So you’re interested in a career in product management? Or maybe you’re an experienced product manager (PM) looking to expand your PM gray matter?
The best product managers are always learning. So we’ve talked to our team and put together a reading list of the best product management books out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re just breaking into product management or if you’re an experienced product owner, these are books you should know about.
1. Inspired: How to Create Tech Products That Customers Love
by Marty Cagan
Learn how to develop products customers will love—that’s the core aim of this book.
Cagan shows you real examples from giants like Adobe, Apple, BBC, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix. He also draws from his own personal stories as the founder of Silicon Valley Product Group and an executive for companies like HP, Netscape, and eBay.
How to discover and deliver tech products that your customers will love
How to structure and staff a successful product organization
How to determine if your product has a good product-market fit
2. Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products
By: Marty Cagan & Chris Jones
Empowered is Cagan’s follow-up to Inspired. It’s aimed at leaders in product management, design, and engineering—from empowering teams to driving innovation. If you’ve already embarked on your PM journey, it’s a great guide for growing into your product management role. And if you’re newer to the field, it’ll give you a view of the wider PM landscape.
How to create an environment where product teams thrive
Tips for recruiting and coaching members of product teams
How to create an inspiring product vision and an insights-driven product strategy
By: Teresa Torres
This book helps existing and aspiring product managers to find product ideas that customers want. The key: create shorter user feedback loops and adopt continuous discovery practices.
We think this book is indispensable. As does Marty Cagan, author of the two books listed above, who’s quoted on the back of Torres’ book saying:
"If you haven't had the good fortune to be coached by a strong leader or product coach, this book can help fill that gap and set you on the path to success."
A structured and sustainable approach to continuous discovery
How to ensure you’re creating value for your customers and for your business
How to balance taking action with ever-present doubt
By: Eric Ries
This now-classic book for startups isn’t specific to product management, but it’s still a must-read for everyone in the field. It’s a great primer on how to build a minimum viable product (MVP) and how to break down complex initiatives—turning them into small deliverables that are faster to build, test, and learn from.
How to be more innovative without wasting people’s time
How to build smartly under conditions of extreme uncertainty
How to break down a concept and build an MVP
5. The Product Book: How to Become a Great Product Manager
By: Josh Anon and Carlos González de Villaumbrosia
What do you get when you cross a former Pixar PM and the CEO of Product School? A masterclass on how to become a great product manager. This one is useful for PMs at all stages of their career, again and again.
What does a product manager really do?
Product manager interview tips
How to structure and lead better PM teams
By: Dan Olsen
You’ll get the high-level concepts, but this one is really aimed at the specific steps required to achieve product-market fit. Olsen walks you through everything you need to know—from determining your target customers, to designing an MVP prototype, to iterating rapidly.
Why most new products fail (hint: because they don’t meet the customer’s needs)
How to optimize Lean techniques step-by-step
How to build and iterate with target markets in mind
7. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
By: Nir Eyal
At the bottom of all human behavior—from brushing teeth to using apps—is human psychology. Eyal reveals the four-step process for creating products that people come back to.
A simple four-step model guiding habit formation
Practical insights for applying the model to create user habits
Actionable steps for building products that people love
8. Sprint: Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
By: Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz
Three partners at Google Ventures reveal how they move from prototype to decision—in just five days. This five-day ‘sprint’ method for speeding up decision-making has been tested across multiple industries. This book will show the product manager how to quickly move ideas into production, or into the idea trash can.
How to rapidly prototype ideas to focus on projects that matter
A system for getting more out of one focused week than many teams get out of a quarter
By: Geoffrey A. Moore
Many products find love from early adopters. But evolving that product to bring it to the larger market—crossing the chasm—is a challenge where many companies fail. In this business classic, Moore walks you through the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, and how to narrow the chasm and accelerate product adoption.
How products go from ideas to commonplace tools
The huge difference between ‘early adopters’ and the ‘early majority’
Strategies for PMs to navigate the transition across the chasm
By: Alan Klement
What a great title. And what follows is an approachable book with some unexpected insights. Its premise is simple: customers buy products to make progress in their life situations. The transformation from an existing to a desired life situation is the essence of a job to be done.
What Jobs to be Done (JTBD) really are and why they matter
How to analyze the competition and make customers notice your product
(Tip: you can get a free PDF version of this book here)
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