The 17 Best Management Books Every Leader Should Read (2022)

Naval Ravikant, the CEO and founder of AngelList and a famed investor, once said, “Books make for great friends because the best thinkers of the last few thousand years tell you their nuggets of wisdom.”

As a manager, reading can help you in many ways. The world of management continues to change as more technologies are introduced and work cultures continue to change.

Managers need to adapt on the fly in order to ensure that they remain relevant. Many of the older management theories, for instance, are no longer applicable as the world makes the transition to remote work.

But, in this post, we’ll be covering timeless management books every leader should read at some point in their journey of running a business…

1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

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Cialdini’s seminal work is an excellent read for managers, especially those who prefer a more laissez-faire form of management and want to empower teams under them.

Persuasion, for instance, is an essential skill for managers. Instead of having to order your employees all the time, what if you could persuade them to do well?

In this book, Cialdini talks about the core concepts behind the art of persuasion and talks about how managers can improve business communication. Instead of offering personal opinions, Cialdini refers to psychological studies about how you can persuade people and features many fascinating interviews and personal anecdotes.

2. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

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Good managers are often good leaders. They employ various management techniques and styles to ensure that they keep their employees motivated and complete the project on time.

Some managers take a more autocratic approach, while others prefer a more democratic management style. In The One Minute Manager, Blanchard and Johnson tell a tale of a young individual looking for a good leader.

By creating a story of sorts, the authors talk about the different types of management styles and eventually provide their own: the eponymous one-minute method.

This is a unique method for setting clear expectations and goals, something with which many managers struggle. This insightful read is ideal for managers who want to improve their leadership skills and how they set milestones and define objectives.

3. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

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John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is one of the most widely quoted books on leadership. A revised edition was also published, introducing two new laws. Think of this book as the ultimate guide to becoming a good manager.

Not only does Maxwell give excellent leadership advice, but the book also includes lots of personal stories. More importantly, the book also gives you different tools that you can use to improve your understanding of your own weaknesses and strengths.

On top of that, the book offers a series of practical exercises that you can do to improve your leadership style and become a better manager in the workplace.

4. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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Thinking Fast and Slow was released in 2011 and is a fantastic book for managers that want to understand how people generally think. The book’s primary focus is about two different styles of thinking, delving into the dichotomy between them.

The first system is fast, emotional, and purely based on instinct, whereas the second one is more logical, requires more deliberation, and is slower. It talks about how to frame choices and takes a deep dive into more than a decade’s worth of research about how human judgment has evolved.

This is one of the best reads for managers that want to understand how their subordinates may approach different situations. Once you have a better understanding, you can obviously work to structure milestones and situations in a way that benefits your teams.

5. Radical Inclusion by Ori Brafman

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Inclusivity and diversity in the workplace are both crucial concepts. As a manager, if you don’t have a diverse team under you, you could be missing out on a lot.

Radical Inclusion talks about the change in society after 9/11, and how exclusion eventually led to a serious breakdown of trust, loss of power, and, ultimately, loss of control. In today’s dynamic environment, it is essential for companies to be as inclusive as possible.

The book states that if you want to maintain control within the organization, you need to give more control to your subordinates. Fostering trust is critical this book will tell you just how to do that.

6. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

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Daniel Goleman’s book completely changed how people approached workplace management. In this book, Goleman argued that non-cognitive skills were just as important as IQ, which, at the time, was an unprecedented concept.

By providing insights into how emotion plays a vital role in the workplace, and by talking about the different ways by which people can inspire each other, Goleman talks about the importance of valuing emotional intelligence.

Nowadays, this is all the more critical. Workplaces are becoming more and more dynamic and making sure that you have emotionally intelligent people who play to each other’s strengths could be just what you need to succeed as a team.

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7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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Dale Carnegie was one of the pioneers of self-improvement, and his works are still widely circulated today. This has to be one of the most popular books on leadership ever written, simply because of its timeless concepts.

Carnegie focuses on what makes a good manager, talking about how you can make people feel included and important, and how you can appreciate their work. It’s a simple, actionable book that gives you a bunch of tips that’ll make you not just a better manager, but also a better negotiator and, above all, a better leader.

8. It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques From The Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Captain Michael Abrashoff

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Captain Abrashoff was in command of the U.S.S. Benfold, one of the first ships to include anti-aircraft systems and missiles. The ship was fitted with the latest technology of its time, which significantly increased the responsibility on the manager’s shoulder.

When Abrashoff took charge, he realized that many of the crew members were unmotivated, and since lethargy is so contagious, it didn’t take long before the performance was dipping.

Understanding the need to change his approach towards leadership, Abrashoff made quite a few alterations, which resulted in his crew members regaining their confidence, becoming more proactive, and above all, motivated.

In this book, Abrashoff talks about the strategies that he used. Almost every manager has dealt with unmotivated teams. This book gives you everything you need to energize your crew.

9. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

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Liz Wiseman is a leadership expert, focusing on different styles of leadership and identifying situations where they might be suitable. In this short book, Wiseman details two different leadership styles and talks about Multipliers and the effect that they can have on organizational performance.

What’s a Multiplier, you ask? Essentially, it’s anyone who gets more done while consuming fewer resources. On the opposite end are Diminishers, who Wiseman believes drain creativity from teams and make them more robotic.

This book is a fascinating read that can help managers better understand the strengths of their teams, identify Multipliers, and cultivate them to improve performance across the board.

10. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

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Daniel Pink’s fantastic book is an excellent read for people who want to know exactly what it is that motivates others. It veers away entirely from the conventional carrot-and-stick management style, instead delving into the science about what makes people do what they do.

In the book, Pink states that people are motivated by three things: mastery, purpose, and autonomy. Understanding how to provide these three things to your employees could be just what you need to build a motivated team of professionals, and this book will teach you just how to do that.

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11. The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

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Coyle’s The Culture Code is an excellent book that talks about organizational culture, its importance, and the influences that can affect it. Daniel Coyle talks about the different types of workplace cultures and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

More importantly, the book provides actionable tips on how managers can build diverse workplace cultures. It includes information about popular businesses like Zappos, the San Antonio Spurs, and even entities like the Navy Seals, and how they each develop such robust workplace cultures.

This book will teach you everything you need to know to build excellent workplace culture, using the teachings of some of the world’s most successful organizations.

12. The Practice of Management by Peter Drucker

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First published in 2006, The Practice of Management by Peter Drucker is an excellent read for those who want to understand management in more detail.

The book distinguishes between management, and what it takes to become a manager, after which it then delves into different management theories and practices. By discussing fundamental management concepts and linking them with the change in modern workplaces, Peter Drucker’s book will teach you how to be a better, more empathetic manager.

13. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

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Jim Collins’ fantastic book is one of the best reads for professionals who want to learn about what separates good companies from great companies. This is a prequel to Built to Last, which Collins wrote with Jerry Porras.

In his management research, Collins went through over 6,000 articles and conducted thousands of interviews. Collins and his team meticulously followed some of the most impactful managers in companies like Walgreens and Kimberly-Clark.

Collins also introduces what’s known as the Hedgehog Concept, which is a unique product or service that allows companies to outdo the competition. It’s an excellent read for executives and managers in fast-growing companies.

14. First, Break All The Rules by Gallup

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Gallup’s behemoth study of more than 80,000 managers takes a deep dive into some of the most innovative and unique approaches that the world’s most successful managers use.

It’s an insightful study into how managers from different backgrounds use various styles, and how they all share some common attributes that set them apart, despite all of their differences.

Gallup’s research is highly detailed and insightful and will help you become a better manager. It also includes some essential statements that set the most crucial departments of companies apart.

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15. The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo

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Julie Zhuo’s book is the perfect read for people just starting in a management position. She lists her own experiences and talks about the challenges people face in the role.

Think of it as an excellent field guide that you can use to not just identify great managers in your company, but discover what it takes to become one. It’s a fantastic read that goes into comprehensive detail about the demands of the role.

Managers can learn quite a few interesting techniques about operating in dynamic companies. Julie’s managed hundreds of people in her professional career, so she shares some really insightful advice from her career too.

16. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

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Lencioni is famous for weaving fantastic stories into self-help books, and this one’s no different. The book follows the story of Kathryn Petersen, the CEO of a tech company, and how she faces different leadership challenges.

As the story unfolds, Lencioni talks about the different dysfunctions of a team and the impact that they can have on even the best groups. It’s a riveting fable, with Lencioni using his storytelling abilities to full effect.

Not only does it make for a great story, but the lessons in this book are timeless and highly appropriate for modern-day managers.

17. Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet

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Captain David Marquet, the commander of the USS Santa Fe, provides a masterclass on leadership in this book. Instead of focusing on fundamental principles and repeating those, again and again, Marquet weaves a tale about how he took charge of a crew of low performers and turned them into an efficient team.

In this book, he breaks down his philosophy by talking about three essential parts: clarity, control, and competence. He provides a unique way of looking at problems and talks about how culture plays a vital role in employee performance.

It’s an excellent book by a man who managed one of the most demanding groups in the world in high-pressure situations.

Books Are Timeless Teachers, Especially for Managers

These are some of the best management books that you can read to improve your skills as a manager in 2022. However, it’s essential to understand that management is not an exact science.

What works for someone else might not work for you, which is why it’s important to continue to adapt your management style and find exactly what clicks for your team.


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.

Who is the prominent author of management books? ›

Covey. Probably one of the most widely read and famous business and leadership book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey teaches about how leadership is born. It starts within oneself. To be a good leader, you should be self-aware and understand how to control yourself.

