The most recommended management books

Who picked these books? Meet our 152 experts.

152 authors created a book list connected to management, and here are their favorite management books.
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Book cover of The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Patrick Forsyth Author Of Successful Time Management: How to be Organized, Productive and Get Things Done

From my list on common sense to help you succeed in business.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having begun my career in publishing, I worked for many years as a management consultant and trainer; alongside that, I have written and published many books offering advice on management, marketing, and job skills, like the time management book shown above, a bestseller now in its sixth edition. I have always thought management often fails by overlooking the importance of issues rather than finding things difficult; I hope my business writing helps identify priorities and shows that the deployment of various techniques and skills can be manageable–and useful.

Patrick's book list on common sense to help you succeed in business

Patrick Forsyth Why did Patrick love this book?

This was perhaps the first bestselling business book and became a classic. Drucker coined many maxims, for example, saying that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. This is obvious, but how many flounder for lack of clear objectives?

Good, sound common sense is here that stands a new look in the present day, even if it comes from a time when legislation and political correctness made things more straightforward while leaving some current issues unaddressed.

By Peter F. Drucker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What makes an effective executive?

The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to "get the right things done." This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time Choosing what to contribute to the organization Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect Setting the right priorities…


Book cover of Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations

Tanya Janca Author Of Alice and Bob Learn Application Security

From my list on DevSecOps (it is just like DevOps, done securely).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked in IT for over 25 years, creating and securing software. I am completely obsessed with ensuring that our software is more reliable, that its integrity can be trusted, and that it keeps our secrets safe. I am not only a computer scientist but an ethical hacker who works hard to create a dialogue between software developers and all of the people who work in our security industry. I am a teacher, a community leader, and a computer nerd who shares messages and lessons wherever she goes.

Tanya's book list on DevSecOps (it is just like DevOps, done securely)

Tanya Janca Why did Tanya love this book?

Accelerate is a book about data. The authors used data collected during their PhD projects in order to prove The DevOps is effective.

They have all sorts of different ways to measure DevOps, it sufficiency, and the fact that way more projects succeed when you do DevOps, rather than waterfall methodology.

The book essentially show can be used as evidence of return on investment when modernizing your IT department. I am a person who loves data, and thus I absolutely love this book. Also, if you listen to the audiobook version, one of the authors reads it to you and her personality really shines through in a fun way.

I really enjoyed listening to Nicole read a book about to me about data!

By Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, Gene Kim

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Shingo Publication Award


Accelerate your organization to win in the marketplace.


How can we apply technology to drive business value? For years, we've been told that the performance of software delivery teams doesn't matter that it can't provide a competitive advantage to our companies. Through four years of groundbreaking research to include data collected from the State of DevOps reports conducted with Puppet, Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim set out to find a way to measure software delivery performance and what drives it using rigorous statistical methods. This book presents both the findings and…


Book cover of The Human Side of Enterprise

Steve Fenton Author Of Web Operations Dashboards, Monitoring, & Alerting

From my list on DevOps from before DevOps was invented.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a programmer and technical author at Octopus Deploy and I'm deeply interested in DevOps. Since the 1950s, people have been studying software delivery in search of better ways of working. We’ve seen many revolutions since Lincoln Labs first introduced us to phased delivery, with lightweight methods transforming how we wrote software at the turn of the century. My interest in DevOps goes beyond my enthusiasm for methods in general, because we now have a great body of research that adds to our empirical observations on the ways we work.

Steve's book list on DevOps from before DevOps was invented

Steve Fenton Why did Steve love this book?

We all know how important culture is to DevOps.

Well, Doug McGregor was one of the earliest proponents of healthy workplace culture. The Human Side of Enterprise was written during the 1950s and contains the kind of advice you might associate with Dan Pink’s more recent book, Drive.

If you want to read a book from the pivot point between command and control management and modern theories of motivation, this is the place to start.

By Douglas McGregor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"What are your assumptions (implicit as well as explicit) about the most effective way to manage people?"

So began Douglas McGregor in this 1960 management classic. It was a seemingly simple question he asked, yet it led to a fundamental revolution in management. Today, with the rise of the global economy, the information revolution, and the growth of knowledge-driven work, McGregor's simple but provocative question continues to resonate-perhaps more powerfully than ever before.

Heralded as one of the most important pieces of management literature ever written, a touchstone for scholars and a handbook for practitioners, The Human Side of Enterprise…


Book cover of The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Simon Court Author Of Founder's Legacy: 50 Game-Changing Leadership Lessons for Building a Great Business

From my list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the last 25 years, I have been a coach to business founders, leaders, and leadership teams. My work has taken me to every continent from my base in London. A lot of my work is done behind closed doors, but I have been instrumental in building two unicorns in the last decade. I’m a founder myself and have always been fascinated by what it takes to succeed as a founder. I have a powerful conviction that learning to lead is the heart of it. The books I love are either based on real-world research or deeply practical and based on hands-on experience. Practice trumps theory every time in my world!

