In this blog post, we will make a The making of a manager review. Is this book written by Julie Zhuo any good for (new) managers? and what are the main takeaways/tips?

In The making of a manager, Julie shares her transition from a designer at Facebook, to being a manager. She starts from a point where she was promoted with no management experience, to gain all that experience. And takes you along on that journey.

I saw this book get recommended by several engineering managers on social media, and I had to read it. I finished in just two days. And honestly couldn’t wait to start this The making of a manager review. Let’s dive right in!

The making of a manager review

The first chapter of The making of a manager is called “Great managers are made, not born“. And that is a great introduction that grabs the essence. Every time someone becomes a manager for the first time, you have a million things you need to learn, do, and master.

In this book, you have a great starting point on all topics related to being a manager. Julie shares her personal experiences, best practices, and how some decisions have not played out well. (and how you can prevent them of course).

Learn from Julie’s personal experience as a new manager

The thing I like the most about the making of a manager is the fact that Julie writes from her point of view as a freshly promoted manager. In most management books, you read from the perspective of a big CEO which I cannot relate to. But Julie writes about the struggles I’m currently having, making this relevant for new managers.

There are several high-quality gems spread in the chapters on the following topics:

  • What is management
  • Your first three months
  • Leading a small team
  • The art of feedback
  • Managing yourself
  • Amazing meetings
  • Hiring well
  • Making things happen
  • Leading a growing team
  • Nurturing culture
  • The journey is 1% finished.

As you can imagine it is almost impossible to get one main takeaway from all these chapters. Instead, I focussed on the top 5 tips in the book.

Top 5 tips from The making of a manager

To be honest it was pretty hard to pick “just” 5 tips from this book. In each chapter, there are several great takeaways. To tone it down, I picked the 5 that resonated the most:

The making of a manager review notes
It was hard to pick “just” 5 tips, as you can see by my tags

The top 5 tips:

  • Being a good manager is challenging, and frightening but a skill you can learn!
  • Managers get hit with imposter syndrome harder!
    • The reason is that you are usually looked to for answers, and are constantly put in situations where you are doing things you did not do before.
  • Every major disappointment for your direct reports is a failure from you to set expectations
  • Get honest with yourself
    • Spend time to know your strengths and weaknesses. Understand yourself at your best & worst.
  • Never stop talking about what is important

There are several other great tips that did not make the top 5. If you have read the book, what are some of your top tips from Julie?


In this The making of a manager review I am excited! I have the feeling this is one of those books that will stay on my desk for a long while and read a specific chapter when I am in that situation. The book lived up to the high expectations I had at the start (by the recommendation of several well-respected managers).

If you are a starting manager this is a must-read in my opinion. The only negative thing that I can think of, is that I wish I read it before I started, not 6 months in.

In this The making of a manager review I give the Making of a Manager 5/5 stars!

If you liked this book review, I recommend you to subscribe to the newsletter to get updates right in your mailbox!