Top 12 Must-Read Product Management Books

Top 12 Must-Read Product Management Books

This blog lists the top product management-related books available in the market.

The internet, with its knowledge, is like a black hole; there’s no visible end to it. And yet the amount of free information available online today is inversely proportional to its usability. On the other hand, books are an impeccable source of knowledge. Especially within a field as competitive as product management, books play an important role in shaping professionals.

Constant execution and excellent decision-making can yield powerful products. But how helpful are these products to its target market? How accessible are these products? How to optimize the products post-implementation, in terms of design and usability? These questions are of relevance to entrepreneurs, business owners, product managers, and those aspiring to be either. Books on product management can help answer these questions and more.

We’ve scoured the market for the best books for product managers and entrepreneurs. After thorough analysis, we have curated a list of the best product management books suitable for all, from entry to expert level. Check it out!

Decode and Conquer: Answers to Product Management Interviews

Author – Lewis C. Lin

Rating – 4.07 stars on Goodreads

Let’s start from scratch – the interview phase. This book is highly recommended if you are new to product management. The first of its series, Decode and Conquer, focuses exclusively on PM interview preparation.

Author and professional interview coach, Lin gives an industry insider’s perspective on how to tackle complex PM interview questions. He breaks down complex concepts with examples and easy-to-understand references. This book makes the readers understand what the interviewers are looking for. It prepares you not only for the interview, but also provides tools and strategies to succeed in the job.

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. The book gives an understanding of what and why the interviewers are looking for, and ways to deliver it.
  2. It uses frameworks like CIRCLES, AARM, and DIGS methods.
  3. Also demystifies tricky case questions for all steps, from product design to strategy, pricing, etc. with brilliant examples.

Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology

Author – Gayle McDowell and Jackie Bavaro

Rating – 4.21 stars on Goodreads 

For someone who has worked for Google, Microsoft and Apple, you know you can trust Gayle’s words! This book is a splendid starting point for anyone wanting to gain product sense and industry knowledge.

It essentially provides an in-depth understanding of the field of product management and the various roles affiliated with the title “PM” among different companies. The authors cover the basics of a resume and cover letter and a broad range of questions, be it behavioral, estimation, or technical.

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. The book sheds light on what experiences are needed, and how to translate existing experiences.
  2. It gives a peek into Big Tech (Google. Amazon, Facebook, etc.) culture and recruitment process.
  3. It guides for a smooth transition from the technical to the managerial aspect of product making.

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

Author – Marty Cagan

Rating – 4.25 on Goodreads

If there’s any book highly recommended by app developers and start-up advisors, this is it. Inspired is a well-written, detailed work covering several aspects of technology-powered product management.

It explains how the best tech companies differ in creating products and bridges the gap by defining techniques to do the same. Inspired functions as a master lesson on how to set up and staff a powerful product organization as well as how to find and deliver technology products that the consumers will love and that will benefit the company.

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. Inspired starts with the ABCs of PM and slowly works its way up, covering all aspects of PM.
  2. It focuses on every step essential in product management with an impressive emphasis on the product discovery process and the high-fidelity prototype.
  3. Also puts an equal emphasis on user experience, target market, and customer preferences.

Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value

Author – Melissa Perri

Rating – 4.36 stars on Goodreads

Escaping the Build Trap, as the name suggests, is an excellent book highlighting the real problem – the sole focus on the “build” part of product management. It defines how great product management is about creating products that solve real customer problems while attaining business goals, and custom software hit both those targets with one arrow.

It is highly recommended for its great format and depth. The author has done a terrific job of articulating the steps along the journey to becoming a product-led organization focused on outcomes, not outputs. 

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. The book defines ways to create products that benefit both – the business and the customer.
  2. It also contains links to online resources and case studies for the reader to continue their learning journey.
  3. Melissa shares practical advice with a hint of story-telling, making it simple and easy to understand.

The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback

Author – Dan Olsen

Rating – 4.30 stars on Goodreads

Entrepreneur and Consultant Olsen’s Playbook talks about the interesting and easy-to-follow methodology of the Lean Products Process. The author has helped several big companies improve their production processes and build efficient products.

Structurally, the book is divided into three parts – Core Concepts, Lean Product Process, and Building and Optimizing. Using the Product-Market Fit Pyramid, the author defines layers in a particular order and ways to achieve them. It poses great emphasis on optimizing the product post-implementation using Agile frameworks.

I have written another interesting blog covering the top UI/UX books available in the market. It could be highly useful to you if you are embarking on the journey of product development. Don’t forget to check it out.

Three reasons to give the ‘Lean Product’ book a read:

  1. The playbook is written in simple language with easy-to-understand examples.
  2. The contents are logical, concise, and easily applicable when building a new product.
  3. It truly is a no-nonsense guide to achieving product-market fit.

