Best Project Manager Books: You Are Your Main Project

As a project manager, it’s literal in your job description to keep growing and improving. If you want the best for your business, then you’ll have to keep up to date. However, it can be challenging to sit down and browse the thousands of books on online libraries and find one that’s worth the read.

You may not be attending school due to either being employed full-time or busy with everyday life. If you’re like me, you most likely don’t have the time or the finances to attend seminars and training to help improve your skills. So, why not learn at a pace that’s comfortable for you?

I’ve done most of the research for you and have come up with a handful of project manager books that can help enhance your skills. These resources provide up to date methods and techniques for project management.

The only advice I can give is to select the books based on your experience level. Project management books range from beginner to professional level. Some team building techniques may be too advanced for those who haven’t mastered the basics.

Beginner project manager books tend to focus on necessary skills and are suitable for those still in school or training. The intermediate books are perfect for those who have some experience and are looking to improve their skills.

Advanced project management and leadership books are suitable for those who have been in the industry for a while. And lastly, the industry-specific books get into techniques for business owners.

Best Project Manager Books

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

[From "The Everything Store", written by Brad Stone] “An influential computer scientist makes the counterintuitive argument that small groups of engineers are more effective than larger ones at handling complex software projects. The book lays out the theory behind Amazon’s two pizza teams,” Stone writes.
Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

When asked what books she would recommend to youngsters interested in her professional path, Kimberly mentioned Designing Brand Identity.
Kimberly Gloria Choi
Founder/Marchbaby Collective
Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Perhaps Managing Humans by Michael Lopp would be the most practical - it's a great read, and for people making the leap from developer to manager, it's full of useful advice.
Dave Child
Founder/Readable & ApolloPad
Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

I’m a technical guy. I studied the IT field and did software development for a long time until I discovered the business world. So the path for me is to slowly adapt from the clear, technical world, to the fuzzy, way more complex, business world. All the books that I recommend help this transition.


“Succeeding with Agile” - Mike Cohn: for approaching the process involved into building a product in an organized manner.

Nicolae Andronic
Founder/Echoz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

I read this book at a time when Udemy was rapidly growing—over the 18 months where we went from 30 to 200 people. It was helpful to read about Horowitz's challenges, worries, and triumphs when addressing the same types of issues at a similar stage of growth. There are so many big decisions you need to make where there's just no clear-cut, right or wrong answer. There are a lot of gray areas. You gather information from your team, but the hard decisions rest with you. This book helped me realize that while I needed to carefully and objectively consider feedback, I was responsible for making a decision in the end—even when it was an unpopular one.

Dennis Yang
CEO/Udemy
The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want

The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want

Mike is the former editor-in-chief of Lifehack.org — an experience that transformed him into a incisive commentator on what works and what doesn’t in the world of productivity. His new book takes a surprisingly nuanced look at what it (really) takes to get important projects from conception to completion.
Cal Newport
Author
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This book taught me a valuable lesson about focusing on what’s most important and saying no to everything else. This approach freed up my time dramatically; suddenly focusing on sales and strategy was something I did, not something I wanted to do. If you’ve ever found yourself stretched too thin, feel simultaneously overworked and underutilised, or, and this one was a biggie for me, feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas, then Essentialism is the game changer you’ve been looking for. This book changed my life and the business.
Heather Baker
CEO/TopLine Comms
Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

This book is amazing—it didn't change my mind, so much as it has changed the way I think. It helps to understand the difference between the way you make quick decisions, versus considered decisions—it takes different mechanisms in the brain. Understanding which you're doing at any given time can have a profound impact on what you ultimately decide.

John Lilly
Partner/Greylock Partners
Man's Search for Meaning - The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust

Man’s Search for Meaning – The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust

Frankl is one of the most profound modern thinkers on meaning and purpose. His contribution was to change the question from the vague philosophy of “What is the meaning of life?” to man being asked and forced to answer with his actions. He looks at how we find purpose by dedicating ourselves to a cause, learning to love and finding a meaning to our suffering. His other two books on the topic, Will To Meaning and Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning have gems in them as well.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup

There are quite a few good business books on technology, and I'll list below some I find to be a good starting point. Personally, I like biographies a lot and I mostly read biographies of dead people, because those are the most honest ones. So because the computer age is still very young, there won't be a lot of biographies in my list.
Bogdan Iordache
Co-Founder/How to Web