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Best Books: 46 Books Every New Manager Should Read

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Taking on a new managerial role can be a daunting task, especially if it is your first manager position. We reached out to industry leaders to get their recommendations on which books every new manager should read.

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#1 The Elemental Workplace

Weaving insightful facts with lively prose and a sharp humor, change management expert Neil Usher demystifies workplace design, breaking it down to the essentials, disentangling it from arguments solely about aesthetics and style. Drawing on more than 25 years in the property profession (strategy, development, transactions, workplace creation, change programs, capital projects, operational management), Usher has penned the ultimate handbook for anyone involved in office design, whether managing people, running a business, or just interested in the workplace in which they are treated.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Marion Bernstein from LID Publishing

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#2 Staying Power

Every manager is responsible for retaining the talent on their team. This new book explains the evolution of employees over time, the unique mindset of today's new workforce, and provides actionable strategies for reducing employee turnover a problem impacting the business bottom line.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Cara Silletto from Crescendo Strategies

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#3 The Power of Curiosity

In today’s fast-paced world of work, every manager needs to better understand others employees who report to them, colleagues and those senior to them. Without understanding mistakes are made, time wasted, the status quo remains. When we are able to understand others, we can collaborate, sharing ideas, innovating, and get things done correctly the first time. Production increases as does engagement and employees become accountable for what they are part of. All of which helps the new manager feel empowered so they can shine. This is a simple, easy to read book about the skills we need to have effective relationships, skills we are never taught and yet are expected to know.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Kathy Taberner from Institute of Curiosity

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#4 The New ROI

From the author: The New ROI: Return on Individuals is a must read. The book chronicles my journey as a finance professional, making the case that people truly are a company's most valuable asset. If managers treat their people as assets rather than expenses, they will actually increase employee engagement and also increase the value of the business.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Find Dave Bookbinder on LinkedIn

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#5 How the Best Get Better

How the Best Get Better by Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach, helps managers and leaders understand how they can best support their people in reaching their potential through out-of-the-box thinking and approaches.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Maggie Koosa from The Alchemists

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#6 Target

Godiva Regional President Jérôme Chouchan presents a unique approach to business and life, taking inspiration from the hard-won wisdom gained from his 25-year practice in global management and Japanese archery, also known as Kyudo. Kyudo has a particular teaching: Right shooting always results in a hit.

This means that you shouldn’t worry about simply hitting the target; instead, you should calmly focus your energy and willpower on proper mindset and form. In doing so, this right-minded shooting will naturally result in a hit. When applied to business, if you sincerely care about your customers and focus your efforts on customer satisfaction, as opposed to sales and profits, positive financial results will follow.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Marion Bernstein from LID Publishing

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#7 The First 90 Days

The First 90 Days outlines a strategic approach to transitioning into a new leadership position, which Watkins contends is the most critical time for a leader. As performance in the first few months of a job is predictive of overall success in the role, it is important to begin contributing to the organization as quickly as possible. Watkins provides a blueprint to make this happen.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Mark Lavercombe from The Productive Physician

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#8 The New Manager’s Workbook: A Crash Course in Effective Management

Almost by accident, I came across Randy Clark's New Manager's Workbook. When I opened and viewed the contents, I realized that my outline (brainstorming) had 9 chapters devoted to deficiencies I recognized. Then, when I read the material, I realized how brilliantly put together his book was! Randy saved me many months of work, and he did a fantastic job on the material. I have made this tool available for the company's new managers with great reviews.

This is very much a crash course that is perfect for that person who gets thrown into a management role and wants to find early success. For what it is, the New Manager's Workbook is perfect. It reduces the high-level and complex theories associated with leadership, theories of motivation, and understanding human behavior, to a manageable, easy-to-follow, readily-available, progressive resource to effectively manage people.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Randy Clark from TKO Graphix

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#9 The Responsive Leader

Drawing on nearly 20 years of experience working with IT, strategy, and organizational change management across several industries, leadership advisor Erik Østergaard offers a proven model for responding to the ever-changing VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment of the current Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Østergaard provides his readers with clear and useful methods, tools, and frameworks for adapting a flexible, responsive leadership style and guiding philosophy that matches the requirements of the 21st century.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Marion Bernstein from LID Publishing

