The best books on leadership and change management

Why am I passionate about this?

Get agile to work in practice - is my motto. This led me to take interest in Kanban, Lean, TDD, Specification by example, cloud and serverless technologies. I have more than 20 years experience of doing agile and helping companies small and large, primarily in Sweden. Between 2014 and 2016 I worked for the Salvation Army in Indonesia to help the health services there to become more effective. Between 2018-2023 I created a bootcamp for the School of Applied Technology where we trained the next generation of agile developers. I have presented at many international conferences in Europe and Asia and I've written two books, Kanban in Action and Salvation: The Bungsu Story.

I wrote...

Salvation: The Bungsu Story

By Marcus Hammarberg,

Book cover of Salvation: The Bungsu Story

What is my book about?

When you have no operational permit, no customers, and the very building you are operating in falls in - most organisations give up. Not so with the Salvation Army hospital in Bandung, Indonesia - they decided to try to save the hospital and I was very fortunate to help them in their journey.

Me?! A lean/agile coach. A Westerner with little to no knowledge in hospital management and operation. We started to apply the principles of kanban and turned the hospital into something amazing. Transforming not only the organisation but also some lives among the people on the staff. While working with the hospital I gained deeper insight and knowledge about what the principles of lean and kanban means and how they can be applied to make us more and more effective.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility

Marcus Hammarberg Why did I love this book?

A Seat at the Table is a wonderful book about how the role of tech leaders in general and CIO specifically have changed dramatically over the last decades.

From a cost center where spending should be kept to an absolute minimum, with a strong focus on hardware to an enabling role that drives and innovate business. Mark Schwartz guides us through these changes in his normal entertaining way.

I've rarely (never) laughed out loud from a business book but this one did that for me.

By Mark Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Seat at the Table as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agile, Lean, and DevOps approaches are radical game changers, providing a fundamentally different way to think about how IT fits into the enterprise, how IT leaders lead, and how IT can harness technology to accomplish the objectives of the enterprise. But honest and open conversations are not taking place between management and Agile delivery teams.

In A Seat at the Table, CIO Mark Schwartz explores the role of IT leadership as it is now and opens the door to reveal IT leadership as it should be-an integral part of the value creation engine. With an easy style, Schwartz reveals that…


Book cover of Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Marcus Hammarberg Why did I love this book?

This is a beautiful, honest, and heartwarming description of how Pixar and their strong company culture works.

It’s written, of course, by their founder, Ed Catmull. The book walks us through the history of the company and how the culture and values were discovered as they went.

I think this book is important for IT folks to read, as we are also in a creative business, and hence need to lead in ways that allow for creativity to flow and spread. I especially love the parts where the author reflects on what didn’t work and how they improved it. And the stories about my favorite characters and how they were brought to life.

By Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Creativity, Inc. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Part autobiography, part history of Pixar, part business book, Creativity Inc is a stimulating, feel-good, insightful and highly inspirational collection of lessons in creativity and business from the president of Pixar and Disney Animation, Ed Catmull.

'Just might be the best business book ever written.' -- Forbes Magazine
'Great book. Wish I could give it more than 5 Stars' -- ***** Reader review
'Incredibly inspirational' -- ***** Reader review
'Honestly, one of the best books I've read in a long time' -- ***** Reader review
'Read it and read it again, then read it again and then again' -- *****…


Book cover of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Marcus Hammarberg Why did I love this book?

After I read this book I almost felt like I was cheating.

Because now I knew. I understood how to talk, and inform and educate in a way that made any change I’m proposing much more likely to stay.

I have blogged several times about this book and I cannot recommend it enough. Ted and Dan Heath have written easy to read, science-grounded, fun, and story-packed book that anyone doing any change would be happy to have in their hands.

By Dan Heath, Chip Heath,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Switch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

___________________________________
Change is hard. It doesn't have to be.

We all know that change is hard. It's unsettling, it's time-consuming, and all too often we give up at the first sign of a setback.

But why do we insist on seeing the obstacles rather than the goal? This is the question that bestselling authors Chip and Dan Heath tackle in their compelling and insightful book. They argue that we need only understand how our minds function in order to unlock shortcuts to switches in behaviour.

Illustrating their ideas with scientific studies and remarkable real-life turnarounds - from the secrets of…


Book cover of Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines

Marcus Hammarberg Why did I love this book?

This is a little gem that not that many people have read. If you have Air Force, Army, and Navy - why would you need anything more? Well, US Marines have chaos and unpredictability as their normality.

This book describes how they work with values and culture to build small autonomous teams that can still cooperate with a larger unit to achieve amazing things where others fail. I’ve found the book highly inspiring, and although I read it for the first time over 12 years ago, I still come back to it frequently.

By David H Freedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Corps Business as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fast. Motivated. Hard-hitting.

That's what every business wants to be. And that's why the U.S. Marines excel in every mission American throws at them, no matter how tough the odds. In Corps Business, journalist David H. Freeman identifies the Marine's simple but devastatingly effective principles for managing people and resources -- and ultimately winning. Freedman discusses such techniques as "the rule of three," "managing by end state," and the "70% solution," to show how they can be applied to business solutions.


Book cover of Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

Marcus Hammarberg Why did I love this book?

Turn the Ship Around is the amazing and lovely story about how Captain David L. Marquet completely turned the way a nuclear submarine worked upside down.

From giving orders to giving intent and in doing so creating new leaders rather than mindless executors.

The book is packed with nuggets (nudges?) of management gold like “Move the authority to where the information is,” for example. I keep coming back to this inspiring story over and over again. Sadly I lost my copy, but it lives in my mind forever.

By L. David Marquet,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"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…


You might also like...

Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children

By Felice Picano,

Book cover of Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children

Felice Picano Author Of Six Strange Stories and an Essay on H.P. Lovecraft

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author

Felice's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Bold, funny, and shockingly honest, Ambidextrous is like no other memoir of 1950s urban childhood.

Picano appears to his parents and siblings to be a happy, cheerful eleven-year-old possessed of the remarkable talent of being able to draw beautifully and write fluently with either hand. But then he runs into the mindless bigotry of a middle school teacher who insists that left-handedness is "wrong," and his idyllic world falls apart.

He uncovers the insatiable appetites of a trio of neighboring sisters, falls for another boy with a glue-sniffing habit, and discovers the hidden world of adult desire and hypocrisy. Picano exits his boyhood sooner than most, but with this sense of self intact and armed with a fuller understanding of the world, he is about to enter.

Controversial when it first came out, Ambidextrous was burned on the docks of London in 1989 by Her Majesty Inland Service and decried by many. This reprint, with a Foreword by the author, discusses its banned book history and how it has become a classic depiction used by professionals involved in modern childhood studies.

Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children

By Felice Picano,

What is this book about?

Bold, funny, and shockingly honest, Ambidextrous is like no other memoir of 1950s urban childhood. Picano appears to his parents and siblings to be a happy, cheerful eleven-year-old, possessed of the remarkable talent of being able to draw beautifully and write fluently with either hand. But then he runs into the mindless bigotry of a middle school teacher who insists that left-handedness is "wrong," and his idyllic world falls apart. He uncovers the insatiable appetites of a trio of neighboring sisters, falls for another boy with a glue-sniffing habit, and discovers the hidden world of adult desire and hypocrisy. Picano…


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