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27 Instructive Books on Management Theory

Learn how to manage properly.

The art of management can be succinctly summarized as finding how to allocate resources in the most efficient way so they finally yield the most desired return on the initial investment. There’s no simpler way to put it than that.

Or maybe there is. In plain language, management is where you learn how to use what you got at your disposal to perform for you and, ultimately, get you paid. Management is at its core about developing the instinct to make the right choices in any business environment you can find. For that, a thorough instruction is needed, the kind these books can provide you with, check them out.

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#1 Applied Humanism How to Create More Effective and Ethical Businesses by Jennifer Hancock

Applied Humanism How to Create More Effective and Ethical Businesses by Jennifer HancockGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This book is about humanistic business management. Specifically, it’s about the Humanist philosophy and how it applies to the business of business. Humanism is a philosophic approach to living life and solving problems. It is about taking responsibility for solving the problems we have and doing so in a way that is respectful of other people and of the environment since we are dependent on our environment for life. This sounds wonderful, but it requires critical thinking and personal responsibility to implement. The upside is that it has some very tangible positive impacts on how we go about the business of business.

Humanism in business matters because humans matter. Businesses and commerce defines how we interact with each other. We can either use our businesses to help humanity progress to more peaceful flourishing communities, or we can allow our societies to be consumed with greed. We can balance profit and benefit to society. And we must. This is why Humanism matters.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 The Leadership Toolbox by Vicki Brackett

The Leadership Toolbox by Vicki Brackett Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Vicki Brackett has spent more than 20 years helping companies solve their leadership problems. From small businesses in the startup phase to Fortune 500 corporations, Brackett has been called in to identify the gaps in leadership and fix them to transform underperforming teams into the teams generating the best results. In The Leadership Toolbox, Brackett shares each one of the tools she has developed and uses to fix leadership problems. Each tool is supported by real world case studies illustrating and how and why it works.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 Taming The Sabertooth: Resilient Leadership In A Stressful World by Tracey Grove

Taming The Sabertooth: Resilient Leadership In A Stressful World by Tracey GroveGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

The American Psychological Association found that millennials in particular have higher rates of stress, depression, and suicide than any generation before them. At a time when there is significant anxiety both at home and in the workplace, it is critical for us to understand how our bodies react to stress, why stress is a necessary element of our lives, and how we can better cope with it in a rapidly changing environment.

Taming the Sabertooth: Resilient Leadership in a Stressful World serves as a roadmap for anyone who wants to navigate through change with courage and grace. We are reminded that while we cannot necessarily change our environment, we do have the power to shift our response to that environment by building resilience.

Taming the Sabertooth will lead to lasting changes in both your professional and personal life. A powerful guide to leading with courage, humility, and resilience.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity by Kim ScottGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This book approaches management in a truly straightforward, actionable way. The author is incredibly experienced, and the reader comes away feeling confident that they can have the tough conversations that managers all have to have, in a way that is both compassionate, and honest. The book has a truly human approach that really resonates and is applicable to real-world situation, vs. just theory.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 High Output Management by Andy Grove

High Output Management by Andy GroveGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Andy Grove is one of the clearest thinkers you will ever read. This book cuts through the fluff of your average business book. Practical thoughts on how to conduct 1-1 meetings, setting up a team, holding people accountable, measuring success and more are all here. The best reason to read this book, however, is the radical honesty that Grove displays. This is a management manual from someone who really understood what management should mean.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 Level Up Leadership: Six Factor Leadership by Dr. Michael Provitera

Level Up Leadership: Six Factor Leadership by Dr. Michael ProviteraGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This book has a built in certification for managers. Just by reading it, they are learning the same six-factors that are delivered to executives in a Leadership Certification Course designed by the author.

The course is delivered in six meetings three hours each for a total of eighteen hours. The book has the six most common factors that managers need to know to be successful.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 Get Over Your Damn Self by Romi Neustadt

Get Over Your Damn Self by Romi Neustadt Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

4What is a business without a plan, branding, and marketing? Romi Neustadt all-out approach to managing your business really struck a chord with me.