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#10 The Talent Brand

You only get one reputation, and The Talent Brand will show you how to create the reputation that drives business results. Founder and chief branding officer of the New York-based branding agency Brandemix, Ordioni outlines the process for creating the key framework for creating your talent brand architecture. The Talent Brand guides the reader through Brandemix's carefully constructed process, providing complete access to branding tools, brainstorming templates, and learning resources.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Marion Bernstein from LID Publishing

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#11 Leaders Eat Last

The principle of a long-term leader talked about here is something I think is so important for every manager; leadership is something that happens over time and is proved over time so it’s great for managing expectations if you’re a new manager who wants everything ‘now’.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Hannah Thorpe from White.net

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#12 The One Thing You Need to Know

This book was a game changer for me because of its non-conventional approach. It made me see that great managers are those who also enhance and capitalize on employee strengths rather than just focusing on their weaknesses. Tips on setting clear goals, offering recognition, and showing team members that you care about them make this book a compelling read. Not only will it help you in terms of managing others, but also leverage your own strengths and weaknesses in right proportions.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Hitesh Sahni from EduSumo

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#13 Building on the Promise of Diversity

Too often, people understand diversity to mean different skin tones. This book expands the politicized definition, re-frames the issue, and teaches people how to manage and value true diversity. Though I have always seen diversity as an asset, this book had an effect on the way I conceptualize diversity, how I am able to articulate it, and how I manage it. I highly recommend it for new managers.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Beth Cooper from KNB Communications

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#14 The GoGiver Leader

This book has been life-changing for those who have read it as it teaches the true fundamentals of leadership: putting others first. A great business book and also a great life book.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Find Dave Bookbinder on LinkedIn

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#15 Give & Take

Give and Take by Adam Grant, helps people to understand that, those who are really successful, give much more in the workplace than they take. There's a balance that managers and leaders should help to establish and nurture within their organizations so that there is a sense of team and cooperation, rather than isolation and competition.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Maggie Koosa from The Alchemists

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#16 Never Split The Difference

This book was life-changing. It arms you with the ability to use tactical empathy in various management situations. It the closest you can get to learning Jedi Mind Tricks.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Steve Peron from Elevated Internet Marketing

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#17 EntreLeadership

This book provides excellent tips for inspiring employees, making them feel valued, empowering them to take ownership, unifying your team and avoiding gossip, etc. It's very practical and hands-on, which I love!

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Johnny Harper from J and J Home Inspections

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#18 Drive

One of the key things a first-time manager should know is how to inspire others to perform at their best. Most managers think only in terms of monetary incentives, but Pink explains that extrinsic motivators like money don't always work. After reading this book, first-time managers will realize the importance of focusing on cultivating a sense of autonomy, purpose, and mastery in their team members.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Hitesh Sahni from EduSumo

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#19 How to Win Friends and Influence People

Everybody wants to be the chilled out boss, but how do you do that without compromising your leadership? In his book, Carnegie goes through, point bypoint, how to dance through that fine line.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics

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#20 Start With Why

According to Simon Sinek, it doesn’t matter what your team does, or how they do it – what matters is why. Once you’ve identified your “why” and committed to it as a team, it makes future decisions much easier, and gives you an incentive to succeed – you are committed to positive change and long-term success because of your “why.”

Start with Why incentivizes you to take a step back and look at your project from a wider angle, however small it may be. This gives you a blueprint through which to work, because you know “why” you’re working, and what you’re working towards. Sinek’s approach is unusual, but it works – Strafe Creative is proof of that.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Ross Davies from Strafe Creative

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#21 Management Cases and Management

These are two different books by Peter Drucker and both are great on how to navigate atypical and not so typical management problems. It would be a great book to do problem-solving scenarios for a staff meeting or HR training/workshop.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Querida Lugo from Styling For Your Life

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#22 The Personal MBA

If there’s anything you need to know about business, Kaufman covers it. After each section, he then recommends a book to offer a more in-depth understanding of each segment. This book acts as a businessman’s guide and will serve you well.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics

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#23 Radical Candor

It flips the script that giving honest feedback is hard because giving honest feedback is actually compassionate and kind. No one can improve if they don't know what to fix and they can't know what to fix if they're always being told everything is great.

