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About The 7 Books Every Manager Should Read

Amit Somani, Managing Partner at Prime Venture Partners, has a popular post about the 7 timeless books that he would gift to every new manager. Below is an excerpt from the CTQ Smartcast conversation where he talks about this amazing booklist he curated.



Explaining how he came up with this collection of books, Amit says, “I have been an individual contributor and a manager and Senior Manager, what have you, right for many decades. And often people will call me and ask me for book recommendations, because I read a fair bit. And so once, something got triggered, again, perhaps through social media, whatever. I was just thinking about, oh, let me give this to this person, let me gift this to that person, etc. And I just said, what about all the books that new managers should have? And then literally, it was like an inventory of books that have had a big impact on me over the years that I wish I had when I was starting out as a manager, say 20-25 years ago. And that's how that book came about.” “Just to give a couple of examples from that list for your audience. There were two that I actually saw at Harvard Business Review that were given to me by my manager at Google. One is How to Manage Yourself. And the other is How to Manage your Manager. Those are actually articles, not even books. But yeah, I think there are books also eponymously with those titles, but I have gifted that pretty much to anyone that has ever worked for me since then. And often to even people who newly become managers saying, you know, these are good ones, but there are many others in that list.” One of the books that stands out in Amit’s list of exceptional books is High Output Management. This book really inspired him to think about how he works. “So one other classic book in that seven-book list is High Output Management by Andy Grove. I'm a big Andy Grove fan. And if you're into management, or for that matter, leadership skills, you would want to read Andy Grove. He is also often cited as the original creator and founder, not just of Intel, but this whole category of performance management. “In fact, in the modern era, companies like Google and Facebook, and others use this thing called OKRs: Objectives and Key Results, as opposed to KPIs or KRAs, which is more popular, perhaps here in India. And he is widely credited to be the creator of that. And really, I think, what High Output Management, I read it many years ago, like, a couple of decades ago, what it inspired me to think about is, the leverage that you have as a manager, is not the number of hours you work, or you put in, it's how much leverage can you get from the team? How effective can you make the team? How effective can you make your decision making? Are you spending the right time on the right kind of issues? Right? So leverage really was one of the key takeaways from that book for me. Leverage, both with respect to your time, with your calendar, with your decision making, with the people and how you're empowering the people or managing the people or holding them accountable. So, a phenomenal book that I would recommend. It's a little dated now, but I think it's one of those timeless ones, which is why I recommended it in the seven books that I would gift every manager.” Check out the booklist.


Want more? Watch the full smartcast conversation, read the shownotes/transcript, or if you prefer audio, listen on your favourite podcast platform.