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8 Books Product Managers Should Read

January 23, 2021

8 BOOKS PRODUCT MANAGERS SHOULD READ

If you’re a seasoned product manager, a new one, or a soon-to-be one, you need to learn about the proven skills and best practices that have worked for other successful product managers. 🔍

How do they learn these skills? Through their own experiences - yes, of course. But one of the top-supported learning mechanisms for product managers is learning through product management books. 📚

With some new publications by already established authors, great newcomers and many valuable insights, we have selected our top 8 product management books for 2020!

Image of Inspired by Marty Cagan

INSPIRED- MARTY CAGAN

Want to get a job as a product manager? Read Marty Cagan's "Inspired" and re-read it and steal at least some of his insights for the interview - you'll sound like a genius! Marty Cagan is a mastermind in technology product management, and in this book he essentially gives you a master class on how to structure and personalize a product-driven start-up, and how to build products that your customers will love.

You can use tactical advice to hire the right people, analyze what makes a right product, apply a simple scaling process, and create a company with a strong product culture.

If you're an early-stage start-up working to find product-market fit, or interviewing for a role as a product manager, you can immediately add value after reading this book!

THE LEAN PRODUCT PLAYBOOK - DAN OLSEN

The Lean Startup is the Holy Grail for most entrepreneurs. This book is undoubtedly one of the most useful guides I have ever read when it comes to applying lean product concepts to real-world situations. It is certainly the gold standard and a must read for anyone working in product roles, as well as anyone working in startups or wanting to start a side-hustle!

You can learn concepts that are critical to analyzing product success. Ries teaches you the difference between actionable metrics and vanity metrics, and lets product thinkers realize how easy it is to assume that you are doing the right things when you pay attention to vanity metrics. 

SWIPE TO UNLOCK - BY ADITYA AGASHE, NEEL MEHTA, AND PARTH DETROJA

It is a must read for anyone interested in working in technology. Swipe to Unlock provides an amazing overview of the key concepts of technology and business strategy. It is great reading for anyone taking on roles in UI / UX, marketing, product / project and business strategy.

NEVER SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE - CHRIS VOSS

If you're a product manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to negotiate every day. Think about it. From prioritizing the product backlog to establishing the MVP of a new feature, much of a product manager's day involves negotiating. Yet, most product managers or team leaders  for that matter have no formal training in this area - and it's always a skill I want to improve.

Normally it is not mentioned in PM book lists as it is not about product or design, but I think it is very relevant to the negotiation and collaboration aspect of any job.

Written by former FBI international hostage negotiator Chriss Voss, it gives you key terms such as mirroring, the power of no, no compromise and much more. If you are a technical or non-technical product manager, this book will help you strengthen your communication skills and navigate difficult conversations across multiple divisions and departments.

 

 

ESCAPING THE BUILD TRAP - MELISSA PERRI

Many companies work agile, and ship feature by feature without pausing to validate what customers really want and need.

Escaping the build trap by Melissa Perri is a must-read for everyone, from those considering a move into product management, to software engineers looking to deliver value, to executives looking to lead and succeed.

If you're struggling to become a product-led organization, the Build Trap has to be on your bookshelf. From organizational culture to the role of product management, Melissa has provided a great guide to identifying and solving the problems that companies have when they move from an output to a results-driven company. 

BUILD WHAT MATTERS - BEN FOSTER AND RAJESH NERLIKAR

This book clearly describes the attitude required for a successful product company. If you are a product leader or entrepreneur of any kind, add Build What Matters to your list.

They introduce you to their methodology for becoming a product-driven company by sharing their proven strategies and stories of personal success.

HOOKED - NIR EYAL

When you're trying to build the next big app, you need user engagement. This book sets a model of building user engagement by constantly returning users back to your app.

He establishes a four-step process embedded in the products of many successful companies to subtly promote customer behavior, and through successive "hook cycles," he shows by implementing the four-step process that these products achieve their ultimate goal of bringing users back over and over again without relying on aggressive push notifications and spending thousands on paid ads.

SACRED SEVEN - PARTH DETROJA, NEEL MEHTA, AND ADITYA AGASHE

Written by 3 product managers at Facebook, Google and Microsoft, the Sacred Seven is a comprehensive resource that provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to become a world-class PM that can be hired anywhere.

This book covers all of PM's basic ingredients in one book. Must read for aspiring PM's. Would highly recommend this book to engineers, data scientists, designers, etc.

That's it!

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