I read a lot - not all of it related to Agile or business management, but enough. Below are some of the important books that have shaped my thinking (and writing). Not all of them are great (as you can see from my ranking), but they all contain some interesting ideas. This group of reviews will focus on those books that relate to lean practices.
An old book, but still a must-read for any business leader interested in efficiency or process improvement. It is a very accessible book, even for readers outside the automotive industry.
While this book may be several decades old, and the Japanese miracle no longer as relevant as it once was, it is by no means out of date. This book will provide you with a practical understanding of continuous improvement and how that relates to corporate performance and leadership. I would recommend this book for beginners and anyone wanting a refresh on Kaizen
I read this book when I was first learning about lean production. At the time I found it to be a great resource to understand many of the concepts and techniques that underpin this field. As the title suggests, it is a simplified overview, and probably too simple for anyone who has more than a couple of years experience in lean production.
The concepts of planning, control, and breakthrough, as defined in "Juran Institute's Six Sigma Breakthrough and Beyond" are clear and simple guidelines for good business management. This book isn't an introduction to Six Sigma, and definitely requires a firm understanding of the core principles and practices before you open the cover. If you already do Six Sigma, I'd recommend this as further reading, if not, you could do better elsewhere.
Understanding TPS and the subsequent evolution of lean manufacturing is critical to any business leader. This work is seminal in the field and should be considered compulsory reading. I'd also recommend that anyone interested in the history of TPS also read, "The Machine that Changed the World." My only criticism of this book and the only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is that it doesn't provide a lot of depth, nor much in the way of practical advice, on lean manufacturing. Although, in the book's defense, that's not what it is trying to do.