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Top 10 HR and Management Reads for 2022 (and 3 Classics)

Top 10 HR and Management Reads for 2022 (and 3 Classics)

HR pros want to grow in their careers, and there’s no shortage of opportunities for professional development. But there’s nothing quite like an engaging read by an industry leader to challenge and change the way you think about HR.

For a better understanding of how the industry has changed and where it’s headed, here are ten of the most highly recommended HR and management books from the past five years. As a bonus, we’ve even added three essential reads that have stood the test of time. 


Top 10 HR and Management Reads

Industry leaders and influencers can offer a fresh perspective and innovative insight, especially when they’ve worked through those ideas in a book. So, we’ll start our top 10 list with the most recent publication and work back from there.

1. Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World by Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross

In Talent, economics professor and bestselling author Tyler Cowen and serial entrepreneur and investor Daniel Gross team up to answer one of the most costly questions in any organization: who to hire?

Cowen and Gross use their collective experience and the latest research to show you how to:

—conduct effective interviews

—recognize outstanding talent in understated candidates

recruit great recruiters to help you find the best talent

This new book on recruiting just came out in May 2022, but it’s already received a lot of buzz from business leaders like Marc Andreessen and influencers like Malcolm Gladwell. 

2. Courageous Cultures by Karin Hurt and David Dye

Leadership power couple, Karin Hurt and David Dye, have decades of combined executive experience, and in Courageous Cultures, they share what they’ve learned about building a culture of “microinnovators, problem solvers, and customer advocates.”

Published in January 2022 and endorsed by Daniel Pink, this book-length toolkit will help you:

—understand why organizations struggle to create strong cultures

engage and motivate employees, using proven strategies

—cultivate a courageous culture that “sticks”

3. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, and Emily Gregory

This is such a practical read! The authors define a crucial conversation as “a discussion between two or more people in which they hold opposing opinions about a high-stakes issue and where emotions run strong.” You know, a day in the life of an HR pro!

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

—“be persuasive rather than abrasive”

—redirect a conversation when it gets out of hand or comes to a standstill

communicate across digital media in way that gets real-world results

Crucial Conversations was originally published in 2002 by the cofounders of international corporate consultancy VitalSmarts (now Crucial Learning). The book has proven to be such a perennial bestseller that a revised and updated third edition was released in October 2021.

4. The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations by Heather R. Younger

HR consultant, speaker, and author, Heather Younger has earned a reputation over the years as “The Employee Whisperer.” Why? Because she listens to them. Her latest book—published in April 2021—demonstrates the power of the listening leader.

This book outlines how you can:

—lead with consistent, caring action, not just good intentions

—inspire your employees with empathy

—change lives with actionable strategies

The Art of Caring Leadership is based on Younger’s interviews with dozens of business leaders, and June 22-24, she’s bringing that insight to Weekdays with Bernie 2022 as our keynote speaker. 

5. Redefining HR: Transforming People Teams to Drive Business Performance by Lars Schmidt

With over 20 decades of experience, Lars Schmidt is the founder of HR firm Amplify and a notable industry influencer. In Redefining HR, he wants to direct your attention to what’s changed and what lies ahead in human resources.

In this book—published in January 2021—Schmidt shows you how to:

—adapt your HR team and processes for the rapidly changing world of work

—interpret your organization’s data to identify areas of improvement and innovation

—incorporate the insights of successful firms on the cutting edge of HR

Renowned organizational psychologist Adam Grant has called Schmidt a “beacon of light” and insists that Redefining HR “may well elevate a long-marginalized field into the force for good that it deserves to be.”

6. The Essential HR Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional by Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell

The Essential HR Handbook is hands-down the most practical and comprehensive resource on this list, covering everything from compliance to compensation, recruitment to retention, and onboarding to offboarding.

The book is filled with checklists, templates, and strategies to help you:

—identify and avoid legal risks

—recruit and train a diverse workforce

—design benefits packages to compete in this labor market

In this 10th anniversary edition—published in January 2019—HR veterans Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell combine decades of experience with fresh insights on the profession. This book is essential for all experience levels and organizational sizes.

7. Belonging at Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization by Rhodes Perry

Since its publication in November 2018, Belonging at Work has become the go-to book on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In it, Rhodes Perry uses his personal experience and corporate case studies to argue that inclusivity leads to productivity.

