Best Project Management Books for Beginners

There are numerous types of resources available to help any project manager improve their skills, yet, a great book is one of the best resources, and there are plenty of them on the subject of project management. So, how do you decide where to begin? It is beneficial to choose books that are appropriate for your level of expertise and project management experience. And, fortunately for you, we did all of the legwork going through all the recommendations and reviews on the internet! Here is Unmudl’s recommended list of the best-selling books on project management for beginners.

Key Takeaways

There are numerous types of resources available to help any project manager improve their skills, yet, a great book is one of the best resources, and there are plenty of them on the subject of project management. So, how do you decide where to begin? It is beneficial to choose books that are appropriate for your level of expertise and project management experience. And, fortunately for you, we did all of the legwork going through all the recommendations and reviews on the internet! Here is Unmudl’s recommended list of the best-selling books on project management for beginners.

The job of a project manager is extremely difficult. You must deal with many frustrating moments, failed negotiations, overruns, and other project management challenges while ensuring that the project stays on track.

The job is even more difficult for those who have not received project management training. Accidental project managers are common in many organizations. These are people who work as project managers without any formal training. If such managers fail to effectively use all of the resources at their disposal, the job can quickly become stressful.

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To save your time, we have compiled a small list of the most renowned and effective project management authors to help you get started.

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Best project management books for beginners

Given that project management is a broad topic, purchasing a book or two on the subject and its various subsets can be a good way to become acquainted with the industry's tools and processes.

To find useful, popular, and well-recommended project management books, we read through many book reviews and consulted several discussion websites. Here are some books on project management for beginners.

Related: The Best Project Management Course for Beginners

1. Why Projects Fail

Book cover of "Why projects fail" by Tony Martyr

Nine Laws for Success (Portfolio and Project Management Collection) Kindle Edition

Author: Tony Martyr

Publication Date: May 31, 2018

Publisher: Business Expert Press

Amazon Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

We are all involved in projects at some point in our lives, if not professionally, then in our personal and community lives. Some projects fail completely, while others disappoint. 

We frequently hear about IT, construction, engineering, and personal projects that go over budget, are late, or do not meet the client's expectations; or all three. This book focuses on the nine characteristics that almost all failed projects share.

The author uses his nine laws of project design and control to guide the reader through the traps that can catch not only project managers but also project clients and other members of a project community in this easy-to-read book.

This book is not a treatise on project management theory, but rather a practical guide based on extensive experience and research into the causes of project failure, aimed at both professionals and novices.

2. Program Management

Book cover of "beginner to "expert by Terrence stone

Beginner to Expert; Unlock the Secrets of Business Communication, Team Management, and Project Management, and Become a Respected Leader and Professional Manager

Author: Terrence Stone 

Publication Date: March 26, 2017

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Get the Professionals' Recommended Guide! Today's business environment is more time-constrained and cost-conscious than ever before. As globalization continues to shrink the world, expectations rise and deadlines shorten. 

Stone's comprehensive Project Management guide lays out the best practices for successful project management and introduces you to the secrets you need to motivate any team, gain their trust and respect, and maximize productivity. 

Second best is no longer acceptable in today's world. Take advantage of the professional guide!

This guide will teach you what you need to know to take your leadership and management skills to the next level, regardless of your current experience or understanding of project management.

Related: Essential skills for Project Management - How to Deliver Better Web Presentations

3. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)

Book cover of "PMBOK Guide" by Project Management Institute 

The Standard for Project Management (ENGLISH)

Author: Project Management Institute 

Publication Date: August 1, 20214; 7th edition

Publisher: Project Management Institute 

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

To call the PMBOK a well-known book would be an understatement. This is one of the most recommended books for anyone interested in the role and is widely regarded as the definitive guide to project management principles.

The PMBOK is a comprehensive and authoritative guide that covers all of the terminologies, methodologies, knowledge areas, and other information you'll need to get started. The Project Management Institute published the book, which is required for passing the PMP exam.

The language is quite academic because the PMBOK is aimed at a certification exam. Understanding and learning from it will require you to focus and take notes. If you intend to pursue professional certification in the future, this guide is a must-have.

Related: Mastering Project Management with PMP Prep

4. Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

Book cover of "Project management for the unofficial Project manager" by Kory Kogon

A Franklin Covey Title

Author: Kory Kogon

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Publisher: BenBella Books

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Employees are routinely expected to coordinate and manage projects in today's workplace. However, chances are you aren't formally trained in project management—you're an unofficial project manager.

Franklin Covey experts Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, and James Wood recognize the importance of leadership in project completion and explain how people play an important role in the success formula.

Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager provides practical, real-world insights for effective project management and walks you through the people and project management process: Initiate, Plan, Execute, Monitor/Control, and Close.

The accessible, engaging real-life anecdotes, memorable "Project Management Proverbs," and quick reviews at the end of each chapter will benefit unofficial project managers in any arena.

This book is for you if you struggle to keep your projects organized.

Related: Can I Use Community College To Help Me Change Careers?

