Management Book of the Year: The Review

12 February 2018 -

ManagerthinkingThis is the book the CMI’s esteemed panel of judges say all managers should read this year

Gabrielle Lane

Some could be forgiven for thinking a business book produced by the Harvard Business Review was an uninspired choice for CMI’s Management Book of the Year 2018. The publishing house is of course known for its insight and connections – and on receipt of the £5,000 winner’s prize, promptly gifted it to charity.

Others might think that the Manager’s Handbook: The 17 skills leaders need to stand out is aimed exclusively at a junior audience. You’d be wrong on both counts.

While the title did win in the New Manager category, more experienced leaders need it on their bookshelves too. “What made the winning book in the New Manager category stand out for the judges is that it has plenty to teach everyone,” said Madeleine Harvey from Pentland brands, who presented the award.


Take for example the chapter on fostering creativity, which is full of techniques like quickfire ‘catchball’ rounds and mind-mapping with your team: there’s advice for managing negativity – the ‘can’t do’ perspectives in your organisation. It involves asking the other person who generated the initial idea to explain the benefits; asking the objector directly for their ideas; connecting the attractive parts of a disputed idea with the objector’s ideas; and moving the conversation on in deadlock situations.

The judge’s described the book as ‘timeless’ but its real strength is in how applicable it is to the workforce of 2018. In ‘Managing Teams’ a whole section is dedicated to managing cross-cultural workforces. Tip: Challenge the difference directly, but avoid becoming the ‘manager in the middle’ who is so bogged down with conflict resolution that the project veers off schedule. Another looks at remote-working. While other contemporary issues tackled include ethical business and work-life balance.


If you’ve previously avoided management books fearing psychobabble, this is where Harvard Business Review excels. Short paragraphs, case studies (many drawn from the ever-innovative world of tech) and easy-to-follow step-by-step guides mean there’s plenty to gain from reading this.

Click here for more details on all winners from CMI Management Book of the Year 2018.

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