ASQ - Government Division


Content Editor for this page: Howard Schussler

As public sector Quality and Organizational Excellence practitioners we recognize the difficulty in finding books and other resources related to our unique needs.  We have attempted to compile a resource list with the public sector in mind. The Government Division earns a small stipend from books purchased directly from by following the links on this page.  Thanks for supporting the Division.

A few times each year we will post a list of favorite or recommended books from some of our volunteers at the end of the bookstore listings. 


Suggestions from Dale Weeks
* Top 10 – 12 Current Personal Priority Recommendations

No Easy Victories
John Gardner

1968, Harper and Row
Out of Print – Used

On Leadership
John Gardner
Gardner asserts that the most critical problem challenging the U. S. today is its lack of leadership. He proposes and supports with excellent illustrations his theories on leadership that go beyond charisma to heightened motivation, trust, confidence, and shared values on the part of those in charge and their followers. Giving historically significant examples of leaders, Gardner shows the tremendous amount of energy, talent, and dormant enthusiasm that can be mobilized by effective leaders in all levels of society.
1990, Harper and Row. 

The Effective Executive
Peter F. Drucker

The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to "get the right things done." This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.  Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned.
1996/2002, Harper – Collins

John Kenneth Galbraith, His Life, His Politics, His Economics
Richard Parker

Parker shows how Galbraith's irreverent views were shaped by the Depression, which helped turn him into a passionate advocate of Keynesian economics, the philosophy that inspired FDR's New Deal. Galbraith later became one of the architects of the expansion of federal social services after World War II. Because of his influence in successive administrations, readers get a fascinating fly-on-the-wall picture of debates and intrigue inside the White House during many of the major crises of the Cold War.
2005, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux  

The World is Flat
Thomas L. Friedman
Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim in The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn't going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman's breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists--the optimistic ones at least--are inevitably prey to.
2005, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Leadership From the Inside Out – Becoming A Leader for Life
Kevin Cashman

Leadership from the Inside Out is an interactive,reflective journey into the heart of authentic,personal leadership. It gives you the practical tools to grow as a whole person to become a leader for life. Leadership from the Inside Out was named the #1 best selling business book by CEO-READ in 2000.
Executive Excellence Publishing

Authentic Leadership:  Recovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value
Bill George
In Authentic Leadership Bill George makes the case that we do need new leaders, not just new laws, to bring us out of the current corporate crisis. He persuasively demonstrates that authentic leaders of mission-driven companies will create far greater shareholder value than financially oriented companies. During George's twelve-year leadership at Medtronic, the company's market capitalization soared from $1.1 billion to $460 billion, averaging 350er year.
2003, Josey-Bass

Good to Great
Jim Collins
Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last, concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets.
2001, Harper Collins Publishers    

The Baldrige User’s Guide
John Latham and John Vinyard
Whether diagnosing the existing organization, designing or redesigning systems or leading the transformation, this practical guide has the tools and advice that readers will need to build a high performing organization. The second edition delves into the latest advances in the Baldrige process, which helps drive organizations to be more competitive and achieve performance excellence. Authors Latham and Vinyard strike a balance between theoretical and practical approaches, emphasizing the impact of the leader’s role in determining healthy directions for a changing organization.
2005, John Wiley and Sons

The Boundaryless Organization:  Breaking the Chains of Organizational Structure
Ron Ashkenas, Dave Ulrich, Todd Jick, Steve Kerr
Most solutions being recommended today for improving corporate performance prescribe reducing hierarchy by changing organizational structure, altering boundaries, and overcoming barriers within the organization. The authors go much further, calling for a "boundaryless organization," and they consider much more than the traditional and the obvious boundaries that exist within organizations.
2002, Josey-Bass

Business Process Management:  The Third Wave – The Breakthrough that Redefines Competitive Advantage for the Next Fifty Years
Howard Smith and Peter Fingar
Corporate re-engineering was a hot trend in the early 1990s, when businesses started streamlining to save money and "downsizing" came into vogue. Now it's economic uncertainty all over again, and managers are looking to shave costs while still dominating their sectors-and Smith and Fingar want to give them the management tools to achieve that. The authors, both IT experts, insist their management theory and practice will guide business leaders through the next 50 years.
2003, Meghan-Kiffer Press

Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done
Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
Disciplines like strategy, leadership development, and innovation are the sexier aspects of being at the helm of a successful business; actually getting things done never seems quite as glamorous. But as Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan demonstrate in Execution, the ultimate difference between a company and its competitor is, in fact, the ability to execute.
2002, Crown Business

Public Sector Selections

Confessions of a Civil Servant: Lessons in Changing America's Government and Military
Bob Stone

Confessions of a Civil Servant is filled with lessons on leading change in government and the military. Bob Stone based the book on thirty years as a revolutionary in government. This book takes fourteen overarching themes in government, developed through entertaining stories of Stone's experiences as a civil servant. This book is a must-read for anyone who has, or is considering taking, a leadership position in government, the military, or any large organization, either public or private.
2002.  193 pages. ISBN 0-7425-2764-6. 6 x 9 Hardcover

Managing Performance in the Public Sector
Hans de Bruijn

This title responds to the growing importance of performance measurement within political and administrative agendas. It looks at the effects of performance measurement on organizations, its risks and limitations and proposes new and positive ways in which measuring performance can be used. This is an excellent addition to the subject area, which is becoming more and more widely taught on management and administration courses worldwide.
2003. Jossey-Bass.

