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.

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

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

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 priciples 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

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

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 bureocracy, 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

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

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 relationsship, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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