The 50 Best Books on Leadership and Management

Looking for the best books on leadership and management? These books highlighted in this article will help you successfully manage your team – even in your absence!

The 50 Best Books on Leadership and Management!

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Introduction

As a manager, forming the habit of reading is necessary; it changes your brain, your perspective, and the way you think.  

Reading is an essential life skill—it’s how we know the stories of others, pass down history and knowledge, and as a manager, you are probably wondering, “How do I become a great leader? How can I manage and run my department smoothly even when I’m not present, or when an emergency occurs?”

The books listed below have the answers and will guide you through your career journey.

In one of our previous articles titled “7 Books to Read If You Want a Systematized Business That Runs Without You Successfully!,” we looked at the books relevant for any business owner who aspires to run an effective and productive business without having to constantly be present and involved in the activities and operations undertaken by his/her employees.

In this article, we made a comprehensive list of 50 books every smart manager should read to help improve your management and leadership skills, books that will help you develop a clear vision for your team, improve your focus, emotional intelligence. Overall, these books will aid you to run your department like a well-oiled machine without having to constantly supervise your team.

Whether you’re a newbie manager, have been in the game for a long time, want to learn how to think like a manager, or are preparing for a future job, we’ve got you covered.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Mindset Development Books

2. Emotional Intelligence Books

3. Financial Intelligence Books

4. Leadership Development Books

5. Management Skill Books

Mindset Development Books

The mind is powerful. Our mindsets detect almost everything we do, how we perceive things in our jobs, and while performing our day to day activities. The books below will help you shape your mind and your thoughts. 

1. Mastery

Mastery

  Photo from Goodreads.com

Author: Robert Greene

Summary:

In the book, Robert Greene talks about how to shape your mind and life toward finding a purpose for yourself, finding a mentor that’s an expert in that field, and becoming a master at what you do. He breaks down each process and explains how to manage your emotions through these stages, the greatest dangers you’ll encounter when mastering your craft, and how to stay focused through it all.

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2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

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Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Summary:

In this book, Elizabeth Gilbert broadly talks about living a life motivated by curiosity instead of fear. It’s a great book to help position your mind to ask for more and get more from life. A wonderful read for everyone, especially for people in the creative field. 

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3. Indistractable: How to Control your Attention and Choose your Life

Indistractable: How to Control your Attention and Choose your Life

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Author: Nir Eyal

Summary:

In a world with so many distractions, staying focused is a winning strategy to not get lost or soaked in the chaos. In this book, Nir Eyal talks about how to stay disciplined, and to make the noise and distractions work for you in life and in the work environment. 

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4. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Author: Daniel Kahneman

Summary:

Kahneman analyzes the two modes of thoughts we have (i.e., thinking fast or thinking slow) before coming to a conclusion or a decision. He compares how each mode affects what we say, how we think, and our responses to situations around us. 

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5. Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking

Declutter Your Mind: How to Stop Worrying, Relieve Anxiety, and Eliminate Negative Thinking

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Authors: S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport

Summary:

The title of this book explains itself. The authors talk about ways to free your mind from stress, anxiety, worry, and negative thinking, which have a terrible effect on your work and how you are as a person. The principles in this book can be used not only for your work life but also a life outside the office.

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6. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

 Photo from Google Play

Authors: Adam Grant

Summary:

This book talks about how the massive changes done in the world are by people who are able to think differently and can challenge the status quo. Grant uses stories to illustrate how these individuals still fail and also how they succeed. The book largely focuses on how creativity can be nurtured, and we can all begin to think like these people he calls “The Originals,” and how we can also make a greater impact on the world.

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7. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

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 Author: Carol S. Dweck, PhD

 Summary:

Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talents that bring us success, but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but instead it may actually jeopardize success.

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8. The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

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Author: Paulo Coelho

Summary: 

The Alchemist is a metaphoric tale on how to follow your dreams, no matter how crazy and impossible they may seem. It also discusses how to use situations to your advantage and how hard work, persistence, and dedication will take you very far in life. 

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9. Meditations

Meditations

 Photo from Amazon.fr

Author: Marcus Aurelius

Summary:

Meditations is a collection of 12 books written by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The book talks about how to be humble, dedicated, and fearless when handling tasks in life. It is largely about stoic philosophy, the concept of logic, self-discipline, empathy, and patience.

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10. Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals

Focal Point: A Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity, and Achieve All Your Goals

 Photo from Amazon.com

Author: Brian Tracy

Summary: 

In the book, Brian Tracy teaches readers about the imperativeness of focus and choosing one’s activities conscientiously. This is because not everything you do fuels your goal, and if you want to maximize your potential you have to be able to discern what activities to do away with and the ones to adapt and keep.