The Reinventor's Fieldbook: Tools for Transforming Your Government
Osborne, David and Plastrik, Peter
Presenting more than 70 tools, The Reinventor's Fieldbook includes hundreds of practical 'lessons learned,' 'do's and don'ts,' 'steps to take,' and 'pitfalls to avoid' in public management and governance. Based on dozens of case studies from five countries, it covers the waterfront of high-performance public organizations, including: customer choice and customer service standards, performance measurement, and performance budgeting; employee empowerment and labor-management partnerships; managed competition and asset privatization; partnerships with communities; culture change strategies; and administrative system reform.
2000.  704 pages. ISBN 0-7879-4332-0.
8 x 9 Softcover

Sustaining Innovation: Creating Nonprofit and Government Organizations That Innovate Naturally
Paul C. Light

Any organization can innovate once. The challenge is to make innovation a part of daily good practice. This book shows how nonprofit and government organizations can transform the single, occasional act of innovating into an everyday occurrence by forging a culture of natural innovation. Filled with real success stories and practical lessons learned from 26 nonprofit and government organizations, Sustaining Innovation offers examples of how managers and employees can take the first step toward innovation, advice on how to survive the inevitable mistakes along the way, and tools for keeping the edge once the journey is complete.
1998. 299 pages. ISBN 0-7879-4098-4
6X9 hardcover. Also features three appendices.

A Nation Reconstructed: A Quest for the Cities That Can Be
Roger D. Hart and Sheryl L. Cooley, editors

Anyone seeking solutions to the massive urban problems in the United States will find ideas generated by professionals that can lead to a quality orientation in urban renewal.
1997. 306 pages. ISBN 0-87389-409-X.
6X9 hardcover. Contains 40 photographs.

Quality Management for Government: A guide to Federal, State, and Local Implementation
V. Daniel Hunt

The principles and methods for implementing a total quality management (TQM) system in all levels of government are introduced in this best-selling book.
1993. 384 pages. ISBN 0-87389-239-9.
6X9 hardcover. Includes 3 appendices.

The Process Analysis Workbook for Government: How to Achieve More with Less
Gerard Bruno
Designed to identify and eliminate waste and errors in a paperwork-intensive environment, this manual will help local, state, and federal organizations maximize the use of current or reduced resources.
1995. 219 pages. ISBN 0-87389-259-3.
8-1/2X11 softcover.

Measuring Up: Governing's Guide to Performance Measurement for Geniuses & Other Public Managers
Jonathan Walters

A hands-on, user-friendly, somewhat irreverent guide to the management technique known as performance measurement for federal, state, and local government public managers.

Community and the Politics of Place
Daniel Kemmis
1992. ISBN 0806124776.
8-1/2X5-1/2 softcover.

Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement
John M. Bryson
Since John Bryson's widely acclaimed Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations was first published in 1988, it has be reprinted nine times and has become the standard book in the field. This thoroughly revised edition sets the pace and combines information on leadership, strategic planning, and tools that can help leaders and followers enhance organizational achievement.
1995. 348 pages. ISBN 0787901415.

Catalytic Leadership: Strategies for an Interconnected World
Jeffrey S. Luke
The changing role of the public sector leader. From controller to catalyst.
1997. 240 pages. ISBN 0787909173.
9-1/4X6-1/4. Hardcover.

Creating High-Performance Government Organizations: A Practical Guide for Public Managers
Mark G. Popovich and Jack A. Brizius (Editors)
Creating High-Performance Government Organizations presents practical advice and tools that managers and innovators at every level of government can use in molding their organizations into results oriented, mission-driven operations. Developed by a top notch writing team under the auspices of the Alliance for Redesigning Government, these recommendations are rooted in the authors' years of experience in the public and private sectors, and in thorough research into the theory and practice of organizational transformation.
1998. 224 pages. ISBN 0787941026.

Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector
David Osborne and Ted Gaebler
A revolution is stirring in America. People are increasingly dissatisfied with the way government works. This New York Times bestseller is both a call to arms against bureaucratic malaise and a guide for those who want to build something better. Using case studies from around the country, the authors lay out a road map for entrepreneurial government which applies results-oriented philosophies to public policy.
1993. 405 pages. ISBN 0452269423.

Budget and Control: Reforming the Public Sector in Latin America
Umberto Petrei
Based on two decades of reform experience in the leading countries in the field of budgetary preparation, evaluation, and control, as well as case studies of six Latin American countries, this study takes an in-depth look at the most appropriate institutional arrangements required for the countries of the region to improve their budget and control systems. The analysis addresses two important areas of economic theory, public finance, and collective decision-making. Budget officials and policymakers who must make government implemented programs more consistent with the will of the electorate will find this a valuable tool.
1993. 456 pages. ISBN 1886938415.