What makes a good leader reading? ›

One of the best ways reading creates great leaders is by providing insight into other people's experiences and viewpoints, expanding your ability to see beyond your own. To make well-informed, thoughtful decisions and lead different personalities, one must be able to see things from perspectives other than their own.

What are the 3 skills needed by 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 3 characteristics of a good manager? ›

Top 10 Qualities of a Good Manager
  • Leadership Skills. In order to be an effective manager, you need to be able to lead your employees in an efficient manner. ...
  • Professional Experience. ...
  • Good Communication Skills. ...
  • Knowledge. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Time Management Skills. ...
  • Delegation. ...
  • Confidence.

What are the 4 skills managers need? ›

The following are 6 essential skills that managers need to have in order to manage employees effectively and efficiently to get the best from them.
  • Good communication. ...
  • Good Organisation. ...
  • Team Building. ...
  • Leadership. ...
  • Ability to Deal with Changes Effectively. ...
  • Domain Knowledge.

Who is called Father of management? ›

Peter Drucker: father of management thinking | The British Library.

Who is the real father of management? ›

“Management is a multi-purpose organ that manages business and manages managers and manages workers and work.” This management definition was given by Peter F. Drucker in his book, The Practice of Management.

Who is the mother of management thought? ›

Meet Mary Parker Follett, the “Mother of Modern Management." Born in America in the 1860s to a well-off Quaker family, Follett studied at Cambridge University before graduating from Radcliffe College summa cum laude in 1898 (she was later rejected from Harvard on the basis of being a woman).

What are the five 5 fundamentals of leadership? ›

What are the fundamentals of leadership?
  • Communication. Leaders would be hard-pressed to accomplish anything worthwhile without an effective way to communicate across the entire organization. ...
  • Visionary and strategic thinking. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Self-awareness.
9 Dec 2021

What are the top 7 keys to successful leadership? ›

7 Keys to Becoming a Super Effective Leader
  1. Don't take It all too seriously. Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. ...
  2. Recognize achievements. Every employee wants to do a good job. ...
  3. Set goals. ...
  4. Delegate wisely. ...
  5. Think about lasting solutions. ...
  6. Make time for employees. ...
  7. Communicate.
29 Jan 2018

What are the 4 C's of leadership? ›

A long time ago, I was inculcated with leadership principles called the “4 C's” -- competency, commitment, courage, and candor --which I still argue are the right basic leader values from initial leadership roles to senior positions of authority.

What are the 7 core skills of a leader? ›

7 Essential Qualities of a Leader
  • Clear Communication. ...
  • Strong Ethics and Standards. ...
  • Organization. ...
  • Expresses Expectations. ...
  • Nurtures Growth. ...
  • Flexible to Change. ...
  • Creates Feeling of Togetherness.
3 Jul 2017

What are the 3 most important values as a leader? ›

Core values of a leader make for great leadership

Vision. Communication. Reinforcement and influence. Empathy.

What are 4 characteristics of a good leader? ›

Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present.

What are 7 characteristics of a good leader? ›

7 Qualities of a Good Leader
  • You Are Focused. ...
  • You Are Mindful. ...
  • You Are Deliberate. ...
  • You Are Consistent. ...
  • You Are Strategic. ...
  • You Are Willing to Admit When You Are Wrong. ...
  • You Are Teachable.
26 May 2021

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 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

What makes a manager stand out? ›

To stand out as a manager, you should always step forward and be exemplary. Doing this inspires your followers to do more. When you do this, your employees will be forced to make statements such as: “if my boss can be this active and committed, I should do more.”

What are the 5 basic functions of management? ›

At the most fundamental level, management is a discipline that consists of a set of five general functions: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling.

What is the key to management? ›

One of the most effectives keys to management success is to delegate responsibility to your employees so your business can get more work done. Some leaders believe in micromanaging their employees and controlling everything they do at all times. If that sound like you, then you will benefit from delegation.

What are the 14 principle of management? ›

What Are Fayol's 14 Principles of Management?
  • Division of Work. Assign each employee a task that they can become proficient at. ...
  • Authority. ...
  • Discipline. ...
  • Unity of Command. ...
  • Unity of Direction. ...
  • Collective Interest Over Individual Interest. ...
  • Remuneration. ...
  • Centralization.

Who gave the 14 principles of management? ›

Henri Fayol was known as the father of modern management. He gave us the famous 14 principles of management.

What is the oldest theory of management? ›

Classical management theory is the oldest management theory. First coined in the industrial age, this theory seeks to create standards to increase production output. It considers compensation to be the major motivation of employees.

What are the 7 management theories? ›

Here are seven important management theories to be aware of:
  • Scientific management theory. ...
  • Principles of administrative management theory. ...
  • Bureaucratic management theory. ...
  • Human relations theory. ...
  • Systems management theory. ...
  • Contingency management theory. ...
  • Theory X and Y.

