management literature topic home

It helps to get a better understanding of companies and organizations than just by following the Dilbert comic. (Though that one offers a humorous commentary and often relief from the daily abuses, too!) An understanding of the other departments is crucial for good collaboration and professional success. Someone has to look after the financials, and the resulting schedule and quality pressures will affect everyone's work. There are vastly different styles of leadership, and how your manager communicates with you (and vice versa) has a great effect on your work and health.


These books have helped me make sense of the seemingly haphazard management decisions and made me more effective through better personal techniques and in interacting with others.

Jan-2015
Eric Schlosser, Command and Control; the story of nuclear weapons and the illusion of safety; both gripping account of the explosion of a leaking Titan II missile in a silo in Arkansas and historical background of nuclear weapon development in the USA, and the challenges of keeping them safe during the Cold war, with a general discussion of the complexity and human factors; Penguin, 2013

Sep-2014
Michael A. Cusumano, The Business of Software; a discussion of several software companies, both established and startup, before and during dot-com times, differentiating between product, services, and hybrid models, and discussing the evolution and pros and cons; Free Press, 2004

Jul-2014
Jeff Sutherland, Scrum; The Art of Doing Twice he Work in Half the Time; stories about the origins of Scrum, both theoretical (the Toyota Production System) and practical (army, research, and software development projects); chapters about the core priciples of planning, waste, priorities, and feedback / happiness; Crown Business, 2014

Jan-2014
Kurt und Karin Kloeters, 52 Wochenbriefe zur Kinderziehung (inherited from my parents); guidelines like watch the expression of your kid, console it when it's crying, speak softly and friendly, downplay misdeeds, enforce commandments consequently, depending on the emotional condition more strongly or forgivingly; direct mailing, ca. 1976

Dec-2013
Tom DeMarco, Slack; Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency; an amusingly well-written diatribe against treating knowledge workers as fungible resources, and trying to schedule them to be 100% occupied multi-taskers, and the resulting projects to best-case completion dates without risk management; Broadway Books, 2001

Oct-2013
Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk; a parenting book that shows in many examples how to talk to children (and grown-ups) in a way that fosters cooperation instead of resistance; Harper, 1999

Oct-2013
Mark Benioff, Behind the Cloud; the untold story of how salesforce.com went from idea to billion-dollar company—and revolutionized an industry; the story of inventing the SaaS business for enterprise customers, and how to build a great company culture, as told by the founder itself; Jossey-bass, 2009

May-2013
Sam Lightstone, Making it Big in Software; a sweep from initial technical skills to get a job over career advancement, people and productivity, to landing your dream job in a leadership position, all framed by interviews with many well-known software luminaries; Prentice Hall, 2010

Apr-2013
Roland Kopp-Wichmann, Ich kann auch anders; Psychofallen im Beruf erkennen; explaining the 10 most common problems at work (work-life balance, self-promotion, perfectionism, stress, conflicts, …) with survival strategies learned during childhood, and how to self-reflect to become aware and unlearn them; Kreuz Verlag, 2010

Feb-2013
Thomas A. Limoncelli, Time Management for System Administrators; productivity drains in a customer-driven office environment, and how to deal with it with technology, an electronic or paper-based time management systems similar to the 7 Habits approach; O'Reilly, 2005

Jan-2013
Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs; The biography, from starting Apple with Woz, management struggles and the leave to NeXT and Pixar, and his glorious return and the ascent to most valuable company;covering all iconic Apple products: Apple ][, Macintosh, iPod, iPhone; Simon & Schuster, 2011

Dec-2012
Johanna Rothman, Esther Derby, Behind Closed Doors; Secrets of Great Management; Building a management team, coaching subordinates, and building capability by tackling underlying problems; as described by a fictional story; Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2005

Nov-2012
Lee Davis, Man-Made catastrophes, Revised Edition; A historical summary of air, railway, maritime, industrial, and space disasters, fires and explosions; Checkmark Books, 2002

Jul-2012
Christopher Duncan, The Career Programmer; Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World, second edition; How to achieve your design, project, and quality objectives under corporate business pressures; Achieving a satisfying career among outsourcing and decreased employer loyalty; Apress, 2006

Jun-2012
Columbia Accident Investigation Board, Columbia Accident Report Volume I; The evolution of the Space Shuttle Program, an analysis of the accident's physical and organizational causes, a broken safety culture and how this relates to the Challenger history; NASA, 2003

May-2012
Diane Vaughan, The Challenger Launch Decision; Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA; an in-depth account of an outstanding engineering culture under economic and political pressure, and how this influenced communication and risk evaluation over time; Chicago Press, 1996

Mar-2012
Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense Profiting from Evidence-Based Management; Debunking common myths about people management, incentives, and leadership's effects on strategy and change, resulting in a plead for considering evidence instead of jumping on management fads; Harvard Business School Press, 2006

Mar-2012
Gerald M. Weinberg, More Secrets of Consulting, The consultant's tool kit; a box of metaphors to remind oneself of one's abilities, weaknesses, and goals; Dorset House, 2002

Feb-2012
James R. Chiles, Inviting Disaster; Lessons from the edge of technology, an inside look at various catastrophies (aviation, Bhopal and other chemical accidents, TMI and Chernobyl), why they happen, and what organizations and operators can do to prevent them; HarperBusiness, 2002

