Product management can be difficult, but with the right information, it becomes a lot easier. Click here to learn more about the 15 product management books that are guaranteed to help you on your product management journey.
In the age of the Internet, modern product managers are lucky to have a wide range of resources available to help them learn effective product management.
From webinars to blogs, YouTube channels, and podcasts, there are a plethora of learning platforms that product managers can use to enhance their skillset.
But despite the ample amount of information that can be found online, one of the best ways to systematically learn about a topic is by reading a book on it. This is why, even in today’s digital era, the importance of product management books cannot be overstated.
What are product management books and why are they important?
Product management books are meticulously crafted guides designed to navigate readers through the intricacies of product management, offering insights into both the customer-centric side and the business strategy essential for product and startup success.
While the digital age has seen an upsurge in e-learning platforms, product management books, when combined with the insights from digital learning platforms, form a potent mixture. This synergy amplifies one’s comprehension of practical product management, setting the stage for a thriving career as a product manager.
We are fortunate to reside in an era where digital learning is thriving. Platforms such as webinars, blogs, YouTube channels, podcasts, and online courses have emerged as instrumental means to delve into tech-specific product management. These resources are consistently updated, echoing the latest trends in innovation, process, and themes like Agile product management or strategies to bridge the gap from early technology adoption to majority acceptance.
However, despite the appeal of digital platforms—lauded for their concise and comprehensive dissemination of information—their ephemeral nature often challenges deep absorption and contemplation. This is where the enduring value of product management books comes into play. Reading a book allows for pauses, reflections, and a deeper dive, ensuring that your understanding of product management isn’t just superficial but has the depth and breadth required for a strong foundational grasp.
In sum, if you’re on a quest to master the art and science of product management, these books, coupled with the rich content from digital platforms, are your trusted allies.
What are the best product management books in 2023?
So now that you know the importance of product management books, how exactly do you go about selecting the right one?
Well, a good product management book will be written by an author who has lived through what they are writing about and are in a position to divulge knowledge drawn from personal experience. The right book will offer you practical advice, provide real-world examples, and teach you how to achieve product-market fit, as well as how to target customers.
Here we have reviewed the 15 best product management books in 2023 so that your search for the right book is made easier.
1. The Product Book: How to become a great product manager
The Product Book: How to become a great product manager, written by Josh Anon and Carlos Gonzalez De Villaumbrosia, is an Amazon Bestseller.
The book is a complete guide to product managers who want to enhance their skills and practice effective product management.
The Product Book is authored by experts in product management training, with Josh Anon being a former product manager at Pixar, and Carlos Gonzalez acting as the CEO at Product School. The book draws on the unrivaled experience of these veteran product managers to serve as an excellent tool for people aspiring to be successful product managers.
Reading this book is a great first step for future product managers because it explains the role of a product manager in great detail. Along with this, readers will also find useful tips and tricks on how to ace their product management interviews.
2. The Lean Product Playbook: How to innovate with minimum viable products and rapid customer feedback
The Lean Product Playbook, written by Dan Olsen, a veteran tech consultant, is an ideal guide for anyone seeking to create products that are bound to be popular amongst customers.
The book explains, in great detail, why products might not be able to achieve product-market fit. It then proceeds to elaborate on how to create a popular product that achieves product-market fit on the market side and the product side.
The Lean Product Playbook is a great tool for product managers who want to design successful products because it guides its readers through the lean startup methodology. Along with this, the book also explains the principles of Agile development towards the end so that product managers can track the development and performance of their products.
All in all, this is the right book for anyone looking to practice the lean startup methodology effectively and create products that are guaranteed to be loved by customers.
3. Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love
Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan, a member of the Silicon Valley Product Group, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the job of a product manager and how to practice effective product management.
Marty Cagan, who has worked as a product manager for companies like eBay and HP, shares anecdotes from his impressive experience to help the reader recognize whether their product would be popular amongst customers or not.
The book caters to tech companies and provides examples of successful product management by explaining strategies adopted by companies like Tesla, Google, Amazon, and Netflix.
For product managers who want to work on product development, Inspired is just the right book.
4. The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup, authored by Eric Ries, is an essential read, not just for the owners of startups, but for anyone working in a corporation.
Eric Ries uses real-life examples to explain how successful entrepreneurs started their businesses and walks you through the steps needed to implement an effective product management strategy.
This book is perfect for anyone looking to kickstart their own business, but it also provides valuable insights to product managers working in large corporations.