Improving Government Performance: An Owners Manual
John J. Dilulio, Gerald Garvey, and Donald F. Kettl
1993. ISBN 0815718551.

Benchmarking for Best Practices in the Public Sector: Achieving Performance Breakthroughs in Federal, State, and Local Agencies
Patricia Keehley (Editor), Steven Medlin, Laura Longmire, Patricia Keehley, and Sue A. MacBride
Benchmarking for Best Practices in the Public Sector is a unique, practical guide that shows public officials and administrators at all levels of government how to identify best practices and implement them in their organizations. The authors go beyond abstract concepts to bring benchmarking to life with real cases from federal, state, and local governments. They show how benchmarking methods have been adapted to the unique needs of the public sector and describe the tangible benefits gained by public agencies that have applied these techniques.
1996. ISBN 0787902993.

Teams in Government: A Handbook for Team-Based Organizations
Jerry W. Koehler and Joseph M. Pankowski
A guide to introducing Total Quality Management techniques into government agencies in order to shift the goal from pleasing the upper echelon of the bureaucracy to serving the public, seen as both the client receiving the service and the customer paying for it. Outlines the principles of a team-based organization and discusses types, characteristics, dynamics, leadership, formation, process improvement, and assessment.
1996. 184 pages. ISBN 1574440160.

A Nation Reconstructed: A Quest for the Cities That Can Be
Roger D. Hart and Sheryl L. Cooley, editors

Anyone seeking solutions to the massive urban problems in the United States will find ideas generated by professionals that can lead to a quality orientation in urban renewal.
1997. 306 pages. ISBN 0-87389-409-X.
6X9 hardcover. Contains 40 photographs.

Suggested General Quality Reading

The New Economics: For Industry, Government, Education
W. Edwards Deming
A clear and concise description and discussion of Deming's system of profound knowledge from the man himself.
1995. 219 pages. ISBN 0873892593.
8-1/2X11 softcover.

Fourth Generation Management: The New Business Conciousness
Brian L. Joiner & W. Edwards Deming (Designer)
An examination of the future of the "quality" movement introduces the "Joiner Triangle," a new management philosophy that defines customer quality and provides the groundwork for future corporate culture.
1995. 219 pages. ISBN 0873892593.
8-1/2X11 softcover.

Stewardship: Choosing Service over Self-Interest
Peter Block
An original and profound new view on running organizations...Block transcends all extant leadership literature with this primary source on the organizational dynamics of the future, which will soon be copied. He has heard an as-yet unknown muse and conceived the organizational strunteed to be controversial; strongly recommended.
1996. ISBN 1881052869.

The Leader's Handbook: Making Things Happen, Getting Things Done
Peter R. Scholtes
Peter Scholtes has written a book for managers that does what The Team Handbook did for teams. He explains how managers can inspire their people and manage the daily workflow for maximum productivity and includes exercises and activities at the end of each chapter to help managers start. The secret is to apply the principles of systems thinking and the work of Deming and other Quality gurus.
1998. 300 pages. ISBN 0070580286.

The Team Handbook 2nd Edition
Peter R. Scholtes
The Team Handbook has been the reference of choice for team leaders and team advisors for many years. Many call it their "team bible." Proven. Practical. Now The Team Handbook Second Edition is an even better resource for accomplishing the work of teams in your organization. The new edition of this classic takes you beyond improvement teams to work teams and the teams of today. We've kept the easy-to-use format and powerful content that led more than 800,000 users to success with teams.
1996. ISBN 1884731112.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
It's interesting to note that someone had commented that this book is for fifth graders - well if CEOs had the common sense required at fifth grade, a lot of manufacturing industries would have a goal and be productive. It's time to wake up and smell the coffee. To date very few companies have a system if you have worked in the real world!
1994. 274 pages. ISBN 0884270610.

Critical Chain
Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Very good lessons can be learned as to what delays projects in new product development and systems development/implementation. Very eye opening as to the effect of management style on projects and how pressures from top management often interfere with on-time completion.
1997. ISBN 0884271536.

The Stuff Americans Are Made of: The Seven Cultural Forces That Define Americans - A Framework for Quality, Productivity and Profitability
Joshua Hammond and James R. Morrison
ASIN 0028608291.
Out of Print – Used

Large Group Interventions: Engaging the Whole System for Rapid Change
Barbara Benedict Bunker and Billie T. Alban
Organizations today are under intense pressure from all sides. They must learn how to change rapidly in order to accommodate a turbulent environment and survive. Large Group Interventions presents a comprehensive overview of 11 different models of large group intervention, explores their similarities and differences, describes their origins, and presents the methods with vivid examples and case studies that give the reader an inside account of each intervention.
1996. 246 pages. ISBN 0787903248.

ASQ News