The best books for managing and leading more effectively

Why am I passionate about this?

As a college professor, I taught MBA students about management and when I became an executive with a team of 50, I learned more about how to apply and understand theory in the workplace. I’ve always focused on the practical. Theory is great but needs to be practically applied in order to learn how to become more effective. I believe that we're all in control of our own destiny and that becoming a better manager is within our power. Developing the competencies we need can be done through training and on our own through focused, practical, and structured work. Self-directed learning can be applied to every aspect of work, whether you’re a manager or not.


I wrote...

Developing Management Proficiency: A Self-Directed Learning Approach

By Deb Cohen,

Book cover of Developing Management Proficiency: A Self-Directed Learning Approach

What is my book about?

A pragmatic, easy-to-follow road map for managers to help develop the behaviors and skills necessary for success. Strong management skills are essential for any leader today. This book is designed to transform passive learners into active learners by helping to develop behavioral skills, based on individual needs. With features such as practical examples, worksheets, tables, and figures, the book is packed full of self-directed learning activities including role play, observation, networking, journaling, and questioning - all powerful drivers of learning and development. With expert guidance on how to approach personal development in day-to-day activities rather than in formal courses, this book is an essential resource for managers at all levels, as well as anyone training or interested in a managerial role.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Be(Come) an Awesome Manager: The Essential Toolkit for Impact Leadership

Deb Cohen Why did I love this book?

Lisbeth has been a colleague for many years and, like me, has the academic credentials and ability to understand the research about how best to manage and how best to talk about it in a practical and engaging way. As a trainer, I’ve been able to use this book in my work with organizations large and small. It focuses on practicing to help you build your competencies. I’m a firm believer that leaders can be made and this book helps readers develop their skills and understand what they need to do in order to focus on their own development.

By Lisbeth Claus, Scott Baker, Peter Vermeulen

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Be(Come) an Awesome Manager as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What?—in this book, we look at managerial capabilities, how to evaluate them, and build the ones needed to create value for the customer, the employees and the organization. Through user stories, vignettes, examples, guided reading questions, interactive exercises, and assessments we explain how to reflect on your own capabilities and determine areas for self- improvement and growth. So What?—most organizations neglect the role of managers, undervalue it and, therefore, suffer from a lack of strong management capability. Employees want managers who will provide goals as well as direction, feedback and coaching—and who recognize and reward them for good performance. Yet…


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

Deb Cohen Why did I love this book?

Julie Zhuo has a Silicon Valley and technology background and writes about management in a very straightforward way that lets the reader both identify with the content and learn from it. The new manager is targeted in this book but the discussion and anecdotes are valuable for anyone. My experience is that managers, even those who have held the people manager role for many years, need to refresh their view and skills on a continuous basis. Organizations frequently don’t train managers as often or as deeply as is needed. Starting with a good foundation that talks about “people, purpose and process” as Zhuo discusses, is not only a good foundation, but a good refresher as well. 

By Julie Zhuo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of a Manager as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Congratulations, you're a manager! After you pop the champagne, accept the shiny new title, and step into this thrilling next chapter of your career, the truth descends like a fog: you don't really know what you're doing.

That's exactly how Julie Zhuo felt when she became a rookie manager at the age of 25. She stared at a long list of logistics--from hiring to firing, from meeting to messaging, from planning to pitching--and faced a thousand questions and uncertainties. How was she supposed to spin teamwork into value? How could she be a good steward of her reports' careers? What…


Book cover of Developing Effective Leadership in Organizations: A Competency-Based Approach Focused on Keys to Performance

Deb Cohen Why did I love this book?

Weasley Donahue presents a practical guidebook for managers and individuals looking for a resource for professional development. A primary goal is to help the reader become a competent manager by providing tools and content in a structured way that allows the learner to work through issues that are important to them in becoming a more proficient and effective manager. This is a candid and dynamic book with easy-to-follow content. The workbook approach supports my notion of self-directed learning with a focus on competencies and helps the reader derive the most personally important competency areas in an organizational setting.