She walks you through the complicated universe of brand building, people connecting, and why your attitude about yourself is the most significant block you have to get your business off the ground. This is self-empowering by showing you what you can do when you leave your ego behind and sprint toward your goals with a well thought out management plan.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 The Balanced Scorecard by Robert S. Kaplan

The Balanced Scorecard by Robert S. Kaplan Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you like seeing strategy into actionable metrics, then this is the book for you. This book proves to be a great tool that will help convert your metrics into short and long term objectives through key financial measures and different internal business processes that can be easily tracked and compared.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 Critical Conversations as Leadership by William A. Donohue

Critical Conversations as Leadership by William A. DonohueGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

In Critical Conversations as Leadership, Dr. William A. Donohue describes conversation as a card game called Card Talk. The key to successful business and interpersonal communication is to select the right Talk Cards in the right situations to accomplish your communication goals and win the game.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#10 Measure What Matters by John Doerr

Measure What Matters by John DoerrGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Doerr’s method of setting goals and measuring progress towards those goals have helped Google, the Gates Foundation, and Bono’s global charities, One and (Red), grow faster than anyone thought possible. If you want to accelerate your company’s growth, this is a good place to start.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#11 Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard

Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken BlanchardGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you are new to being a leader this is the bare bones minimum you need to know. The One Minute Manager Model helps you to learn how to manage you and the Situational Leadership Model helps you identify where your employees are and how you should manage them. Great starter book.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#12 The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan by George Bradt

The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan by George BradtGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you are a new leader in an organization then you need to read this book and actually use the worksheets, they are available on the internet. It lays out a step by step process to insure you are successful at your new job. It tells you how to make your boss and employees happy while not driving yourself into the ground.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#13 Becoming a Technical Leader by Gerald Weinberg

Becoming a Technical Leader by Gerald WeinbergGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you are technical leader this is the book for you. It is a little dated but there are not many books focused on how to be a technical leader. If you are a logical technical person, you are probably not the best at inspiring and leading people. If you are an introverted nerd this book will help.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#14 It’s Your Ship by Michael Abrashoff

It's Your Ship by Michael AbrashoffGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you inherit a dysfunctional team culture or if you are in a typical command and control company this book presents a model to change the status quo. If the military can change then so can any other traditional manufacturing company. Trust me it will not be easy to convince your leaders to release their control.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#15 First, Break All of the Rules by Marcus Buckingham

First, Break All of the Rules by Marcus BuckinghamGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

If you want to be a great leader then this book will show you what great leaders do differently. It is a different way of thinking and most companies will not encourage you to use these ideas. But these ideas will get results, plus your employees will be happier and more engaged. But be warned you will be in for a fight at most traditional companies.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#16 Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story by Sam Walton

Sam Walton, Made in America: My Story by Sam WaltonGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer, so it’s safe to say there’s a thing or two to learn from their management practices. Sam Walton’s insightful book chronicles how he turned a single franchise shop into the powerhouse that is Wal-Mart. He explains how hard work is everything and that it’s absolutely worthwhile to bridge the gap between the multiple levels within a business.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#17 The Effective Manager by Mark Horstman

The Effective Manager by Mark HorstmanGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

When our company was about to grow, our founder recommended us this book. I appreciate the emphasis on actionable steps you can put into action from day one. You’re given a short set of principles you should focus on when leading a team. Also, it helps that book is full of data which show the impact of implementing these principles.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#18 The Universal Management Principle Workbook by Richard Huttner

The Universal Management Principle Workbook by Richard HuttnerGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

This book contains a wealth of proven principles and practices to help managers better motivate their teams. The book’s core idea is People don’t care how much you know they know how much you care. This maxim can be profitably applied in almost any situation: For example, to reinforce outstanding team member performance, rather than just saying, Good job, the superior manager might say,I really admire the thoughtful and conscientious way you handled this project.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#19 How to Think Strategically by Greg Githens

How to Think Strategically by Greg GithensGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

How to Think Strategically is the ideal primer for those who want to develop their mental acumen and make strategic impact. The human mind is a powerful tool for crafting strategy. However, it’s an imperfect tool that’s fooled by illusions, neglectful of weak signals, biased to the status quo, and shaped by the prevailing culture. Smart people can and do make bad strategic decisions and formulate ineffective strategy. A competent strategic thinker is one who tolerates ambiguity, seeks weak signals, defines the core challenge facing the organization, and designs effective responses.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#20 The 360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell

The 360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

The 360 Degree Leader, John Maxwell. Being a great manager is all about developing followership and influence of those around you, and then being able to lead them to the goal. Becoming a servant-leader will amplify your abilities to lean into leadership and become the greatest manager you can be. John Maxwell does a great job in this book of providing practical handles to everyday management interactions in all directions.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#21 Scaling Up by Verne Harnish

Scaling Up by Verne Harnish Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Scaling Up, Verne Harnish. If you are managing and trying to grow a fast-growth organization – the Rockefeller Habits are a key study that illuminates how to structure and execute in fast-growth organizations. Verne Harnish and his team have studied companies that have implemented these habits for years, and uncover in this book the truth and the methods used by many well-known fast growth companies to execute and win. As a manager of a fast-growth company, learning, leveraging, and leading with these habits will take your company to the next level, in a hurry!

