Financial Data
Updated 26 Feb 2020


8 Business management books to help you run a better company

While you take some time to rejuvenate over the festive season, why not give these books on business management a read – or listen to?


22 December 2017  Share  0 comments  Print


All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

Now that you’ve secured reliable streams of income and your cash flow looks positive for the foreseeable future, it’s time to focus on improving the management of your business. It’s proven that a strong management culture leads to greater independence of employees on founders and owners – and an independent, self-managed workforce can help you move from working in your business to working on your business.

However, there are multiple aspects and challenges to implementing management principles and tactics. Focusing on particular business management elements and which staff members to work with on these management principles can be challenging to navigate.

Related: 8 Free resources for setting up business processes and systems


“The bottom line is, you are responsible for overseeing and supervising your company’s activities and employees. Besides thoroughly understanding the business, you also have to be a motivator, a leader and manager. I feel that being a manager is possibly the best job in the world, but the most complex at the same time,”–  Tammie Cagle


Tammie Cagle is a specialist in customer service, retail, administration, sales, leadership and management and is passionate about enforcing healthy and sustainable business practices, organisational behaviours – and building and supporting healthy communication within businesses.

She says while there are thousands of books on business management for you to glean for ways to run a slicker organisation – there are only a handful of books that stand the test of time. Whether you are a business owner or a manager, here are some of her highly-recommended business management books:

1. THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R Covey

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, celebrated author Stephen Covey presents an in-depth, principle-centred approach for solving personal and professional problems.

“With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step path to live with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity — the ideologies that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates,” Cagle says.

2. IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE: LESSONS FROM AMERICA’S BEST-RUN COMPANIES by Thomas Peters and Robert H Waterman

A New York Times-bestseller for years. To discover the secrets of the art of management, Peters and Waterman studied more than 43 successful American companies. The companies specialised in a number of areas: Consumer goods, high technology and services.

“What the authors discover is that regardless of how different each company may be, they share eight basic principles of management that you can use on your way to success,” Cagle says.

In the book, these principles are illustrated through anecdotes and examples based on the experiences of leaders of (arguably) some of the best-managed companies in the world.

3. STRENGTHSFINDER 2.0 by Tom Rath

“Based on a 40-year Gallup study of human strengths, author Tom Rath discusses our 34 most-common talents. He developed the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment to help people discover and describe these talents,” Cagle says.

In 2001, the initial version of Rath’s assessment was included with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths. In STRENGTHS FINDER 2.0, you’ll find ways to help identify and apply your (and others) strengths.

4. MANAGEMENT: TASKS, RESPONSIBILITIES, PRACTICES by Peter Drucker

In Peter Drucker’s own words, this book “tries to equip the manager with the understanding, the thinking, the knowledge and the skills for today’s and also tomorrow’s jobs.” It’s considered a business management classic that has been developed and tested over thirty years of teaching the art of management in universities, through executive programmes and via seminars.

“Drucker worked with managers as a consultant for large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools. He discusses the tools and techniques of successful management practice that have proven effective, and he makes them meaningful and easy to implement,” Cagle says.

Related: Setting Up a Business – Business Plan Template

5. HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie

“This 60-year-old classic illustrates how anyone can go after the prize they want, and get it,” Cagle says. It also delves into how you can take the job or task you have at hand and improve it.

“It’s a must read for managers and employees. Since its release in 1936, the book has sold more than 15 million copies and serves as Carnegie’s bestseller,” she adds. Packed with advice that has carried thousands of successful people up the ladder in their businesses and personal lives, the author’s principles endure, and might help you achieve maximum potential in the complex and competitive digital age.

If you prefer to listen to business books

Audiobooks

Not everyone's a natural-born leader or manager, but it's advisable to become one, according to Inc.com associate editor, Peter Economy. And if reading isn’t your strong suite, why not listen to some business insight instead? It’s well-known that employees who don't like their boss’s management style are more likely to quit their jobs – so if you want to catapult your company forward and maintain a talented team while you’re at it, you need to up your management game.

Here are a few popular business management audiobooks to listen to:

6. TODAY MATTERS: 12 DAILY PRACTICES TO GUARANTEE TOMORROW’S SUCCESS by John C Maxwell

Revered author and business insider, John C Maxwell believes that most people look at their days in the wrong way. “We exaggerate yesterday. We overestimate tomorrow. We underestimate today,” he says.

In his audiobook, you’ll discover why the most important day you will ever experience is today through ‘12 decisions and disciplines’. The author calls this his daily-dozen that can be learned and mastered by any person to achieve business management success.

7.THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER by Kenneth H Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

It’s revered by leading business editors as a must-read for entrepreneurs. For more than two decades, millions of managers inFortune500companies and small businesses have followed The One Minute Manager's techniques to boost their productivity, increase their job satisfaction or tap into personal prosperity. The book’se asy-to-digest one-minute-goals, one-minute-praises, and one-minute-reprimands can help you enforce management ideologies in your company. It’s claimed that by the end of listening to this book, you will know how toownany management situation.

Related: The different types of business models

8. TOYOTA KATA: MANAGING PEOPLE FOR IMPROVEMENT, ADAPTIVENESS AND SUPERIOR RESULTS by Mike Rother

Want to run a business that’s a slick as the world’s largest car company? You can do it if you instil strong management principles in your people – the Toyota way. Author, Mike Rother explains how to improve your prevailing management approach through the use of two Toyota kata management principles:

  • Improvement Kata – A repeating routine of establishing challenging target conditions, working step-by-step through obstacles, and always learning from the problems we encounter.
  • Coaching Kata – A pattern of teaching the improvement kata to employees at every level to ensure it motivates their ways of thinking and acting.

With rich detail, an abundance of real-world examples, and cohesive explanations from start to finish, these books can provide executives like you and your managers (at any level in your company) with actionable routines of thought and behaviour for improved operational management in the new year.  


If you’re looking for ways to improve how your business is managed, contact Standard Bank for an array of digital banking and transactional solutions – as well as tailored financial services. You can also bookmark BizConnectTM for essential hints and tips on how to manage your company better.

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