technology.

Meanwhile, the big companies keep evolving their products so that at some point, they over-fulfill their customers' needs (who needs 1,500 features in Word?). One day, the disruptive technology (Google Docs in this example) has evolved to the point where it meets the needs of the big companies' customers – now at a much lower price – and they replace the existing product with the disruptive one in droves.

The start-up grows and builds structures – until, at some point, it is itself the established company that is displaced by the next disruptive innovation.

How can companies resolve this dilemma?

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The only way for a large company to get a piece of the pie (or to survive) is to create its own start-up (or other entity entirely separate from the main company) that develops the disruptive product, builds a separate customer base, and operates and grows independently with lower margins and revenues.

The book is excellently organized, written in an easy-to-understand manner, and has not lost its relevance more than twenty years after its publication. Numerous impressive case studies from various industries illustrate the dilemma and the ways out.

A book every entrepreneur should have read.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes.

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

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by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Link to the book at Amazon

Ten years after his best-selling book "Good to Great," Jim Collins has published the results of another comprehensive study. His question was:

What did successful companies do differently than comparable companies in the same industry during turbulent times, i.e., in an environment that executives could not predict or control?

Specifically, Collins and his team studied so-called "10Xers": companies whose stock market value outperformed their respective industry index by at least a factor of ten over fifteen years.

The surprising result: the 10X companies had neither adapted particularly to changing circumstances nor were they more visionary or more willing to take risks than their competitors. On the contrary: they were more disciplined, extremely empirical in their approach, and hedged against a wide range of potential risks.

Collins and his team identified the following three core behaviors:

  1. Fanatical Discipline: Act steadily and consistently, not erratically. Push hard and ambitiously in bad times – and hold back in good times. Growing too fast often overwhelms companies.
  2. Empirical Creativity: Don't act on opinions, wisdom, or untested ideas. Instead, explore small steps in different directions, and deploy more resources only when empirical data justifies it.
  3. Productive Paranoia: Constantly identify potential threats, analyze their impact, and develop mitigation plans.

The authors also examined the extent to which luck played a role in success. The result: 10X companies were no luckier than their peers, but they made more out of it.

Like its two predecessors, the book is based on empirical research yet is entertaining, inspiring, full of compelling anecdotes, and directly actionable for entrepreneurs.

Suitable as an audiobook? Yes, absolutely.

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FAQs

What is the best book to be a good manager? ›

9 Books Every Manager Should Read
  • How To Win Friends and Influence People.
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
  • The Art of War.
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Good to Great.
  • Leadership.
  • The One Minute Manager.
  • The Effective Executive.

What is management textbook? ›

Management textbooks focus on developing the core competencies of effective personnel teams and organizations with an emphasis on fundamental theories and concepts around business planning, organization, leadership, and profits.

How do you deal with difficult employees book? ›

Get everything you need
  1. Leading the Unleadable: How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People. Alan Willett. 4.4 out of 5 stars 370. ...
  2. Managing Difficult People: A Survival Guide For Handling Any Employee. Marilyn Pincus. Paperback. ...
  3. Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People. Renee Evenson. Paperback.

Which books read successful leaders? ›

Below are the best leadership and self-help books for anyone who wants to work on their mindset, emotional regulation, and beyond.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown. ...
  • The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. ...
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R.
27 Sept 2022

What books great leaders read? ›

15 Leadership Books To Inspire Every Type of Leader
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. ...
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. ...
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. ...
  • The Truth About Leadership by James M. ...
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don't by Jim Collins.
16 Nov 2022

What are the top 3 skills of a manager? ›

Robert Katz identifies three types of skills that are essential for a successful management process: Technical skills. Conceptual skills. Human or interpersonal management skills.

What are the top 5 qualities of a manager? ›

And without these skills and qualities, your employees and the workplace could suffer.
...
  • Good managers know how to communicate. ...
  • Good managers know how to listen. ...
  • Good managers lead with confidence. ...
  • Good managers care about and take care of their teams. ...
  • Good managers are authentic.
9 Aug 2021

What are the four functional pillars of management? ›

Over the years, Fayol's functions were combined and reduced to the following four main functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

What is management full notes? ›

Management is the coordination and administration of tasks to achieve a goal. Such administration activities include setting the organization's strategy and coordinating the efforts of staff to accomplish these objectives through the application of available resources.

