Five business books every IT manager should read

1. First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

What I like most about this book is that it's not a pundit tooting his own horn about how smart he is and how you should do things just like he does. It is a research study of over 80,000 managers, and it reveals the common threads that many of the world's best managers share. There are lots of great insights in there.

2. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by James Collins and Jerry Porras

Here is another book that is based on research and not just narrow experiences and opinions. This one shows how companies like 3M, Disney, and Sony have been able to go beyond a single instance of success and create organizations that repeat the development of successful products over and over again.

3. The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

If you manage people, you simply need to read this classic. It's short and simple, but it does a nice job of summing up the frame of mind that a manager needs in order to be effective and respected. It's getting a little long in the tooth, and it's a tad sexist, but it's still probably the best book to start for a new manager.

4. The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done, by Peter Drucker

Of all the so-called experts who write about management, I think Peter Drucker is by far the best. There's not even a close second. This is a nice compilation of Drucker's writing, and since it is divided up into one excerpt per day, it's an easy way to digest a lot of great insights about management and leadership. This one also includes some a few nice insights about technology.

5. Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

This one is written as a fable and it's a little corny (okay, it's very corny), but the underlying principles are spot on. If you go the extra mile to treat your customers right, you will turn them into "Ravings Fans" and take a big step toward ensuring your success. Let's face it, IT departments aren't typically known for treating their customers (users) very well, so this type of approach can have a big impact in IT.

What business books do you recommend? Join the discussion.