The Ultimate Business Library

50 Books That Shaped Management Thinking

Stuart Crainer

Publisher: Amacom, 1997, 323 pages

ISBN: 0-8144-0395-6

Keywords: Management

Last modified: April 6, 2021, 8:13 a.m.

Thousands of business books have been published over the past century (and a few in centuries before). Have you kept up? Do you know which ones represent truly breakthrough thinking? Do you know what Parkinson's Law is? Do you know who created these landmark concepts: reengineering, discountinous change, scientific management, satisfying the customer? And who "professionalized" the profession of management?

The Ultimate Business Library can help you catch up — and enjoy it! This one-stop guide provides succint, insightful summaries of 50 books that have changed the business world — broken new ground, set new standards, or revolutionized old, entrenched concepts.

From Sun Tzu's The Art of War (500 B.C.) to Nicolo Machiavelli's The Prince (1513) to Fredrick W. Taylor's The Principle of Scientific Management (1911) to Alvin Toffler's The Third Wave (1980) to James Champy and Michael Hammer's Reengineering the Corporation (1994), this unique compendium provides a complete overview of the art of management. Some other outstanding business thinkers included are Peter Drucker, W. Edwards Deming, Tom Peters, Philip Kotler, Hemry Mintzberg, Charles Handy, and Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

The summaries are written in a crisp, lively style that helps clarify the concepts of the original works, no matter what time period they are from. In addition, Gary Hamel (an important business thinker himself, and co-author of Competing for the Future) has written a brief commentary on each book. His illuminating insights provide context to help you understand the place of each book in business history.

In addition to the "top 50," the book also includes mini-descriptions of 50 "runners-up" — other management books that have had significant impact. These include books by Charles Babbage, Edward de Bono, John Naisbitt, Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull, and Shishana Zuboff.

This is a book full of ideas — and an idea can cause a revolution. The Ultimate Business Library is the best way to get up to speed on important business ideas. It might even inspire you to create some breakthrough ideas of your own!

  • Fifty Books That Shaped Management Thinking
  1. Igor Ansoff, Corporate Strategy (1965)
  2. Chris Argyris & Donald Schon, Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective (1978)
  3. Chester Barnard, The Functions of the Executive (1938)
  4. Christopher Bartlett & Sumantra Ghoshal, Managing Across Borders (1989)
  5. Meredith Belbin, Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (1984)
  6. Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus, Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge (1985)
  7. James MacGregor Burns, Leadership (1978)
  8. Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1937)
  9. James Champy & Michael Hammer, Reengineering the Corporation (1993)
  10. Alfred Chandler, Strategy and Structure (1962)
  11. W. Edwards Deming, Out of the Crisis (1982)
  12. Peter F. Drucker, The Practice of Management (1954)
  13. Peter F. Drucker, The Age of Discontinuity (1969)
  14. Henri Fayol, General and Industrial Management (1916)
  15. Mary Parker Follett, Dynamic Administration (1941)
  16. Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1923)
  17. Michael Goold, Marcus Alexander & Andrew Campbell, Corporate-Level Strategy (1994)
  18. Gary Hamel & C. K. Prahalad, Competing for the Future (1994)
  19. Charles Handy, The Age of Unreason (1989)
  20. Frederick Herzberg, The Motivation to Work (1959)
  21. Joseph M. Juran, Planning for Quality (1988)
  22. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, The Change Masters (1983)
  23. Philip Kotler, Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control (1967)
  24. Ted Levitt, Innovation in Marketing (1962)
  25. Nicoló Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)
  26. Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise (1960)
  27. Abraham Maslow, Motivation and Personality (1954)
  28. Henry Mintzberg, The Nature of Managerial Work (1973)
  29. Henry Mintzberg, The Rise of Fall of Strategic Planning (1994)
  30. Kenichi Ohmae, The Mind of the Strategist (1982)
  31. Kenichi Ohmae, The Borderless World (1990)
  32. C. Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson's Law (1958)
  33. Richard Pascale & Anthony Athos, The Art of Japanese Management (1981)
  34. Richard Pascale, Managing on the Edge (1990)
  35. Tom Peters & Robert Waterman, In Search of Excellence (1982)
  36. Tom Peters, Liberation Management (1992)
  37. Michael Porter, Competitive Strategy (1980)
  38. Michael Porter, The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1990)
  39. Edgar H. Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership (1985)
  40. Ricardo Semler, Maverick! (1993)
  41. Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline (1990)
  42. Alfred P. Sloan, My Years with General Motors (1963)
  43. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776)
  44. Frederick W. Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (1911)
  45. Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave (1980)
  46. Robert Townsend, Up the Organization (1970)
  47. Fons Trompenaars, Riding the Waves of Culture (1993)
  48. Sun Tzu, The Art of War (500 BC)
  49. Thomas Watson Jr., A Business and its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM (1963)
  50. Max Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization (1924)


The Ultimate Business Library

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: Sept. 20, 2009, 11 p.m.

A good selection of thinkers (and some surprises). Good for the bookshelf.


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