UK managers - essential reading

Written by
Changeboard Team

24 Feb 2011

24 Feb 2011 • by Changeboard Team

Books for leaders

Innovation is vital for any business to thrive and it can be difficult to be creative if you are forced to focus on the ‘here and now’. But just ‘doing the day job’ is no longer enough. It’s for this reason that you should find ways to absorb any new information as doing so will ultimately make your job easier.

Of course, taking time out to read may be seen as a luxury for busy managers, but in fact it can provide you with a fresh way of looking at an issue, giving you the inspiration you need to be an effective leader. In tough economic times, it's more important than ever that managers take a wider view of their leadership styles and make use of the wealth of information available to them.

Coaching books are also proving popular for managers facing specific challenges. For example, Jonathan Passmore’s ‘Seasons for Change’ is a step by step guide to coping with redundancy, specifically aimed at the wave of public sector workers currently coping with the loss of their jobs. This book is available as a free download here.

Management Book of the Year

If business leaders’ activities are anything to go by, it is clear that management books can provide useful answers to many of the issues business leaders are facing. CMI’s own library facility has seen an 11 per cent increase in books being taken out in the past year.

The thirst for knowledge is at the heart of the CMI Management Book of the Year competition, which came to a climax in January this year. Having whittled down 145 books to a shortlist of 15, the category winners and overall CMI Management Book of the Year were announced at a ceremony at the British Library.

Professional development

CMI launched the competition in the hope of encouraging more of the UK’s managers and leaders to commit to reading to aid their professional development and become more effective in their role. Research by CMI has found that managers recognise its importance, with 85% of managers having read at least one management book in the last year.

However, there are more than 250,000 management titles in existence in the UK, according to the latest collection data taken from the British Library. It’s therefore understandable that, with so many management books to choose from, picking the right one to read can be a challenge.

Busy managers need to know which books are worth their investment of time and effort and the CMI Management Book of the Year competition was launched to help to bring the best management writing to current and aspiring managers.

Improve your performance

As part of its commitment to improving the performance and impact of the UK’s managers and leaders, CMI aimed for the competition to be an effective way to identify those essential texts which will help to transform their working practices. 

One such book is the overall winner of the competition - ‘Managing’ by Henry Mintzberg. The judges praised it for being positively bursting with insights into the nature of management. They highlighted that it is tremendously inspiring, encouraging readers to build on their own experience and insights.

Most importantly it was noted that the book is also clearly based on a great deal of original research, with the author having spent 29 days shadowing managers as well as following a diligent process of reading, analysis and inference. Noted as a classic, definitive management book, it was seen as a book likely to last the test of time.

Digital books

The competition also recognised the rise in popularity of digital books, awarding Richard Donkin’s ‘The Future of Work’ the top prize in the ‘Digital Management Book’ category. As well as being practical, digital books also have the benefit of enabling interaction and can provide a crossover between traditional management books and coaching books. We expect their popularity to continue to grow and especially look forward to seeing the entries in this category for next year’s competition. 

(Caption: Winner Richard Donkin discussing the future of digital books and his own work)

Management Book of the Year winners

With such inspiring and informative books available, it is advisable that HR professionals take the time to invest their energy into reading them. Full details of the short-listed entries and winning titles can be found at
Please see below for other expert views on management books and the Management Book of the Year competition

Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive, British Library
Professor Cary Cooper, Judge:
And some more thoughts from me: