My Book Recommendations for First-Time (Startup) Managers

Taking on your first role as a manager is always daunting — and especially challenging in a startup environment. So many people have asked me for my recommendations for this situation, so I finally put together some thoughts!

Fortunately, there are many great books that offer practical advice and guidance for those who are looking to develop their leadership skills and grow their business. Here are six of my favorite books for new startup managers:

The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson is my favorite short, practical book for the key skills of communication for new managers. In this book, the authors present a simple and effective approach to management that is based on three key principles: setting goals, providing feedback, and showing appreciation. This book is a great resource for startup managers who want to develop their leadership skills and improve their ability to motivate and engage their team members.

Radical Candor” by Kim Scott is a valuable book for new startup managers who want to improve their communication skills. In this book, Scott presents a framework for giving feedback that is both kind and clear. She argues that the key to effective feedback is to be both candid and caring, and to avoid the pitfalls of either being overly aggressive or overly passive. This book is a valuable resource for startup managers who want to create a more open and honest work environment.


Making of a Manager” by Julie Zhuo is a great book for new startup managers who are looking to develop their management skills. In this book, Zhuo shares her experiences and insights from more than 15 years at Facebook, where she has held a range of leadership positions. She covers topics such as setting goals, giving feedback, and building a team, and provides practical advice for how to be a successful manager. This book is a valuable resource for startup managers who want to learn from the experiences of a successful leader.

High Output Management” is written by Andrew Grove, the former CEO of Intel, and offers a framework for managing and growing a business, with a focus on maximizing output and achieving high levels of productivity. The book is based on Grove’s own experiences and offers practical advice on topics such as setting goals, managing people, and leading teams.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni is a great book for new startup managers who are looking to build and develop a high-performing team. In this book, Lencioni presents a framework for understanding and overcoming the five dysfunctions that can hold teams back: absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. This book is a valuable resource for startup managers who want to create a culture of trust, collaboration, and accountability within their organization.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink is another great book for new startup managers. In this book, Pink challenges the traditional notion that incentives and rewards are the best way to motivate people. He argues that people are actually motivated by three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. By providing employees with the autonomy to do their work in the way that they think is best, helping them to develop their mastery in their field, and giving them a sense of purpose, startup managers can create a more motivated and engaged team.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier is a valuable book for new startup managers who want to develop their coaching skills. In this book, Stanier presents a framework for coaching that is based on the idea of asking powerful questions. He argues that by asking the right questions, managers can help their team members develop the skills and insights they need to be successful. This book is a valuable resource for startup managers who want to create a culture of learning and development

Overall, these books offer a range of perspectives on what it takes to be a successful manager. Whether you are new to the role or looking to improve your skills, these books can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Published by Patrick

I provide coaching to entrepreneurial leaders so they can build their businesses successfully and experience unrivaled personal growth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s