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Changing Careers

The Best Books for New Managers and Why You Should Read Them

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Why read the best books for new managers?Best books for new managers

Guide Overview

Why should new managers read on the subject?

The best books for new managers can be an educational and supportive resource for first-time management employees. Transitioning to a management position for the first time can be overwhelming, as your goals shift from daily duties to long-term strategy. Reading books written by other leaders who have been in this position can help you recognize the most important aspects of the job. These books can also help you focus on the specific skills you have that will help you efficiently transition to a management position.

Why read the best books for new managers?

The best books for new managers can help you identify, and develop new skills. New managers may feel anxious or unclear about the specific aspects in which they should focus. You may have questions about how to earn the respect of team members or how to handle conflict early on as a manager. In addition to becoming comfortable with the day-to-day operations of the business, managers also need to focus on the long-term goals and strategies of the business.

Reading books by previous managers who have been in a similar position can help new managers identify the main priorities in the first few months of management. It can also help you develop a new mindset and shift your daily goals to ones that align with the businesses.

New manager books can also help new managers overcome the common imposter syndrome. By identifying that others have been in a similar position, and mindset, it can give new managers the confidence they need.

Learn more: QUIZ: Are You Ready to Become a Manager?

Best books for new managers

There are many books available that can help new managers adjust to their new duties. Here are some of the best books for new managers:

High Output Management

By: Andrew Grove

Why you should read it: High Output Management is written from the perspective of a former CEO and chairman of a Silicon Valley business. While he highlights the importance of entrepreneurial skills, he also demonstrates how these skills can be applied to many different positions, including sales, accountants, and managers. He covers topics related to building teams that are effective and that work well together.

In this book, you will find real-world situations managers encounter in the workplace. The author offers tips and theories on how to overcome common challenges you may have as a new manager.

Learn more: How to Talk to Your Manager About Your Work-Life Balance

Managing Oneself

By: Peter Drucker

Why you should read it: Managing Oneself recognizes the ever-changing landscape of the business world today. By the time you learn or develop one skill, it is readily replaced by another. It highlights the importance of staying ahead of trends and continuing the development of personal skills. The author also highlights the importance of being one’s own manager, regardless of your current position.

He identifies that each individual worker is their own CEO or CFO. It is up to you solely to develop strengths, work on weaknesses, and progress your way through the company in a way that meets your goals.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

By: Daniel Pink

Why you should read it: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us is a New York bestseller that focuses on career motivations. Whereas many people believe money and compensation are what drives motivation, the author believes that we are all working toward control of our own lives. He mentions that we all have an innate need to direct, and control, our goals, and successes.

The author uses scientific research and studies to further identify human motivating factors. He identifies three main motivators, which include autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The book offers specific examples and tips for keeping these main motivators top of mind when progressing as a new manager, while also frequently reevaluating our needs.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

By: Charles Duhigg

Why you should read it: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business uses data-based research to better understand why habits exist, and how we can improve them. This book recognizes that while some habits are beneficial to our lives and careers, others are barriers to our success. The author explores many well-known companies, like Procter and Gambler and the NFL, to further evaluate habits.

He posits that by understanding where habits come from, and how they can be adjusted, we can reach our goals. We can also use this knowledge to easily overcome habits that are not useful to us.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

By: Ashlee Vance

Why you should read it: Many would describe Elon Musk as successful. In addition to leading some of the top technology projects in the world, he also has developed a reputation as an efficient leader. In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, the author takes you through the upbringing and development of Elon Musk. 

The book identifies the challenges that come with being a leader, including the idea of traditional leadership skills, and the constant pull of taking risks to meet emerging trends in the business world. Elon Musk is also recognized as one of the most productive leaders in the world. By identifying his thought processes and daily tasks, leaders can learn a lot about how to balance the challenges that come with being a manager.


By: Richard Thaler

Why you should read it: Nudge was written by a Nobel Prize winner. This book shows how much of an impact our decisions can have on each aspect of our lives. The decisions that we make daily, even the ones that seem small, can affect our happiness, progress toward goals, and even the success of a business. This book explores the steps that we take when making these important decisions, and how we can implement them to reach our goals.

Nudge explores the biases that come with most decisions, which often affect how and what decisions we make. By avoiding these common ‘nudges’, we can choose the decisions that make the most sense, not only for personal achievement but also for the success of the company.

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

By: Tom DeMarco

Why you should read it: Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams focuses on the business of software development and sales. However, its lessons of productivity and team leadership can be applied to most areas of business. This book explores the idea that many issues within a business, even in highly technical industries, are due to human processes, not software. It also identifies specific ways to recognize and overcome the most common challenges to productivity.

The book does a good job at identifying changing landscapes in the business industry. Recent updates to the text cover things like the changing procedures of meetings and hybrid teams.

One Thing You Need to Know (About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success)

By: Marcus Buckingham

Why you should read it: One Thing You Need to Know follows the bestseller, First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths by the same authorBoth books offer value to new managers, but this one specifically discusses the tools and insights into being a great manager. It specifically touches on three important managerial topics, which include managing, leading, and career success. 

The author uses real-world examples to demonstrate the importance of each of these topics while simplifying the most important tasks of being a manager. Each of the topics is backed by research.

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

By: Michael Watkins

Why you should read it: The first few months as a manager can be challenging. In addition to learning the duties of the position, you are also trying to develop managerial and leadership skills. Additionally, many first-time managers are rated on their performances, even at the beginning of their position. The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter identifies the most important tasks for a new manager in the first 90 days of employment.

This book focuses on the transition of other responsibilities to managerial ones. The author gives real strategies that first-time managers can use to develop, and ultimately, succeed in this transitionary period.

These are just a few of the best books for new managers that can help you identify, and develop, new skills in your position. Many first-time managers find that they are able to relate with the authors, while also taking tips and strategies from them to improve their skills. Discover companies that are hiring by location, job title, and job industry if you are looking for a new management position.


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