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.

Brian Bagnall, Commodore: the Amiga years; second part that portrays the founding of the Amiga development team, how they ran out of money bringing their revolutionary machine to market, and their entanglement with Atari (now led by Jack Tramiel), and eventual acquisition by Commodore, which also struggled with the release of the Amiga 1000, and in parallel had a lack of vision for their 8-bit products, change of CEO, and extreme cost-cutting measures. Eventually the Amiga 500 and 2000 became great successes, though most of that development moved from the original team to Commodore. Another fascinating and detailed look at the key characters and history; Variant Press, 2017

Brian Bagnall, Commodore: a company on the edge; history of a calculator company that acquired a semiconductor producer and then, through vertical integration and the genius of Chuck Peddle's 6502 8-bit microprocessor and chips like the VIC and SID established the home computer industry, enabling companies like Atari and Apple, and culminating in the trememdous success of the Commodore 64 home computer; a portrait of the charismatic Jack Tramiel (and his quirky business sense), and how he and his close circle of engineers and marketeers started a revolution; well researched account of the early years through the greatest success, but probably only relevant to people who grew up in that age; 2nd ed.; Variant Press, 2010

Serhii Plokhy, Chernobyl; History of a Tragedy; A more historic account of the nuclear disaster and its effects on the population and governments, it has less technical details and does not closely follow some characters like Higginbotham's book, but instead covers more of the political aftermath, with Gorbatchev's policies, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the political and ecological movements in the Ukraine, with each chapter around a particular topic; with that, it's a great complement, and just as thrilling to read; Penguin, 2018

Adam Higginbotham, Midnight in Chernobyl; The untold story of the world's greatest nuclear disaster; captivating account of the catastrophe and cleanup efforts told through the lives of the reactor operators, emergency responders, management, and party officials. The book describes the political realities in the Soviet union, and how that influenced its reactor design (driven by economic needs and derived from military experiments) and its safety culture (enormous pressure and frequent lack of material), and the eventual attempts to hush up the extent of the accident (despite Gorbatchev's push for openness). The author succeeds to captivate the readers through all stages of the book: history and situation, the unraveling accident and emergency response, slow government reaction and evacuations, stabilization of the reactor and cleanup, political aftermath and court cases, by following the various actors through their lives, in vivid accounts of Soviet culture. Corgi, 2019

Anton R. Valukas, Report to Board of Directors of General Motors Company regarding Ignition Switch Recalls; a look at the bureaucracy and processes in a very large company that made a tiny error (failure to correct too little torque on the ignition switch) shut down vehicles during drive and kill several people because the connection between stalling the engine and disabling of the airbags was not detected. The lead design engineer did not follow up with the supplier on the looseness because there already had been electrical problems with that component and ignored the breach of specification (though he likely wasn't authorized to do this), and later made things worse by piggybacking a fix on top of another work order, without documenting that or changing the part number (as required), and later denied remembering any of this and gave confusing expert advice; different organizations (legal, engineering, and quality) were pursuing the issue from different angles, had trouble accessing internal information, failed to pick up an external report that highlighted the issue early, and even after finally realizing the problem took months to issue a recall, and initially only for a subset of affected vehicles. Aggressive cost-cutting, loss of knowledge / momentum through attrition, paying only lip-service to safety, endless meetings that just postpone resolution without a clear owner — all the works of classic Dilbert are at play here. The very detailed report painfully highlights the dysfunctions of a large corporation; instead of fixing the root cause, workarounds like replacing the key's slotted inset with a round hole and smaller key ring (which are then put on the back burner due to other, more urgent issues) and producing plastic inlays for customers that complain, instead of using a stiffer spring (which initially is discounted due to added cost and a time frame of 18 months to implement), but then later silently sneaked in. The organizations fail to recognize the seriousness of the issue as the connection between shutting off the engine and disabling the airbag (a basic design common to most cars) is not detected, the legal department is content with having raised this with engineering, but doesn't follow up, and the "champion" of the issue keeps changing and is content to occasionally call a meeting to obtain the current status. Despite mounting casualty numbers (and lawsuits), nobody questions the initial classification as a cosmetic issue, and the real cause of the issue is only revealed very late (almost 10 years after its introduction) and through documents from the supplier (as internal processes weren't followed); very vivid and detailed account of corporate dysfunction; likely found in many other companies as well; 2014

