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I want to be an awesome manager. What books should I be reading?
October 6, 2012 5:09 PM   Subscribe

I want to be an awesome manager. What books should I be reading?

I work for a start-up. The entire company is about 200 employees, and I am a new manager to about 30 of them.

What books -- both "classics" and new-school stuff -- should I be reading to give me a well-rounded understanding of what good managers do (and don't do)? Things geared towards start-ups would be especially good.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
the no asshole rule, by bob sutton
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:48 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thoroughly appreciated The Lean Startup. It's less about actual management skills and more about the philosophy of rapid iteration, remaining flexible, and tolerating failure.
posted by erst at 6:02 PM on October 6, 2012


The Servant Leader by James A. Autry
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Bossidy, Charan and Burck
The SPEED of Trust by Steven M.R. Covey
The Integrity Dividend: Leading by the Power of Your Word by Tony Simons
The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

The first four for fairly obvious reasons, but I recommend Gawande's book because startups can be chaotic and rarely do good solid processes exist that really help you become effective. The Checklist Manifesto really opened my eyes about how we get things done in my company.
posted by SoulOnIce at 6:02 PM on October 6, 2012


One minute manager by Ken Blanchard
Getting Things Done by David Allen
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

I've been reading and re-reading these books for many years. They help me stay human as a manager.
posted by pxharder at 6:28 PM on October 6, 2012


Managing Humans by Michael Lopp.
posted by Silvertree at 7:45 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're managing IT staff, you will gain a modicum of respect if The Mythical Man-Month is on your shelf; more if you show signs of having taken it seriously.
posted by flabdablet at 9:29 PM on October 6, 2012


This previous question might also help. Although if you're managing 30 people right away, you might not find time to open a book anytime soon!
posted by xil at 11:08 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not a book, but I'd start with reading at Manager Tools and listening to their podcasts.

Their book review section is at http://www.manager-tools.com/book-reviews

And their "Basics" playlist of podcasts are at http://www.manager-tools.com/manager-tools-basics
posted by JaneL at 11:49 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked The Leadership Challenge. Link is to the 4th ed. which I read - there is a 5th out now, and a website/forum that I haven't really looked into. The book had a helpful philosophy about empowering staff and making them feel valued and part of an important team. This approach to managing has helped me in my field. Quick easy read.
posted by dog food sugar at 1:31 AM on October 7, 2012


I love the Ask a Manager blog, which has great, sensible advice for managers and non-managers. She also has a book Managing to Change the World which is ostensibly geared towards non-profit managers, but I think is applicable for any field.
posted by prex at 10:34 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anything by Ronald Heifetz, especially Leadership on the Line (with Marty Linsky).

Good to Great by Jim Collins.
posted by 4ster at 10:43 AM on October 7, 2012


Also, the Guidebooks frm the Center for Creative Leadership are good, quick reads.
posted by 4ster at 10:45 AM on October 7, 2012


Seconding dog food sugar on the Leadership Challenge, and also the same authors' book Credibility. These are the single best books out there according to a seasoned leadership coach I've worked with. I've put them into action in real life before and the results were, as the cheesy advert would have it, amazing.

I'd also recommend reading the Harvard Business Review's articles, and their books on Managing People and Leadership.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:30 AM on October 8, 2012


This might be coming from way off in left field, but it could also be marginally helpful to watch a TV drama focused on office interactions (more Mad Men, less the Office) and think about hôw you would handle the different situations that you see presented. It's sort of like answering behavioral interview questions or case studies, it can help to dissect different situations.

I'm not saying cram in a new show in the next week or something. It's probably way off the mark, since it isn't a book suggestion so I pre-emptively accept the flaming.
posted by rambletamble at 6:40 PM on October 14, 2012


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