What are the six types of difficult employees? ›

Be prepared to confront the 8 most common types of difficult employees: The Attacker, Comic, Deserter, Limelight Seeker, Moonlighter, No-My-Jobber, Bleeding Heart, and Complainer.

How do you handle difficult conversations gracefully at work? ›

  1. Don't wait to have difficult conversations at work. Difficult talks can become even more challenging the longer you wait. ...
  2. Change your mindset. ...
  3. Practice having difficult conversations at work. ...
  4. Prepare beforehand. ...
  5. Manage your emotions. ...
  6. Be empathetic. ...
  7. Brainstorm together.
24 Oct 2021

How do you handle a tricky employee? ›

How to manage difficult employees
  1. Do not ignore negativity. ...
  2. Understand the bigger picture. ...
  3. Reject excuses. ...
  4. Make the employee part of the solution. ...
  5. Encourage positive behaviour. ...
  6. Develop an action plan. ...
  7. Give clear behavioural feedback. ...
  8. Be consistent.
11 Aug 2021

What is the number 1 read book in the world? ›

The Holy Bible is the most read book in the world. In the past 50 years, the Bible has sold over 3.9 billion copies. It is the most recognizable and famous book that has ever been published. The Bible is a collective book with many different preachings based on God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Which is the most successful textbook of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

Which book is best for increasing brain power? ›

  • "The Sherlock Holmes Puzzle Collection" John Watson. ...
  • "Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long" David Rock. ...
  • "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" Charles Duhigg. ...
  • "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" Malcolm Gladwell.
27 Nov 2018

What is one book that everyone should read? ›

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Anne Frank. "1984" by George Orwell. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling.

What is a must read books of a lifetime? ›

Must-read books include "To Kill A Mockingbird," "A Brief History of Time," "Americanah," and "How To Win Friends And Influence People."

What are the 3 roles of a manager? ›

Managers' roles fall into three basic categories: informational roles, interpersonal roles, and decisional roles.

What are the 8 traits of a good manager? ›

8 Traits of Effective Managers
  • Practice Open Communication. ...
  • Turn Feedback into Action. ...
  • Establish and Maintain Trust. ...
  • Foster a Culture of Belonging. ...
  • Provide Support in Weathering Change. ...
  • Encourage Collaboration. ...
  • Support Career Development. ...
  • Walk the Walk.
28 Apr 2021

Which are the two most important skills for a manager? ›

6 Essential Skills for Managers
  1. Good communication. Having good communication skills is probably the most important skill of all for managers to have. ...
  2. Good Organisation. ...
  3. Team Building. ...
  4. Leadership. ...
  5. Ability to Deal with Changes Effectively. ...
  6. Domain Knowledge.

What are the six qualities of a good manager? ›

Characteristics of an Effective Manager
  • Leadership.
  • Experience.
  • Communication.
  • Knowledge.
  • Organization.
  • Time management.
  • Delegation.
  • Confidence.

What makes a successful manager? ›

Managers become great communicators by being good listeners. They allow time for others to speak. They have a clear understanding of the organization's vision and share it with the people in their team in a way that motivates them. They keep their team up-to-date on what's happening in the organization.

What is a strong manager? ›

Decisions have to be made and a strong manager has what it takes to trust their instinct and take them. This confidence gives comfort to a team, knowing that they have a clear direction and that there's a steady hand on the tiller. Communication. Working as a manager means guiding and getting the most out of a team.

What is the hardest part of being a manager? ›

Letting employees go

This will probably always be the hardest part of any manager's job – and it's something you never want to get too comfortable doing. Unfortunately, there's no easy way around this one and it doesn't become any easier, no matter how much experience you have.

What are the 7 core functions of management? ›

Each of these functions plays a critical role in helping organizations achieve efficiently and effectively. Luther Gulick, Fayol's successor, further defined 7 functions of management or POSDCORB—planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting.

What are 5 major differences between leadership and management? ›

Top 5 Differences Between a Leader and a Manager
  • Leaders create a vision; Managers execute the vision.
  • Leaders create change; Managers react to change.
  • Leaders are people-focused; Managers are structure-focused.
  • Leaders seek feedback; Managers minimize weaknesses.
  • Leaders lead people; Managers manage work.