Andreas Malesse und Hanna Schott, Warum sind Sie reich, Herr Deichmann?; Die Deichmann-Story: über den Umgang mit Geld und Verantwortung; biography and portrait of the founder of the German budget shoe chain, showing that empathy (derived from a deeply Protestant conviction) and successful business doesn't need to be a contradiction; profits are no end in itself, but necessary to keep the company healthy, allow expansion from within and to fulfil its social responsibilities, and a life dedicated to serving poor people in developing countries; Brockhaus, 2006

The National Diet of Japan, The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission; official report covering the technical problems arising in each reactor, the countermeasures, a description of the responsibilities, and how well this worked out. On the regulatory side, government institutions were kept in a setup that originated from the original emphasis of promoting nuclear energy, and failed to incorporate stricter controls and regulation introduced in other countries. Companies were given huge leeway in extending time lines for safety improvements (or even just reporting on them), and lobbied hard that any mandated change would not lead to additional downtimes of reactors. Instead of independent experts, agency personnel were recruited from and even trained by the power companies. The rigid bureaucratic approach and lack of knowledge meant that institutions failed in a crisis, and the prime minister's office had to intervene, which lead to a confusing chain of command, and then contradictions with local efforts, especially around evacuations. The report comes to the conclusion that the accident would have been preventable had robustness measures been implemented, and that the government's response needs to be improved and consider parallel disasters like earthquake and meltdown; first of all, the regulatory authorities need to be reformed to break free of the "regulatory capture" and cozy relationships with the industry; 2012

Jaron Lanier, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now; after a short history of social networks, the network effects that made them big, and an explanation of who the real customers of companies like Google and Facebook are (advertisers becoming manipulators), the author argues that the quest for attention is turning people into assholes, smartphones are spying on people (feeding the algorithms data), to cram personalized contents down people's throats, with the purpose of maximizing "engagement", so that the companies end up taking over more and more of our lives, and bad actors create fake accounts and posts, reducing the value of recommendations and radicalizing political views and movements. The author distinguishes between the beneficial Internet and the entrepreneur-led companies, and argues that only a period of abstinence will make people aware of the downsides and effect change; ten chapters highlight different aspects on truth, empathy, happiness, politics, and economic dignity (gig economy, only a few star influencers are able to (shortly) monetize it); The Bodley Head, 2018

Raphael M. Bonelli, Perfektionismus; Wenn das Soll zum Muss wird; psychological analysis of (extrinsic or intrinsic) perfectionism and the related symptoms of helicopter parents and eating / beauty disorders, both theory and through many practical examples; not a self-help guide, but helps detecting whether one's ambitions for perfection are healthy or pathological; Pattloch Verlag, 2014

Martin Wehrle, Der Klügere denkt nach; Von der Kunst, auf die ruhige Art erfolgreich zu sein; how introverted people can build on their strengths (even though today's society values the opposite characteristics) in common business and personal contexts; also covers the related trait of highly sensitive people; not an in-depth scientific treatment, but uplifting and inspiring, with many practical examples from the author's consulting practice; Mosaik, 2017

Anthony Finkelstein, Report of the Inquiry Into The London Ambulance Service; nice case study in bad change management, trying to do a big critical migration in one step, with an unproven (cheapest) vendor, adhering to an aggressive time table, with both technical errors (success would depend on the near 100% accuracy adn reliability), and political ones (changing requirements, top level management set rigid deadlines that were not to be questioned, no dedicated project manager staffed); detailed account and analysis of the costly failure that led to a complete roll-back; University Collect London, 1993

