According to the Council for Excellence in management and leadership, only one in five managers is qualified in management. At a time when management tasks are increasingly performed by people who are not professional managers, there is a greater need than ever for good quality people management advice.

Unfortunately, there is so much on offer (online, in books, courses, magazines, from gurus and advisors) it means that it is hard to identify the most relevant and select the best.

Take books. How many times have you tried to buy a book on people management and found you couldn’t choose, or ended up disappointed? When I talk to managers and CMI members, the same story emerges: there is simply too much choice. So how can you identify the books that will actually add value?

CMI’s book of the year

This year, the Chartered Management Institute’s Management Book of the Year was awarded to Richard Newton for The Management Book. Focusing on the people side of management, The Management Book identifies that there are still many businesses where managers, even at a senior level, don’t know the best way to manage and get the most out of their staff. It offers advice on issues like how best to control and meet the evolving expectations of the team, which is a big issue for many managers. With nuggets of ‘management gold’ including: “uniform treatment is not effective or efficient”; “the cost of not making a decision is often higher than the cost of making the wrong decision”; and “your behaviour must be consistent with the vision”, it is an accessible and highly practical read.

Need for change in management

The Chartered Management Institute‘s recent ‘The Quality of Working Life 2012’ survey found that the predominant management styles last year were bureaucratic, authoritarian and reactive, all styles that have a negative impact on motivation, well-being and productivity levels. If we are to support the UK’s economic recovery, there is a real need for change.

The Management Book speaks directly to this issue. Richard Newton believes that if managers can master basic skills and overcome common issues, then business can focus on growth and is far more likely to be effective in doing so.

My fellow judge, and former chief executive and chairman of IBM (UK) Sir Anthony Cleaver, agrees, stating:I thoroughly recommend The Management Book by Richard Newton.  It’s now 43 years since I became a manager but I can still remember the anxiety of constantly encountering new situations. Richard’s book provides the perfect guide for anyone, regardless of seniority or experience, to consider the essential people management skills required to become a successful leader.

“It really is the kind of book that I wish I had had access to when I was starting my career.”

Other great management books

Richard’s book is of course not alone in its excellence. We reviewed some practical and valuable content from a range of high quality submissions this year and The Management Book of the Year category winners as follows:



Management & Leadership Textbook category

Managing Equality and Diversity: Theory and Practice
by Savita Kumra and Simonetta Manfredi.
Published by Oxford University Press
Image via Oxford Brooks University




Innovation & Entrepreneurship category

Winning at Innovation: The A-F Model
by Fernando Trías de Bes and Philip Kotler
Published by Palgrave Macmillan
Image via




The New Manager category

The Leadership Skills Handbook: 50 Essential Skills You Need to be a Leader
by Jo Owen
Published by Kogan Page
Image via




The Commuter’s Read category

The Strategy Book: How to Think and Act Strategically to Deliver Outstanding Results
by Max Mckeown
Published by Pearson
Image via



It may be true that there are too many management books out there, and it is certainly the case that for many time-poor managers it is simply not practical to trawl through them in order to find the nuggets of management gold. But if you can let someone else do the hard work, there are some genuinely excellent books available that can really make a difference and potentially add value to your business.

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Want to win a copy of one of the five finalist books in CMI’s Management Book of the Year competition? To enter, email with your name, mailing address, top management tip, and your book of choice.

Written by Cary Cooper

Cary is Pro Vice Chancellor for External Relations & Distinguished Prof of Organizational Psychology & Health, Lancaster University, UK. Chair of the Academy of Social Sciences, past President of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy, President of RELATE.

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