Top 25 Engineering Management Books

Did you just get promoted to engineering manager? Or maybe you want to become a more effective engineering manager?

Either way, this is a list of the top 25 engineering management books covering topics such as engineering management, leadership, hiring, project management, goal setting and more.

1 - An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

Will Larson tackles many problems in his engineering management book. From how to deal with technical debt, to sizing teams to succession planning.

You will learn how to set up a hiring funnel, create workplace policies, and the tools you need to succeed. This is a book packed with great management advice.

2 - The Manager's Path

Camille Fournier's book helps engineering managers deal with your typical day-to-day management problems: mentoring, managing people and teams, managing managers, and how to build a culture of excellence and high performance.

While the book was written from a technology company point of view, it applies to all engineering managers independent of their industry.

3 - High Output Management

Andrew Grove was CEO at Intel for more than a decade and has been called the "father" of OKRs: objectives and key results.

This book summarizes his management experiences with many lessons on goal setting, hiring, team management, and communication.

4 - Managing Humans

This book by Michael Lopp bundles decades of personal stories and lessons learned while working as an engineering manager for many tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Learn how to motivate your employees, run productive meetings, build teams from scratch, hire talented people, and how to manage your relationship with your boss.

5 - Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

Most issues in project management are human, not technical. This book by DeMarco Tom and Lister Tim teaches you how to manage productive teams and how to successfully lead projects from start to finish.

6 - The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick Lencioni uses a fable format to teach important lessons on why teams fail: the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

This is one of the best and most popular management books, and it deserves its well-earned reputation.

7 - Measure What Matters

John Doerr teaches us how great companies like Netflix and Google are using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to achieve higher performance and growth.

But it's not just executives at the top that are using OKRs. OKRs are set on all departments and management levels of a company. A great introduction to a very important topic.

As they say: what gets measured gets managed.

8 - The Harvard Business Review Manager's Handbook

This management guide by HBR helps both new and seasoned engineering managers learn the art and science of management.

Learn leadership, communication, delegation, and how to develop new talent. This is an easy-to-digest book and a welcomed introduction to management.

9 - Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

A classic management book by Peter Drucker, the most famous management consultant in the world. You will learn timeless management tools and techniques that apply to any business or organization, no matter how big or small.

10 - The Effective Executive

Another influential book by Peter Drucker, this one on how to manage your time, prioritization, and decision making.

Don't be afraid of the title, this book applies to both managers and executives. And what is an executive but a manager of managers, after all?

11 - The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

A simple and easy-to-understand introduction to management by Julie Zhuo. Learn the basic principles of hiring, leading teams, and how to provide feedback. If you are a new engineering manager, this is an excellent book to get started with.

12 - Project Management All-in-One For Dummies

A great overview of all project management methodologies (including agile), their advantages and disadvantages, and how to execute a project from the initial planning stage to the end. Don't let "Dummies" put you off. This book is packed full of value.

13 - Principles of Product Management

You might not be a product manager, but if you work as an engineering manager in a tech company, you will certainly work with one. It's important that you understand the product function and how it works.

14 - The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired

As an engineering manager, you will assemble engineering teams from scratch. That includes hiring engineers.

In this book, Lou Adler teaches his Performance-based Interviewing and Hiring method. You will learn how to create a recruitment funnel, how to spot and evaluate talent, and how to keep your engineers happy.

15 - Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager

Not all engineering managers are software managers, but for those who are, this book teaches you everything you need to know how to run an effective and productive software team.

The lessons in this book by Dr. James Stanier will be useful even for those who work in a different industry.

16 - The First-Time Manager

Another introduction to management by Jim McCormick. Contains a chapter on how to use personal development principles in your career.

Learn how to motivate, train and discipline your people. A very good introduction to the topic of management.

17 - Managing the Unmanageable

An influential book focusing on the management of tech engineers, but with advice that can apply to any industry.

Learn how to hire and onboard people, and how to manage engineers and engineering projects. Outstanding book by Ron Lichty and Mickey Mantle.

18 - First, Break All the Rules: What the world's Greatest Managers Do Differently

Gallup brings us a study of over 80,000 managers that answers the question: what distinguishes high-performing managers from mediocre ones?

Simple: they have no problem breaking the rules (aka conventional wisdom) and are extremely adaptable. A great read for engineering managers.

19 - The 48 Laws of Power

Politics exists in any organization. But can you play the political game? Are you ready for the human challenges you'll face as a leader of your team?

This book by Robert Greene lays out everything you need to know about power: how to get it, how to maintain it, and how to use it wisely.

20 - Leadership: Theory and Practice

What I like about this book is how free of fluff it is. This leadership book by Peter Northouse is based on solid scientific evidence.

If you want to become a better leader, but are put off by typical "woo woo" advice given in personal development books, then read this book.

21 - The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership

This book is a pragmatic approach to leadership for new managers. It's structured to be easy to read, without fluff or heavy theory.

22 - Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Emotional Intelligence is not just a buzzword. Street smarts or "Office smarts" is a very important variable on how successfully you will manage a team.

This book by Daniel Goleman explains the concept of emotional intelligence and how to cultivate it to achieve success in life.

23 - How to Win Friends and Influence People

Don't be put off by the title. This book has survived generations for a reason: it works. Dale Carnegie's advice will help you gain the confidence and respect of your people, even in times of crisis.

24 - Crucial Conversations

An important part of being a manager is communication. Being able to effectively persuade people with your message will help you a long way into achieving your goals.

With over 2 million copies sold, this book focuses on high-stakes situations that can make or break your career. An important book for any engineering manager.

25 - Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

This book by Kim Scott teaches you how to be a leader without being a jerk or a coward. It helps you build a cohesive team that achieves results within a culture of honesty and compassion.

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