Best books to read about people management?

Learned this week that part of a recent promotion includes picking up a few direct reports. Any recommendations on books to read in the next week or two before I step into this new role? Any advice or words of wisdom you wish you would have heard before taking on a more senior product role?


One of my favorites has been “The Making of a Manager” -

The author was thrust into people leadership at Facebook in a product design role, so I found it very helpful with its focus on people management within a product/design/engineering context.


Seconding Making of a Manager. I also found Radical Candor to be insightful for people management


While I liked the background stories in Radical Candor, I preferred Crucial Conversations when it comes to understanding passive aggressive behavior. I was surprised she did not cover passive aggressive.
Passive aggressive is not new, we understand a lot about the causes and suggested ways to get things back on track.


Focus on your direct reports personal/professional goals.

Help them achieve their goals

Always ask them for their side of the story

Don’t micromanage but always empower

Have processes to document your conversations with them

Treat everyone fairly


How to win friends and influence people.

Not a management book, but the only book you need to know how to interact with other humans.


High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

In this legendary business book and Silicon Valley staple, the former chairman and CEO (and employee number three) of Intel shares his perspective on how to build and run a company. The essential skill of creating and maintaining new businesses—the art of the entrepreneur—can be summed up in a single word: managing. Born of Grove’s experiences at one of America’s leading technology companies, High Output Management is equally appropriate for sales managers, accountants, consultants, and teachers, as well as CEOs and startup founders. Grove covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, demonstrating methods of motivation that lead to peak performance—throughout, High Output Management is a practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios and a powerful management manifesto with the ability to revolutionize the way we work.


Agree this is a great book. I like the interview question. Are you a hand on or a hands-off manager? The book makes it clear the right answer is about looking after customers. You are hands on only if it is required to ensure the customer gets a good product or service.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is one of my all-time favorites. It is a quick read, written as a parable of sorts.


Also, “Managing Product Management” by Steven Haines


@AmyWalker, Wow! this book seems pretty hard to find, even on Google mot getting many results. Seems to be from 2011. Worth to pay $60 for it? (In Europe, cheapest I found it)


@DaveKim, If there is one thing that you should invest in, it is bettering yourself.

$60 is Nothing. Especially when compared to my food budget or how much my wife spends at target. :wink:

I use it as a reference more than anything because it has some useful frameworks.


I never said I wouldn’t invest in it, but it all comes down to value. Would you pay $200 for it? That was the sentiment of the question. Thanks for the answer.


The Coaching Habit was the best book I’ve read about effectively teaching people how to fish.


Some of the books I personally would recommend:

  1. “Turn the ship Around” by David Marquet

  2. “Good to great” by Jim Collins

  3. “Trillion-dollar coach” by Bill Campbell

  4. “The Ropes to Skip and the Ropes to Know, hands down” by Ritti R Richard

  5. “Managing Humans” from Michael Lopp

  6. “The Manager’s path” from Camille Fournier

  7. “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink

  8. “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek

  9. “Principles” by Ray Dalio

  10. “5 dysfunctions of a team” by Patrick Lencioni

  11. “Crucial Conversations” by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Al Switzler, Ron McMillan


Leadership and Self Deception is a great (and quick) read that will change how you approach relationships at work and elsewhere.

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box


The Leadership Challenge, by Kouzes and Posner.

The authors do a great job breaking down 5 actions by leaders:

  1. Inspiring a Shared Vision (vision)
  2. Enabling Others to Act (delegation)
  3. Encouraging the Heart (recognition / support)
  4. Modeling the Way (setting examples)
  5. Challenging the Process (pushing past the status quo)

It’s a classic and still the most actionable and inspiring book on leadership & management that I’ve read.

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Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is an excellent read about people management in general. I use some of the lessons I learnt from the book in my day-to-day PM role as well as at home.

PS: She also has a podcast on Spotify that would be worth your listen.