jade rubick

Books on management



Management is a deep topic, and there isn’t a formal program for learning. Books are an essential part of deepening your skills as a manager. Here are my recommendations for books.

Overall management

High output management. One of the better all-around engineering management books.

An Elegant Puzzle, Will Larson. Covers a lot of topics of engineering leadership.

The Louis Allen books on management are out of print and there are a lot of versions, some of which aren’t as good as others. These are perhaps the best overall books on management I’ve read, but they’re out of date. I’m working with someone else to get these revised and republished. Let me know if you would buy a copy.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Has some useful frameworks of how to think about management.

Drive by Daniel Pink, introduces the basics of motivation. It is important to understand the importance of autonomy, mastery, and purpose. You may not need to read the book, but these concepts are essential to good management practice.

Decentralized leadership

Turn the ship around. How to make an organization where everyone leads.

Warfighting Some of the best info on decentralized leadership comes from the US military.

Org design

Team Topologies. The nuts and bolts of how to organize teams into organizations.


Understanding Michael Porter. This is an essential intro to business strategy.

Good strategy, bad strategy. How to make strategy that is actually strategy and not wishful thinking.

Lean thinking

Principles of product development flow. This is a hard book, reminding me of text books from graduate school. However, it covers the principles and laws behind making product development work effectively. It’s extraordinary, but a lot of effort. I have had at least one person I recommended this to say they didn’t like the tone of the book and couldn’t get into it. But I think an essential part of engineering leadership is understanding Lean approaches, and this book, though difficult, covers it better than anything else I’ve seen.

Black Swan Farming How to find the most highly valuable work to focus on.

Thank you

Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

Comments powered by Talkyard.