Last week we talked about the importance of “sharpening your axe”. I consider reading to be one of the best means of self-development and improvement.
Although I do not always get to complete my annual goal of 20 non-fiction books, I try. So over the years my physical and virtual bookshelves got rather heavy. Today I want to share with you my Top Five books that made me a better manager (or at least that’s what I like to tell myself). I strongly believe that project management is not about processes, fancy PM practices or methodologies. It is about people. How to negotiate with, persuade, motivate and manage people. If you can manage people – you can manage your projects. The following books will give amazing tools to do just that.
#1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
This is one of my favorite books on the topic of psychology. In his book Robert explores six patterns of behaviour that would make people agree and comply with your ideas: consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity. It is a logical and more scientific extension of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (which you read, right?).
“…persons who go through a great deal of trouble or pain to attain something tend to value it more highly than persons who attain the same thing with a minimum of effort.”
#2. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco, Timothy Lister
While originally aimed at the development teams, this book will still be of great value for any manager. It talks about the importance of well-organized workspace, hidden costs of bureaucracy, secrets of building well-knit teams and much more.
“…we don’t work overtime so much to get the work done on time as to shield ourselves from blame when the work inevitably doesn’t get done on time.”
#3. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath
The Heath brothers make a case that if you want things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team. They provide detailed and clear instructions on how to make a switch happen: Direct the Rider (rational side), Motivate the Elephant (emotional side), Shape the Path.
“Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something.”
#4. Start with No: The Negotiating Tools That the Pros Don’t Want You To Know by Jim Camp
Forget everything that you know about negotiations. Forget about Win-Win. It is a feel-good mantra that has nothing to do with reality. Jim Camp’s book teaches you how to ignore emotions and focus on activities and behaviour that you can control. It teaches you how to ask the correct questions, get to love “no” and to make no assumptions.
“What would you like me to do?”
#5. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
A brilliant book about human behaviour. If you want to manage people – you need to learn what drives them. Dan will take you on a journey to the irrational side of human’s nature. Some of the practical lessons you will get from this book include team motivation, managing deadlines, social and market approaches, and much more.
“There are many examples to show that people will work more for a cause than for cash.”
Do you have any favorite books on management? Please share in the comments section!