Do you know how top product managers stay ahead in the game? How do they navigate the changing landscape with ease and confidence?

The answer might lie in a simple yet powerful habit—reading. Picture this: amidst the chaos of deadlines and meetings, what if a book could be your guiding light, offering fresh perspectives and proven strategies for excelling in product management?

Let's dive into the domain of books for product managers, where each page can unlock new horizons and elevate your career.

The Significance of Reading in Product Management

Continuous learning is a sign of successful product managers. Books provide a wealth of knowledge that comes from the experiences of industry leaders. They offer:

  • Structured Frameworks: proven methodologies for user research, product ideation, and roadmapping to guide product development.
  • Diverse Perspectives: from thought leaders across various industries, broadening your understanding of product strategy and execution.
  • Invaluable Case Studies: examples of successful product development that inform your own decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Investing time in reading empowers you to stay ahead of the curve and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of product management.

Overview of Books Curated for Valuable Insights into Product Management Practices

This curated list features a selection of books that cater to different aspects of product management. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting your journey, you'll find resources that provide actionable guidance and strategic frameworks to help you:

  • Understand user needs and develop products that solve real problems.
  • Craft a compelling product vision and roadmap.
  • Effectively communicate product strategy to stakeholders.
  • Embrace an agile mindset and iterate based on user feedback.

By diving into these insightful resources, you'll gain the knowledge and skills to become a product leader who consistently delivers products that users love.

Understanding Users

In product management, a product's success hinges on a deep understanding of users. This section dives into books that equip product managers with the tools to get inside their customers' heads and translate that knowledge into winning products.

Reading in Product Management

Talking to Humans: Success Starts with Understanding Your Customers

"Talking to Humans" by Giff Constable is a must-read for product managers aiming to grasp customer needs effectively. This book emphasizes the significance of direct customer interaction in product development. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 95% of new products fail due to a lack of understanding of customer needs. By learning to communicate and empathize with users, product managers can enhance their decision-making process and create products that truly resonate with their target audience.

Hooked: Strategies for Building Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal's "Hooked" offers invaluable insights for product managers seeking to create products that engage users on a habitual level. Understanding the psychology behind habit formation is crucial in designing products that drive user retention and loyalty. By implementing the strategies outlined in this book, product managers can craft experiences that keep users coming back for more, ultimately leading to long-term success.

The Mom Test: Effective Ways to Learn from Customers

"The Mom Test" by Rob Fitzpatrick provides practical guidance for product managers on how to extract valuable insights from customer conversations. By avoiding common pitfalls like leading questions and confirmation bias, product managers can uncover genuine feedback that drives product improvement. By mastering the techniques in this book, product managers can refine their customer research skills and make informed decisions based on authentic user feedback.

Role, Strategy, and Leadership:

Below is a list of books that unpack the essential aspects of Role, Strategy, and Leadership in product management. In product management, mastering Role, Strategy, and Leadership is key. Understanding your role, crafting effective strategies, and demonstrating strong leadership are vital for success.

Effective Ways to Learn from Customers

INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

Marty Cagan's INSPIRED is a must-read for product managers aiming to navigate the complex landscape of technology product management. With insights drawn from Cagan's extensive experience, this book offers practical guidance on how to create products that not only meet but exceed customer expectations. This book is pivotal for those looking to master the art of creating impactful tech products.

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The difference and why it matters

In Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, Richard Rumelt breaks down what makes a strategy genuinely effective. Using his extensive background in research and consulting, Rumelt explains how solid, actionable strategies can propel businesses forward. This book is a must-read for product managers eager to master the art of strategic planning and achieve their ambitious goals.

Product Leadership: Essential lessons in product management leadership

Product Leadership by Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson, and Nate Walkingshaw is a compilation of insights from top product managers on what it takes to lead successfully. The book explores the crucial qualities of successful product leaders and provides actionable advice for aspiring leaders in the product field. It's an invaluable resource for those looking to enhance their leadership skills in product management.

Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

Marty Cagan and Chris Jones's Empowered focus on the power of giving teams the freedom to innovate. The book illustrates how autonomy can lead to groundbreaking products through examples from leading companies. Empowered is essential reading for product managers who aim to foster an environment where creativity and innovation thrive.

Strong Product People: A Complete Guide to Developing Great Product Managers

In Strong Product People, Petra Wille shares her expertise in nurturing the growth of product managers. The book offers a framework for continuous improvement and skill development in product management. It's a comprehensive guide for product managers looking to boost their abilities and lead their teams more effectively.

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

Julie Zhuo's The Making of a Manager is a heartfelt guide to navigating the transition from individual contributor to manager. Zhuo uses personal experiences to provide a roadmap for new managers, offering practical advice for handling the leadership challenges. This book is particularly helpful for product managers stepping into managerial roles, providing them with the tools they need to succeed.

Product Design and User Experience:

Product Design and User Experience

The Design of Everyday Things: Principles of Intuitive Product Design:

"The Design of Everyday Things" by Don Norman is a fundamental book that teaches about creating easy-to-use and easy-to-understand products. This book is essential for product managers as it emphasizes the importance of designing products with the user in mind. By reading this book, product managers can learn how to make intuitive and user-friendly products, leading to happier customers and better product success.

Don't Make Me Think: Simplifying navigation and design:

"Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug is a valuable resource for product managers looking to improve navigation and user experience. This book focuses on making interfaces simple and easy to understand. By applying the principles from this book, product managers can create products that are easy to use, leading to increased user satisfaction and better overall product performance.

Product Development and Innovation:

Product Development and Innovation

Sprint: Accelerating Problem Solving and Idea Testing:

"Sprint" is a book that shows how to quickly solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. Written by Jake Knapp and his team at Google Ventures, it introduces a fast process for tackling important challenges. This book is excellent for product managers because it offers a quick way to see if ideas work, helping them innovate and move forward efficiently.

The Lean Product Playbook: Building Products Through Rapid Feedback:

"The Lean Product Playbook" by Dan Olsen guides readers in creating products that customers love. It focuses on understanding what users really need and improving products based on their feedback. This approach helps product managers ensure their products are what the market wants. It's a helpful resource for anyone looking to improve their product development process.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel:

Product managers aren't just executors, they're innovators! Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, challenges conventional startup wisdom in this thought-provoking book. Thiel emphasizes the importance of creating truly original products that solve unique problems, a valuable perspective for any product manager looking to build the next big thing.

The Innovator's Dilemma:

Clayton M. Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma" explains why big companies can fail because they miss out on new innovations. It's important for product managers because it shows how to spot new opportunities and deal with challenges in bringing new products to the market. This book helps readers understand how to stay ahead and keep products relevant.

Frameworks and Methodologies:

Frameworks and Methodologies

Measure What Matters: Implementing Effective Goal-Setting with OKRs

"Measure What Matters" by John Doerr is a key book for product managers who want to understand how to set and achieve big goals through Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). This method has helped big companies like Google grow and succeed. The book offers practical advice on aligning your team's efforts with the company's vision. It's great for those looking to improve how they plan and execute their projects.

Product Roadmaps Relaunched: Crafting a Compelling Product Roadmap

For product managers, "Product Roadmaps Relaunched" is essential for learning how to make and share product roadmaps that work. This book guides you through creating roadmaps that align with your business goals and communicate effectively with your team and stakeholders. It's filled with real-life examples and tips on making your roadmap helpful in guiding your product's development. It's perfect for anyone wanting to get better at planning and communicating their product strategy.

Leverage Relations and Influence to Increase Impact

Leverage Relations and Influence to Increase Impact

How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success

Dale Carnegie's seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is a cornerstone for product managers aiming to master interpersonal skills and leadership. It offers timeless advice on understanding human behaviour, essential for navigating the complexities of product development and team management. It also teaches how to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and inspire others, crucial skills in the fast-paced tech industry.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Product managers often face high-stakes situations that require clear, effective communication. Crucial Conversations equips professionals with the strategies to handle these moments with poise and confidence. By leveraging research-backed techniques, product managers can foster an environment of open dialogue, leading to innovative solutions and stronger team cohesion. This book is invaluable for managing tensions and aligning team objectives, ensuring product success.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

In "Never Split the Difference," Chris Voss shares insights from his experience as an FBI negotiator to offer strategies for successful negotiation. Product managers can apply these tactics when dealing with vendors, stakeholders, or team members to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. By mastering the art of negotiation outlined in this book, product managers can enhance their ability to secure favourable deals, resolve conflicts effectively, and drive successful product launches.

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

Melissa Perri's "Escaping the Build Trap" challenges traditional product management approaches by emphasizing the importance of delivering value over building features. Product managers can learn to prioritize customer needs, focus on outcomes that drive business success, and avoid getting stuck in a cycle of building without purpose. This book guides them in aligning their strategies with customer expectations, measuring impact effectively, and creating products that deliver tangible value to users.

Outcomes Over Output: Why Customer Behavior Is the Key Metric for Business Success

"Outcomes Over Output" by Josh Seiden shifts the focus from measuring outputs to understanding customer behavior as a key metric for business success. Product managers can leverage this book to gain insights into making data-driven decisions, improving user experiences, and driving sustainable growth by focusing on outcomes that truly matter. By prioritizing customer behaviour analysis over mere output metrics, product managers can align their strategies with user needs, enhance product performance, and achieve long-term business success.


To sum up, being a great product manager means constantly learning and applying new ideas. The books we've discussed are full of useful tips for improving your skills in understanding customers, leading teams, and making products that people love. But reading these books is just the start.

For those who want to dive deeper into product management, "Just Another PM" offers a practical course that helps translate these ideas into practice through real-world examples. It's a great way to learn more about product management essentials and get better at your job. Check out the course here to grow your skills further.

Remember, the key to success in product management is to keep learning and applying what you know to create products that meet people's needs. Let these books guide you, and let "Just Another PM" help you take the next step in your product management journey.

Happy learning!

How I can help you:

  1. Fundamentals of Product Management - learn the fundamentals that will set you apart from the crowd and accelerate your PM career.
  2. Improve your communication: get access to 20 templates that will improve your written communication as a product manager by at least 10x.
Mar 21, 2024

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