9 books you should read when you want to become a Product Manager
Are you considering to change directions in your career? Or did you recently graduate and you are wondering what’s next? There are many reasons why you should consider becoming a Product Manager. It’s not only a fascinating field where you can make a big difference, but it’s also highly diversified. As a PM you are encountering various fields from Tech to Design, Business or Marketing. You have the joy of working with a team that is enabled to create real value for users. Short: we love Product — you should check it out, too! Only very few university programs teach you Product Management. Recently, some courses, podcasts and programs emerged that give you a deep-dive into Product. But, before you enrol in anything, it might be worth to figure out what it means to work in Product and if the role suits you and your skills. Fortunately, there are some wonderful books out there that explain the role of a Product Manager in detail and prepare you for the basics.
In 2018 Marty Cagan published the second edition of his Product Management classic Inspired. It provides you with a deep dive into how the most successful product-driven companies work today, how they staff and structure their organization and how they develop and ship products customers will love. This book is for everyone at every stage and skill-level of Product Management — if you’re starting off with Product then this is your “bible”.
362 pages, Wiley 2017
Escaping the Build Trap
Melissa Perri’s first book has the potential to become a real classic. In Escaping the Build Trap she focuses on the most common pitfalls Product Managers and companies fall into when releasing feature by feature instead of focusing on the customer’s needs. In this book, Melissa — CEO of Product Labs and founder of the Product Institute — helps you to identify whether you are caught in the “build trap” and more importantly, gives you practical advice how to escape it. She brings together her year-long experience of building products and deep knowledge of how product-lead organisations work.
200 pages, O’Reilly Media 2018
The Lean Startup
Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup turned into a classic and must-read book when it comes to changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute. Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs — in companies of all sizes — a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
338 pages, Curreny 2011
In this book, you get insights from 50 interviews of the world’s top product managers how to launch great products and build successful product teams.
248 pages, O’Reilly Media 2017
Intercom on Product Management
This book by the team at Intercom is designed to help those working in the ever-evolving field of product management.
88 pages, Intercom 2015
Sense and Respond
This engaging and practical book provides the crucial new operational and management model to help you and your organization win in a world of continuous change.
272 pages, Harvard Business Review Press 2017
Product Roadmaps Relaunched
This book is written for product people. If you’re wondering if that’s you, we’re referring to the individual or individuals responsible for developing, prioritizing, and rallying support for the development of a product or service. This role has been compared to a mini CEO, but we think that overstates the level of control most product people have.
272 pages, O’Reilly Media 2017
The Lean Product Playbook
The Lean Product Playbook is a practical guide to building products that customers love. Whether you work at a startup or a large, established company, we all know that building great products is hard. Most new products fail. This book helps improve your chances of building successful products through clear, step-by-step guidance and advice.
336 pages, Wiley 2015
Cracking the PM Interview
This book will teach you how to answer questions like “How many pizzas are delivered in Manhattan?” or “How do you design an alarm clock for the blind?” and more.
364 pages, CareerCup 2013