Engineering Manager Essential Reads (2019)

Engineering Manager Essential Reads (2019)

“I’d like to become an engineering manager one day, what books should I read?” — Anonymous

I have three recommendations, and they’re ordered on purpose: 

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

by Camille Fournier

This is the book to start with. It’s the book I wish existed when I started my career. It starts at the individual contributor level and explains the roles and expectations all the way up there to senior tech leadership. Even for people who doubt they want to move up to management the first chapters are worth the read. My recommendation is simple: if you want to move into engineer management at any level, read this book first. 

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

by Will Larson 

Whereas “The Manager’s Path” more takes a “walking up the hierarchy” chronological approach, “An Elegant Puzzle” looks more at different challenges of the management job such as structuring organizations, cultivating the right culture, and managing people’s careers. Will Larson has been in many interesting companies at interesting times of their growth (Stripe, Uber, Digg), so a lot can be learned from his experience. 

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

by Michael Lopp

Michael Lopp, on the Internet more widely known as “rands” has been blogging on engineering management topics for a long time. Like Will Larson, Lopp has had an interesting career (Apple, Pinterest, Slack) and a great writing style. Rather than a well-structured narrative, I consider this book more of a “random grab bag” of great engineering management insight. Absolutely recommended.