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Our Top 10 Books on Managing Change

We asked the team at the Change Lab to share their favourite books on Change Management. From change guru John Kotter to those leading on digital transformation, here are the top 10 books on managing change that have shaped our thinking on change and inspired us on our journey so far. Enjoy!


1. The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organisations

John Kotter and Dan Cohen (2012)

Change exceeds just the structural and operational environment and to really enable change within your business, you need to change people’s behaviour. In this book, Kotter and Cohen explain the see-feel-change dynamic, which they argue is crucial for successful and sustainable business transformation.

2. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies


James Collins and Jerry Porras (2004)

Drawing upon half a decade's research, the authors set out to uncover the key differences between great and truly exceptional companies. The result? Vision and purpose, defined within a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, are crucial in driving change. FIlled with specific examples and practical concepts, Built to Last is a master blueprint for building organisations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.

3. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Change Management

Harvard Business Review (2011)

Although many articles on change have appeared in the HRB, the most compelling of them all can be digested in this anthology to help leaders spearhead change in their organisation.

4. Leading Digital

George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee (2015)

This book is packed with insight. It illustrates how large companies in traditional industries - from finance to manufacturing  and even pharmaceuticals - are advancing their digital capabilities to gain strategic advantage. Using survey data from hundreds of global corporates, any leader reading the book would be hard pressed not to begin embracing digital change.

5. The Essential Drucker

Peter Drucker (2003)

This wide-ranging book is a collection of Peter Drucker's best work.  It provides vast insight in understanding how management practices and principles affect the performance of organisations, individuals and society at large. He connects these themes with his clear-sighted and far-reaching style to create a work which contains his strongest writings in one volume. The Essential Drucker is an invaluable compilation of management essentials from the father of modern management himself.

6. Leading Change

John Kotter (2012)

The eight-step process that Kotter provides for managing change has become the foundation for leaders and organisations all over the world. If you are a leader or manager tasked with making change initiatives work, then this your go-to practical resource.

7. Change-Friendly Leadership: How to Transform Good Intentions into Great Performance

Rodger Duncan and Stephen Covey (2012)

This book illustrates the importance of humanness, approachability and friendliness in leaders which make change successful. In our experience working with leaders to drive change, these characteristics have without a doubt proven as key success factors. A great read for senior managers and leaders.

8. Organisational Culture Change: Unleashing your Organisation’s Potential in Circles of 10

Marcella Bremer and Marcel Lamers (2012)

If this book had a cheer, it would be ‘Be the change and Lead the way’. Change consultant Marcella Bremer, developed a highly pragmatic 21st Century approach to organisational culture, change and leadership which is a must read if you are preparing to roll-out a large-scale change.

9. Changemaking: Tactics and resources for managing organisational change

Richard Bevan (2011)

A strong intention for change is a driving force so critical to getting change off the ground that it cannot be underestimated. Yet, this drive can override the structure and detail required for its implementation to be a success. In this book, Bevan provides a few useful steps that can be followed to ‘stay on course’ for both small and large scale change initiatives.

10. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Chip Heath and Dan Heath (2010)

There are two different systems that compete to rule our mind, one is rational and the other is emotional. In this book, the authors show how dramatic results can be achieved by uniting both these minds because the tension that exists between them can equate to a change effort failing.