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 11. Living with the Monks: What Turning Off My Phone Taught Me about Happiness, Gratitude, and Focus

Living with the Monks: What Turning Off My Phone Taught Me about Happiness, Gratitude, and Focus

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Author: Jesse Itzler

Summary:

This book is a blueprint to living a less stressful life by learning how to tune down the noise in this overwhelming world by focusing on the necessary things and being grateful for the life you have.

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12. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

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Author: Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Summary:

After 10 years of research, the authors provide the answers to why some ideas succeed and others don’t. The book provides a practical guide and resourceful instructions on how to create ideas that stick, last, and are not forgotten.  

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13. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

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Author: James Clear

Summary:

The book talks about a formula that will help you develop habits that will guide you toward your plans and breaking the bad habits that steer you away from your goals.

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Emotional Intelligence Books

The books below are focused on grooming your emotions. As a leader and manager, it helps you understand team building, communication, self-awareness, and social skills—skills necessary in the everyday life of a manager. 

14. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

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Author: Daniel Coyle

Summary:

The book talks about the skills and values used in building and maintaining strong teams and how to implement these tactics with your team or when building a team.

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15. Managing Oneself

Managing Oneself

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Author: Peter F. Drucker

Summary:

In this book, Drucker talks about how great achievers know how to manage themselves by not focusing on their weaknesses but on their strengths by giving themselves feedback. He explains how to use feedback analysis to improve your strengths, and how to figure out what you want to achieve with your life.

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16. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Author: Stephen R. Covey

Summary: 

In the book, Stephen Covey talks about how, before you can change other people, you have to change and improve yourself first. He gives deep insights on how to control major changes in your life, emotional responses to stress, and using your emotional maturity to influence people. 

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17. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

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Author: Daniel Goleman

Summary: 

Goleman writes on how the most successful leaders have a high E.Q, which helps to improve your ability to lead, manage, and relate to the people in your life and workspaces. With a high E.Q, you are able to effectively manage teams, make more decisions clearly, and improve your overall performance as a person and as a manager. 

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18. Man’s Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

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Author: Viktor E. Frankl

Summary:

The book talks about how you can make your life yours, find meaning in the things you do and in the world at large. The author uses his story as a Holocaust survivor in the Nazi concentration camps to help you find the meaning for your existence.

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19. Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence

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Authors: Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee

Summary:

The authors talk about how to manage your emotions in order to make better decisions by understanding and nurturing the elements of Emotional Intelligence, which include: self-awareness, social awareness, and self-improvement. The authors show that with them, you can make well-rounded decisions and improve how you relate with your team members and colleagues. 

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20. The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

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Author: Josh Waitzkin

Summary:

Author Josh Waitzkin is a master at chess and also a star in the Tai Chi world. The book is based on his life’s journey and the mindset, practices, and habits he adopted to become a professional. 

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21. Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact

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Author: Phil M. Jones

Summary:

The book is a collection of magic words and phrases used by successful people, words used for communicating effectively, influencing people in conversations, and making an impact.

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22. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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Author: Daniel Pink

Summary:

In the book, Daniel Pink disagrees with old models of motivation which says motivation is driven by reward, fear of punishment, and dominated by extrinsic factors (i.e., materialistic items). 

He talks about how human motivations are least affected by extrinsic values and more of intrinsic values.

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23. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results

Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results

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Author: Judith E. Glaser

Summary:

Glaser Talks on how to develop conversational intelligence and why it’s a skill every leader/manager should possess. The book explains how having good conversational skills and knowing how to communicate properly in a professional setting can help you build trust and nurture great and beneficial relationships that will be useful to you as a leader and as a person.

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24. Principles: Life and Work

Principles: Life and Work

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Author: Ray Dalio

Summary:

Ray Dalio talks about how having the right principles that govern your life and business will help you form habits and a culture that will steer your life and business in the direction of success. He discusses the right questions to ask yourself to determine these principles and how to apply them.

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Financial Intelligence Books

Knowing how numbers work is an extremely valuable skill every individual should develop. In the corporate world today, managers are being tasked with budget handling. 

Knowing about money on a large scale is perfect for today’s multitasking managers. It’s a disservice to not know how it works – but these books can help you become more well-informed. 

25. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

 Photo from Goodreads.com

Author: Niall Ferguson

Summary: 

This book talks about the history of money and how countries go from poverty to wealth in the space of a generation. It’s a book that helps you understand the flow of money and how it is made and distributed between nations. This book should be read by everyone because of how crucial financial literacy is in our everyday life and in the world that we live in.

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26. Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean

Financial Intelligence: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean

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Author: Karen Berman and Joe Knight

Summary:

This book is a guide to mastering the numbers, what the basic and key financial terms mean and stand for, how it affects your life and work, and a practical guide on how to manage financial tasks smartly. 