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Author – Steve Krug

Rating – 4.24 stars on Goodreads

Krug’s third edition, Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited, is a must-have for web developers, designers and anyone working on websites. Krug’s book focuses on web usability, the fundamentals of good design and user experience testing. His emphasis on usability and accessibility is downright noteworthy. Every web designer should get their hands on this. It is a reference for the mind about the mind!

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. Krug’s light writing style with a hint of wit keeps your attention intact from cover to cover.
  2. His clear and logical chapters with just the right amount of examples make learning a lot easier.
  3. The book’s common-sense approach to web usability makes it the definitive book on web design.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Author – Stephen R. Covey

Rating – 4.14 stars on Goodreads

To excel professionally, an individual must be an efficient manager personally, too. One of the most highlighted books on Kindle. Covey’s 7 Habits depicts a principle-centred character-based life that helps you build effective relationships personally and professionally. The book is a classic and has received much praise for its perspectives and practical advice. Covey says the first three habits are about integrity and the next three are about loyalty. The 7th one? You find out!

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. The core concepts of the book are perceptually moving, provoking you to question and find necessary answers.
  2. The book broadens your way of thinking, leading to greater opportunities and effective problem-solving.
  3. It prompts personal development that is equally practical and useful in all areas of life.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Author – Dale Carnegie

Rating – 4.21 stars on Goodreads

With over 15 million copies sold, Cargenie’s timeless bestseller has definitely made the cut! This book is filled with advice one can’t resist but apply to his life. Building a strong personality base is important when you go out into the world. Be it a job interview, at the workplace or simply with the friendly neighbours next door, communication is key. The author’s principles, as jotted down in this book, will not only polish your communication and people skills, but also help you unlock your true potential.

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. The refreshing chapters of the book will help you personally and professionally.
  2. The book is chock-full of helpful ideas to learn how to achieve happiness and build good relationships at home and at the workplace. 
  3. It is not a guide on manipulation, but rather defines ways to improve your emotional intelligence and overall well-being.

Lean UX – Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

Authors – Jeff Gothelf, Josh Seiden

For product managers, designers and developer friends, Lean UX describes a number of golden principles and their relevance in various environments. This book efficiently brings together user-centred design processes with an agile software development process. It also focuses on the importance of teams, quicker iteration, and testing to build a successful product. Lean UX fittingly emphasises more on the problem rather than the solution and outcomes more than outputs.

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. This book is a short read that is filled with dense yet easily comprehensible information.
  2. It involves a number of case studies and practical advice that can be applied immediately.
  3. With examples, templates and guidelines, understanding user experience design is made a lot smoother.

How to Lead in Product Management: Practices to Align Stakeholders, Guide Development Teams, and Create Value Together

Author – Roman Pichler

Rating3.69 stars on Goodreads

Take it from an extensively experienced author. This book helps you become a better product leader. With a focus on the mindset, techniques and interpersonal skills required to succeed, Roman gives scholarly advice on leading in this complex and challenging role.

The book also deals with setting goals, managing conflicts, self-leadership, as well as all the technical skills and responsibilities that are essential. All in all, it is a thorough guide from people management to product management.

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. This book beautifully balances theoretical and practical advice, giving you the best of both worlds.
  2. It poses equal importance on soft and technical skills required in PM.
  3. It inspires and equips you to become a better version of yourself with compelling leadership skills.

ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever

Authors: Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

Rating – 3.97 stars on Goodreads

The perfect pick for entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and simply anyone looking for valuable guidance in their career. It helps you to look at your business from a new, fresh perspective and encourages you to work on small and big things alike.

From productivity to exposure, this book covers it all. It rectifies your traditional way of thinking by asking key questions about your business. Read the book and answer them for yourself!

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. The book is written in straightforward, easy-to-understand language.
  2. The approaches described in the book are tried and tested.
  3. A result of pure wisdom gained through years of direct experience.

Design your Thinking: The Mindsets, Toolsets and Skill Sets for Creative Problem-solving

Author: Pavan Soni

Rating4.63 stars on Goodreads

They say when you can’t find a solution, change the way you look at the problem; this book preaches just that. The design thinking approach, as the book describes, is not limited to product development only. The methods and discipline of design thinking apply to an array of problems. All you need is the correct mindset, toolset and skill-set to tackle it and this book offers all that and more!

Three reasons to give it a read:

  1. Systematically speaking, the book is quite well-written.
  2. Filled with a number of case studies, examples and pie charts – understanding couldn’t be more fun!
  3. It provides insights and suggestions that make the design thinking process effective and sustainable.

Bottom Line

Digital devices can easily be replaced, but the touch, smell and overall feel of reading a book is one of a kind. These books will inspire you with research-backed and proven concepts of design, leadership, business strategy and making substantial products. 

Learning about product management in this growing world of business is of utmost importance. We hope this blog helps you continue the streak of consistent growth in your field of expertise.