Leadership & Management70

Evan's Book Reviews: Leadership & Management

Evan Leybourn

February 12, 2019


I read a lot - not all of it related to agile or business management, but enough. Below are some of the important books that have shaped my thinking (and writing). Not all of them a great (as you can see from my ranking), but they all contain some interesting ideas. This group of reviews will focus on those books that relate to leadership and management. 

This post contains Amazon affilliate links.

Management - Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

Author: Peter F. Drucker

Drucker is one of the most well known and respected management thinkers ever. Since his passing in 2005, his writing has only become more relevant. And in this age of "leadership", the art of management is often forgotten. This book is a very practical treatise on the role of the manager, emphasised through great case studies. I would recommend this book to anyone. Favourite quote: “The one man to distrust, however, is the man who never makes a mistake, never commits a blunder, never fails in what he tries to do. He is either a phony, or he stays with the safe, the tried, and the trivial.”

Buy a copy: Amazon link 

The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management

Author: Stephen Denning

From the back cover: "Organizations today face a crisis. The crisis is of long standing and its signs are widespread. Most proposals for improving management address one element of the crisis at the expense of the others. The principles described by award-winning author Stephen Denning simultaneously inspire high productivity, continuous innovation, deep job satisfaction and client delight. Denning puts forward a fundamentally different approach to management, with seven inter-locking principles of continuous innovation: focusing the entire organization on delighting clients; working in self-organizing teams; operating in client-driven iterations; delivering value to clients with each iteration; fostering radical transparency; nurturing continuous self-improvement and communicating interactively. In sum, the principles comprise a new mental model of management."

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Buy the book: Amazon link 

High Output Management 

Author: Andrew Grove

As with many management books written at the dawn of the digital age, many of the ideas have been embedded in most companies for years (e.g. the emergence of email(. However, that doesn’t detract from a great book on business management. I would recommend this to anyone in startups, technology or manufacturing organisations.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Buy the book: Amazon link 

Focused Fast and Flexible

Author: Tom O’Shea and Nick Horney

From the back cover: "Authors Nick Horney and Tom O’Shea offer you an approach developed in the course of more than fifteen years of study working with dozens of organizations and thousands of leaders. This research-based “next practice” model frames the essential drivers of organizational agility, identifies the processes that enable each driver, and clarifies the domains and potential outcomes of a serious effort to become agile."

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy the book: Amazon link 

The Great ScrumMaster

Author: Zuzi Šochová

Even if you’re not a ScrumMaster yourself, you can still benefit by reading this book. Regardless of our role, we all need leadership skills, and we all need to build good relationships within and outside of our software delivery teams. The techniques and models in this book will help you contribute more to your team, and help your team add more value to your company. – Lisa Crispin, co-author of ‘More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team’ and ‘Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams’

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy the book: Amazon link 

Turn the Ship Around

Author: David Marquet

This book is insightful and enjoyable. The concepts in here will challenge you to rethink what it means to be a leader.

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buy the book: Amazon link 

Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility

Authors: Pollyanna Pixton, Niel Nickolaisen, Todd Little, Kent J. McDonald

From the back cover: "Whether you’re leading an organization, a team, or a project, Stand Back and Deliver gives you the agile leadership tools you’ll need to achieve breakthrough levels of performance. This book brings together immediately usable frameworks and step-by-step processes that help you focus all your efforts where they matter most: delivering business value and building competitive advantage."

Evan's rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Buy the book: Amazon link 

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