43 Product Management Books
you should read in 2019
43 Product Management Books you should read in 2019
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 collection of Product Management Books which will help you to improve your skills across a broad range.
Product Management Essentials
Inspired by Marty Cagan
Inspired v1 was 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. v2 is a worthy successor.
Agile Product Management with Scrum by
A go-to guide for hands-on tactics you want to implement when you take over a product role in an Agile team working with the Scrum framework.
My Product Management Toolkit by Marc Abraham
A great compilation of Marc’s must-read essays on practical product management best practices. Whether it is about software tools or specific frameworks – Marc has probably seen them all!
Product Roadmaps Relaunched by C. Todd Lombardo, Bruce McCarthy, and Evan Ryan
Sooner or later, you have to not only deliver on a given roadmap, but have to shape and maintain one on your own. Why not approach this recurring challenge in a modern agile way instead of the typical static drawing of Gantt charts?
Cracking the PM Interview 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.
Looking for a holistic Product Management Book Library? Check out this guide by @herbigt featuring more than 43 excellent reads!
User Research, Design and Validation
Sprint by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
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.
Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
Good research is about asking more and better questions, and thinking critically about the answers. It's something every member of your team can and should do, and which everyone can learn, quickly. In this book, Co-founder of Mule Design Erika Hall distills her experience into a brief cookbook of research methods. Learn how to discover your competitive advantages, spot your own blind spots and biases, understand and harness your findings, and why you should never, ever hold a focus group.
Solving Product Design Exercises 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.
Hacking Growth 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.
Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
When I first got to experience Jeff in person back in 2014, validating ideas without building the actual product was still cutting edge. Lean UX then helped me to translate these sparks of inspiration from his workshop into action - And it still does till this day. This book perfectly balances entertainment from stories with actionable advice and its concepts haven't aged at all. I still highly recommend it to every Product Manager or Product Designer looking for inspiration around research and validation efforts.
Validating Product Ideas by Tomer Sharon
This is my go-to handbook for all research and validation activities. Contrasting to Lean UX, it strips away the fluff of telling stories and provides you with a broad range of step-by-step instructions for how to execute powerful research techniques. Whether it’s the setup for a user interview or the framework behind faking a non-existing feature: This book has you covered.
The Design Thinking Playbook by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, and Larry Leifer
A great collection of easy to implement Design Thinking exercises to enhance your next Product Discovery or ideation session you want to faciliate at your company or with clients.
Product and Business Strategy
Competing against Luck 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.
Lean Enterprise by Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky, and Barry O'Reilly
Transforming entire organizational structures is a completely different beast than 'just' shaping and maintaining an individual agile/lean team. Take a look at this playbook for how to transform entire departments and ultimately organizations.
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
This book helps you to understand adoption cycles of new products. How to break into a niche and expand a new market segment from there. Even though you should never consider the chasm to be crossed due to the pace businesses are changing these days, this book is an extremely valuable starter on Product Strategy.
The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
This is an intense book about entrepreneurship and what it takes to push through. The experiences described in this book will help you to put your day to day struggles as a non-CEO truly into perspective. But Product Managers will also be able to derive plenty of advice for their own decision making and relationship building activities. Read it every time you need an extra boost of motivation.
ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
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.
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
It's important know the one market you're building a product for and why you should stay away from others. This book perfectly outlines how companies have been able to innovate and out-grow their competitors by focussing on less crowded markets. Extremely practical examples.
Radical Focus by Christina Wodtke
While I always was a silent admirer of the Objectives and Key Results framework, it was this book which turned me into an avid practitioner. It helps you to look way beyond the simple performance-focus of this goal setting methodology which has been popularized through Google and John Doerr. By telling a story including struggles you can relate to, it gently prepares you for your first iterations of implementing OKR in your company team right away. For more hands-on advice on how to combine Objectives and Key Results (OKR) and Agile Product Management, check-out my in-depth guide on the topic.
Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Co-location is an outdated prerequisite for Agile teams. Learn more about the future of how teams and entire companies will be structured and operated in this book.
Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt
One of the classics on strategic thinking for your product. In it, you 'll learn how to differentiate good (as in successful) and bad (as in failed) ingredients of a Product Strategy.
#BreakInto VC by Bradley Miles
The lessons on how businesses and economics work are not only valuable for VCs, but also for product managers. Especially working in or for a VC-backed company, understanding the underlying mechanics of these companies is important for building the right products.
Unlearn by Barry O'Reilly
What has worked in the past probably doesn't hold up for the ever-changing future of building products. This is why unlearning past successes to well-equipped for the future is a critical skill for CEOs and product managers alike.
Angel by Jason Calacanis
Another recommendation focussed on Venture Capital. This time on the so-called phase of "Angel investing", which happens in the very early stages of a company. Interesting angle on the underlying indicators of what makes companies thrive.
Product and Team Leadership
Product Leadership 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.
Lateral Leadership by Tim Herbig
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.
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.
Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle
A fascinated look behind the scenes of the work of one of Silicon Valley's most effective (yet mostly unknown) coaches: Bill Campbell. People have worked with him as coachees give you a great insight into the habits and practices of a great coach.
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Wilink and Leif Babin
Don't let the focus on military deter you from this book. The mix of honest war tales and concise prose around the pillars of ownership as a leader make up for a great book. If you can look past (normal) patriotism typically found in every military angle, you will be able to derive valuable lessons for your role as a hierarchical and lateral leader.
Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
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.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
Product Management is about the people you work with on an everyday basis. And in order to build sustainable relationships, I recommend to learn how things really are without being a jerk. This book will help you to strike the balance between sugarcoating things and scaring people aways form working with you. It's by no means for hierarchical leaders only, but will help you to lead without formal authority.
Productivity and Self-Organization
Pencil Me In 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.
Creativity Rules 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.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Staying focussed to get truly meaningful work done will be one of the most critical skills of the 21st century. This book has changed my perspective on how I use and set up my days, tools and devices - arguably for the better - in a substantial way.
Consumer Psychology & Negotiation
Hooked by Nir Eyal
The mothership of all growth and habit-forming product mechanics you may have heard of. This principles taught by Nir are applicable in any environment and not just b2c start-ups.
Webs of Influence by Nathalie Nahai
Optimizing your product shouldn't just be guided by the latest design trends and your bosses opinion. Instead, you need to be aware of the underlying psychological instincts people are driven-by. Nathalie helps you to uncover what makes your users tick and how to translate that into a product.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz
One of the most impressive and practical books I've seen on the topic of negotiation. Learn from one of the top FBI negotiators on how you can approach the every day conflicts in your business life.
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.