Top books for managers to help you acquire useful skills for effective project management

To be the manager is a goal and a career step for quite a few professionals. However, in order to be a true leader it is not enough to have a knack for a certain subject. It is crucial for effective project management to know how to motivate your team, educate your employees, develop corporate culture, organize business processes and solve conflicts inside your team.  

To have an edge in these kinds of tasks, you have to work on yourself and build up management habits that will make you a professional leader.

Top books for managers

What to read: top books for managers

Storist experts have picked out top books for managers, which will help you master basic skills needed for effective work. With those skills you will become a true leader of the team and an outstanding specialist both in your company and in your sector. We came up with a short summary for each book.

Top books for managers:

  • “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey;
  • “Pitching Ideas” by Jeroen van Geel;
  • “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, Halee Fischer-Wright, and John King;
  • “Everything is negotiable!” by Gavin Kennedy;
  • “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury;
  • “The Toyota Way” by by Jeffrey K. Liker;
  • “The Coaching Habit” by Michael Bungay Stanier;
  • “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman;
  • “Scrum” by Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson.
Top books for managers

“Pitching Ideas” by Jeroen van Geel: learn to present your ideas in a way that they will make them be approved

Jeroen van Geel is a creative strategist and co-founder of Oak&Morrow design studio and specialist in UX design. In his book he explains how to convey your ideas and do it gracefully. You will learn how to set up your goal, work out the ideas, study the audience, prepare and deliver the presentation. This will help to secure the work of your team and convey your ideas. The book is just 160 pages long and consists mostly of specific tips, recommendations and algorithms.

“The Coaching Habit” by Michael Bungay Stanier will make a coach out of you and teach you how to motivate your staff  

A manager is responsible for professional growth and motivation of his team. The founder of Box of Crayons, TED lector and writer, whose books were bought by more than million people, will help you become a mentor for your team.

He suggests answering seven questions in his book. Those questions will help you to guide your team to proper decisions without pressure, to provide a reasonable amount of freedom in decision-making, to analyze mistakes and accomplishments. Methods from the book will get you and your team into the habit of coaching. It will allow your team to reach new heights day by day.

persuading skills

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey will teach you how to control your time and your team

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is one of the most popular leadership books for managers.

It was published in 38 languages and was purchased by more than 15 million people. In 2011 TIME Magazine put it into their list of The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books.

What makes this book so useful? It is based on a step-by-step system and clear structure, which makes it easy to apply in real life. Stephen Covey promotes proactivity, following the ultimate goal, putting things in order, setting up conditions for success, listening to your team, working in creative harmony and constant improvement.

‘If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.’ © Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

These skills will be beneficial for both effective project management and personal life. Planning skills are also useful not just at your job. The book is 380 pages and the audiobook is about 14 hours long.

“Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, Halee Fischer-Wright, and John King: learn to understand people and to build up a team

It is not enough to just find good specialists for success. You have to create an atmosphere, in which everyone would enjoy working, communicating with the colleagues and will be able to open up their professional potential

Co-founders of CultureSync, a firm that is focused on research and management consulting, describe their concept of corporate culture.

It is based on five levels and each one has its own features.

“Some tribes demand excellence from everyone and are constantly evolving. Others are content to do the minimum to get by. What makes the difference in performance? Tribal Leaders.” © “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, Halee Fischer-Wright, and John King.

This helps to get yourself oriented inside the team, understand what is happening and implement changes. The book is useful for managers, who build their career in large and solid companies. The book is 370 pages and the audiobook is about 10 hours long.

“Everything is negotiable!” by Gavin Kennedy: learn how to say no and negotiate

With this book you will improve your persuading skills. The author describes the whole process of negotiating: from preparation to the closing of a deal. He gives detailed reviews on when to say no and when to stop the deal – it is something that, in fact, experienced negotiators struggle with. Get your point across confidently and effectively, identify your opponents’ motives and try to bargain with them – the book represents all these skills. It is quite a thick book, 400 pages long. 

“Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury: learn to be flexible in any negotiations  

The author was a Harvard professor and he came up with a negotiating method, focused on mutual benefit and diligence towards an opponent. Roger Fisher introduces influencing techniques that allow you to find ways in negotiating and remain flexible even in the most convoluted situations, while staying committed to objective criteria and not plunging into feelings and emotions. The book is 200 pages long.  

“People listen better if they feel that you have understood them. They tend to think that those who understand them are intelligent and sympathetic people whose own opinions may be worth listening to. So if you want the other side to appreciate your interests, begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs.” © Roger Fisher and William Ury

“The Toyota Way” by Jeffrey K. Liker: learn to organize business processes and quality control

Fortune Global 500 ranks companies by the revenue amount. Toyota has been in that list since 2006. The company is famous for its sustainability philosophy and a unique model of quality control. This book unveils some secrets of the largest automobile manufacturing company in the world: its resource and time management, on-site quality control systems, finding more affordable alternatives to expensive modern technologies and production planning. The person who reveals these secrets is the professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Storist educational summaries

If you are going to build a career in the manufacturing industry or create your own manufacturing of goods, this knowledge will prevent you from making mistakes and save you time and money. The book is 400 pages long.

“Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman will help you preserve mental health and build trusting relationships with employees

This is the New York Times bestseller that was published in 40 languages. The book highlights the importance of emotions in the job of a leader. It tells about emotional self-regulation, connection between emotions and physical health, as well as the importance of acting with sympathy and diligence towards other people. The book will help you stay healthy and remain calm in times of crisis, which always occur in any manager’s career. The book is about 300 pages long.

“Scrum” by Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson: learn the details of the Scrum method

How can you learn to manage your team using Scrum and how it can be used? The founder and the creative director of Agile Learning Labs answer these questions in their book.

scrum method

Scrum method became popular in the IT sector and it is perfect for small teams. If you want to lead a team of 5-9 people, then this method will definitely lead you to effective project management. It allows you to release product earlier, than your competitors, control the process without pressuring your staff, to not waste much time on negotiations while focusing on making decisions

How to study books quickly and apply the knowledge in your work?

Inspiring books, useful tips and interesting suggestions will certainly make your life better.

But how can a manager find time for books? Even if you take half of this list and will read a book every week, you will have to read 2-3 hours a day for at least 6 weeks. By the end you will have already forgotten what you had read in the beginning.

The key idea: “If you don’t practice new competences, they will get easily forgotten”.

What if you can study all these books in just seven hours? Moreover, not just read them and make notes, but to learn to use that knowledge.

The Storist platform will help you with that. We develop educational summaries based on the most popular books. You will explore the book in just one hour, pick up the main ideas and will be able to practice your skills in a simulator game.

Tonight you study the course, and tomorrow you are already using acquired skills in practice with the help of the materials we collected for each book.

See the full courses catalogue.


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