100 books like Making Work Human

By Eric Mosley, Derek Irvine,

Here are 100 books that Making Work Human fans have personally recommended if you like Making Work Human. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Empathy Edge: Harnessing the Value of Compassion as an Engine for Success

Daina Middleton Author Of Grace Meets Grit

From my list on ambitious women embracing their authentic selves.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been passionate about personally and professionally lifting women up throughout my career. Today, it is how I spend my time and energy – in a way that makes a difference to those individuals and the greater world. Books have always filled my insatiable desire to continuously learn and explore mysterious, unknown worlds. As a writer, I read books to expand my understanding and push my comfort zones. I also read them so that I can share with others what I have learned in the hopes they will have a positive impact on them – a pay-it-forward of sorts. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Daina's book list on ambitious women embracing their authentic selves

Daina Middleton Why did Daina love this book?

For too long emotions have been systematically suppressed at work.

In today’s highly competitive workplace where culture and leadership matters, embracing emotions is a competitive advantage for leaders and companies alike.

Maria’s book demonstrates why businesses should cultivate empathy and shares the winning traits of empathetic leaders who foster greater productivity and loyalty.

By Maria Ross,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Empathy Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Furious customers? Missed deadlines? Failed products? The problems your business faces may stem from a single issue: lack of empathy.

Being empathetic at work means seeing the situation from another's perspective, and using that vantage point to shape your leadership style, workplace culture, and branding strategy. Pairing her knowledge as a branding expert with proven research and fascinating stories from executives, change-makers and community leaders, Maria Ross reveals exactly how empathy makes brands and organizations stronger and more successful.

Ross shows why your business needs to cultivate more empathy now, and shares the habits and traits of empathetic leaders who…


Book cover of The Human Moment: The Positive Power of Compassion in the Workplace

Bruno R. Cignacco Author Of The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

From my list on conscious business.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a consultant, author, and researcher, for several years I have been very passionate about the study of companies that are very successful in the marketplace, but that are also human-oriented. In other words, I am very interested in companies that are profitable, but at the same time, are kind, compassionate, and caring with their main stakeholders. I like that these companies continually aim to foster robust long-term relationships with these stakeholders, and look for win-win agreements with them. What I love about these companies is that they focus on the quantitative aspects of business (e.g., profitability, growth, etc.) but also in its qualitative aspects (empathy, support, gratitude, generosity, etc.).

Bruno's book list on conscious business

Bruno R. Cignacco Why did Bruno love this book?

I like that this book pinpoints the importance of compassion for the workplace in a very well-justified manner. I really love that not only does this book explain the main traits of compassion, but it also pinpoints the reasons why compassion is missing in many workplaces, for example, communication breakdown, lack of empathy, etc. I find it very insightful that this book provides the reader with easy-to-apply strategies to develop more compassion in the work environment. This book also provides some specific cases of real organisations which have developed compassionate workplaces.   

By Amy Bradley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We live in a world in crisis. Societies are becoming fractured, opinions polarized and people are increasingly isolated. In an attempt to seek out human connection, many people spend more time at work than they do with family members, yet few of us have someone at work who we trust enough to share our vulnerabilities. To be human is to suffer, yet our struggles can remain hidden from work.

This book argues that compassion is a core human value, which is too often overlooked in business. In these challenging and unprecedented times, workplaces have a crucial role to play in…


Book cover of Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World

Bruno R. Cignacco Author Of The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

From my list on conscious business.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a consultant, author, and researcher, for several years I have been very passionate about the study of companies that are very successful in the marketplace, but that are also human-oriented. In other words, I am very interested in companies that are profitable, but at the same time, are kind, compassionate, and caring with their main stakeholders. I like that these companies continually aim to foster robust long-term relationships with these stakeholders, and look for win-win agreements with them. What I love about these companies is that they focus on the quantitative aspects of business (e.g., profitability, growth, etc.) but also in its qualitative aspects (empathy, support, gratitude, generosity, etc.).

Bruno's book list on conscious business

Bruno R. Cignacco Why did Bruno love this book?