Jan-2012
Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad; What the Rich teach their Kids about Money - that the Poor and the Middle Class do not!; A personal story and tutorial about financial literacy, to make money work for us via investments rather than work for money (and pay a lot of taxes) throughout one's life; Warner Books, 1997

Aug-2011
Michael Lopp, Being Geek; The Software Developer's Career Handbook; Stories about engineer-nerds, managers, and teamwork, and how to pursue a healthy career; O'Reilly, 2010

Jul-2011
Scott Adams, Dogbert's top secret Management Handbook: A funny critique of organizational dysfunctions in large companies; HarperBusiness, 1996

Apr-2011
Michael Lopp, Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager; Crucial profiles of personalities, advice and stories from the trenches; Apress, 2007

Mar-2011
J. Hank Rainwater, Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers; Empathic leadership, task organization, handling meetings and bureocracy, working with your boss; Apress, 2002

Feb-2011
Chip & Dan Heath, Switch; How to change things when change is hard; overcoming resistance and understanding the real dynamics of change through a framework of Rider, Elephant and Path; Random House, 2010

Aug-2010
Steve Biddulph, Das Geheimnis gl├╝cklicher Kinder; negative childhood programming, necessities of praise, attention and approval, healing through active listening; TaschenBuchBeust, 1988

Aug-2010
Gerald M. Weinberg, Becoming a Technical Leader An organic problem-solving approach; on change, leadership and whether you have the motivation and organization to lead others, Dorset House, 1986

Jul-2010
Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle: A cubicle's-eye view of bosses, meetings, management fads & other workplace afflictions, HarperBusiness, 1996

May-2010
Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit; from Effectiveness to Greatness; follow-up to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, find your voice and inspire others to find theirs via modeling, pathfinding, aligning and empowering, a crucial habit to overcome the organizational dysfunctions caused by industrial age command-and-control management applied in today's knowledge age, which requires much more leadership than management; Free Press, 2004

Feb-2010
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (15th Anniversary edition); eternal principles vs. quick-fix mentality, private victory (being proactive) precedes public victory (interdependence with other people), working within one's circle of influence on important, not-urgent tasks to achieve one's goals, Free Press, 2004 (first read in 2003)

Feb-2010
Jeffrey K. Liker, The Toyota Way - 14 management principles from the world's greatest manufacturer: operational excellence, lean development, and a culture with a long-term focus; McGraw-Hill, 2004

May-2009
Gerald M. Weinberg, The Secrets of Consulting, A guide to giving & getting advice successfully, controlling change and resistance, gaining trust; Dorset House, 1985

Oct-2007
Mark Kozak-Holland, Titanic Lessons for IT Projects, First Edition; examines the most notorious "failed project" in recent memory, the sinking of an "unsinkable" ship, to draw parallels to IT projects; Multi-Media Publications, 2005

Aug-2007
Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat: The globalized world in the twenty-first century. Weaves the fall of the Berlin wall, software, the Internet, outsourcing, offshoring, supply-chaining, India and the other emerging countries into a comprehensive explanation of globalization, its benefits, and geopolitical strategies to ensure its success. Updated and extended second edition, Penguin books, 2006

Oct-2006
Mary and Tom Poppendieck, Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit, Addison-Wesley, 2003

Sep-2006
Gene Kranz, Failure is not an option: mission control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and beyond, Berkley, 2001

Aug-2006
John Gray, Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus: A practical guide for improving communication and getting what you want in your relationsship, Thorsons, 1992

Jul-2006
Robert D. Austin, Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations: motivation, a model explaining dysfunction, designing incentive systems, Dorset House, 1996

Apr-2006
Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power: a handbook on the arts of indirection, seduction and warfare, Joost Elffers, 1998

Mar-2006
Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk technologies (with a new afterword on the Y2K problem), Princeton University Press, 1999

Jan-2006
Myra Warren Isenhart and Michael Sprangle, Collaborative Approaches to Resolving Conflict, Business Book Review, 2002
Mickey Connolly and Richard Rianoshek, The Communication Catalyst: The fast (but not stupid) track to value for customers, investors and employees, Business Book Review, 2004
Louise Delasi, Managing Difficult Interactions, Harvard ManageMentor PLUS webinar, 2003

Jan-2006
Tom DeMarco, The Deadline: a novel about project management: insightful business principles for team-based project management, Dorset House, 1997

Dec-2005
Chad Fowler, My Job went to India - And all I got was this lousy book: 52 ways to cope with and use the chances offered by economic change and outsourcing, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2005

Nov-2005
Dr Raj Persaud, The Motivated Mind: How to get what you want from life, Bantam Press, 2005

Apr-2004
Scott Adams, Dilbert and the way of the weasel: an exposure of the devious ways of people around us, HarperCollins, 2002

24-Nov-2003
Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen, FISH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, Random House, 2000 (German paperback edition, Mosaik bei Goldmann, 2003)

Aug-2003
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Fireside, 1990

Nov-2002
William Bridges, Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, Perseus Books, 1980

Sep-2002
László Mérö, Die Logik der Unvernunft: Spieltheorie und die Psychologie des Handelns, Rohwohlt Taschenbuch, 2000

Aug-2002
Dietrich Dörner, Die Logik des Mißlingens: Strategisches Denken in komplexen Situationen, Rohwohlt Taschenbuch, 2002

May-2002
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Pocket Books, 1982

1996
David Packard, Die Hewlett-Packard-Story: Wie Bill Hewlett und ich unser Unternehmen aufbauten. (Early startup years, Management by walking around, the HP-way); Campus Verlag, 1996