If you want to progress your career as a product manager, learning through reading books is undoubtedly a great way to do so. That is why I’ve put together this comprehensive list of Product Management Books which will help you to improve your skills.
Check it out:
Agile Product Management with Scrum – by Roman Pichler
One of the very much ‘standards’ and almost considered as a classic. Even despite the fact that Agile itself should only be seen as a tool instead of religion.
The Hard Thing about Hard Things – by Ben Horowitz
Written with so much passion that you can almost feel the tension from the situations Ben is describing. Even though internet businesses themselves may have worked differently in the past, the critical questions remain the same.
My favorite quote from this product management book tackles the wish for ‘lead bullets’
“There are no silver bullets for this, only lead bullets.” They did not want to hear that, but it made things clear: We had to build a better product. There was no other way out. No window, no hole, no escape hatch, no back door. We had to go through the front door and deal with the big, ugly guy blocking it. Lead bullets.
High Output Management – by Andy Grove
A somewhat traditional approach to a lot of topics and I’d love to challenge the ‘High Output Management’ approach with a ‘High Outcome Management’ idea one day. But still incredibly valuable for Product Managers looking to lead teams.
A practical guide to managing agile teams – by Tim Herbig
Shameless Self-Promotion: The book helps you master the challenges of being a lateral leader – In small-scale startups and large corporations alike. It will guide you through chapters on strategic alignment with your organization, process alignment within your team, and individual alignment with other team members. By also recognizing empathy and escalation as helpful tools, you’ll be able to maintain and strengthen your leadership role.
Building up empathy for the various domains from your agile development team is a crucial part of lateral leadership. This book gives you insights into the challenges of an engineering manager and how he works with his direct reports.
The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution – by Clayton Christensen
Wondering what’s happening to some disrupted industries out there and maybe even your own? Stick to Clayton for answers.
Pencil Me In: The Business Drawing Book for People Who Can’t Draw – by Christina Wodtke
Product Managers often not only have to lead teams but also meetings which lead to decisions. Instead of annoying everybody with prepared slides, get to the whiteboard or flip chart and start communicating your ideas visually.
Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice – by Clayton M. Christensen
The best book out there for the Jobs to be Done theory. Going far beyond the famous milkshake metaphor, Christensen provides valuable insights into how to dig several layers deeper in terms of what your customers actually want.
The Lean Product Playbook – by Dan Olsen
Great lecture for operationalizing some of Eric Ries’ lean startup principles into hands-on product development.
Creativity Rules: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and into the World – by Tina Seelig
Breaking-out of the busy day-to-day action is harder than ever. As a result, creative outbreaks for new features remain a rare occasion for product managers. Here’s how to make them count.
Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology – by Jackie Bavaro and Gayle Laakmann McDowell
The book provides practical tips which prepare you for the challenges and questions which come up in Product Management job interviews. Describing how the role is defined across various companies and how to land a great first impression with recruiters.
The Lean Startup – by Eric Ries
That’s where most of your bosses ideas for testing out new things are coming from. 😉
Product Leadership: How Top Product Managers Create and Launch Successful Products – by Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson, and Nate Walkingshaw
The first (real) book on product leadership from three experienced product people out there. It explains the challenges of transitioning from an individual contributor to a leader and shares best practices from some of the most respected product management experts.
Data Strategy: How to Profit from a World of Big Data, Analytics and the Internet of Things – by Bernhard Marr
To establish data-informed decision making for your product, you need to be able to handle the increasing amount of analytics systems and data out there.
Lean UX – by Jeff Gotthelf
A neat summary of how to apply lean product development principles to your UX process and how to validate those early new ideas. This book contributed heavily to making the process of articulating hypothesis upfront for many product organizations a habit.
Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well – by Douglas Stone
As product managers work at the intersection of so many domains, gathering feedback after a failed or successful project is critical for improving. This book helps you to deal with the received input and how to make the most of it.
Inspired – by Marty Cagan
One of the first books I ever read on ‘modern’ product development. It was one of the leading triggers for me to leave my current job at that time and to seek out other opportunities.
Meeting Design – For Managers, Makers, and Everyone by Kevin M. Hoffman
While we always should keep in mind how precious the time of others is, meetings are sometimes the most efficient way for product managers to solve a problem. That doesn’t mean that they have to be painfully inefficient snoozefests—if you design them.
The book will teach you the design principles and innovative approaches you’ll need to transform meetings from boring to creative, from wasteful to productive.
Customers Included: How to Transform Products, Companies, and the World – With a Single Step – by Mark Hurst
Simple pitch: How to become better at giving customers what they truly want instead of getting lost in catching-up with feature requests.
Getting To Yes – by Roger Fisher and William Ury
Whether you like it or not – Product Managers also need to be right negotiators. That’s why a hands-on guide for leveling up your negotiation skills is a must-read.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products – by Nir Eyal
The mothership of all growth and habit-forming product mechanics you may have heard of.
ReWork – by 37 Signals
Rework had a similar effect on how I think about my professional life as ‘Inspired’ had. Only a couple of years earlier and at a different stage of my career.
Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success – by Morgan Brown and Sean Ellis
Growth means so much more than online marketing and an excellent registration funnel. Two of the most popular growth hackers out there share their hands-on advice for creating systematic growth for your product.
My Product Management Toolkit: Tools and Techniques to Become an Outstanding Product Manager – by Marc Abraham
A great compilation of Marc’s must-read essays on practical product management best practices. Whether iit is about software tools or specific frameworks – Marc has pprobablyseen them all!
Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results – By Christina Wodtke
The one book on OKRs you should read for learning how to apply this framework.
Managing Product Management – by Steven Haines
Don’t be disguised by the title. Leading Product Managers is quite a challenge and getting deeper into these questions will help you to put decisions from within your company more into perspective.
Talking from 9 to 5 – by Deborah Tannen
You should know how your co-workers tick and why they behave as they do. That’s the key for communication and collaboration on the same level.
Solving Product Design Exercises: Questions & Answers – by Artiom Dashinsky
Great tactics for preparing UX interviews. As product managers should participate in the hiring process for their team members, it’s valuable to know the drill.
Little Bets – by Peter Sims
Lots of stuff following the lean startup/lean UX approaches, but going one granularity level deeper.
Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days – by Jake Knapp from GV
The logical result of coining the term Design Sprint and building a brand around that. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Design Sprints and can’t recommend this hands-on guide enough, if you’re thinking about how to tackle an upcoming challenge.
Which product management books have influenced your career the most? Let me know in the comments!