The 5 Best Management Books

Last updated: 6 March 2021. We've ranked the best management books available. If you can effectively manage teams, your career earnings and job satisfaction will rise exponentially. Management is an essential skill for high-value professions, and being a great manager will create a positive ripple effect across your organisation. 

Despite the importance of management skills in achieving career success, management books are only read by a minority of professional managers. Bizarrely, managers will read technical books such as best financial management books and the best financial risk management books, but they rarely sit down to invest their time to learn about managing people. 

Only the highly ambitious realise that additional learning can supplement the experiences they gain in work on a day-to-day basis. This can accelerate their progress and avoid management pitfalls that others become ensnared in.

All of the best management books featured are beginner friendly and don't assume much prior knowledge. With prices ranging from £9 - £30, stocking up on a few of the best management books can deliver the same value as an expensive seminar for only a fraction of the cost. They can even be read for free with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial.

Click on any title below to see the latest price from Amazon, you'll be shocked at how affordable the most popular titles are. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases which helps to support this site. This does not impact how I compile the list. Happy reading!

The best management books for beginners

Basic guides on how to manage people and get the best from your teams

The best management books for senior managers

Leadership and strategy books for senior management

The best change management books

How to navigate the most difficult of periods in any organisation - times of change

Management books for specialised functions or industries

Providing tailored advice to managers in sectors or departments

Management theory textbooks

Detailed textbooks from experienced professors of management and organisational behaviour

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My Top 5 Management Books for 2021

Click covers to see latest reviews and prices



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Management: A Concise Introduction has been written with the student in mind - short chapters, easy identification of the key points and revision-friendly sections. Backed by robust academic theory with plenty of pedagogical features, it has an engaging style and is, all in all, everything a student needs to understand the subject and pass the exam."

Who this book is for:

My favourite introduction to management for beginners. Perfect for students studying business studies or business management at college or University. 

I love the way this text communicates all the essential management concepts without waffle or excessive page length. 

It's easy to read, and it's a great place to start. It's ranked 4.6/5.0 on Amazon.





Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"A single-volume learning resource covering the range of knowledge required, it includes chapters from established thought leaders on topics ranging from benefits management, stakeholder strategy, facilitation, change readiness, project management and education and learning support.

Endorsed by the Change Management Institute and the official guide to the CMI Body of Knowledge, The Effective Change Manager's Handbook -covers the whole process from planning to implementation, offering practical tools, techniques and models to effectively support any change initiative."

Who this book is for:

The Effective Change Manager's Handbook helps practitioners, employers and academics define and practise change management successfully and develop change management maturity within their organization.





Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Winner of Bookpal's 2019 Outstanding Works of Literature (O.W.L) award in Leadership! Forbes Holiday Wish List.

Your Leadership Skills Are About to Change. Millions have read the all-time global best seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Both leaders and individuals have been inspired and transformed by its universal principles of effectiveness, including Scott Jeffrey Miller.

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 experiences on his two-decade journey to leadership success. Everyone fails. But something sets Scott apart: transparency and willingness to openly share his story in a way that is forthright, relatable, and applicable.

You can become a better leader. In Miller’s Management Mess to Leadership Success you’ll find 30 leadership challenges that can, when applied, change the way you manage yourself, lead others, and produce results. "

Who this book is for:

Fans of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People who have read and liked Radical Candor, Dare to Lead, or Mastering Leadership will love Scott Miller’s Management Mess to Leadership Success.



4. Kindness in Leadership - Gay Haskins et al.



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"In a global climate of increasing complexity and uncertainty, there have been calls for a more responsible form of leadership in business and society. The relationship between kindness and leadership is therefore a topic of fundamental importance for our well-being as individuals, for the success of our organisations, and for the future of our global community.

Kindness in Leadership is one of the first books to explore both the concept and practice of kindness in leadership and consider them in different societal and organisational settings. Its uniqueness lies in combining an innovative mix of personal views from leaders with explorations of organisational philosophies and practices.

It opens with a definition of kindness and its contours and underpinnings. It then explores the importance of kindness within different organisations, parts of the world, economic strata, age groups and genders, drawing on research on organisational compassion and neuroscience."

Who this book is for:

This will be a stimulating and thought-provoking read for a wide audience of practicing managers and leaders in organisations of all shapes and sizes, for academics involved in educating for leadership, and for students aspiring to develop their own kind and compassionate leadership style.



5. Building Top-performing Teams - Lucy Widdowson & Paul J Barbour



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Building Top-Performing Teams includes essential guidance, tools and techniques that show how to promote team ways of working rather than individual-focused processes. It also includes guidance on managing internal team conflict and ensuring that teams are purpose-driven and working towards a shared business goal.

Each chapter includes diagnostic questions and reflective practice exercises to allow readers to identify how to apply each element of team development to their workforce. Supported by the authors' experience in organizations such as the BBC, John Lewis, KPMG, Britvic, the NHS and BMW this is essential reading for anyone needing to unlock the value of teams to achieve greater business performance."