The National Diet of Japan, The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission; executive summary of the official report; puts the blame on Japanese culture (reflexive obedience, reluctance to question authority, devotion to sticking with the program, groupism, insularity), and that regulation of nuclear energy was entrusted to the same government bureaucracy responsible for its promotion, leading to a resistance of regulatory pressure, and letting operators apply regulations on a voluntary basis (so necessary re-evaluations of safety features were postponed; 2012

Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff; this "prequel" to the Apollo story (and maybe also "Top Gun") chronicles the selection of the initial 7 American astronauts from Air Force test pilots, the Mercury program launches, and the fame and internal rivalry that came with it; the author poignantly describes the dangerous life and mindset of a test pilot, living ruthlessly on the edge and in permanant competition with peers over who has the right stuff, who withstands the pressures and doesn't falter when unproven technology breaks down, who beats the odds of a fatal crash, who maintains a social life in a rigid 1960s society yet also has wild affairs and dangerous hobbies; great account of the early history of American space flight and flawless characterization of a special group of people; Bantam Books, 1979

Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger, Apollo 13; autobiography and narrative of the fateful flight that nicely complements Gene Krantz's account from mission control; the suspense-packed main story is dexterously interrupted with flashbacks to earlier events that shaped Jim's life; finally, there's a nice and in-depth analysis of the compounding mishaps that causes the accident; Bertelsmann, 1995

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, Highest Duty; My Search for What Really Matters; autobiography that describes the pilot's life of flying from his youth in Texas, to being a fighter jet pilot in the Air Force, and then his job at US Airways, suffering from downsizings and the usual troubles of family life until that eventful day that put him out in the limelight, where he and his crew proved that professionalism saved all passengers abort that doomed flight that lost both engines shortly after take-off due to bird strikes; an intriguing and entertaining recollection of both personal and professional challenges, and first-hand account of what happened on that day; HarperCollins, 2009

The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Final Committee Report on the Design, Development & Certification of the Boeing 737 MAX; the official report on the crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines paint a picture of production pressures after being put on the spot by the A320neo to forgo a lengthy new design and instead do a re-engining of the 737 (which was originally developed in the 1960s), during which faulty design and performance assumptions were made (e.g. making changes to MCAS parameters without reevaluating the safety impact), and critical information was withheld (in order to avoid simulator training, as the contract with American Airlines would incur a penalty of $1 million per aircraft for that); in general, the direct representation of oversight authorities as embedded Boeing employees working as representatives of the FAA proved highly problematic, and also the agency's defensive behavior in the aftermath of the two crashes led to a loss of confidence; the report laments a culture change (started by the merger with McDonnell Douglas) from a great engineering firm that prided itself on the founder's unflinching commitment to safety and quality to a bug business focused on financial success; great in-depth explanation of both technical and organizational causes, only misses out on some regulatory details (it's not straightforward to roll out software fixes to newly produced airplanes - the certification is the costly thing) and belabors some facts (a Boeing test pilot failed to control a simulated MCAS failure for over 10 seconds and deemed this "catastrophic"; this is mentioned dozens of times); Sep 2020

Jens-Uwe Schröder-Hinrichs et al., From Titanic to Costa Concordia - a century of lessons not learned; short paper that draws interesting parallels between the two accidents, how new technology may create a false sense of confidence and thereby increase acceptance of risks, how a double bind creates a dilemma by emphasizing both safety and productivity, also known as the efficiency-thoroughness trade-off, and how an authority gradient affects persons with lower standing to question or challenge higher-ups; World Maritime University, 2021

Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman jun., Auf der Suche nach Spitzenleistungen; was man von den bestgeführten US-Unternehmen lernen kann; an analysis of companies like 3M, Bechtel, Caterpillar, Delta, HP, McDonald's, and how they organize to foster initiative and react to a changed environment, condemning cost reduction as first priority, which leads to a fixation on cost, not on quality (and lead to the rise of Japanese companies and their quality-focused policies); it identifies common traits that diverse successful companies have: intrinsic motivation, temporary structures and mobility, focus on action, customer orientation, individual freedoms, company values; very interesting to see how many success factors had been identified four decades ago (and that notwithstanding, how some previously leading companies have still gone extinct); verlag moderne industrie, 1984

