On a tip from Joel Spolsky, I picked up the informative and entertaining Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager by Michael Lopp. Not that I have read many of them, but Managing Humans is probably one of the best no-bullshit books on managers, staff, and office life in general for those of us who work in the software/web/engineering/design world. I recommend it not only for people like myself who are getting their feet wet managing people, but also for people who aren’t managing anyone in order to understand what their boss (and their boss’ boss) does and thinks about all day. If you’ve ever wondered, What do those managers do all day? this is the book for you.
Lopp goes over the basics of running a team: from hiring (on resumes: “you have 30 seconds to make an impression on me”) to resigning (“Don’t give too much notice”) to dealing with difficult employees (“Get the freaks to solve their own problems”), Lopp (or his alter-ego Rands) has practical advice on how to deal with it. And not crap like “Get your team to be the best it can be!” but tactical suggestions on how to play common scenarios. like bad meetings, employee freakouts, and dealing with burnt-out staff. And he does it in a readable, funny way.
Highly Recommended (for managers especially).