21 Must-Read Books for Managers  

woman reading a book

There are several resources that will help you grow as a leader. Some of the most accessible resources are books. Books offer the opportunity to read, or listen to an audio book, when the time is convenient for you and the mobility to take them wherever you go. 

We compiled this must-read book list to help get you started. We updated this blog in 2023 with several new books added to our list

No Time to Waste: Microbehaviors: Leveraging the Little Things to Become a Better Leader 

By Artell Smith 

Published in 2023, this guide by author and CPED instructor Artell Smith will help managers understand and calibrate their microbehaviors to both build relationships and drive performance. He offers practical strategies to help you create the right dynamic and better control your microbehaviors to drive positive results for yourself, your teams, and your organization. 

Succeeding with Agile Hybrids: Project Delivery Using Hybrid Methodologies 

By Shawn Belling 

Author and CPED Instructor Shawn Belling’s book offers insights on how best to execute a mix of waterfall methods, agile, and phase-based project management approaches. Belling’s book will provide you with practical, real-world examples and patterns of these methodologies. 

Small Acts of Leadership

By G. Shawn Hunter

This book presents 12 intentional behaviors that today’s most successful leaders use to thrive in their professional and personal lives. Author G. Shawn Hunter includes both personal stories and interviews with business leaders from around the world as he guides you through a series of incremental steps to build a “stronger you” and “make a broader impact in the world.”

Leading Inclusion: Drive Change Your Employees Can See and Feel

By Gena Cox

This book is designed to educate, challenge, and empower executives and leaders to model inclusion with a top-down approach. The book reframes inclusion as a leadership competency and imperative rather than a moral obligation.

What Matters in This Moment: Leading Groups Through Uncertain Times 

By Harry Webne-Behrman 

Building upon his previous book, What Matters at Work, author and CPED instructor Harry Webne-Behrman’s book offers new strategies, tools, and processes to lead groups and organizations through complex challenges and important issues. 

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

By Amy C. Edmondson

Offering practical guidance for teams and organizations, this book explores creating a culture of psychological safety where people feel safe to express ideas, ask questions, and admit mistakes. The author offers a step-by-step framework for establishing psychological safety in your team and organization.

Actions Speak Louder: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Inclusive Workplace 

By Deanna Singh 

Renowned leadership and DEI consultant, and CPED instructor, Deanna Singh’s newest book uses narratives, case studies, interactive exercises, and the latest DEI research to help leaders and teams make change through creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. 

The Manager’s Dilemma: A Manager’s Guide to Change Management  

By Steve King 

When an organization enacts a change, managers can often feel underprepared and unsupported when it comes to getting teams on board. This is the “Manager’s Dilemma.” In this book, author and CPED instructor Steve King focuses on three key roles managers need to play in moments of change and provides simple tools to get this job done. 

Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential  

By Carol Dweck 

The right mindset can make all the difference. Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s book points out that it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring success but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.  

High Output Management  

By Andrew Grove 

This book covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, methods of motivation to improve performance, and practical knowledge for navigating real-life business scenarios. 

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

By Sheryl Sandberg

Interweaving personal stories, research, and practical advice, this book “challenges us to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what we can do.” The book challenges readers to think about gender differently in the workplace and the world. 

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

By John C. Maxwell 

This book has been a perennial title on the must-read list for leaders for years, and that’s because the information in its pages is still relevant today. Not just a book of leadership successes and failures, each chapter features application exercises to help you grow as a leader. 

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.  

By Brene Brown 

This book teaches readers how to be a leader who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas and works to develop that potential. According to the author, “Daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100% teachable, observable, and measurable.” 

The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently 

By Tony Dungy 

Authored by a successful former NFL coach, this book explores Tony Dungy’s leadership philosophy and how you can apply the same approach to virtually any area of your life. It explores seven keys of mentoring leadership and why they are so effective. 

Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence 

By Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee 

This book explores research into how great leaders excel by connecting with others using emotional intelligence like empathy and self-awareness.  

How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers  

By David M. Rubenstein 

We can learn a lot from the stories of other’s successes and failures. This book includes advice from people including Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Coach K, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more. 

The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World

By Jon Gordon

If you want to build a great culture, unite your organization, and develop a connected and committed team that achieves superior results, genuine positivity is key, according to author Jon Gordon. Gordon shares what he’s learned through his work with different leaders and provides a framework on positive leadership focusing on practical ideas that can help anyone become a more positive leader.

The Good Fight  

By Liane Davey 

This book explores how to use productive conflict to get your team and organization back on track. Conflict is not always a bad thing, and it can often lead to getting things done. 

Second Wave Millennials: Tapping the Potential of America’s Youth  

By Warren Wright 

Attracting and retaining talent continues to be a challenge for many organizations. This book looks at the Millennial generation and what organizations and leaders can do to attract and retain this generation of the workforce at their companies. 

The Making of a Leader: What Elite Sport Can Teach Us About Leadership, Management, and Performance  

By Tom Young  

This book shares practical principles of sustained elite performance and how to develop a leadership philosophy that can add value to your organization.   

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

By Peter Drucker  

What makes an effective executive? Author Peter Drucker identifies five practices to being an effective business executive. 

This blog was originally published in 2022 and updated in 2023.