Scott Berkun, Making Things Happen; Mastering Project Management; timeless advice from the trenches of a long-time Microsoft PM on how a classical software product is initiated (hopefully supported by a good vision), goes through early specification phases, implementation, and the end-time crunch; the author dispenses advice and war stories on all soft skills: communication, leadership, relationship (especially with management); would love to see an updated edition tailored to the new Agile methodologies (which are mentioned here just in passing); O'Reilly, 2008

Mary and Tom Poppendieck, Leading Lean Software Development: Results are not the point; highlights best practices in lean development through 24 frames, illustrated by examples and small stories from their consulting engagements, and characterizes the various roles that have to participate in a lean organization, and what can go wrong when practices are implemented half-heartedly or without the real understanding and value system; especially intriguing is the comparison of Agile practices as a Western-infused (short-term orientation) system with Japanese (long-term, continuous improvement) lean thinking; final chapters introduce many concepts from other books, which is a bit irritating (the shallow introduction just provides a rough outline, but reading 10+ books also is no real option), but understandable to provide a full picture and additional pointers; overall a great supplement to existing literature, providing valuable insights on what my own company's culture is missing in its move to Agile; Addison-Wesley, 2010

Jürgen Grässlin, Das Daimler-Desaster; Vom Vorzeigekonzern zum Sanierungsfall?; documents the many disasters under CEO Jürgen E. Schrempp, covered by chairman of the board Hilmar Kopper, from the merger of equals / effective takeover of Chrysler corporation, a bad investment in Mitsubishi, leading to quality issues, problematic sales through the gray market, to deflated share prices and the eventual resignation; though the author certainly is deeply biased against the management, he convincingly sets Schrempp's official optimistic statements against actual performance, through many illustrating and captivating stories, and argues that such gross incompetence could only continue due to the protection of the board (whose poor performance reminds me of HP), also as part of the greater Deutschland AG (about which I've already read in other books); would be interesting to read a follow-up on Zetsche's reign and the divorce from Chrysler; Droemer, 2005

Dieter Brandes, Konsequent einfach; die ALDI-Erfolgsstory; an insider's look into the secretive special culture that is the key to understanding the success and why many discounters have tried to copy it, but only with partial success; the two founders started with extreme austerity, looking to provide the best possible quality while keeping costs as low as possible, which needs to come from a culture that lives those values (with responsibilities pushed down to where the work is done, and no executive support units), and having a minimal assortment of goods (only 600) catering to daily needs but shunning problematic stuff (like loose or frozen stuff); history and values (such as decentralization, delegation and control) are shown as well as a deeper look into rules of commerce (including a comparison with Toyota's kaizen and other retailers' strategies); Campus, 1998

Ricardo Semler, Das SEMCO System; Management ohne Manager; a young heir to a Brazilian manufacturing business transforms a struggling autocratic company into a democratic, "third way" company amid economic turmoil, resulting in a company culture that both closely resembles lean manufacturing techniques and the HP way (e.g. by also instituting management by walking around and placing utmost trust in the employees), but one that has been derived organically and with a specific local twist; in order for companies to survive ongoing change, Semco has arrived at radical opinions (no growth just for the sake of it, replacing org charts with just four different ranks (governing board, partners, coordinators, colleagues), don't keep talent on the bench, encourage entrepreneurship from within, ...) and a fundamentally democratic governance model (performance appraisals and hiring checks from subordinates, self-determined salary, direct involvement in strategic decisions, full financial transparency); Heyne, 1993

