5 Classic Management Books To Take On Holiday

Whether you own a small business or manage a large department, effective management skills are key to achieving commercial success. These days, there’s a wealth of software tools available to help. From project management solutions such as Trello, to staff rota software such as Planday, or cloud based accounting tools including Xero and FreshBooks, you know your business will be better managed and more productive as a result of implementing these software solutions.

However, sometimes it helps to take a step back from day-to-day management and be inspired by respected business gurus. With the summer holidays approaching, now may be a good time to do some reading.

  1. How to win friends and influence people
    (Dale Carnegie, 1936)

Not only did How To Win Friends And Influence People become an overnight success when it was first published 80 years ago, it’s been a best seller for many decades. Its enduring appeal is entirely due to Carnegie’s understanding of human nature, which is as relevant now as it ever was.

His teachings are based fundamentally on treating others so that they feel appreciated and managing people without making them feel manipulated. While the writing style and references are perhaps a little outdated, Carnegie’s messages are clear and fresh 

“You can make more friends (and close more business) in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get other people to be interested in you.”

"Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment."

“There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. […] And that is by making the other person want to do it.”

  1. The Effective Executive: The definitive guide to getting the right things done
    (Peter F Drucker, 1967)

Management thinking just wouldn’t be the same without Drucker’s seminal 1967 work; there can’t be many execs that haven’t been majorly influenced by this genuine business classic. At its heart, The Effective Executive teaches 5 identified practices to achieve business effectiveness:

  • Time management
  • Focusing on results
  • Building on strengths
  • Setting the right priorities
  • Effective decision making

Drucker’s undisputed management wisdom includes the following observations:

“Brilliant men are often strikingly ineffectual; they fail to realize that the brilliant insight is not by itself achievement. They never have learned that insights become effectiveness only through hard systematic work.”

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

“What gets measured gets managed” and “What’s measured improves.”

  1. The One Minute Manager
    Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson (1982)

If you only have time to read one book this summer, let this be the one. An international bestseller, it’s ‘teach through parables’ style of business book is short and simple to read, with practical management takeaways that everyone can implement straight away.

Actionable advice comes in One Minute Goals that you should write in no more than 250 words, One Minute Praises and One Minute Reprimands for behaviour to keep your staff on track.

“There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you
accept no excuses – only results.” 

“People who feel good about themselves, produce good results.” 

“Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behavior matches your goals.” 

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful lessons in personal change
    Stephen R Covey (1989)

This famous self-help book has become the classic ‘go to’ for personal development, with principles that can be equally successfully implemented in business as well as personal life.

The 7 habits are deceptively simple inspirational and aspirational standards for anyone wishing to grow and change as a person, becoming more fulfilled and effective as a result:

  • Be proactive
  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Put first things first
  • Think win-win
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • Synergise
  • Sharpen the saw

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny,” the maxim goes.” 

“Thousands of people could’ve done what Bill Gates did at that moment, but they didn’t. Gates acted upon the moment.” 

“When you are focused on the success of others more than or as much as your own success, it is a guaranteed success formula. You don’t claw you way to the top on the backs of others – you are carried there on their shoulders.”

  1. Dilbert And The Way of the Weasel: A guide to outwitting your boss, your coworkers and other pants-wearing ferrets in your life
    (Scott Adams, 2001)

This hilarious business book with a serious edge comes from the creator of Dilbert, the newspaper comic strip, and the author of The Dilbert Principle and Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook.

While you may laugh out loud at the way the office ‘weasel’ operates, the book gives a great insight into office politics and the psychology of many who work there. It may not be heavyweight literature but as an antidote to conventional management training, there are valuable lessons to be learnt.

"There's a gigantic gray area between good moral behavior and outright felonious activities. I call that the Weasel Zone and it's where most of life happens.”

“Hard work is rewarding. Taking credit for other people’s hard work is rewarding and faster.”

“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught

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