10 management books that will change the way you act as manager

Writing this blog post has been on my to-do list for a long time.

However, during the creative process, something unexpected happened – I realized some of the books that changed how I act as a manager are not management books at all!

Anyway, here’s the list. Not all of these books are management books, but they all will make you a better manager.

Management Books Worth Reading

Let me share the list of books that I consider a “must-read” for every manager:

  1. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

    The book might be considered hard to read because of the difficult language used by the author. However, you shouldn’t give up on it; it has opened my mind and will be ground-breaking for you too.
    We, as managers, are trying to prevent bad things from happening to our organizations all the time. But maybe we should accept the fact that bad things happen sometimes. It is better to build adaptive systems instead of changing resistant ones, and Nassim Taleb provides many antifragile strategies that can help us design our own systems.

  2. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeff Cox.

    Goldratt describes the process of manufacturing electronic components and explains what efficiency problems accompany it. This book introduces you to the Theory of Constraints that stands behind every effective management approach (including work processes like Scrum or Kanban).

  3. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Deepak Chopra.

    NVC is a way of thinking and communication that every manager should apply daily. It isn’t easy to start communicating in a nonviolent way. But it is good to start thinking that way when conflict arises. This method helped me save a few critical contacts with my employees, clients, and business partners.

  4. Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management by Johanna Rothman, Esther Derby.

    It was one of the first “management books” I’ve ever read. The most important lesson from the book is how a manager should interact with others in an organization – talk to people, collect feedback, and learn about their problems. Answers to all questions are usually somewhere in the room; one just needs to put the right question.

  5. Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders by Jurgen Appelo.

    This book contains an enormous amount of awesome content for managers. It also helped me discover many other excellent books. I remember it took me six months to read the book – there were so many interesting quotes and other resources to check out! During those few months of reading Management 3.0, I ended up reading more than 20 other books that Jurgen mentioned.

  6. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.

    This is a “must-read” for everyone who wants to build and sell a new product or service. The Lean Startup concept described in this book is a nice summary of an effective product development method based on an empirical approach. The only thing missing is the importance of face-to-face talking with users and customers. I’ve learned this experience applying the Lean Startup method.

  7. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.

    Classical self-management book. We waste an incredible amount of time and energy on things that don’t matter or don’t bring any value. The book is a perfect guidance for everyone who wants to live efficiently.

  8. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.

    When discussing productivity, we must mention Tim’s Ferris book. This guy is one of the most famous life hackers. He speaks about delegating things that should be done by someone other than you. I’m still working on that myself, but I can already see significant progress. The author describes how to work only 4 hours a week and still earn enough. But who wants to work only 4 hours a week if they love the job?

  9. Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.

    Yes, it’s a sci-fi book about the colonization of Mars. Worth reading for every manager. This trilogy taught me about team building effects when everything goes wrong. This trilogy taught me how difficult situations (when everything goes wrong) can have a positive team-building impact. The book also contains a lot of exciting concepts about culture and society.

  10. Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game by Alistair Cockburn.

    One of the first Agile books I’ve ever read. And it’s still on top of my list. It’s highly recommended if you are at the beginning of your Agile journey. From this book, you will learn that Agile is much more than Scrum.


I hope you like this list of “management books” and find it helpful. Have you read any of these books already?