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The Facility Manager’s Reading List: 45 Books on Buildings, Leadership, and Design

December 15, 2022

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” – Garrison Keillor

Amidst the hustle of everyday life, remember to take time for your own personal and professional development. Whether you’re in the mood to learn a new skill, find out how something works, or escape into a fascinating story, we’ve rounded up some of the best books on facilities management, buildings, and leadership.

Facilities Management Books
Healthcare Facilities Management Books
Higher Education Facilities Management Books
Urban Planning Books
Smart Building Books
Sustainability Books
Design Books
Decluttering and Minimalism Books
Leadership and Development Books
Just for Fun Books


45 Must-Read Books for Building Management Professionals

Facilities Management Books

Total Facility Management by Brian Atkin and Adrian Brooks

A comprehensive treatment of what facility management means to owners, operators, tenants, facility managers, and professional advisors. Find advice on how facilities can be better managed from a number of perspectives.

The A-Z of Facilities and Property Management by David M. Martin

This major new reference work, in an easy-to-use A-Z format, covers all aspects of facilities and property strategy, administration, and control, backed up by a wealth of practical suggestions.

The Complete Guide to Facility Management by Dan Lowry

Explains exactly what is required of a practicing facility manager in today’s built environment and teaches the four FM knowledge domains of Operations & Maintenance, Project Management, Business Finance, and Leadership.

How Buildings Learn, What Happens After They’re Built by Stewart Brand

More than any other human artifacts, buildings improve with time—if they’re allowed to. How Buildings Learn shows how to work with time rather than against it.

The Care and Keeping of Cultural Facilities by Angela Person-Harm and Judie Cooper

Facility management is a vital part of running a museum, but can involve special challenges that even knowledgeable facility managers have not encountered before. This book is for museum administrators who need to learn more about facility management and facility managers who are stepping into the museum environment for the first time.

What is Facilities Management All About? by Steven Ee

This book teaches facilities management practitioners the steps that can help them take decisive steps towards creating clarity and direction in FM.

The Facilities Management Handbook Fourth Edition by Kathy O. Roper and Richard P. Payant

This guide shares insightful overviews, case studies, and practical guidelines that pave the way for successful planning, budgeting, real estate transactions, construction, emergency preparedness, security, operations, maintenance, and more.

Mission-Critical Facilities Management For the Non-Engineer by Eric Woodell

This book includes a full, detailed training program for mission-critical facilities staff, based on a proven US Navy Nuclear Submarine training program.

The Facility Manager’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety by Brian J Gallant

A comprehensive instruction manual for understanding and complying with the major Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

Disaster Planning and Recovery: A Guide for Facility Professionals by Alan M. Levitt

The only complete, practical guide of its kind, Disaster Planning and Recovery shows facility professionals how to prepare for, cope with, and rebound from a disaster.

BIM for Facility Managers by IFMA

A practical look at extending the value of Building Information Modeling (BIM) into facility management from the world’s largest international association for professional facility managers.

Healthcare Facilities Management Books

Introduction to Healthcare Facilities Management by Skip Smith, Tim Adams, and Chad E. Beebe

This handbook orients readers to the dynamic field of healthcare facilities management with quizzes, tips, and anecdotes from seasoned healthcare facilities professionals.

Service Quality for Facilities Management in Hospitals by Low Sui Pheng and Zhu Rui

This book presents and evaluates the FM service quality standards in hospitals from the patient’s perspective, and provides recommendations on how to successfully improve FM service quality and achieve higher patient satisfaction.

Higher Education Facilities Management Books

Operational Guidelines for Educational Facilities: Maintenance by J. Thomas Becker and Theodore J. Weidner

Filled with color charts, graphs, and case studies, these guidelines assist in creating staffing levels for your institution using APPA’s Levels of Maintenance and share best management practices across a wide variety of campuses.

Planning and Managing the Campus Facilities Portfolio by William A. Daigneau

The campus and facilities of a college should be managed using the same principles as any other investment in an institution’s financial portfolio. This book addresses the totality of managing the facilities investment of an educational institution.

A Practical Guide to University and College Management: Beyond Bureaucracy by Steve Denton and Sally Brown

A highly accessible text that offers practical guidance on how to manage the day-to-day life of universities.

Urban Planning Books

The Works: Anatomy of a City by Kate Ascher

The Works takes readers down manholes and behind the scenes to explain exactly how an urban infrastructure operates.

Happy City: Transforming our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

By retrofitting cities and our own lives for happiness, we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age. The happy city can save the world―and we can all help build it.