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#22 The Power of Servant-Leadership by Robert K. Greenleaf

The Power of Servant-Leadership by Robert K. GreenleafGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Robert K. Greenleaf wrote a series of fantastic essays on how powerful it is when a leader serves their team members. If you are looking to move up the career ladder, or already in a position of power, I highly advise you learn from this master of servant leadership. Not only will you empower your team members and enhance their productivity, but you will also feel good about yourself at the end of each and every work day.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#23 The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel by Eliyahu M. Goldratt Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

A revised edition, this fairly short, thought-provoking book (143 pages cover-to-cover) has sold more than 6 million copies in multiple editions. It was co-authored by Dr. Goldratt, an internationally recognized expert in the development of revolutionary business concepts and management systems (and who Fortune magazine called a guru to industry). Unusual for a business book, ‘The Goal’ is written as a fast-paced novel about a plant manager, Alex, who’s under the gun to improve his plant’s performance in order to prevent its imminent closure. Alex has just three months to turn things around, and receives timely, helpful advice from his former college professor who helps him break free from conventional modes of management thinking. Once begun, a great many readers will find it difficult to put this engrossing business novel back on their bookshelves.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#24 Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results by Mike Rother

Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results by Mike Rother Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Toyota Kata is one of the most detailed and hands on books ever written on the lean management concept. If you are looking for ideas on how to manage people, innovate continuously, boost morale, build problem solving skills, set-, achieve- and measure goals effectively, this is a book to consider. Based on the methods of the most innovative car company Mike Rother, an expert of his field, brakes down all the aspects of the lean processes. Most people and managers have misconceptions about lean management. Companies spend millions of dollars every year to try to copy the success of Toyota, yet they often miss the essence of the concept. This book offers a very detailed analysis with real life examples while truly capturing the success factors of these methods. Not only that, but also gives you the easy to follow implementation plans regardless of team size. If you are open to innovation, change, creativity and wish to create a competitive edge, this book is highly recommended.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#25 Management Mess to Leadership Success by Scott Jeffrey Miller

Management Mess to Leadership Success by Scott Jeffrey MillerGet this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Scott Miller knows what it’s like to fail. He was demoted from his first leadership position after only three weeks―and that’s just one of several messy management stories in Management Mess to Leadership Success. And Scott’s not alone. Everyone fails. But something sets Scott apart: he knows that failure is not a synonym for unwanted retirement. Scott knows firsthand what it’s like to go from out-of-touch boss to team-growing leader. In Management Mess to Leadership Success, you’ll find 30 leadership challenges, honed by FranklinCovey through years of research, instructional programs, and executive consultancy, and illustrated with real-life experiences shared by someone who’s lived these challenges. Leaders aren’t hired to maintain the status quo. The whole point of leadership is to create positive (often radical) change. Sometimes, that means watching someone you’ve coached succeed―and maybe even surpass you. Sometimes, it means saying no more often than saying yes. But always, it means improving yourself and your team in new and unconventional ways. Dare to do the unexpected―dare to lead.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#26 Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World by General Stanley McChrystal Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal, is an essential management book that build on Peter Drucker’s work and incorporates military strategy. General McChrystal paints a great picture on transforming organizations to enable cross department communication and breaking down silo’s.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#27 The Science of Success by Charles G. Koch

The Science of Success by Charles G. Koch Get this book or read more reviews of it by using the links below

Charles management style is one of employee empowerment, by treating them like entrepreneurs he retains the best people. Charles Koch provides a thorough breakdown of the management system developed for his company. His comprehensive understanding of free market economics is instilled in the fundamentals of the company and its drive to produce long-term value. Charles Koch has built a tremendous operation through an understanding of economics, and by consistently providing value in the marketplace. The central premise of the book is that Capitalism Works both for general society and for an individual business. In fact, when one actually studies capitalism one realizes that it is not only the most profitable and beneficial economic system there is but by far, the most charitable one, as well.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Jennifer Hancock from Humanist Learning Systems

Vicki Brackett from The Leadership Toolbox

Tracey Grove from Pure Symmetry Coaching

Alexis Haselberger from Alexis Haselberger Coaching and Consulting

Kaben Clauson from TruePublic

Michael Provitera from Docprov

Ian McClarty from PhoenixNAP Global IT Services

Walker Peek from Commercial Acoustic

Susan Stitt from Front Edge Publishing

Jory Lange from MakeFoodSafe

Michael Arnold from TheMichaelArnold

Nate Masterson from NateMasterson

Corina Burri from Ofri Internet GmbH

Richard Huttner from Successful Manager

Paul O’Connor from Adept Group

Taylor Toce from Velo IT Group

Yaniv Masjedi from Nextiva

Timothy G. Wiedman from N/A

Zoltan Karpati from N/A

Brenda Knight from Mango Publishing

Tarek Alaruri from Fairmarkit

Lorene Cowan from Business Arsenal Inc

Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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