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Contributors: Susan Boles from ScaleSpark

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#24 The Hard Thing About Hard Things

This book is brutally honest about the mistakes you can make running a business, and the difficult choices you face doing so. It helps normalize the panic you might sometimes feel when becoming a manager or dealing with a challenging HR or Finance issue, as you see that so many other businesses have gone through this and still ended up being extremely successful. The chapter on laying off employees and poaching them too is particularly helpful.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Hannah Thorpe from White.net

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#25 Work Less, Do More: The 7-Day Productivity Makeover

Time management is a key skill for new managers. You have to set the example for your staff. Creating work-life balance has become key for all successful managers.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Dr. Jan Yager from DrJanYager

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#26 The Language of Leadership

This book breaks down how building relationships through language is key in leadership.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Querida Lugo from Styling For Your Life

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#27 Extreme Ownership

This book outlines the way individuals in leadership roles should make decisions best for their business and best for their team, through tactics such as leading up and down the chain of command (ensuring all those above and below you understand your mission and goals), proper planning, thorough decision making, and more.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Keri Lindenmuth from KDG

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#28 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is book uncovers real-life situations for a manager and gives insights on how to successfully manage teams.

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Contributors: Querida Lugo from Styling For Your Life

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#29 Eat that Frog

Managing your team well can be relatively simple. Managing them efficiently is much harder. Different people work at different speeds, which can be incredibly infuriating if you’re used to your own efficiency. Bring in Eat that Frog, an indispensable guide to improving your own efficiency as well as that of your team.

It has 21 different ways to improve your productivity, and while some of them might seem “obvious” at first glance, you’d be surprised how much you and your team can work against yourselves, however unintentionally. Lead by example, and your team are sure to adopt some of your techniques, improving team efficiency overall.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Ross Davies from Strafe Creative

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#30 Productive Relationships

This book will help managers to get along better with everyone at work subordinates, coworkers, and the boss. Even service providers.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Dr. Jan Yager from DrJanYager

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#31 Positive Psychology

I suggest this book because managers tend to get stress with everything they need to manage and using the technique of understanding positive psychology will help in producing a better flow and navigating difficult spaces.

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Contributors: Querida Lugo from Styling For Your Life

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#32 Confronting Without Offending

Where there are people, there are disagreements and misunderstandings. The author of 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue (more than 500,000 copies sold), a popular speaker, and a relationship strategist, Deborah Smith Pegues draws on biblical principles, personal experience, and research to show how to approach difficult situations so relationships.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Chantay Bridges from Real Estate Professionals World Enterprise Marketing

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#33 Leadership and Self Deception

This book offers a balance of sorts between managing and understanding. The book offers a different way to look at everything do as well as everything done to us. What it does mostly is it teaches you what being a good leader actually means.

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Contributors: Nate Masterson from Maple Holistics

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#34 Leadership 101

This short book (roughly 120 pages cover to cover) is written by an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, coach, and author who has sold millions of books. Dr. Maxwell's companies have also trained more than 5 million leaders worldwide. This easily digested book is a practical guide to help leaders (especially new leaders) understand their roles, how leadership development occurs, the important traits that leaders share, and the impact that they can have within their organizations. Dr. Maxwell regularly uses real-life examples that demonstrate how leaders have achieved success while following these principles.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Timothy G. Wiedman from Doane University

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#35 Shift Your Thinking

This is a great book to practice mindfulness in your daily living which most of that time is spent at work. I believe that it is a good way for a manager to take in some of these practices and model them for their team to inspire change in a more inspirational and transformative manner.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Querida Lugo from Styling For Your Life

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#36 The Manager’s Answer Book

Written in question-and-answer format, The Manager’s Answer Book is an easy-to-use guide providing information on many aspects of managing, broken down into the following categories:

  • Getting started: moving from peer to manager, setting goals, managing projects, resources, and much more.
  • Developing your management skills: communicating, delegating, motivating, and facilitating.
  • Building and managing your team: hiring, firing, and everything in between.Creating your personal brand: building credibility for yourself, your team, and your department.
  • Managing up, down, and around: working with people and functions in your organization.
  • Avoiding potential land mines: conflict, change, and risk.
  • Recognizing legal pitfalls: navigating the haze of laws and regulations.

