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Recommended Reading

Reading these books and articles, and putting what you learn from them into practice will make you a better manager, supervisor, employee, and person. Who wouldn’t want to be better?

“They’re Managers – Now What? How to Develop Blue Collar Managers and Supervisors”  Yes, this is one of my books. Now on Amazon here, or contact me about a discount for buying multiple books.

” 12 – The Elements of Great Managing” – Wagner and Karter – Gallup Press
This is a ‘must read’ for new managers, executives and business owners – based on over 10 million employer and manager interviews it gives great insight into what people want and need most at work. Not so surprising is that money does not make the list – but that’s covered in the latter part of the book almost as a “by the way…”

“Crucial Conversations – Tools for Talking When The Stakes are High” – Joseph Grenny
The title says it all. I taught some of this to my son when he was having trouble at school in the 3rd grade and it worked with him – should work with intelligent managers.

“Good to Great” – Jim Collins
How good companies became great companies and why their competition failed. Good lessons in leadership styles, sustainability, knowing what the company can be good at and focusing on the core elements.

“Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics” – Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
These two books use entertaining stories to teach us the value of looking at ‘facts’ as indicators – not the whole story. With that in mind managers can read these and begin to learn to look at things that are quoted as facts in a different light – it’s more than questioning the validity of the fact – it’s asking “Why would someone choose to use this fact? What’s the economic reason for saying this?”

“How to Measure Anything – Finding The Value of Intangibles in Business” – Douglas Hubbard
I recommend this book as a way to get people to recognize that we are all inherently poor predictors and that makes us poor estimators.
While the author is an IT consultant and his stories are wrapped in IT settings his ideas are valid across the entire spectrum of business measurement.
*** Note to the reader and to their boss – it might be easier to get through this if you read it simultaneously and discussed it chapter by chapter. Also, there are some areas and chapters that are worth noting as having tools for (possible) future use – but not for any in-depth study while reading the book for most new managers.

“Your Brain at Work” – David Rock
Insights into how our brains handle information, the myth of multitasking, how the time of day and our diet can affect decision making. Uses short stories to illustrate the decision making processes and the possible alternatives with a little tweaking…no pun intended.

“Visual and Statistical Thinking” – Edward Tufte – Brief and intriguing text booklet. Using the analysis of a cholera epidemic in London in 1854 and the evidence used to decide to launch the space shuttle Challenger, Tufte teaches us the basics of and the critical reasons for data analysis and proper reporting. Teaching data analysis and evidence in decision-making.


As time permits I will come back and add thoughts as to why these are on the list:

“Brain Rules” – John Medina

“The Paradox of Choice” Barry Schwartz

“The Fifth Discipline” – Peter Senge