People often ask what project management books and tools I can recommend.
So, rather than listing all possible solutions, I picked only one best item in each category.
(Some links below are affiliate links. It means that if you click them, I may get a small commission to support this site. It doesn’t affect the price of a product.)
Here we go…
Top Project Management Tool I Recommend
I’ve used many project management tools, and the best one is ClickUp.
There are lots of ways to use the tool:
- For personal Task Management (Free Version)
- For collaboration with your project leaders (Unlimited Plan)
- For full-blown project management (Business Plan)
If I were to start a project, I would take ClickUp as the main tool. And here are the three main reasons why:
- It’s scalable. You can start using it as a simple task tracker. But if you need extra capabilities – they are already there. Things like Gantt Chart, Time Tracking, Reports, Dashboards, integrations, etc.
- It’s affordable. You can start for free. But then the Ultimate Plan is just $5 per month. It’s hard to find a more cost-efficient app.
- It’s built around collaboration. Inside the app, you have everything you need to run a project. You can keep all documentation and communication in one tool. Nothing will slip through the cracks.
Boost Your Productivity
Try ClickUp today!
Top Auxilary Tool I Recommend to All Project Managers
Grammarly is a proofreading tool that helps you avoid embarrassing mistypes and errors. It helps you communicate clearly and up to a point. I check 100% of the texts I write in Grammarly.
I’ve been using Grammarly for five years already, and it checked 8,479,876 words of my writing.
You can start with a free account. But I strongly recommend getting a premium subscription because it has lots of powerful features. They’ll help you boost your emails, progress reports, and all written communications
Also, they have a “Proofread by Human” feature. You can send your CV or Cover Letter and eradicate all typos.
Proofread with Grammarly
Eradicate errors and write with clarity!
Top Project Management Book All PMs Must Have
It was a challenge to pick only one book on project management. After long consideration, I believe that PMBOK is still the #1 choice. Here’s why:
- Terminology. You learn common terminology that you can use for further Googling and asking correct questions. Terminology is the first step to mastering any trade.
- Big Picture of Project Management. Different books and courses will cover only a fraction of project management. PMBOK Guide describes it all.
- Project Integration. That’s the only book that shows you how to integrate a big project. For sure, you need to adapt and tailor your own approach. But it’s a great foundation.
- Ideas and Inspiration. We often work within the limits of our current environment. This book provides lots of ideas and insights no what you may try to use in your organization.
All PMs Have This Book
Start learning the world’s best practices today!
How to Read More Books and Save Time
It’s not a secret that reading books takes time. I like to read fiction slowly, imagining everything that happens with characters.
But when reading non-fiction or professional books, I want to get through as fast as possible to the nuggets of wisdom and knowledge. I want to put it into practice!
That’s why I don’t read. I listen. Here’s where it gets interesting…
I listen to a book narration at 1.5x or 2x speed. It takes a bit of concentration. But you get through a book in 2-3 hours instead of 10 spread throughout a month.
You can find an audiobook for any title in Audible.
Consume 3x More Books
Learn easier and faster. Life is too short.
The Best Book on Leadership
You already know about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, McClelland’s Three Needs Theory, and others. But how can you apply this knowledge?
The answer is:
The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential
I find this book as an excellent step-by-step guide to motivation and leadership. Little to no theory – just an action plan.
Become a Better Leader
Step-by-step action plan for leadership.
Other Tools Recommended for Project Managers
It’s a Gantt Chart centric tool suitable for small to medium projects.
It strikes a good balance between a task tracker and the features of a full life cycle project management tool.
So, you get resource leveling, planned vs actual estimates, time tracking, agile boards in addition to a simple to use Gantt Chart.
Other Books Recommended for Project Managers
PRINCE2 Study Guide
This book is like the previous one but for PRINCE 2.
It is much easier to read and comprehend than the official manual.
If you are new to PRINCE 2, I suggest you start with this one. Get one here.
Scrum and XP from the Trenches – 2nd Edition
This book should be the first familiarization step to SCRUM. It is small, it is pure “How to,” and it is quite close to best practices. Moreover, the PDF version is free. So, I say, grab it now!
Kanban and Scrum – Making the Most of Both
This book is a brief comparison of Kanban and Scrum. It shows the differences and explains the pros and cons. It has a lot of informative illustrations. It is also free.
The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management
I suggest you read this book at least twice.
First, when you just start your project management career. Just to feel the romance of our craft.
After you get two or three years of experience – read it again.
You will find a lot of useful takeaways.
I believe you will also see yourself in the novel as I did. Read it today
Bad Meetings Happen to Good People: How to Run Meetings That Are Effective, Focused, and Produce Results
A book by a fellow blogger, Leigh Espy.
Many people will judge you by your skills in leading meetings:
- Will they feel value from the meeting itself?
- Will they feel valued during the meeting?
- Can you protect the precious time together from disruptions?
- Can you achieve (meeting) goals within 15, 30, or 60 minutes?
This book is a treasure of tips and tricks that come from years of practical experience. If you want to master meetings, grab the book now.
The Magic of Thinking Big
I can not overestimate the impact this book has on my life.
As project managers, we all start small. Small projects, little responsibilities, low salary.
But it depends only on your mindset whether you will grow fast and impetuous. Or you will just take what they give. This book forced me to go from a mid-level PM to PMI PMP, Senior PM, lecturer, public speaker, and to this blog. To say nothing of a better lifestyle. Start thinking big!
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
If you think big, you need to start getting things done. Have you ever dreamed of taking control of your Inbox, for example?
This book describes a methodology to organize your work and life. It can be implemented in various with different software and technologies.
If you are serious about your productivity, it is a must. Read the book and start doing more.
Below, there are apps I recommend to use with GTD approach.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
It takes some courage to accept that among all the abundance of options, opportunities, and distractions, there are just a few that get you closer to your goal.
It takes discipline to filter out the non-essential tasks. But when you do, there will be much less stress and uncertainty.
I found that the concepts of this book work equally well for daily life and project management. If you feel overwhelmed, this book is for you. Do more by doing less.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
It is the basics. It is classical. If you are going to manage people, you must read this book.
I do not say that you need to behave as it describes, but you do need to know how people think and feel.
It is a foundation for any human resource management. It is a must-have! Buy it now
The 48 Laws of Power
If you dare to accept that you, as a project manager, manipulate people – get this book.
Carnegie assumes that all people are good. This book assumes that the world is not perfect.
There are a lot of lies and disguises. People are not good. But you need to manage them. You need to manipulate.
It is just the same as How to Win Friends and Influence People, but from a different perspective. Learn how to manipulate people for a good cause.
The Personal MBA
I believe that a project manager should understand the business to some extent. This book provides a core set of knowledge. I found this book so value-intensive that I read it three times. That says for it. Get MBA set of knowledge in one book.
The Secret of Dynamic Communication
From time to time, project managers need to make presentations. Small or big, daily or strategic, you can do it efficiently. This book describes a simple but powerful framework on how to make all your presentations and speeches exceptional. I do use it regularly. Make your next speech powerful.