Some situations you may find yourself in include:

  • My predecessor was held in high esteem by everyone—but I’m not her and will likely have a different style. What do you suggest?
  • I’m adjusting to managerial responsibilities, but feeling cut off from people I used to brainstorm with. Is there a way to keep both?
  • What is ‘workforce planning’? Where do I start?
  • What should I be looking for in managing third-party contractors?
  • I think my company wastes a huge amount of time in meetings and I’d like to change this. What can I do?
  • My to-do list is out of control. How do I prioritize?
  • What can I do to bridge skills gaps I see on my team?
  • We have a very diverse workforce. Can you offer guidance for managing/interacting in this environment?

The information in The Manager’s Answer Book is at times general in nature. Policies, processes, and protocols will vary from organization to organization and industry to industry. But The Manager’s Answer Book will help any manager stay informed and avoid unknowingly tripping over a new situation while providing insights into many situations and issues that managers face outside their own area of expertise.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Tess Woods from Tess Woods PR LLC

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#37 The One Minute Manager

Awesome quick read for those that don't have much time but want to know how to get better results.

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Contributors: Querida Lugo from Styling For Your Life

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#38 The Five Levels of Leadership

This book teaches you how to work your way up to the highest level of leadership, becoming a leader that creates a legacy and is all about investing in your employees.

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Contributors: Johnny Harper from J and J Home Inspections

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#39 The E-Myth Revisited

This is a book that I find myself coming back to again and again – Gerber walks you through the different stages of a business, explaining how the lessons he has learned through his years as a small business consultant can impact your own management. Whether you’re managing an entire business or a small team, his advice can be applied in every aspect of management. Gerber’s writing style is easy to understand, and he takes the time to explain any complicated concepts – I would recommend this book to anyone leading a project, regardless of if you consider yourself an entrepreneur or not.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Ross Davies from Strafe Creative

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#40 The Law of the Garbage Truck

While this book isn’t necessarily aimed at managers it features more than its share of great advice about dealing with negativity and incivility, which you’re likely to encounter if you’re managing people.

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Contributors: Jason Zasky from Failure magazine

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#41 Socially Confident In 60 Seconds

Socially confident in 60 seconds takes you into many varied scenarios and helps you feel comfortable regardless of what you may face. Everything from common courtesies to business dining. The book takes you through effective networking, small talk, office, email & job interview etiquette, Meeting manners, protocols, tipping, cross-cultural personalities, dressing to impress, all the way to proper grammar and diction. This book is a must for new managers.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Chantay Bridges from Real Estate Professionals World Enterprise Marketing

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#42 Crucial Confrontations

This book has really good strategies for dealing with confrontation in a way that's productive and that actually resolves the issue rather than compounding it.

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Contributors: Johnny Harper from J and J Home Inspections

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#43 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is the book I’d recommend because the concepts explored are not only life principles but principles that apply to professional and personal relationships. Upon reading this, I’d hope new managers get an understanding of how to prioritize based on limited time, along with the ability to read and understand situations before responding to them. My personal key takeaways from the book were the seeking to understand before being understood.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Arjun Jolly from adQuadrant

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#44 Practice Perfect

This book outlines 42 rules for getting better at getting better and really influences how we can discipline ourselves in making effective change through practice.

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Contributors: Querida Lugo from Styling For Your Life

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#45 Good to Great

This book breaks down ways to take your company from just good to achieving long-term greatness.

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Contributors: Johnny Harper from J and J Home Inspections

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#46 Effective Business And Nonfiction Writing

Writing more effectively, including even your emails, will take you far as a new manager.

Want to read more reviews of this book or buy it? Check out the links below:

Contributors: Dr. Jan Yager from DrJanYager

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