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Leadership Development Books

The books below are rich with principles and information you can use to take your leadership skills from zero to one hundred. Many of these are classics that have stood the test of time, being taught in business schools and passed around board meetings even today.  

27. The Prince

The Prince

 Photo from Feedbooks.com

Author: Niccolo Machiavelli

Summary:

The Prince is mainly centered on things you must and must not do in order to be a successful leader. He gives points and tips on leadership like how you must not be too good as a good leader, and how you should be more merciful than cruel to be a respected leader. The book was written after he was forced to leave Florence as a political exile. This book is Machiavelli’s advice to the current ruler of Florence on how to stay in power, written in 1532 – yet it can also be applied to modern leaders of all kinds.

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28. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

 Photo from Goodreads.com

Authors: Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

Summary:

In the book, the writers explain how to improve on the processes you undergo in your company, how to work better with teams using your available resources wisely, and also how to manage and overcome dire situations that happen in the workplace

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29. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

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Author: Simon Sinek

Summary: 

Simon Sinek talks about how asking yourself “why,” and also telling others your why, is what separates excellent companies, leaders, and products from the rest. The book says nobody buys what you do or how you do it—they buy why you do it. Telling people your why—i.e., the purpose, values, and beliefs—creates a deeper connection with them. A leader’s why is what attracts people to him and creates an atmosphere of trust and loyalty between people around him. The book explains how this principle works and how to implement it.

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30. The Art Of War

The Art of War

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Author: Sun Tzu

Summary:

The Art of War has been a best-selling book for 2,500 years, originally written in Chinese in 500 B.C., and it’s still very valuable in modern-day. The book teaches you to know when to fight and when not to fight; to avoid what is strong and strike at what is weak; to know how to deceive the enemy (appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak); and to know your strengths and weaknesses—if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

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31. Strengths-Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow

Strengths-Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow

 Photo from Pinterest.com

Authors: Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

Summary:

This book states the similar characteristics of the best and most effective leaders and explains how you can identify and develop your personal strengths in an efficient way, hence be a better leader. 

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32. The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

 Photo from Amazon.com

Authors: Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison, and Craig Walsh

Summary:

In the book, the author talks about how being a leader has more to do with your mindset than your skills. Walsh speaks about how champions behave like champions before they are champions by obsessing about improving themselves and their team and focusing on the things within their control. When they do that, the score will take care of itself. Also, it’s a great book for sports fans!

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33. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

 Photo from Amazon.com

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Summary:

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni talks about the problems every team faces and how to resolve them. He talks in-depth about the causes of these problems and the solutions and strategies that can be used to curb them.

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34. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

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Author: Seth Godin

Summary:  

Seth Godin writes on the importance of having a tribe as a human being, i.e., finding like-minded individuals you can talk to, relate to, and share ideas with. He says you can’t be a leader without a tribe, and one of the most powerful survival mechanisms for humans is having one. It’s a good read to understand how to pick and lead a team, and also a good book with important life lessons and tips. 

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35. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

 Photo from Amazon.co.uk

Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Summary:

Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer at Facebook. In this book, she talks about the ambition gap for leadership roles between genders, how more women should not be afraid to take up such roles, to speak up, take constructive criticism, and many other beneficial guidelines essentially for women in the workplace

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36. Winning

Winning

 Photo from Goodreads.com

Authors: Jack Welch and Suzy Welch

Summary:  

This book is the holy grail for managers. It’s a practical guide to becoming an excellent leader and manager. This book contains practical information on how to manage finances, strategies, and your employees/team members.

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37. Developing the Leader Within You 2.0

Developing the Leader Within You 2.0

 Photo from Amazon.com

Author: John C. Maxwell

Summary: 

John Maxwell drops gems on how to lead and build teams, practical steps, and principles based on years of research and studies on how to become better and excel as a leader. 

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38. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

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Author: John C. Maxwell

Summary:

The book essentially talks about how becoming an excellent leader is learned with time, not inherited by graciously following the 21 rules of leadership. He explains the 21 laws that will guide you, and how to apply them to become a remarkable leader. 

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Management Skills Books

The books below will strategically help you improve your day-to-day managerial skills. These are great for both beginner managers and seasoned managers who want to continually improve their management skills. 

39. The New One Minute Manager

The New One Minute Manager

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Authors: Ken Blanchard, PhD and Spencer Johnson, MD

Summary:

The book tells a fable about the recounting three techniques of an effective manager. They include:

  • One Minute Goals: Creating goals for yourself and the team and reviewing it for one minute every day.
  • One Minute Praisings: Taking one minute each day to appreciate and reaffirm your staff and employees.
  • One Minute Redirect: Once you notice a mistake in a project, address it in a minute, and affirm the staff.

The book tells you exactly how to do all this, and then watch your managerial skills improve greatly.