This book will show you how to:

—build an inclusive organization that values workers

—improve accountability and authenticity in the workplace

—encourage employees to take ownership over their work

This easily accessible read will inspire early-career HR pros and motivate experienced leaders alike. If you want your employees to work as a team, it’s not enough to just call them a team. You’ve got to make them feel like they belong on your team, too.

8. The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth by Amy C. Edmondson

Our next recommendation, The Fearless Organization, has a lot in common with Belonging at Work—and not just the fact that they were published in the same month. This book focuses more on performance management than DEI initiatives.

This blueprint for building an innovative and successful organization will help you:

—recognize and confront your fear of feedback from workers

—encourage employees and management to take creative risks

—cultivate a culture where everyone feels safe to speak up, ask questions, and own their mistakes

Author Amy Edmondson—management professor at Harvard Business School—writes, “For jobs where learning or collaboration is required for success, fear is not an effective motivator.” That approach resonates even more in today’s workplace than it did in 2018.

9. Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That’s Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World by Erica Keswin

Named one of Business Insider’s most innovative career coaches, Erica Keswin believes the secret to organizational success is simple: the relationships among coworkers and between employee and manager. Copious case studies bear her theory out, too.

In Bring Your Human to Work, you’ll learn how to:

—make the most of your time where you spend most of your time: the office

—run meetings with purpose and respect your team’s valuable time

—better appreciate your workers’ roles in your organization and your organization’s role in the world

Published in September 2018, this bestseller is still highly recommended by HR influencers because its message still matters: if leaders focus on connection, then productivity, creativity, and loyalty will follow.

10. HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion by Steve Browne

Being an HR pro for over 30 years has certainly not kept Steve Browne from being one of the most innovative influencers to this day. In fact, HR on Purpose is on a mission to revive the industry—focusing on HR’s potential rather than its reputation.

This motivating read will help you:

—rediscover your passion for the profession

—address HR misconceptions head on

—develop more strategic objectives for your HR team

Reading Browne’s book—published in November 2017 by SHRM—it’s easy to see why his blog, “Everyday People,” has been so popular for so long. This self-styled “HR hippie” has no shortage of insight on how to keep on keepin’ on.

We can’t recommend these ten recent reads highly enough. But before we wrap it up, here are three enduring classics in HR and management.


3 Enduring HR and Management Classics

These final three books have stood the test of time, and personally, they’ve been foundational to the culture at many organizations, including BerniePortal.

1. Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

From the former Senior VP of Google’s People Ops team, Work Rules! is hailed as a “must-read” for HR, whether you’re new or a seasoned pro. Laszlo Bock shares his personal experience, informed by behavioral economics and human psychology.

Readers can expect unconventional lessons on how to:

—use data to predict and shape the future, rather than just trusting your gut

be transparent to and welcoming toward feedback

—give more freedom to employees than you’re comfortable with 

From the Work Rules! website comes the heart of the book: “Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken the joy in what you do.” 

2. Coaching for Improved Work Performance by Ferdinand F. Fournies

This classic from celebrated consultant, speaker, and Columbia University professor has stood the test of time. In this guide to performance management, Ferdinand Fournies shows managers how they can coach employees to perform at their best.

Lessons include how to use one-on-one interventions to:

—address absenteeism and low productivity

—resolve conflicts between coworkers

—inspire employees to meet higher expectations

Teams that prioritize one-on-one meetings establish a consistent and reliable channel for mission-critical information to get to the right places.

3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Finally, Covey’s 7 Habits has been so influential in corporate culture that the full name of the man or the book aren’t necessary for most professionals to know what you’re talking about. 

Each habit is now part of the business lexicon. For example, Covey shows you how to:

—begin with the end in mind

—put first things first

—seek first to understand, then to be understood

This bestseller since 1989 has been so important that it’s required reading at many organizations, including BerniePortal. It’s the right book for setting the right tone from Day One. 

Speaking of Covey’s advice, all of the books on this list will help HR pros and managers “sharpen the saw,” improving your effectiveness and growing your career.


Additional Resources

For more HR and management book recommendations, check out 5 Essential Books for HR Professionals in 2021 and 5 Books Every Manager Should Read

You can stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics
  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics

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