Simon's book list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed

Simon Court Why did Simon love this book?

I like this book because it’s based on mining quantitative data on almost ten thousand founders, not only anecdotal experience.

There is a lot of debate about the importance of co-founders and not trying to ‘go it alone.’ According to Noam, 65 percent of startups fail because of co-founder conflict. I find that super interesting, and it emphasizes why, if you want success, you’ve got to pick your co-founder(s) wisely. The same is true of the management team as well of course. 

By Noam Wasserman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Founder's Dilemmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin. The Founder's Dilemmas is the first book to examine the early decisions by entrepreneurs that can make or break a startup and its team. Drawing on a decade of research, Noam Wasserman…


Book cover of The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction

Fred Delcomyn and James L. Ellis Author Of A Backyard Prairie: The Hidden Beauty of Tallgrass and Wildflowers

From my list on the beauty of tallgrass prairie.

Why are we passionate about this?

The short answer is, a retired university professor (Fred) and the coordinator of Natural Areas for the University of Illinois (James). That answer, however, doesn’t give a clue as to how we came to write our book. Fred and his wife established a small three-acre prairie on their land in 2003. They then enlisted James and Grand Prairie Friends, the local conservation organization he headed at the time, to help manage the prairie. Eventually, Fred, who had photographically documented the growth of the prairie and the beauty to be found therein, proposed that he and James describe the prairie with photos so that others could also learn to enjoy it. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fred's book list on the beauty of tallgrass prairie

Fred Delcomyn and James L. Ellis Why did Fred love this book?

Don’t know anything about prairie but want to learn? This slim volume is the perfect introduction.  And Cindy Crosby is the perfect person to do the introducing. She is a steward supervisor for the Schulenberg Prairie at the Morton Arboretum, near Chicago, Illinois. In the course of her job, she has become a writer and teacher on the prairie. In this engaging volume, Crosby describes what the tallgrass prairie is, how it originated, how people have interacted with it over the millennia, and what you can find in a prairie.

By Cindy Crosby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

More than a region on a map, North America's vast grasslands are an enduring place in the American heart. Unfolding along and beyond the Mississippi River, the tallgrass prairie has entranced and inspired its natives and newcomers as well as American artists and writers from Willa Cather to Mark Twain. The Tallgrass Prairie is a new introduction to the astonishing beauty and biodiversity of these iconic American spaces.

Like a walking tour with a literate friend and expert, Cindy Crosby's Tallgrass Prairie prepares travelers and armchair travelers for an adventure in the tallgrass. Crosby's engaging gateway assumes no prior knowledge…


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

Deb Cohen Author Of Developing Management Proficiency: A Self-Directed Learning Approach

From my list on 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.

Deb's book list on managing and leading more effectively

Deb Cohen Why did Deb 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.


Book cover of Ownership: Reinventing Companies, Capitalism, and Who Owns What

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

This is the best book about worker-owned firms in America by two authors who have each worked on the issue for almost a half-century. It focuses on the Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) developed in the US. There are now almost 7,000 ESOPs in America and 10% of the private workforce work in ESOPs so one out of ten workers are co-owners of the company where they work. Hence worker ownership is not just an academic pipe dream but a growing reality in America.

By Corey Rosen, John Case,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the William Foote Whyte and Kathleen King Whyte Book Prize from the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing

Employee ownership creates stronger companies, helps workers build wealth, and fosters a fairer, more stable society. In this book, two leading experts show how it works—and how it can be greatly expanded.

Wages don’t cover the bills. Wealth inequality is growing. Social trust is eroding. There are endless debates about what to do, but one key factor is inexplicably left out: who owns the companies that drive the economy?

Ownership matters. Ownership by a few…


Book cover of The Nonprofit Board Answer Book: A Practical Guide for Board Members and Chief Executives

Melisa Galasso Author Of Money Matters for Nonprofits: How Board Members Can Harness the Power of Financial Statements by Understanding Basic Accounting

From my list on someone new to a nonprofit board.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a CPA with nearly 20 years of experience in the accounting profession and I provide continuing education to CPA firms in the area of accounting and auditing. One of my areas of specialization is government and nonprofit accounting. I serve on the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB’s) Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee and the AICPA’s Governing Council. I am passionate about the standard setting process and ensuring financial reporting is accurate and presented in a way to help the user make financial decisions. I have a BSBA from Georgetown University with a concentration in Accounting and International Business. 

Melisa's book list on someone new to a nonprofit board

Melisa Galasso Why did Melisa love this book?