What is Peter Drucker's theory of management? ›

Drucker believed that business leaders need to embrace the “spirit of performance” by displaying high levels of moral and ethical integrity in their actions, focusing on results, empowering employees, going beyond financial obligations to shareholders, and ultimately serving the common good.

Who is the first management thinker? ›

Frederick Winslow Taylor
OccupationEfficiency expert Management consultant
Known forFather of scientific management, efficiency movement and industrial engineering
SpouseLouise M. Spooner
7 more rows

Who is the First Lady of management philosophy? ›

Lillian Moller Gilbreth, born in 1878, is considered the First Lady of Management.

What is mother manager syndrome? ›

“I would describe the 'mother-manager syndrome' as wanting to have a more personal relationship with your team than is reasonable at work,” Palmer explains, noting that the “office mom” also looks to boost company morale by making the team comfortable sharing personal experiences — travel, illness, family and all ...

What are the 7 levers of leadership? ›

This chapter explores the seven levers of leadership: data-driven instruction, instructional planning, observation and feedback, professional development, student culture, staff culture and managing school leadership teams.

What are the 8 essentials in leadership? ›

I've distilled my conversation with Wang to eight of the most essential qualities that make a great leader.
  • Sincere enthusiasm. True enthusiasm for a business, its products, and its mission cannot be faked. ...
  • Integrity. ...
  • Great communication skills. ...
  • Loyalty. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Managerial competence. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Charisma.
8 Feb 2018

What are the six pillars of leadership? ›

The Character of Leadership is a study in the six pillars comprising a leader's character: integrity, humility, responsibility, purity, charity and spirituality.

What are 3 keys to success? ›

'” There they are. Three Keys for Career Success: communication, confidence, and character.

What is the number 1 key to success? ›

The very first key to success is to make a plan. This means having a clear picture of what a successful life looks like to you and putting together a well-defined set of goals to get you to that life. Planning well starts with figuring out what you want and writing it down in detail.

What is the most effective management style? ›

8 Most Effective Management Styles
  1. Democratic Management Style. ...
  2. Coaching Management Style. ...
  3. Affiliative Management Style. ...
  4. Pacesetting Management Style. ...
  5. Authoritative Management Style. ...
  6. Coercive Management Style. ...
  7. Laissez-Faire Management Style. ...
  8. Persuasive Management Style.
28 Mar 2019

Are leadership books useful? ›

As difficult as it may be to step away from the office, reading a variety of books on leadership is an important key to refueling and refocusing yourself as a leader. For instance, it helps reveal your strengths, weaknesses, and provide the tools needed for innovation and growth.

What is the most important lesson of leadership? ›

One of the best and most frequently recommended leadership lessons is to talk less and listen more. A good leader knows when it's time to step back and listen to what team members and employees are trying to say, and take those opinions into consideration when making decisions.

What is the best leadership quote? ›

100 Best Quotes On Leadership
  • A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. — ...
  • Where there is no vision, the people perish. — ...
  • I must follow the people. ...
  • You manage things; you lead people. —
16 Oct 2012

What are the 7 elements of leadership? ›

7 Essential Elements to Successful Leadership
  • Transparency. When a leader is transparent, they are challenged less by those they oversee. ...
  • Learn from Failure. Experiencing failure has the power to shape a leader. ...
  • Trust. One of the core principles of leadership is trust. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • Decisiveness. ...
  • Humility. ...
  • Creativity.

What is the most powerful leadership style? ›

Democratic leadership is one of the most effective leadership styles. This is because it allows lower-level employees to exercise the authority they'll need to use wisely in future positions.

What are the 4 types of leadership skills? ›

The four types of leadership styles:

Direct, Coach, Support, and. Delegate.

What are 3 keys to self esteem? ›

3 Tips to increase your self-esteem
  • Learn that you are kind.
  • You must strive to increase your self-esteem.
  • Try to understand those who take away your courage.
26 Mar 2021

What are the 3 major things to boost your self esteem? ›

Here are some other simple techniques that may help you feel better about yourself.
  • Recognise what you're good at. We're all good at something, whether it's cooking, singing, doing puzzles or being a friend. ...
  • Build positive relationships. ...
  • Be kind to yourself. ...
  • Learn to be assertive. ...
  • Start saying "no" ...
  • Give yourself a challenge.

What are the five things to boost your self esteem? ›

  • Become aware of thoughts and beliefs. Once you've learned which situations affect your self-esteem, notice your thoughts about them. ...
  • Challenge negative thinking. ...
  • Adjust your thoughts and beliefs. ...
  • Spot troubling conditions or situations. ...
  • Step back from your thoughts. ...
  • Accept your thoughts.
6 Jul 2022


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