management books

As a management professional, there are multiple skills and qualities that one needs to master. Though the KRAs may vary depending on the role, the bottom line of being a manager is that you would oversee and supervise an organization’s activities and employees. You would need to thoroughly understand the business, be a motivator, and a leader. 

There are many books about management and here are some that have withstood the test of time and have held their position among top management books of all time. 

1. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard PhD and Spencer Johnson M.D.

This remarkable book narrates the story of a young individual seeking a good leader. On this journey, he encounters various management styles. Some were autocratic and aggressively focused only on results and the workers suffered. The others were democratic approaches to leadership where even though employees were at the centre, the organization as a whole suffered. Finally, he finds what was that he was looking for a manager that uses the one-minute method.

This method is a way to set clear goals and expectations for the employees that a manager manages. It is then followed by a minute of appreciations and a minute of reprimands given immediately and quickly.

2. On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

On Becoming A Leader by Warren Bennis is a must-read for every business person. Warren Bennis was a professor at the University of Southern California. He was first introduced to leadership during World War 2 when he was one of the youngest lieutenants to serve in Europe. He firmly believes that leaders are made and not born and the book revolves around this idea.

Being one of the best management books out there, it outlines the various traits of a great leader. As per Bennis, a leader is one who is self-aware, curious, and are risk-takers. A leader sees the big picture and does what is right.

3. Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers Into Leaders by L. David Marquet

This book has an interesting take on leadership with a story. The story is of Marquet, who was the captain of a submarine and was trained to lead in the typical military fashion, i.e., just issuing orders and getting results. One time he delegated an order to his subordinate that was impossible to follow but the crew tried anyway with near-disastrous results. When asked why they proceeded with the order, they replied “because you told me to”.

This triggered Marquet to try a different leadership style where he gave his crew the responsibility for their job and the autonomy to do it. The results were significant.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

When you talk about best management books, the list could not be complete without “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Carnegie. It is one of the most famous books on leadership ever written for some of the really good reasons.

The book reveals some of the soft skills of leadership. Some of the examples of these soft skills are making people feel important and appreciated. By implementing the ideas mentioned in this classic, one could become a better leader, motivator, and negotiator.

5. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War was written by Sun Tzu over two thousand years ago. To this day, business professionals across the world consider this as a must-read book to become successful leaders. Sun Tzu was a military leader who documented his philosophies regarding war and leadership.

The book is a boiling pot of timeless wisdom and is divided into thirteen chapters, each devoted to a certain philosophy. It has interesting lessons such as “Avoid what is strong and strike at what is weak.” and “Supreme excellence rests in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”.

6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Covey is a world-renowned leadership expert and has many publications to his name. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is the most famous of all his publications.

Covey’s idea is that true leadership starts from within. A good leader must first manage their inner well-being, create a personal vision, and cultivate self-control. Only then can they extend their influence to others.


This one is a best-selling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries. This book is considered to be the bible when it comes to bringing cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets.

The realities This edition provides new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing, with special emphasis on the Internet. It’s essential reading for anyone with a stake in the world’s most exciting marketplace.


Michael E. Porter’s Competitive Advantage explores the underpinnings of competitive advantage in the individual firm. It introduces a whole new way of understanding what a firm does. Porter’s groundbreaking concept of the value chain disaggregates a company into “activities,” or the discrete functions or processes that represent the elemental building blocks of competitive advantage.

Porter’s value chain enables managers to isolate the underlying sources of buyer value that will command a premium price and the reasons why one product or service substitutes for another. He shows how competitive advantage lies not only in activities themselves but in the way activities relate to each other, supplier activities, and to customer activities.


Reengineering The Corporation is the most successful business book of the last decade. It is the pioneering work on achieving dramatic performance improvements.

This book leads managers through the radical redesign of a company’s processes, organization, and culture to achieve a quantum leap in performance

10. IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE: LESSONS FROM AMERICA’S BEST-RUN COMPANIES by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman (Harper Collins, 1982)

In Search of Excellence is a “New York Times” Bestseller for a long time. It helps managers and leaders discover the secrets of the art of management. To compile this book Peters and Waterman studied more than 43 successful American companies that specialized in a number of areas: consumer goods, high technology, and services.

Peters discovered that regardless of how different each company was, they shared eight basic principles of management that anyone can use to achieve success. These principles are well illustrated in this book with anecdotes and examples from the experiences of the best-run companies in the world.

Join Great Learning’s Executive PG Program in Management and upskill in this domain to gain comprehensive knowledge about the domain and to build a rewarding career.



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