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Ask HN: Favorite books on how to be a good manager?
95 points by DylanDmitri on Sept 7, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 22 comments

For a more alternative view (not sure if it still counts as alternative as it's pretty well accepted, but in my experience not that well adopted, but the "rewards and incentives are bad, monitoring is bad, trust and autonomy is good" line)

* Drive, by Daniel Pink

* Punished by Rewards, by Alfie Kohen

* Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

I wrote about some of these ideas here [0]

For a more traditional approach

* High Output Management, by Andy Grove

* The Manager's Path, by Camille Fournier

* The Thing about Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

Not specifically about management, but in general, if you haven't read Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind", you should do that first. This is the book that has changed the way I think and understand people the most, and has indirectly helped me more with management than all of the management focussed books combined.

And I just finished "The Mythical Man Month" which is definitely still a must-read decades after it was first published (get the 20th anniversary edition as it has a nice summary at the end, including where the author thinks he was right and where he admits freely what he got wrong).

[0] https://www.codementor.io/garethdwyer/enter-the-zone-fight-i...

+1 for High Output Management. Great book.

If your first thought is "Oh ----, I'm a manager now. How the hell do I do this?" I'd highly recommend The Effective Manager by Mark Horstman. It's prescriptive in a helpful way, and was brilliant in helping me find my footing when I started management.

His podcast Managager Tools is also excellent, and has deep archives addressing pretty much every question under the sun: https://www.manager-tools.com/map-universe/hall-fame-highly-...

I would recommend books like Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" and Dobelli's "The Art of Thinking Clearly". Maybe also "How to win friends and influence people" for good leadership mentality. And Erich Fromm's "The Art of Listening" for empathetic leadership.

I've read a couple of consulting books, but psychology books helped me more. Most good consulting books are essentially applied psychology books IMO.

Focussed on a related topic because most good books were already mentioned.

Manager's Path by Camille Fournier is IMO the most practical book on engineering management in recent memory. Managing Humans by Michael Lopp is pretty good too.

My favorites so far: High Output Management, Turn the Ship Around, Radical Candor, and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

+1 Extreme Ownership +1 How to make friends and influence people

Leaders eat Last by Simon Sinek

Books by Adam Grant and his podcast. He is a brilliant organizational behavioral psychologist from Wharton. Even his Thursday advice tweets are great.

I highly recommend two of his podcast episodes. One on trust which featured an international team of astronauts that had to bond for a major mission in a very short time. The second on all stars and humility about an NBA player with 2 championship rings who makes everyone else on his team perform better when he's on the floor.

"A Manager's Guide to Human Behavior, Fifth Edition" - Really great book that will teach you how to manage an organization based on the behavior of employees, as well your own behavior. It's a great psychological analyzation book.

A wee bit long but totally worth it - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavad_Gita

This is totally worth it. :) Plus reading about Chanakya Neeti is good.

In addition to others already mentioned, "Becoming a Manager," by Linda Hill: follows a group of new managers for a year, discussing how their understanding of their role changes. Absolutely great - for a long time I kept a home copy and a work copy. Follow-up "Being the Boss" is also good. And "The Leadership Pipeline," by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, James Noel: what you need to learn/change to succeed at each different level of management.

If you haven't read it, also read The Mindset by Carol Dweck. It's not about Management but in my view, it is very helpful for learning how to coach and mentor.

I had some good insights from Work Rules! by Lazlo Bock - https://www.workrules.net

Highly recommend The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz. But it's a very high level view about being a CEO in a billion dollar company.

Extreme Ownership: by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker is a classic starter manual

Yep +1 for Drucker.

--> One Minute Manager

--> Hard things about hard things

--> The Phenix Project

--> Measure what matters

For me this one, even if not about the methodology itself but rather the mindset: Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.

I would recommend to read - Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency

A study of the Popular Mind By Gustave Le Bou

Need to bookmark that post.

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