Gina Bucher, Der Fehler, der mein Leben veränderte; von Bauchlandungen, Rückschlägen und zweiten Chancen; 20 interesting and diverse stories about various failures in life (doctor giving wrong medication, workaholics, criminals, drug abuse, murder, con men), told from first person, each surrounded by a short commentary from the author; Piper Verlag, 2018

Chris Voss, Never split the difference; Negotiating as if your life depended on it; offers psychological approaches to build rapport, create trust, and obtain control, through mechanisms such as mirroring, tactical empathy, labels, and calibrated questions, motivated with a few captivating stories and many examples (that for me exhibit a bit too much American exuberance); Random House, 2016

Gerd Bosbach, Jens Jürgen Korff, Lügen mit Zahlen; Wie wir mit Statistiken manipuliert werden; light and entertaining read about one-sided data, tricks with graphics, some mathematics (percent and -points, relative vs. absolute, sampling, Will Rogers phenomenon and Simpson paradox), all vividly illustrated with many real-life examples and some political commentary (from the left-leaning authors); Heyne, 2011

Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Critical Chain; applies the Theory Of Constraints from production to project environments, where the equivalent of the bottleneck is the critical path, time can be freed up by stripping safety padding from each estimate (eliminating the student syndrome where there's no rush to start) and establishing a single project buffer at the end, and feeding buffers where a noncritical task merges to the critical path; resources are alerted when their work on the critical path is due, they must then drop anything else; reducing batching and multitasking minimizes lead time, as dependencies cause delays to accumulate and advances to be wasted; by considering resource contention (tasks that fight to be processed at the same time by the same resource), we get the critical chain, and schedule according to targeted completion dates; nice extension of The Goal that follows the same novel-style teaching; North River Press, 1997

Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox, The Goal - A Process of Ongoing Improvement 30th Anniversary Edition; the book that Project Phoenix has been modeled after and based on; describes the theory of improving flow (in manufacturing tasks) through a novel in which the lead character turns around his plant by replacing old processes and (not working) measures with a new no-nonsense practices that are centered on "making money"; the author builds upon flow-centered approached from Ford and TPS and applies these to relatively unstable environments by using time instead of space or inventory as the base to restrict over-production; North River Press, 1984

Laurence J. Peters, Raymond Hull, Das Peter-Prinzip oder Die Hierarchie der Unfähigen; the principle is simple and widely known, but the authors illustrate this with many examples and try to spin it into a psychological discipline they call hierarchology; inspiring to contemplate one's own level of incompetence and how one wants to deal with it; this is definitely recognizable in the (aging) organization I'm in, but especially in the German translation, it's hard for me to decide whether this is meant to be a satire or just an outrageous theory; Rowohlt Verlag, 1970

Alexander Groth, Der Chef, den ich nie vergessen werde; Wie Sie Loyalität und Respekt Ihrer Mitarbeiter gewinnen; disparaging today's common management style (overmanaged and underled), the author emphasizes real leadership coming from a position of being compassionate and personal moral standards that eschew arrogance and feigned interest in employees; personal stories and examples alternate with light theory and universal teachings of ethics to argue convincingly for a positive management culture; Campus Verlag, 2017

Talane Miedaner, Coach dich selbst sonst coacht dich keiner; 101 tips to reach your professional and private goals; avoid getting your energy sucked off by being tidy and delegating, financial stability, then follow the work you desire with high effectiveness, eventually attracting the right people and jobs via empathetic communication and caring for yourself; nice distillation of previous works like Simplify your life and The seven habits, also with a certain US-centric bent; mvg Verlag, 2002

Judith Mair, Schluss mit Lustig! Warum Leistung und Disziplin mehr bringen als emotionale Intelligenz, Teamgeist und Soft Skills; good characterization of changes to corporate culture that started with the New Economy and the startup culture, and how this affects the relationship of employees and employer, often to the detriment of both; the author argues for returning to more traditional roles, while acknowledging that today's globalization demands flexibility so much that good old loyalty and life-long permanent positions are firmly in the past; each chapter showcases her own communication agency's approach, but apart from that offers little help for making that change; Eichborn, 2002