What is the most challenging function of management? ›

Leading. The third managerial function is leading, an activity that is often seen as the most important and challenging of all the managerial functions. In this stage, managers are expected to motivate employees to help them achieve their goals and objectives.

What is the 4th basic management skills? ›

Originally identified by Henri Fayol as five elements, there are now four commonly accepted functions of management that encompass these necessary skills: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

What is the position of manager? ›

A Manager, or Supervisor, oversees team members in a certain department to ensure it's performing effectively. Their main duties include hiring and training employees, creating and implementing business strategies and delegating tasks to team members.

What are the 4 types of management? ›

The four most common types of managers are top-level managers, middle managers, first-line managers, and team leaders.

What are the 6 types of management? ›

6 Types of Management Styles
  • Commanding Management. ...
  • Visionary Management. ...
  • Affiliative Management. ...
  • Democratic Management. ...
  • Pacesetting Management. ...
  • Coaching Management.
4 Mar 2021

How do you fix a lazy employee? ›

Lazy Employees: 10 Steps on How To Handle Them
  1. Meeting.
  2. Set Clear and Achievable Goals.
  3. Consequences.
  4. Incentives.
  5. Opportunities for Career Growth.
  6. Change of Work.
  7. Follow Up.
  8. Document Behaviour.
12 Aug 2022

What is a type of toxic employee? ›

Toxic employees are typically overconfident, have self-centered attitudes, and are rule breakers. They tend not to cooperate with others or respect their co-workers because they're always looking out for number one, which can make them difficult people in the workplace environment where teamwork is needed most often.

How do you manage an unmanageable team? ›

5 Strategies for Managing Unmanageable Employees
  1. Set firm, written expectations. Be clear in the early stages of your relationship that there are some things that aren't negotiable. ...
  2. Prioritize your requests. ...
  3. Find alternatives. ...
  4. Document improvement plans. ...
  5. Use peer pressure.
26 Oct 2015

What are the 3 types of difficult conversations? ›

According to Douglas Stone in his book Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most, difficult conversations are actually three different conversations in one: A “What Happened?” conversation, A “Feelings” conversation, and. An “Identity” conversation.

What is the best opening for a difficult conversation? ›

"I am trying to see things from your perspective. Help me understand how you think about . . ..” “I am committed to having this conversation until we can come up with a solution that works for both of us. I would like to start by really trying to understand your concerns.”

How do managers deal with rude employees? ›

How do you deal with disrespectful employees?
  1. Remain calm when facing disrespect. When someone is being disrespectful, it's tempting to react with anger in the heat of the moment. ...
  2. Listen. ...
  3. Provide clear feedback. ...
  4. Document incidents. ...
  5. Be consistent. ...
  6. Enforce rules. ...
  7. Check in on other employees.

What do you say to a disrespectful employee? ›

Try to talk to them privately and stay calm while talking to them to explain your point of view and their mistakes. Do try to explain the consequences of their behavior directly to them and advise them to change their behavior or work to make it respectful towards other employees.

What is the #1 skill that you need as a manager? ›

1. Building good working relationships with people at all levels. Recommended by 79.9% of managers surveyed. The most important management skill, the survey found, is the ability to build good relationships with people at all levels.

What are the 4 key managerial skills? ›

Originally identified by Henri Fayol as five elements, there are now four commonly accepted functions of management that encompass these necessary skills: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

What 4 things do managers do? ›

They were initially identified as five functions by Henri Fayol in the early 1900s. Over the years, Fayol's functions were combined and reduced to the following four main functions of management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

What are the 3 types of management? ›

There are three broad categories of management styles: Autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire. Within these categories, there are specific subtypes of management styles, each with its own pros and cons.

What is the top reason managers fail in their role? ›

Research conducted by CEB shows that 60 percent of new managers fail within the first 24 months of their new position. And according to Steve Smith, the author of Managing for Success: Practical Advice for Managers, the main reason why most new managers fail is because they were never properly trained to manage.

What's the difference between a leader and a manager? ›

The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. A successful business owner needs to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on board to follow them towards their vision of success.

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