By Wesley E. Donahue,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Developing Effective Leadership in Organizations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner - 2022 Global Book Awards: SILVER MEDAL / Business Leadership

The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born -- that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren G. Bennis

Do you aspire to move forward in your career? Do you own your own business? Do you want to be a leader in your organization? Are you responsible for helping others to develop their leadership competencies and reach their potential?…


Book cover of Developing Management Skills

Deb Cohen Why did I love this book?

David Whetten and Kim Cameron have written many books about management skills and are well-known for their practical approach. During my years as a college professor, I used their books in teaching. The book discusses the essential skills that managers need to be successful. The book also takes a hands-on approach and provides practical application that any manager, new or more experienced, can use. Developing Management Skills uses contemporary examples and also groups the skills to help readers understand how skills relate to one another. 

By David A. Whetten, Kim S. Cameron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Developing Management Skills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOTE: You are purchasing a standalone product; MyManagementLab does not come packaged with this content. If you would like to purchase both the physical text and MyManagementLab search for ISBN-10: 0133254224/ISBN-13: 9780133254228 . That package includes ISBN-10: 0133127478 /ISBN-13: 9780133127478 and ISBN-10: 0133134679/ISBN-13: 9780133134674 .

For undergraduate/graduate Principles of Management and Management Skills courses.

Skills Development for Tomorrow's managers

In its Ninth Edition, Developing Management Skills has become the standard in hands-on management learning. Designed for students of all skill levels and learning styles, the text allows students to apply knowledge to real-world situations, connect concepts to their own lives,…


Book cover of Developing Management Skills: What Great Managers Know and Do

Deb Cohen Why did I love this book?

Similar to self-directed learning, this book is highly learner-centered. The focus is on teaching skills that matter most to those who manage. Although practical in nature, the book also provides a good discussion of the theories driving successful management behavior – making this a good evidence-based book. The book uses a problem-based approach and starts each chapter with a discussion about “manage what” to create meaningful context.

By Timothy Baldwin, Robert E. Rubin, Bill Bommer

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Developing Management Skills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Management Skills" by Baldwin/Bommer/Rubin distinguishes itself by exclusively focusing on teaching relevant skills, its learner-centered writing and its evidence-based foundation. This text's problem-based approach draws students in with several fundamental and specific questions or challenges in the Manage What? feature opening every chapter. The learner-centered writing style and the focus on the actual skills that matter to career success as well as the chapter ending tool kits make this text a keeper.


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Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

By Larry R. Frank Sr., Maxwell Limanowski (editor), Peter Sander (editor)

Book cover of Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

Larry R. Frank Sr. Author Of Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Father Grandfather Business founder Planner and thinker Income and longevity researcher

Larry's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

What are you trying to do with your money?

Few of us take the time to analyze our financial needs and goals to answer that pressing question. In Wealth Odyssey, author Larry R. Frank Sr. uses his extensive financial background to provide a universal road map that will help you determine the wealth you need to support your chosen lifestyle.

Frank discusses such topics as the wealth rule, the earning-spending-saving formula, using debt wisely, and 
risk management. 

Wealth Odyssey is authored to be timeless; it does not matter what the market has done, or will do. This is a practical, no-nonsense guide that will help you develop a personal definition of wealth and create an effective strategy for long-term financial success.

Wealth Odyssey: The Essential Road Map for Your Financial Journey Where Is It You Are Really Trying to Go with Money?

By Larry R. Frank Sr., Maxwell Limanowski (editor), Peter Sander (editor)

What is this book about?

"Frank, a Certified Financial Planner in California, offers a concise, precise guide to "prudent thinking" about personal finances, along with simple tools to estimate how much is required for a comfortable retirement." "A sound guide designed to help people make sensible plans for a successful retirement" - Kirkus book review "First let me tell you Larry Frank knows his stuff. He has a procedure that many will find worth taking the time to implement.” " The book is full of good advice." - Armchair interviews "Larry Frank Sr, gives you a guidebook or "road map" for your financial goals or…


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