Christine Altstötter-Gleich, Fay C.M. Geisler, Perfektionismus; Mit hohen Ansprüchen selbstbestimmt leben; part overview of current studies, part self-help practices; differentiation between clinical, destructive perfectionism (to prevent failures, feeling relief that negative consequences did not occur) and conscientious achievement striving or functional pursuit of excellence (happiness about achievements), which is good and positive; BALANCE buch + medien verlag, 2018

Ken Blanchard, William Oncken, Hal Burrows, The One Minute Manager meets the Monkey; short and entertaining treatise about action items, who owns them, and how to follow up, based on a personal story about inefficiencies and the (good-willing) manager as a bottleneck; the theory is reminiscent of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits, the end goal of moving the P/PC balance identical; Thorsons, 2011

Louis Testa, Growing Software; proven strategies for managing software engineers; building a development team, communication with the rest of the (small or startup) company, recommendations for process and quality; a compact overview of organizational, management, and software engineering issues (with references to many famous books for in-depth information); No Starch Press, 2009

Markus Baumanns und Thorsten Schumacher, Kein BULLSH!T; Was Manager heute wirklich können müssen; a plea against central planning, risk management, and benchmarking; in favor of a customer-centric organization that treats employees as thinking partners; replace org charts with a dynamic representation of the company around the customer, with management in the middle instead of on top; chapters on motivation, changes, innovation, HR; Murmann Verlag, 2014

W. J. King and James G. Skakoon, The Unwritten Laws of Engineering; old but timeless treatise on personal behavior, learning, interacting with peers, and managing people; American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2001

Merrill R. Chapman, In Search of Stupidity; over 20 years of high-tech marketing disasters; entertaining, well-written insider stories about strategic blunders of IBM, MicroPro, Intel, Novell, Netscape & Co.; main theory: success depends on avoiding the big mistakes, and there's always some luck involved; Apress, 2006

Patrick Lencioni, The five dysfunctions of a team; entertaining story followed by short theoretical discourse on absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, inattention to results; Jossey-Bass, 2002

Edward Yourdon, Death March second edition; corporate mentalities, reasons, and a categorization for death march projects; politics of owners, customers, shareholders, stakeholders, and champions; strategies for negotiation and coping, critical chain scheduling, theory of constraints, time management; Yourdon Press, 2004

James C. Hunter, The Servant; A simple story about the true essence of leadership; with the will, one can develop love / charity / agape towards fellow people, leading to service and sacrifice, which eventually gives you authority as a leader; personal story that nicely teaches the underlying character required to be a true leader, referencing many other modern leadership authors; Crown Business, 1998

Aaron Erickson, The Nomadic Developer; Surviving and Thriving in the World of Technology Consulting; characterization of life in consulting, types of companies to avoid, the organization, dealing with customers, becoming independent; Pearson Education, 2009

Charles Handy, Inside Organizations Twenty-one ideas for managers; nicely illustrated discussions of teams, management and organization styles; Penguin, 1990

Carly Fiorina, Tough Choices; A Memoir; a story about an ambitious young woman at stodgy old AT&T, then split-off Lucent, then to lead the transformation of HP through the separation of Agilent and acquisition of Compaq; interesting insights about former HP CEOs and VPs, the (incapable) board, and her view of HP culture; Penguin, 2006

Louis V. Gerstner Jr., Wer sagt, Elefanten können nicht tanzen? Der Wiederaufstieg von IBM; a personal story of a company stuck in the mainframe past, and its change to a services and software company; contemplations on leadership and company culture; DVA, 2002

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

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 principles of planning, waste, priorities, and feedback / happiness; Crown Business, 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

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

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

Mark Benioff, Behind the Cloud; the untold story of how 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Biddulph, Das Geheimnis glücklicher Kinder; negative childhood programming, necessities of praise, attention and approval, healing through active listening; TaschenBuchBeust, 1988

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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