5. Project Management

Book cover of "Project management" by Erik Larson and Clifford Gray

The Managerial Process

Author: Erik Larson and Clifford Gray

Publication Date: January 9, 2020, 8th edition

Publisher: McGraw Hill

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Project Management, 8th edition offers a comprehensive and realistic approach to project management that integrates an organization's human aspects and culture with the tools and methods used.

It covers the concepts and skills required to propose, plan, secure resources, budget, and lead project teams to successful project completion. This text will explain not only how the management process works, but also why it works. 

It is not designed to specialize by industry type or project scope, but rather for the individual who will be required to manage a variety of projects in a variety of organizational settings. 

The 8th edition was written for a wide range of audiences, including project managers, students, analysts, and PMI members preparing for certification exams. 

The digital component, Connect, now includes improved algorithmic problems, Application-Based Activities, SmartBook 2.0, and Practice Operations, a game-based 3D operations management simulation.

6. The Handbook of Program Management

Book cover of "the handbook of Program Management" by  James T. Brown 

How to Facilitate Project Success with Optimal Program Management

Author: James T. Brown 

Publication Date: June 6, 2014; 2nd edition

Publisher: McGraw Hill

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

The ultimate guide to program management, completely updated and revised. In order to develop and sustain a culture in which the components of success are repeatable, program managers must strike a balance between operations and project implementations. 

The Handbook of Program Management is intended to assist you in doing just that. This essential guide provides you with the knowledge and tools you need to create processes that ensure the success of your project managers while also increasing the profitability of your products and services.

This new edition has been fully updated and heavily revised to assist you in incorporating new technologies and people into your processes while delivering improved products and services that consistently outpace your competition.

The Handbook of Program Management contains critical information from an authoritative source.

Also check out: Best Project Management Podcasts for Beginners

7. Project Management Absolute Beginner's Guide

Book cover of "the handbook of Program Management-Absolute beginners guide" by  Greg Horine

No experience necessary!

Author: Greg Horine

Publication Date: March 21, 2022; 5th edition

Publisher: Que Publishing

Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Even if you've never managed a project before, you can succeed as a project manager! 

This book is the quickest way to master every project management task, from initial budgeting and planning to execution, managing teams to project closure, and learning from experience. 

More front-line insights, including agile approaches, dealing with security and privacy priorities, and leading remote/virtual teams, have been added, along with the most recent Microsoft Project and PMI standards and certifications, and a special bonus chapter on preparing for the new PMP certification. 

This book will show you how to complete the task one incredibly clear and simple step at a time.

Related: Create and Manage Remote Teams

8. Strategic Project Management Made Simple

Book cover of "the "Strategic Project Management made simple" by  Terry Schmidt

Solution Tools for Leaders and Teams

Author: Terry Schmidt 

Publication Date: May 4, 2021; 2nd edition

Publisher: Wiley

Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Terry Schmidt, an accomplished management consultant, and strategy expert, now delivers a thorough and rigorous approach to understanding and implementing practical systems thinking in your organization with the newly revised and updated Strategic Project Management Made Simple. 

You'll learn about a Logical Framework Approach that you can use to solve real-world problems now and in the future.

A newly expanded section on turning ideas, problems, and opportunities into projects, new content on managing your "inner game" to achieve project excellence, and new case studies to help you learn how to pivot your business to meet changing market needs are all included in the book. 

The author also demonstrates how to create psychological safety in your teams, as well as how to create your Minimum Viable Project and produce solutions more quickly.

9. Project Management for Non-Project Managers

Book cover of "the "Project Management for non-Project Managers" by  Jack Ferraro

Author: Jack Ferraro

Publication Date: April 18, 2012

Publisher: AMACOM

Amazon Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As a manager, you may have the impression that "project teams" brought in to achieve goals and objectives affecting your department have crashed-landed from another planet, speaking a jargon-filled language all their own and referring to complex-looking graphs and charts you don't recognize. 

However, it is your responsibility to ensure that the outcomes of a project initiative benefit your department, your customers, and, ultimately, your organization. 

You may not be a certified project manager – or even have been trained in the fundamentals of project management – but failing to understand how project management works can be detrimental to your department, company, and even your career.

10. Agile Project Management: 3 Books in 1

Book cover of "the "Agile Project management" by  James Turner

The Ultimate Beginner's, Intermediate & Advanced Guide to Learn Agile Project Management Step by Step

Author: James Turner

Publication Date: April 6, 2020

Publisher: Nelly B.L. International Consulting LTD.

Amazon Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars

Here's the deal. Most people are given projects that are difficult to plan and execute. However, you are not working on those projects by yourself. You're doing it as a group, dividing responsibilities and relying on one another to complete your tasks. 

But what if one of you fails to deliver or makes a serious mistake? It happens frequently, halting a project and potentially delaying completion dates. Does this sound familiar? If it does, the information contained within this book contains the solution.

Agile project management is one of the most effective project management methodologies available today. You will learn a management system that divides large projects into smaller pieces, allowing you to complete everything with quality. Consider yourself handing in hard work ahead of time, with minimal errors and revisions.

Final Thoughts

Project management is a field that assists in the organization and management of key resources to enable the completion of a project, taking quality, timing, and cost into account.

If you are interested in this field, you could read the above excellent selection of project management books for beginners that we covered in this article.

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