The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel

An internationally renowned architect, urban planner, and scholar describes the major technological forces driving the future of cities.

Smart Building Books

Smart Building Systems for Architects, Owners, and Builders by James M Sinopoli

Explore the costs and benefits of smart buildings, and the basic design foundations, technology systems, and management systems encompassed within a smart building.

Smart Buildings: Technology and the Design of the Built Environment by Ron Bakker

This book explores how buildings and spaces are designed, built, used, and better understood through technology.

Internet of Things for Facility Management: Strategies of Service Optimization and Innovation by Nazly Atta

This book proposes strategies for FM services optimization and innovation, based on innovative models of IoT application and big data management within FM processes.

Sustainability Books

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance by William McDonough

Envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis. We don’t just use or reuse and recycle resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve the natural world as we live, create, and build.

Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery, 4th Edition by Charles J. Kibert

Sustainable Construction is the leading reference for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings, updated with the latest advances in the field.

Practical Guide to Energy Management for Facilities Engineers and Plant Managers by Thomas E. Mull

This new volume examines practical applications and useful examples for conserving energy and reducing energy costs in commercial, institutional, and industrial plants and facilities.

Sustainable Practice for the Facilities Manager by Sunil Shah

Understand the facilities manager’s role in incorporating sustainability into the whole life-cycle of a building – from initial briefing to final disposal.

Design Books

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

A powerful primer on how and why some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

The LEGO Architect by Tom Alphin

Learn about styles like Art Deco, Modernism, and High-Tech, and find inspiration in galleries of LEGO models.

101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick

Concise lessons in design, drawing, the creative process, and presentation—from the basics of  how to draw a line to the complexities of color theory.

The Office Interior Design Guide: An Introduction for Facility and Design Professionals by Julie K. Rayfield

Facilities professionals with little or no design experience can become knowledgeable, active partners with consultants and designers in developing efficient, flexible office spaces that work.

Mastering Autodesk Revit 2020 by Lance Kirby, Robert Yori and Marcus Kim

Packed with focused discussions, detailed exercises, and real-world examples to help you get up to speed quickly on the latest version of Autodesk Revit.

Decluttering and Minimalism Books

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes you to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Essentialism is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so you can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home or office.

Leadership and Development Books

Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson

Discover a simple, yet ground-breaking method for assessing the personalities of people you communicate with and learn how to adjust the way you speak and share information.

The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Dive into the uncharted and complex waters of finding balance between the opposing forces that pull every leader in different directions.

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse

What if a few new habits could dramatically increase your productivity, and even 5x or 10x it in key areas? Learn the secrets to extreme productivity.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Start with Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way – and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Written in a fast-paced thriller style, this gripping novel is transforming management thinking throughout the world.

Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & Flow by Dominica Degrandis

Through simple solutions that make work visible, this book helps you round up the five thieves of time and take back your life with time-saving solutions.

Developing Performance Indicators for Managing Maintenance by Terry Wireman

This book is designed to provide the key details on how to measure and improve one of the most important functions in an organization: equipment and asset management.

Just for Fun

Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures by Roma Agrawal

Star structural engineer Roma Agrawal explains how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to skyscrapers of steel that reach into the sky.

Engineering in Plain Sight: An Illustrated Field Guide to the Constructed Environment by Grady Hillhouse

A beautifully illustrated field guide with accessible explanations to nearly every part of the constructed world around us.

The Spire by William Golding

The vision that drives Dean Jocelin to construct an immense new spire above his cathedral tests the limits of all who surround him. The foundationless stone pillars shriek and the earth beneath them heaves under the structure’s weight as the Dean’s will weighs down his collapsing faith.

Pompeii: A Novel by Robert Harris

The carefree lifestyle and gorgeous weather of Pompeii belie an impending cataclysm, and only one man is worried.

Want more? Check out our resources page for dozens of other free ebooks on all things building management, including:

Facility Condition Assessment Checklist and Guide for Building Owners & Operators

Improving Compliance and Risk Management in Facilities

The Future of Facility Capital Planning

Navigating facilities management is a big challenge – especially if you’re all on your own. Working with an experienced partner like AkitaBox can automate, streamline, and simplify much of your team’s day-to-day duties. Learn more by booking a demo today!

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The Facility Manager’s Reading List: 45 Books on Buildings, Leadership, and Design

December 15, 2022
Betsy Francoeur

Betsy is AkitaBox's Content Manager. She loves to write blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, emails, and magazine articles about all things facilities management. She also enjoys traveling, running 5ks, and cuddling with her dog.

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