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40. The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

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Author: Robert I. Sutton, PhD

Summary:

The book talks about the bullying that goes on at workspaces and how it affects work output and productivity. The No Asshole Rule is based on an essay Sutton wrote for the Harvard Business Review in 2004 called “More Trouble Than They’re Worth,” which talked about the no asshole rule. In the book, Sutton explains more about how the rule should be used to weed out toxic employees during the hiring process and on the job, plus tips for the victims who have been bullied at their workspaces.

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41. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't

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Author: Jim Collins

Summary:

In Good to Great, Jim defined what it means to be a great company, what you need to do to take you to that point, the kind of companies you can study to get there, why some companies don’t make the transition to greatness, and last but not least, the principles companies can adopt to take them from being good to great. It’s an amazing read for companies that want to improve on their current foundation.

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42. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

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Authors: Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Summary:   

Based on a mammoth research study conducted by the Gallup Organization involving 80,000 managers across different industries, this book talks about the challenges faced by many companies. It explores how great managers attract, hire, and keep their most talented employees. First, Break All the Rules reveals the secrets to what the world’s greatest managers do differently.

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43. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

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Author: Seth Godin

Summary:

The book argues that authenticity and uniqueness is the best way to excel in the marketing and advertising world today. Seth Godin discusses why a great product and excellent advertising doesn’t cut it anymore—you have to create something fresh, unique, and remarkable to make it hard for people to resist.

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44. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

 Photo from  Wikipedia.com

Authors: W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Summary:

Blue Ocean Strategy is about creating uncontested market spaces that make room for new demands and make the competition irrelevant.     

The book talks about red oceans, which are market spaces that have tough competition amongst businesses trying to win customers because there are fixed existing demands of which every company wants a share.    

The blue ocean, on the other hand, is an uncontested marketplace that creates demand for itself which is not known to others. This makes competition irrelevant. The goal is to focus on creating, not competing.

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45. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

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Author: David Allen

Summary:

Getting Things Done (GTD®) teaches a simple system of being more productive without burning out, and also minimizing distractions by asking one simple question: “What is the next concrete step that will bring me closer to my goal?”

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46. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

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Authors: Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Summary: 

The narrators in the book talk about how to properly negotiate. They equip readers with the necessary questions to ask when negotiating, as well as the tools and techniques to use and not use when closing deals. 

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47. Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance―and What We Can Do About It

Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance―and What We Can Do About It

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Author: Jeffrey Pfeffer

Summary:

In this book, the author highlights the management practices that are generally accepted but very harmful for the employees, and in turn reduces their output and affects the company as a whole. He speaks on practices managers should adopt instead to create a healthy working environment for everyone. 

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48. My Years with General Motors

My Years with General Motors

 Photo from Amazon.com

Author: Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.

Summary:

My Years with General Motors is a must-read. Sloan explains the policies and processes he used to make his company the best-selling motor company. When studying his proven strategies, you can take and implement them in your own business, and this will take your company to greater heights.

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49. The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter

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Author: Michael D. Watkins

Summary:

In this book, Watkins talks about proven strategies to help you take charge and be on your feet fast and efficiently within the first 90 days during a critical career transition (such as a new management role). The strategies are useful for new managers or experienced managers. 

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50. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

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Authors: Peter F. Drucker

Summary:

The author talks about the different ways that executives can handle tasks and activities properly, why effectiveness is very necessary for leaders, and how to become effective by following the basic principles that are mentioned in the book.

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Conclusion of the 50 Best Books on Leadership and Management

The books above are rich with information, the principles taught in them are priceless, and they are highly recommended by the likes of Bill Gates, Bill Walsh, Ariana Huffington, Jeff Bezos, and many more successful businessmen and women. The points and lessons can also be used for other aspects of your life and passed down to your team members, family, and co-workers.

These books are essential if you want to take your managerial skills to even greater heights and excel as a manager without having to work so hard, and you can trust whole-heartedly that your department is still running productively if you can’t be in the office.

To be an effective manager, you’ll need tools to help you implement what you’ll learn from the books above. Software programs will make your work more efficient and easier. Here’s a list of seven other important software programs you’ll need as a manager:

7 Software Programs every Manager should Have and Use.

What’s one of the most important software options for managers looking to up their game? SweetProcess, of course!

In any department of a company, processes are very important and standard operating procedures can get very tricky. SweetProcess makes systematization easy and you can easily make SOPs, share them, and also keep track of how things get done.

Click Here To know More and Signup for a FREE 14-Day Trial of SweetProcess.

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3 responses to “The 50 Best Books on Leadership and Management”

  1. Ahmed says:

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. K.vaishnavi says:

    Thanks for your books. It has been helpful for me.
    LEAN IN: women, work and will to lead.
    The author:sheryl sandberg
    The author explained very clearly and neatly.

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