Best Books For Product Managers
You never stop learning as a product manager. No matter if you’re a beginner or a pro. In fact, success in product management is frequently due to a person’s natural curiosity and desire to discover more.
That’s the very nature of product management. It evolves every single day, and to stay on top of the game, you need to be updated with the latest developments.
Watch YouTube videos, join communities, make use of other resources. But most importantly, read books. Books on product management will provide real-life experiences and wisdom. You can live through the author’s journey and discover valuable nuggets.
We’ve compiled a list of such titles. They cover a wide range of topics, from beginner to expert. These books will assist you in becoming a wise PM – creating valuable products that your customers will appreciate.
The Product Book: How to Become a Great Product Manager
The Product Book by Josh Anon (former Pixar PM) and Carlos Gonzázle de Villaumbrosia (CEO of Product School) is a best-seller on Amazon. The book teaches you everything – how to ace interviews, improve your communication skills, and, of course, how to build a successful product. The book’s USP is that it provides approachable practical and real-life insights into the world of product management. Product School, an international training platform for project managers, created the product book. Therefore, it’s a real deal for new as well as experienced product managers.
Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love
Inspired by Marty Cagan is a book that answers the most important question for any tech company: How to create a successful tech product. The book covers the most valuable lessons on product management and talks about how tech companies like Google, Netflix, and Amazon build valuable products for their customers. From small startups to large enterprises, Marty has shared every life lesson that he has learned during his career. For the PMs looking to level up their career, this book is indeed a goldmine.
The Lean Product Playbook
The Lean Product Playbook is a comprehensive go-to guide for product managers. The book is authored by Dan Olsen who is a seasoned tech-consultant and an expert in product management and lean startup. The book gives step-by-step guidance on how to apply lean startup ideas to your new product. It also talks about the unique and actionable product-market fit model considering the product (UX, features, and value proposition) and market (target audiences). This book’s unique selling point is that it uses real-world examples to teach how to iterate based on customer feedback. Overall, PMs who want to iterate and learn product-market fit will benefit greatly from the Lean product playbook.
Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matter
Shape Up is a book written specifically for product development teams by Ryan Singer. Ryan has over 17 years of experience as a Head of Strategy at Basecamp. The book is essential reading for teams that are stuck in the middle or don’t know where to begin. The book’s main selling point is that it covers various workflows and techniques that Basecamp has used to build its most successful products over the years. For someone who has no clue where to begin, the book provides guidance on how to shape the project first and then bet on it later for completion. It is an excellent choice for anyone interested in learning about the Agile process and how to implement effective strategies during product development. Get the book for free on BaseCamp’s website.
Crossing the Chasm
Also called the bible for product teams, Crossing the Chasm is an entrepreneurial book that was published in 1991 by Geoffrey Moore and gained a lot of popularity among product marketing managers. The best part is that it still holds relevance after 30 years and there is still so much to learn from the book. The book has various reasons as to why some products turn out to be huge successes in the market. Geoffrey talks about crossing the chasm here which refers to a vast gap between the early market of Innovators and early adopters and the customer adoption lifecycle. Those who cross this chasm are the successful ones. The book has three editions: Crossing the Chasm, Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers, and Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers.
The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business
People say that you shouldn’t ask your mom if your business idea is good enough as she would lie to you. (Because she loves you.) The truth is that everyone would lie to you a little. (At least, with a question like this). In fact, it is our responsibility to find the right answer using a good set of questions. That’s what The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick teaches us. The book covers a set of simple rules to ask and frame good questions that even your mom can’t lie to you about. Fitzpatrick cites the importance of gathering feedback and talking to the customers as a prerequisite for a successful product.
Outcomes Over Output: Why customer behavior is the key metric for business success
As the name suggests, Outcomes Over Output talks about focusing on the outcomes over outputs to bring transformations and iterate customer feedback in an organization. Outcomes over Output is a book authored by Josh Seiden that differentiates between leading by output vs leading by outcomes. The product managers must ask their teams to create specific customer behavior to drive more results. This would ensure a streamlined work process, reduced chances of rework, and customer priority. Outcomes before Output, published less than a year ago in 2019, is one of the most recent works that project managers should definitely give a try.
Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth
Measure What Matters is a book written by one of the earliest inventors of Google – John Doerr. Here, he talks about the revolutionary goal-setting system: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
This goal-setting system has been used by various tech giants like Intel, Google, Amazon, Uber over the years. John considers the importance of a system like OKR and how it has led to their explosive growth. This is definitely a must-read for product managers in any level of organization in order to accomplish the goals. Learn about ambitious goal setting and meticulous execution from a #1 New York Times Bestseller – a must-read for every Pm out there.
Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value
Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Peri is a real classic for Product Managers. As the title suggests, the book teaches about escaping the build trap or the pitfalls where Product managers or companies fall. In this book, Peri talks about cultivating a customer-centric product rather than focusing on too many outputs that offer little value and waste your precious time. This book is a gem for the Product Managers who want to learn the product management culture that focuses on outcomes over the outputs.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Hooked is a book written by Nir Eyal who lays the practical guide on how to build better products. The book talks about the ‘Hook’ model which companies must adapt to encourage customer behavior without any aggressive marketing campaigns. This model will help PMs, marketers, or designers explain how to build products that form customer’s habits so they come back for more. The book is divided into 5 broad chapters where each chapter talks about different stages of Hooking the customers. A fascinating book for PMs building SaaS products.
Product Mindset: How to Get Inside Your Customer’s Mind
To create a product that customers love, you must first comprehend their psychology. Companies must gain insight into the minds of their customers in order to create a successful product. Product Mindset teaches you to acknowledge your customers’ pain points, life circumstances, and mental state. You’ll learn how Netflix made use of artificial intelligence, how Spotify wooed customers, and how to elicit psychological responses. This book is a gold mine for project managers, as it contains insider secrets and practical advice from project managers at companies like Spotify, Netflix, and Pandora, among others.
Ship It: Silicon Valley Product Managers Reveal All
As a product manager, you cannot merely work on your instincts. PMs are not psychic and hence they must gather data and know the needs of their users. Finally, you should learn the ways to communicate with your team and pass on the vision to them. This is what Ship It talks about. It has all the top secrets from the PMs in Silicon Valley. There is so much to learn in the book including the challenge and responsibility of the product managers. It has secrets revealed from the PMs of top companies like Facebook, Reddit, Dropbox, and so on.
Hired: How to Get a Product Management Job
Considering the transition to a product management job? Looking to crack the PM’s job interview? Hired talks about it all. This book is a comprehensive guide that talks about the most common and uncommon transitions and spills the beans on cracking the PM interview in top tech companies. This practical guide covers the interview advice from PMs of companies like Google, Airbnb, Facebook, Apple, or Amazon.
The Making of Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You
Leading a product team for the first time could be a daunting task. The Making of Manger is a book written by top tech executive, Julie Zhuo. She talks about her experience of becoming a product manager at the age of 25 and the challenges associated with it. This bestseller book reveals the top tactics on how to lead a product team and be the best product manager. Julie Zhuo is definitely a must-read as she has over 11 years of experience as the VP of Product Design at Facebook.
The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a modern-day guide for entrepreneurs and product managers in tech giant companies that discusses building products on behalf of an existing company or the method used to find a new company. This book discusses the process of testing your customers’ visions, listening to customers, and providing them with real value in order to adjust and adapt to a changing ecosystem before it’s too late. This is a must-read for anyone who is just starting out in business.
Want more resources?
Chances are, you’ll need more references and guides to make your product management journey a bit easier. Here are a few links to check out:
- Product Library – Resources by Zeda.io
- Zeda.io – Newsletter
- Where to Learn Product Management
- Product Management Tool to Have in Your Stack
- What is Product Management? – Complete Guide
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