Who this book is for:

Containing more than 40 tools which can be used in a virtual or in-person coaching environment, Building Top-Performing Teams is a practical guide for leaders, HR professionals, coaches, team coaches and anyone with management responsibility. It covers how to motivate, develop, engage and reward a team of employees with different levels of experience and priorities to achieve outstanding business success.



The Financial Expert™ Best Management Book Challenge


Best managemet books

I challenge you to read one management book per month and see if it revolutionises your investing style!


The Financial Expert™ Best Management Book Challenge is a well-loved feature of this website.

There's no better to way to improve your own management style than by studying the works, ideas and practices of other great managers. 

This is what the best management book challenge nudges you towards doing: 

Let's keep things simple, and get to the point. Here's the challenge: 

I challenge you to read one management book per month for the next year, and find your new favourite!

So what are we trying to achieve with this challenge:

1. Underline the point that one book is never enough

Management is a living, breathing discipline which continues to evolve alongside better theories, changing best practices and the changing mindset of workers. 

It therefore follows that your reading shouldn't be constrained to a single management book authored in a specific year, about a single topic. 

The reading challenge will encourage you to expand your reading beyond a niche topic, and to cover a variety of perspectives. 

2. To build a personal development habit which will serve your management style well for life

Reading non-fiction books is a brilliantly constructive way to spend your free-time. 

At the same time, choosing a topic which will feed back into your success at work, and improve the lives of those around you is a double-whammy of feel good. 

What's more - the more management success you experience, the quicker you will progress up the management ladder. Find more lucrative and fulfilling roles. It all starts here. 

Reading doesn't have to be limited to just 'management books'. Consider reading other titles about businesses and change, such as the best consulting books, the best business books and books about entrepreneurs

These topics are intimately connected, and I think you'll find plenty of lessons to draw from them. 

Some guidance

  • I found it helpful to stock up on books for the next few months, so that when a new month rolls around, my next book was my bed-side table asking to be opened!
  • Pick a variety of styles. This will keep the challenge fresh and increase the diversity of opinion. 
  • Pick at least one book that you don't think you would enjoy, this book might be the one that surprises you the most!
  • If you're time-starved, audio books are absolutely fine!

Where to begin?

My list of the best management books above is as good as any place to start, as I have consciously included a mix of different writing and management styles to ensure that it caters to a wide audience.

Good luck!



Topics covered by the best management books of all time


The best management books cover multiple topics
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things"
Peter Drucker

The best management books above have been grouped to suit different readers, but let's take a closer look at the different topics explored by management books. 

Management styles

Management styles are groups of personality and behavioural traits which create an overall style of management. 

Examples include an autocratic management style; where the manager makes all key decisions and dictates how and when tasks should be performed. 

In contrast, there's the laissez-faire management style; a hands-off approach where the management delegates all responsibility to an employee to decide how to achieve their objectives. 

Management theory

Academics have sought to understand more and more about organisational behaviour, human psychology, successful case studies. All to answer the big question: 

What should a manager do to produce the maximum productivity from their team, with the greatest wellbeing?

Management theory textbooks begin with a hypothesis or framework which the author proposes as an effective descriptor of how companies and teams work. By leveraging that framework, theory books then proceed to suggest actionable steps that managers should take to achieve the optimal result. 

Change management

The most difficult period to navigate as a manager is when change is afoot. This could be a reorganisation after a merger & acquisition, or the implementation of new software. 

Read more: The best merger & acquisition books

It's not surprising that managers tend to face brand-new challenges from their role, in the face of changes which they have never experienced before. 

With change, comes increasing uncertainty, a greater risk of team churn, and higher stress levels. If a manager can navigate their team through a period of high change, then they can lead them through anything. 

Project management

Project management is the simple task of managing complex activities within constraints such as deadlines, resource constraints and budgets. 

Project management is often associated with the construction industry, but in fact the same principles are applied day in, day out by managers at all levels of any organisation. 

Risk management

Risk management is the technical discipline of monitoring, minimising and mitigating financial and operational risks of a business. This is balanced against the commercial need for the business to be given as much freedom as possible to do what it does best: making money. 

Read more: The best financial risk management books

Management & finance - a match made in heaven

The next few sections are specific to finance, as financial management brings specific and technical challenges which cannot be overlooked by managers working in those fields. 

Financial management

Finance Directors and Chief Financial Officers are financial managers, but there are many more levels of financial responsibility within a finance team.

Below the executives, you may have a financial controller, a head of finance or head of accounting, and finance managers who are responsible for the correct accounting and processing of transactions. 

Financial management comes with great responsibility, such as to spot and detect fraud and act with integrity. Financial managers need to be trusted by their organisation, because they are the guardians of the financial results which are communicated to shareholders. 

Read more: The best financial management books

Treasury management

Treasury management is the practice of running the treasury and banking department within a corporate organisation or bank. 

Treasury is critical to the successful operation of a business, because without access to sufficient cash to pay its obligations, any business will fail.

Read more: The best treasury management books

Wealth management

Wealth management is the subset of the finance industry which holds the hands of the public and high net worth individuals with regards to their personal finances

Read more: The best wealth management books

Portfolio management

Portfolio management is the act of buying shares, picking asset classes and generally running an investment account on your own, or someone else's behalf. 

Read more: The best portfolio management books