HR Best Books for Managers to Read in 2020

We’ve all got a lot more time on our hands right now. What better way to spend it than reading? There is an uncountable number of best books for managers out there. Yet, fishing through the sea of them to find the right one for you may seem like an exhausting task. For this reason, people often ask us, “what is the best book for new  management?” So, to help you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best management books and best HR books to answer that question. 

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Best Books for Managers 

Management is an extensive field, covering several branches. So, we’ve put together a selection of some of the best books to read for a range of different management areas. 

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard 

One of the best time management books out there, the 1 minute manager, offers a unique insight into managing. Principally, the takes the reader on a journey, setting out three distinct techniques: one-minute goals, one-minute praisings and one-minute reprimands. Transforming businesses worldwide, these simple techniques are developed to have lasting benefits for effective time management. For this reason, best-selling author and businessman Harvey B. Mackay said “there is only one group of people that I wouldn’t want to read this book…my competitors”. 

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager by Michael Lopp

A humorous read, this book tells amusing stories with serious lessons. Lopp recounts his bizarre and outlandish experiences as a manager at various companies including Apple, Pinterest and Netscape. His adventures and insights into the world of management in Silicon Valley are second to none. Although the main focus is management in software companies, the lessons learned can be applied more generally across the board of management. So, whether you’re an aspiring or well-seasoned manager, this is one of the best management books of all time. 

High Output Management by Andrew Grove

As the former Intel CEO, Grove knows a thing or two about management. This book, born from the author’s experience in the field, offers methods for motivation. As well, it presents techniques for increasing productivity and enhancing performance. Therefore, it is useful for sales managers, accountants, consultants, CEOs and startup founders alike. Former Apple board member Bill Campbell said that it is “ a bible that every entrepreneur and every manager in the country should look at, read and understand”. 

First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Subtitled What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, this is one of the best business management books available. Primarily, the authors offer solutions to better employee satisfaction. They do this by presenting examples of how the best managers handle their employees and what techniques and methods they use. Praised by many in the management world, it is an invaluable resource. For instance, it influenced Facebook’s Vice President of People, Lori Goler so much that she recruited Buckingham as a management consultant. A must-read for all managers out there today. 

Cracking the Sales Management Code: The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance by Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana

A great read for those who are interested in the field of management books, this one offers practical specifics of sales management in the current era. Above all, it outlines the best practices for identifying and implementing the critical activities and sales metrics that truly drive business results. For this reason, many management professionals revere this book. For example, Mike Nathe, Senior Vice President at Essilor Laboratories of America, says it “is a must-read for anyone who wants to bring his or her sales management team into the 21st century.”

The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness by Dr Steve Peters 

Based on the scientific study of chimps, Peters provides a powerful mind management model. Principally, the books aim is to help the reader become happier, more confident, healthier and more successful. His mission is to help people recognize how their mind is working, by understanding and handling their emotions. As well, he wants to help the reader become the person they’ve always wanted to be. Although directed at managers, he explains that this model can be easily applied to every area of a person’s life. For example, British cyclist and six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy says that this book “is the mind program that helped me win my Olympic Golds”. 

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Leadership Books for Managers

If you’re looking for one of the best leadership books for managers, the next one just satisfy your needs.

It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Michael Abrashoff

One of the best books on leadership and management, this comprehensive work applies the author’s experience of naval management to the wider world. Captain Abrashoff was a commander on USS Benfold. Upon his arrival at the ship, he realized he had to develop a sense of leadership to motivate and successfully manage the crew. To this end, he developed a number of strategies to create a confident and inspired crew, who were eager to take initiative and responsibility. Therefore, the ship’s slogan became “it’s your ship” and Benfold became a model of naval efficiency. Ultimately, his central ideas are to see the ship through the eyes of the crew, create discipline and listen aggressively. 

Best Books for Project Managers

A growing area in the field, project management is the practice of leading a team to reach objectives and meet goals within a specified time. So, if you’re looking for some more in-depth knowledge in this particular field, you might want to check out the following project management books. 

  • Project Management for Dummies by Stanley E. Portny
  • The Fast Forward MBA in project management by Eric Verzuh
  • Cracking the PM Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Top HR Books

The best books for managers above are extremely useful pools of knowledge for anyone working in management. Yet, as an HR manager, you might be looking for something more aimed at your particular field. For this reason, we’ve listed some of the best HR books for managers in the field. 

The Power of People by Jonathan Ferrar, Nigel Guenole, and Sheri Feinzig

This book is Invaluable to any HR professionals establishing, leading, or planning analytics. The power of people is one of the best books on HR analytics. As well, it is useful to any business executives who want more value from their HR department. The book draws on the experience of the authors, presenting case studies to accompany their arguments. Chiefly, its aim is to bring clarity and understanding to workforce analytics projects within HR. Understanding Human Resources Reports, is key to maximizing the potential of your HR department. Additionally, the authors explain the best-practices for data management. Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work, says this book provides “a comprehensive look at the latest research, offering best practices for leveraging the wealth of data now within our reach. If you want to master HR, you need to read this book.”

HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion by Steve Browne

After being in HR for more than 30 years, Browne’s knowledge of the profession is impressive. Above all, in this book, his aim is to pass on that knowledge to the reader. To this end, he uses real-life examples, past experiences and epiphanies to encourage practitioners to think outside of the box when it comes to HR management. Jason Averbook, the co-founder of Infusion, describes it as a “must-read for anyone at any point in their career in the ever-changing HR field.”

These best books for managers are a great starting point if you’re aspiring to begin a journey into management. Likewise, they’re essential references if you are looking to brush up on your own management practices. 

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Written by Charlotte Stace; Edited by Tanya Lesiuk

This post is also available in: English UK

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