I really like this book because it provides the reader with very actionable ways to develop a more human-oriented workplace. I found interesting the way this book thoroughly dissects relevant themes related to the work environment, such as: the importance of an authentic voice, employee wellness, the significance of sustainable actions, and the value of giving back, among others. It is very useful that this book includes several examples of companies to illustrate these topics. I found it valuable that each relevant theme discussed in this book is accompanied by a human action plan, with very practical suggestions.  

By Erica Keswin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bring Your Human to Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The secret to business success? Get REAL and be HUMAN!

As human beings, we are built to connect and form relationships. So, it should be no surprise that relationships must also translate into the workplace, where we spend most of our time! Companies that recognize this will retain the most productive, creative, and loyal employees, and invariably seize the competitive edge.

The most successful leaders are those who actively form quality relationships with their employees, who honor fundamental human qualities-authenticity, openness, and basic politeness-and apply them day in and day out. Paying attention and genuinely caring about the effects people…


Book cover of Humane Capital: How to Create a Management Shift to Transform Performance and Profit

Bruno R. Cignacco Author Of The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

From my list on conscious business.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a consultant, author, and researcher, for several years I have been very passionate about the study of companies that are very successful in the marketplace, but that are also human-oriented. In other words, I am very interested in companies that are profitable, but at the same time, are kind, compassionate, and caring with their main stakeholders. I like that these companies continually aim to foster robust long-term relationships with these stakeholders, and look for win-win agreements with them. What I love about these companies is that they focus on the quantitative aspects of business (e.g., profitability, growth, etc.) but also in its qualitative aspects (empathy, support, gratitude, generosity, etc.).

Bruno's book list on conscious business

Bruno R. Cignacco Why did Bruno love this book?

I really like that this book discusses, in detail, the relationship between acting well in business and being successful. It grabbed my attention that this book thoroughly explores the main reasons that underpin the need for more human-focused organisations, such as: the value of humanised management, the upsurge of disruptive technologies, demographic changes, and others. It is very valuable that this text also provides the reader with very actionable ways to develop more humanised organisations. I found it interesting that various meaningful examples from the public, private, and non-profit sectors are dissected in a thorough manner, accompanied by a myriad of strategies to bring about significant shifts in these sectors.  

By Vlatka Hlupic,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Featuring a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Despite decades of research and evidence, there is still extreme scepticism that businesses can combine a more humane style of management with superior shareholder returns, or that busy managers can be guided effectively by both their heads and their hearts. Vlatka Hlupic has spent 20 years investigating this paradox, developing an insightful critique of why such strong evidence has had limited impact and providing an alternative, practical approach that any employer can implement in order to overcome the unique challenges faced by their organizations. A clear correlation exists between companies that…


Book cover of On-Camera Coach: Tools and Techniques for Business Professionals in a Video-Driven World

Joseph A. Allen Author Of Running Effective Meetings For Dummies

From my list on guidance for meeting and collaborating well.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always wondered why meetings are so terrible. And, why we spend so much awful time in them. So, in my graduate studies, I decided to try to figure that out. What makes meetings good and what makes meetings bad? Then, over the course of a couple decades, I wrote what constituted about 25% of all the science on the topic of workplace meetings. It may be self-proclaimed, but I am the Meeting Doctor. Just like you go to a physician for an illness, I’m who people go to when their meetings are sick and need a cure!

Joseph's book list on guidance for meeting and collaborating well

Joseph A. Allen Why did Joseph love this book?

Do you use a webcam and a microphone to communicate with other people? Chances are you do and chances are you do it all the time! If that’s the case, this is an extremely important book for you, and anyone who meets with people via zoom, teams, google groups, or any number of other virtual meeting platforms. The On-Camera Coach is all about how to lead in a world that relies so heavily on communicating through video. It talks about how to enable presence, how to manage one’s “production value,” and how to inspire others using best practices in these virtual and now hybrid settings. I strongly recommend this read for sure!