The Nonprofit Board Answer Book is a question-and-answer style book that takes the learnings from The Best of Boards one step further. It addresses board functions and structure with a section on board member selection and development. Oftentimes nonprofit boards aren’t intentional about these items. The Q&A addresses all the common questions that persons new to a board would ask or need to know. Board Source is a phenomenal organization whose aim is to help boards succeed. When I was researching governance for chapter 1 of my book, I cited several Board Source tools as they really do have the experience with nonprofit governance through their research. I love that each chapter of the text closes with suggested action steps to make the book more hands-on and practical. 

By BoardSource,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nonprofit Board Answer Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An essential guide to good governance for board leaders at all levels of experience and expertise This third edition of the bestselling book for nonprofit board members and professionals offers a thoroughly revised and updated resource that answers the most-commonly asked question on board governance. The book covers such topics as board structure and process, board member recruitment and orientation, board-staff relations, and financial management. This new edition includes updated information on topics that have recently increased in importance including new Form 990; dealing with the financial crisis, risk management, and mergers.
* Shows executives and board members how to…


Book cover of Infrastructure as Code: Dynamic Systems for the Cloud Age

Yevgeniy Brikman Author Of Fundamentals of DevOps and Software Delivery: A Hands-On Guide to Deploying and Managing Software in Production

From my list on practical, hands-on books on DevOps and software delivery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent more than a decade working on infrastructure, from my early days at LinkedIn, where we had to do a massive DevOps transformation to save the company, to co-founding Gruntwork, where I had the opportunity to work with hundreds of companies on their software delivery practices. From all of this, I can say the following with certainty: the DevOps best practices that a handful of the top tech companies have figured out are not filtering down to the rest of the industry. This is making the entire software industry slower, less effective, and less secure—and I see it as my mission to fix that.

Yevgeniy's book list on practical, hands-on books on DevOps and software delivery

Yevgeniy Brikman Why did Yevgeniy love this book?

This is a book for practitioners, by a practitioner, full of practical learnings that I was able to start using in my work immediately.

I especially appreciated the parts teaching the core principles of infrastructure as code (e.g., systems are disposable, consistent, can easily be reproduced, etc.), core practices of infrastructure as code (e.g., use definition files, self-documented systems and processes, version all the things, etc.), and the idea of antifragile systems (rather than just systems that you prevent from breaking) and autonomic systems (rather than just automated systems).

By Kief Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Six years ago, Infrastructure as Code was a new concept. Today, as even banks and other conservative organizations plan moves to the cloud, development teams for companies worldwide are attempting to build large infrastructure codebases. With this practical book, Kief Morris of ThoughtWorks shows you how to effectively use principles, practices, and patterns pioneered by DevOps teams to manage cloud-age infrastructure.

Ideal for system administrators, infrastructure engineers, software developers, team leads, and architects, this updated edition demonstrates how you can exploit cloud and automation technology to make changes easily, safely, quickly, and responsibly. You'll learn how to define everything as…


Book cover of Environmental Infrastructure in African History: Examining the Myth of Natural Resource Management in Namibia

Gufu Oba Author Of African Environmental Crisis: A History of Science for Development

From my list on environmental history, science, and development.

Why am I passionate about this?

Gufu Oba (Professor) has taught Ecology, Pastoralism, and Environmental History at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences for 21 years. He previously worked for UNESCO-MAB on issues of environmental conservation. He has published four books on social and environmental history. His books include Nomads in the shadows of Empires (BRILL, 2013), Climate change adaptations in Africa (Routledge, 2014), Herder Warfare in East Africa: A social and Spatial History (White Horse Press, 2017), and African Environmental Crisis: A History of Science for development (Routledge, 2020).

Gufu's book list on environmental history, science, and development

Gufu Oba Why did Gufu love this book?

Environmental Infrastructure in African History offers a new approach for analyzing and narrating environmental change. Environmental change conventionally is understood as, moving from a state of more nature to a state of less nature and more culture. In this model, non-Western and pre-modern societies live off natural resources, whereas more modern societies rely on artifacts, or nature that is transformed and domesticated through science and technology into culture. Emmanuel Kreike argues that both non-Western and pre-modern societies inhabit a dynamic middle ground between nature and culture. He asserts that humans - in collaboration with plants, animals, and other animate and inanimate forces - create environmental infrastructure that constantly is remade and re-imagined in the face of ongoing processes of change.

By Emmanuel Kreike,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Environmental Infrastructure in African History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Environmental Infrastructure in African History offers a new approach for analyzing and narrating environmental change. Environmental change conventionally is understood as occurring in a linear fashion, moving from a state of more nature to a state of less nature and more culture. In this model, non-Western and pre-modern societies live off natural resources, whereas more modern societies rely on artifact, or nature that is transformed and domesticated through science and technology into culture. In contrast, Emmanuel Kreike argues that both non-Western and pre-modern societies inhabit a dynamic middle ground between nature and culture. He asserts that humans - in collaboration…