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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

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Public Administration Books

  • Public Budgeting Systems
  • Managing Human Behavior in Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • Politics of the Administrative Process
  • The Administrative Threat (Encounter Intelligence)
  • Administrative Thinkers

Public administration is a field of study that looks at government workers and what they do on a daily basis. Those working in the field may want to find ways for government workers to act more efficiently or to make the government run better as a whole. It includes several branches like human resource management, organizational theory and policy analysis. As a college or graduate student majoring in this subject, you'll find some great books to supplement your studies.

Public Budgeting Systems

One branch of this subject is public budgeting. Public Budgeting Systems, by Robert D. Less is a great book to supplement some of the budgeting skills you learn in the classroom. The ninth edition contains updated information on budgeting issues, including the way the government sets budgets and where the money goes. Depending on the classes that you take in school, a professor may require that you use a copy of this book.

Managing Human Behavior in Public and Nonprofit Organizations

Managing Human Behavior in Public and Nonprofit Organizations, by Robert B. Denhardt is so popular in colleges today that some professors use it as a textbook in their classes. It is available in a traditional paperback version and as an e-book that you can read on your phone, tablet or computer. The book does a good job of presenting information in a clear and easy to understand way. As it uses bullet points, images, graphs, charts and headers, you'll find it easy to follow each chapter.

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Politics of the Administrative Process

Politics of the Administrative Process, by Donald F. Kettl is a book that you should read, even if your professor does not require it. This book looks at the administrative process as a whole and what each person working in and for the government today actually does. It delves into some of the issues that impact the decision making process such as the lobbyists working on Capital Hill and the deals that go on behind the scenes. The most recently updated version of the book includes new statistics and data too.

The Administrative Threat (Encounter Intelligence)

One of the more unique books you can read to supplement your classes is The Administrative Threat (Encounter Intelligence), by Philip Hamburger. Hamburger uses the book as a way to compare the government in modern America with the feudal system once used in Europe. His findings show you that a select few have too much power and that a small group of influential people help make decisions relating to the general public. The book also goes over some of the ways economics and personal thoughts or feelings can affect the government as a whole.

Administrative Thinkers

The IAS is a type of civil service exam that some college students take before working in the field. IAS Kracker, a site dedicated to helping students prepare for that exam, recommends Administrative Thinkers, by Prasad and Prasad. Studying this book before taking the exam can help you pass the test and become ready to work in the public administration field. You can score up to 60 total points on the exam when you correctly answer questions about administrative theories. This book will help you better understand those theories and can also help you review some of the theories that you talked about in your classes.

Whether you want to work as a lobbyist, a politician, a political writer or in any other position relating to the government, you need to study the right things in college. When you major in public administration, use some of these books outside of your classes to learn even more.

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