By Karin M. Reed,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On-Camera Coach as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The invaluable handbook for acing your on-camera appearance On-Camera Coach is your personal coach for becoming great on camera. From Skype interviews and virtual conferences to shareholder presentations and television appearances, this book shows you how to master the art of on-camera presentation to deliver your message clearly, effectively, and with confidence. Fear of public speaking is common, but even the most seasoned speakers freeze in front of a single lens being on camera demands an entirely new set of skills above and beyond the usual presentation to an audience you can actually see. It requires special attention to the…


Book cover of Toxic Emotions at Work: How Compassionate Managers Handle Pain and Conflict

Carol T. Kulik Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From my list on making work a better place to be.

Why am I passionate about this?

The average person spends over 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime – that’s roughly one quarter to one third of a person’s life. I’m an academic researcher who studies work. I know how to design workplaces that are good for organizations (high productivity) and the people who work in them (high employee well-being). But if we leave it all up to senior management, we won’t generate positive changes fast enough. There’s a robust body of evidence that we can all use to make our local workplaces more supportive, inclusive, and fulfilling. I’m on a mission to make the world a better place, one workplace at a time. 

Carol's book list on making work a better place to be

Carol T. Kulik Why did Carol love this book?

This book moved me at a very deep level, because Professor Frost makes the content very personal.

He wrote it when he was suffering (physically and emotionally), and his own pain made him acutely aware of ways that other people can alleviate pain (or conversely, make emotional pain become toxic). Many day-to-day workplace activities create emotional pain (e.g., a negative performance review, a downsizing decision) but people’s responses make all the difference.

Professor Frost’s focus is on managers who operate as “toxin handlers” in their workplaces, but any of us can be toxin handlers for our coworkers. The book helped me to be more mindful of workplace pain points and be more proactive in supporting my colleagues. 

By Peter J. Frost,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Toxic Emotions at Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Human interaction is never flawless. Even the best relationships produce tension and at times, unpleasant emotions. Since organizations are comprised of people, all organizations generate emotional pain as part of the process of doing business: producing new products on tight deadlines, setting benchmarks for performance, creating budgets, crafting company policies, and so on. Getting the job done is rarely painless. But when emotional pain goes unmanaged or is poorly handled, it can negatively affect both employees and the bottom line - in essence, it becomes toxic. In "Toxic Emotions at Work and What to Do About Them", Peter J. Frost…


Book cover of Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

Mike McQuaid Author Of Git in Practice

From my list on becoming a great open source software engineer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a professional software engineer and maintaining open-source software for 16 years. My work on open source has been heavily informed by industry best practises and my work on proprietary software has been heavily informed by open source best practises. Without these books, I’d be a worse engineer on many dimensions. Some of them may feel antiquated but all are still full of relevant wisdom for every open-source (and proprietary) software engineer today.

Mike's book list on becoming a great open source software engineer

Mike McQuaid Why did Mike love this book?

This is the oldest book on my list and is the most underrated. It describes, with serious rigour and detail, how to run more effective software projects and teams.

Most of this advice has been ignored by most of the industry for most of the time but it’s a big part of the reason I’ve worked from home for 14 years and am as productive as I am today.

By Tom DeMarco, Timothy Lister,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Demarco and Lister demonstrate that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. Their answers aren't easy--just incredibly successful. New second edition features eight all-new chapters. Softcover. Previous edition: c1987. DLC: Management.


Book cover of Under the Hood: Fire Up and Fine-Tune Your Employee Culture

James Tamm and Ronald Luyet Author Of Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships

From my list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations.

Why are we passionate about this?

Jim Tamm was a Senior Administrative Law Judge for the State of California with jurisdiction over workplace disputes. In that role, he mediated more school district labor strikes than any other person in the United States. Ron Luyet is a licensed psychotherapist who has worked with group dynamics pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Will Schutz.  He has advised Fortune 500 companies for over forty years specializing in building high-performance teams. Together they wrote Radical Collaboration and are excited to share this list with you today.

James' book list on creating collaborative relationships and organizations

James Tamm and Ronald Luyet Why did James love this book?

Stan captures the essence of the mindset needed to Collaborate. To quote Slap: “When an employee culture is repositioned as a newly precious, workable asset, a company will naturally protect it, same as with any asset. An employee culture can’t be protected without protecting their humanity. If we lose humanity in business, we’re all doomed. If we save it we will have saved ourselves. In case you fear this icy hand of altruism will grip your own company by the throat and choke the life out of revenue, not to worry: We’re talking here about making the business case for humanity. In any environment where meaning is determined by metrics, the point of view and processes in this book are going to cause measurable, sustainable results." We agree.

