It's truly amazing how many great management books have been written. These books are on every conceivable management and leadership topic, from delegation to managing up, from motivation to innovation, from tactical planning to strategic thinking, and so on.
As a manager, at any organizational level, from a first time supervisor to the CEO's seat, being well read can greatly enhance your effectiveness and help facilitate your professional success.
The goal of this column is not to impart the knowledge contained within these books to you; this would be an impossible task in a column of this length. The goal here is simply to open your eyes to the wealth of material that has been written with the specific purpose of making you a better organizational leader and the multitude of ways you can seek out, obtain and digest this information.
The obvious ways to find a good management book are to go to a Barnes & Noble bookstore and peruse the shelves, go online to Amazon.com and surf the business book category, and/or go to your public library (physically or virtually). I mention these obvious options for four main reasons. First, there is something special about physically going to a book store or library and pulling books off the shelf. That said, I felt compelled in this internet-based world to remind people of this simple pleasure. Second, is to remind people that our public libraries have gone online in a big way. Our country's local library systems are truly the hidden jewel of the internet and shining star in the use of our tax dollars. Third, I mentioned Amazon because, well, they're Amazon, the online giant in book sales. Lastly, I mentioned these book sources as a jumping off place for additional, less thought of ways to find the exact management book that resonates with you personally and will help enhance your professional management capabilities.
With all that said, some great ways/places to find management/leadership related books that meet your needs are:
Look on the book shelves in the offices of managers you truly respect. Chances are that they have books you will find of value. Oh, before entering their office and looking on their book shelves, I strongly suggest that you ask their permission first, otherwise, if caught, it could be very career limiting (I'm sure you know this. I just put this last sentence in for fun, I couldn't help myself. Truth be told, when my wife reads this she'll roll her eyes at me, smile, and note that I more often than not state the obvious just for fun.)
There are paid services that sell abbreviated versions of pre-selected quality business books in five to ten page printed summaries, available in printed or audio format. The beauty of these services is that you can sample several books, gain an understanding of the book's principles (which in itself has great value), and help you make the decision as to whether or not you want to buy the book.
Many books, research papers, white papers, and other valuable management and leadership related content can be found in Wikipedia. As a result, surfing/searching Wikipedia on a specific management/leadership topic can often provide you with a wealth of topical information in forms beyond just officially published books.
Yard sales in affluent business-oriented neighborhoods can prove to be an interesting source of business books outside your general view. Yes, this is a very hit-or-miss method, but if you happen to be going by a yard sale and see lots of books, stop and look. You may be amazed with the books you find and the insights you gain.
Search online for less known books of business authors you love to read. Very often an author will have written one book that everyone knows about and a dozen other books that are much less known. This being the case, if you like the author's writing style and management philosophy, you may find great value in his/her lesser known works.
Lastly, don't underestimate the value of word of mouth. After having read a few management books, you may find great value in comparing book titles, authors, and concepts with other reading enthusiasts. This is a great networking discussion point, a way to show you are well read, and a way to gain knowledge of other books that you may find of value.
In closing, if you love the idea of being well read but don't have the time or inclination to sit and read a book, listen to it in audio format. Truth be told, the majority of books I read I actually listen to in audio format when doing other things. I have personally found these book audios to be of great value.
The primary advice and takeaways from today's column is to know that:
At any organizational level, from a first time supervisor to the CEO's seat, being well read can greatly enhance your effectiveness and help facilitate your professional success.
There are many ways to find great management books and authors that resonate with you personally and potentially help solve your current management issues and future management decisions.
This blog is an excerpt from my weekly nationally syndicated column with GateHouse News Service. My new columns can be found in GateHouse Media publications throughout the United States.
Until next time, manage well, manage smart, and continue to grow.