This reading list on new ways of managing is taken from our books The agile Manager (small a) and Open Management, and further updated here.

The Amazon links here are paid links, you support us when you use them, so thank-you.

Most of us don’t read any more, so go here for video and other online resources.

Here’s our Vietnamese reading list Đọc sách bằng tiếng việt – Nhà Quản lý linh hoạt

These ones – one or all of them – are pretty much mandatory reading:

Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux . Amazon
This is the classic that popularised the idea of higher social consciousness in the organisation – Don’t miss the Foreword by Ken Wilber

Brave New Work, Aaron Dignan. This may be the best introductory book of all. . . Amazon

Humanocracy, Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini. A must read on work culture and better ways. Bureacracy kills work. The alternative is humanocracy . . Amazon

A Radical Enterprise, Matt K. Parker . . Amazon
Inverting the organisation to be “radically collaborative”. This might displace Brave New Work as our favourite overview.

Strategic Doing, Ed Morrison, actually explains how to get stuff done in the real world.

Corporate Rebels: Make work more fun, Joost Minnaar, Pim de Morree . . Amazon
Its eight principles are a good match to what we call Open Work.


That feeling when you spend a year writing a book because you think there aren’t enough around like it, then keep finding some quite similar. We don’t think our book is better, only (a little) different. You tell us.

You can read any or all of these books to cover the same area we do, each from a different perspective. The only one of these books that we read before we finished writing The agile Manager was Dan’s:

The Culture Game, Daniel Mezick. Dan is one of our thought leaders. These are patternsfor building learning culture, seen through a lens of game principles. . Amazon

Management 3.0, Jurgen Appelo. Another classic of agile management, from a software perspective but completely general. . . Amazon

The Leader’s Dilemma, Hope, Bunce, and Roosli. Building a new management model – comes from the “Beyond Budgeting” community. . . Amazon

Agile Management, Mike Hoogveld. This time through the continuous improvement lens, how to be fast and flexible in a VUCA world  . . . Amazon

Directing the Agile Organisation, Evan Leybourn. Takes a structural and process approach inspired by Lean principles . . . Amazon

Sooner Safer Happier, Jonathan Smart et al. It presents a humanistic view of people empowerment . Amazon

…and the following are all books about human, systems, or agility worth reading. Loosely in descending recommended order for a manager to read them.

How Complex Systems Fail, Dr Richard Cook
– a brief paper readable online, or you can find it as downloadable PDF.  Mandatory reading.

Slack, Tom DeMarco, 2000 . Amazon

No More Feedback, Carol Stanford . . Amazon

Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change, April Rinne . . Amazon

Nine Lies About Work, Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall . . Amazon

Team of Teams, Stanley McChrystal . Amazon

Beyond Command and Control, John Seddon, 2019. Read at least the first half. . . Amazon

High Output Management, Andrew Grove . Amazon

The Open Organization, Jim Whitehurst. . . Amazon

Turn the Ship Around, L David Marquet . Amazon

Organizational Culture and Leadership, Edgar H. Schein

Why Agile Works, Michael De La Maza, David Benz . Amazon

The Age of Agile, Steve Denning . Amazon

The Field Guide to Understanding ‘Human Error’, Sidney Dekker . Amazon

Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman . Amazon

Thinking in Systems, Donella Meadows

The Lean Startup, Eric Ries . Amazon

Spirit: Transformation and Development in Organisations, Harrison Owen
– available for download at

Inviting Leadership, Daniel Mezick and Mark Sheffield . Amazon

Lead Together, Brent Lowe, Susan Basterfield, Travis Marsh . Amazon

Cynefin framework, Dave Snowden
– A website not a book

Toyota Kata, Mike Rother . Amazon

Tribes, Seth Godin . Amazon

Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, Harrison Owen . Amazon

Making Work Visible, Dominica Degrandis . Amazon

The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande . Amazon

How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done, ed. Layna Fischer . Amazon

Lean Enterprise, Humble, Molesky, O’Reilly . Amazon

Out of the Crisis, J.Edwards Deming . Amazon

The New Economics, J.Edwards Deming . Amazon

The Future of Management, Gary Hamel . Amazon

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni . Amazon

The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge . Amazon

Organize for Complexity, Niels Pflaeging . Amazon

The Goal, Eli Goldratt . Amazon

Start With Why, Simon Sinek . Amazon

Antifragile, Nicholas Taleb . Amazon
(warning: I find Taleb unreadable)

Mastering the Unpredictable, Keith Swenson

Joy, Inc., Richard Sheridan

First Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Finite and Infinite Games, James P. Carse

Game On! Change is Constant, Karen Ferris

Dialogue, William Isaac

The High-Velocity Edge, Dr Steven Spear

Product Development Flow, Don Reinertsen

Freedom from Command and Control, John Seddon

Systemantics. The Systems Bible, John Gall

Response Taiji: The Standard+Case approach, Rob England