Wisembly Tips: Books for Managers in 2017

featured image books

2017 is here, and with it the chance of a fresh start and opportunity to grow. As they say: new year, new you. We’ve rounded up our essential reading list on a range of topics from leadership to communication to help you develop and grow as a manager.


effective executive

The Effective Executive
by Peter F. Drucker

In a world where we’re increasingly time-poor, Drucker’s 2007 book The Effective Executive has perhaps never been more relevant. His no-nonsense style cuts straight through the fluff and gets you analysing how you spend your time before giving you practical strategies on how to make more effective use of it.



Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (Second Edition)
by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

If you’re managing a technical team then this book is for you. It highlights perhaps one of the most important part of being a successful manager in a creative process: being able to put trust in your team and focusing on people over deadlines. This book is almost 20 years old, but the principles covered in this ring as true as ever. A real classic!


shoe dog book cover

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
by Phil Knight

It’s easy to think that the road to success is straight and paved, but this memoir by one of Nike’s co-founder Phil Knight shows that it meanders, takes the wrong turn and often is nothing more than a dirt track. It’s a truly honest account of Nike’s rise to the top of the shoe game and what it really takes to be a leader, and featured on Bill Gates’ Favourite Books of 2016 list.


myth of strong leader

The Myth of the Strong Leader: Political Leadership in the Modern Age
by Archie Brown.

An exploration into different types of political leadership, from Reagan to Thatcher to Hitler. While not strictly business, this book highlights the huge difference between good leaders and destructive leaders by pointing out qualities which are seen as indicative of strong leadership but can have disastrous consequences. A great book for self-reflection.


four steps epiphany

The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win
by Steve Blank

The premise of this books starts off with is that startups are not simply small versions of large companies, and should be looking to find new business models. But how do you go about doing that? Credited as as having launched the Lean Startup revolution, this book gives practical strategies and examples to help you uncover flaws in your business plan and develop your product through rapid iteration and feedback cycles. A must-read.


innovator's dilemma

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business
by Clayton M. Christensen

What makes some companies ‘disruptive’? Insightful look into why big businesses often fall behind when it comes to innovation by pursuing bigger and better (evolution) over different (revolution).




Wonderland: How Play Made The Modern World
by Steven Johnson

Innovation can’t be forced, but how can we create a culture that’s open to it? Steven Johnson explores innovations in different industries including tech and fashion, and how they were originally thought of as ‘play things’. A few historical inaccuracies / questionable fact-checking, but an altogether thought-provoking and interesting read!


on writing well

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
by William Zinsser

Make your emails shorter, clearer and more likely to get a response by following the tips in this book. Part anecdotal, part how-to, Zinsser explains the principles clearly (I think I see a pattern here!) before going on to give written examples. Time to cut that word count!



deep work

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
by Cal Newport

Being busy is so 2015. Getting more done and having time to spare is in. Deep Work is all about giving you real strategies that help you form habits to get you being more productive, more often (and not just when nearing a deadline).



talent overrated

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else
by Geoff Colvin

Forget about natural talent, being the best is all about practice, practice, practice. Learn how to achieve greatness and outperform even your most talented peers through ‘Deliberate Practice’ with this critically acclaimed international bestseller.

Self improvement


daily stoic

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

Not so much a book as a daily dose of wisdom. Keep this book on your nightstand and take a step each day to a better, calmer and happier version of you.

So, what books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?


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