By Stan Slap,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Under the Hood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You can't sell it outside if you can't sell it inside.

You want maximum business performance? Look under the hood and you’ll find your employee culture: it is the power that drives the enterprise engine. To harness that rumbling power you’ve got to solve the mystery of what an employee culture actually is, how it operates and how to move it forward. These are the keys that this book will put right in your hands.

Renowned business culture expert Stan Slap knows the difference between understanding your employees and understanding your employee culture. The distinction isn’t semantics; it’s the key…


Book cover of Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power that Elevates People and Organizations

Ingrid Biese Author Of Men Do It Too: Opting Out and In

From my list on to change working life as we know it.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2009, I opted out of a career in consulting to pursue a PhD in Sociology and to research women who opt out of successful careers to live and work on their own terms. I was convinced that it wasn’t a women’s issue but a contemporary one and I later went on to research men opting out. As I collect stories of people who opt out and in, it becomes clear that opting out is a symptom of contemporary organizational cultures and the way we are expected to work. I’m on a mission to change working life as we know it and these books have been enormously helpful to me. 

Ingrid's book list on to change working life as we know it

Ingrid Biese Why did Ingrid love this book?

You know how people say ‘it’s business, it’s not personal’? Well that’s just wrong, business is personal because it’s made up of people – people with lives, families, hopes, fears, and dreams.

The authors argue that one of the main problems with our workplaces is that there isn’t enough compassion at work. Workplaces rob their employees of humanity and motivation, which has a negative effect on employee wellbeing, but also organizational potential. I have seen this in my own research and I have to say I couldn’t agree more.

The authors do a great job showing us that compassion isn’t a so-called ‘soft’ value, but a hard-core business strategy. The book’s strength is that it also works as a handbook for organizations to become more compassionate and caring. 

By Monica C. Worline, Jane E. Dutton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Awakening Compassion at Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Caring Is a Competitive Advantage

Suffering in the workplace can rob our colleagues and coworkers of humanity, dignity, and motivation and is an unrecognized and costly drain on organizational potential. Marshaling evidence from two decades of field research, scholars and consultants Monica Worline and Jane Dutton show that alleviating such suffering confers measurable competitive advantages in areas like innovation, collaboration, service quality, and talent attraction and retention. They outline four steps for meeting suffering with compassion and show how to build a capacity for compassion into the structures and practices of an organization—because ultimately, as they write, “Compassion is an…


Book cover of Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design

Abby Covert Author Of How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody

From my list on for becoming a stronger sensemaker.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an information architect, writer, and community organizer on a mission to make information architecture education accessible to everybody. I started practicing IA in pure pursuit of stronger visual design, but in the two decades since have developed an insatiable appetite for understanding and teaching the practical skills that make people better sensemakers, regardless of their role or medium. The books I chose for this list are all foundational to me becoming the sensemaker that I am today. I offer them as suggestions because they are not the books you will find should you search for “Information Architecture” yet they have all become my go-to recommendations for helping others to strengthen their own sensemaking.

Abby's book list on for becoming a stronger sensemaker

Abby Covert Why did Abby love this book?

You might not think of excitement when you hear the words “Digital Governance” but I can assure you that this book is a real page-turner…especially if your job involves managing large-scale information messes. There is a special kind of chaos that only information and knowledge workers can understand and this book paints a picture so many of us have seen in practice but in a way that leaves the reader inspired to fight another day, instead of wallowing in a sea of information-induced self-pity.

I recommend this book because I have seen too many information architecture efforts die on the vine due to a lack of good governance. The frameworks and recommendations in this book mean I always have a playbook to hand to teams in need.

By Lisa Welchman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Few organizations realize a return on their digital investment. They’re distracted by political infighting and technology-first solutions. To reach the next level, organizations must realign their assets—people, content, and technology—by practicing the discipline of digital governance. Managing Chaos inspires new and necessary conversations about digital governance and its transformative power to support creativity, real collaboration, digital quality, and online growth.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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