5. Product Mindset: How to Get Inside Your Customer’s Mind
Product Mindset: How to Get Inside Your Customer’s Mind, is the book for you if you want to become a product manager that prioritizes their customers’ needs.
The book draws on the experience of product managers at companies like Intercom and Pandora, to create products that appeal to customers and are guaranteed to do well in the market.
Product Mindset uses examples of companies that have mastered the art of designing products that cater to customer demands, such as Spotify and Netflix, to help readers design products that customers will love.
6. Shape Up
Shape Up, by Ryan Singer, strategy head at BaseCamp, elaborates on the product management practices that went into developing the most popular products at BaseCamp.
The book explains the Agile product management beyond processes like Scrum and helps readers come up with strategies that they could adopt to create a successful product.
Shape Up is available for free on BaseCamp’s website.
7. Crossing the Chasm
Crossing the Chasm takes on a more conventional approach to product management, and focuses on helping companies create products that are sure to be successful in the market.
Although the book was published more than twenty-five years ago, Crossing the Chasm has been a staple product management guide.
Crossing the Chasm may not offer any modern-day examples of successful companies, but it is considered a classic product management book because it provides a concise, comprehensive explanation of how a product goes through the bell curve.
This book is a tried and tested guide to designing a product that will do well on the market.
8. Branding In Five And A Half Steps
Michael Johnson’s Branding In Five And A Half Steps is the ultimate guide to understanding how to effectively market and brand your product.
The book uses examples of popular brands to break down their marketing strategy so that the reader can gain insight into what it takes to create a product that does well on the market.
Michael Johnson includes relevant images in his book to make it a visual guide to the art of marketing and branding, making it a fun and easy read.
9. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal, is a popular read amongst product managers, marketing experts, designers, and entrepreneurs. The book sheds light on why some products are more loved by customers than others.
Nir Eyal goes on to explain the Hook Model, which works on the principle of creating products that have a large proportion of returning customers.
The Hook Model works on the principles of ‘trigger’, ‘action’, ‘reward’, and ‘investment’, to put out products that customers create a habit of buying.
Hooked is an especially popular book because it presents readers with a strategy that can be easily acted upon. Not only this, but the book can be used to maximize the effectiveness of product management of any type of business, whether it’s a startup, a large corporation, or a company with declining sales rates.
10. Ship It: Silicon Valley Product Managers Reveal All
Ship It: Silicon Valley Product Managers Reveal All, features advice from product managers at companies like Airbnb, Square, and Reddit.
The book helps guide the reader in collecting data about customer needs so that they can create products that are sure to do well in the market.
Ship It has all the information you need to succeed as a product manager, the book explains how to run market analysis that can gather intel on consumer preferences, as well as tips on how to effectively collaborate as a team.
11. Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love
Well-designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love, is a product management book by Jon Kolko that aims to impart the skills required to create a well-designed product that is sure to draw in customers.
The book emphasizes the importance of empathizing with customers to be able to gauge their needs to create a product that fulfills those needs.
Well-Designed breaks down the process of product design into four simple steps, identifying your product-market fit, recognizing behavior insights, coming up with a product design strategy, and finalizing the details of your product.
This book is an essential tool for product managers who want to understand the way their customers think so that they can create products that will be popular.
12. Cracking the PM Interview
Cracking the PM Interview, by Gayle McDowell is the ultimate guide to acing your product manager interviews.
Gayle is a critically acclaimed writer, with books Cracking the Code Interview and Cracking the Tech Career, to his name. Along with this, he founded his own company, CareerCup, and has experience working as a software engineer for Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
Cracking the PM Interview draws on Gayle’s extensive experience as a CEO, a software engineer, and an interviewer for big companies, to guide readers on the right way to approach a product manager interview.
13. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz, is just the book for you if you are in a rush to figure out whether your product design will be successful.
Sprint chalks out a five-day strategy for its readers, where each day is dedicated to a different task. These tasks include recognizing a “big problem”, mapping it out, coming up with solutions, going through those solutions to pick one that works best, and testing it out on customers.
Sprint comes with a website that provides condensed tips based on the material covered in the book, so if you want a quick read, the website is the way to go.
14. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz, is one of the most popular business books on the market.
What sets this book apart is that, unlike most business books, it doesn’t just discuss types of product management frameworks you can use, instead it draws on the author’s experience in founding and running his own company, to give readers a glance into the authentic business world.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is a great book for CEOs or entrepreneurs, but it is also an excellent guide for product managers. This is because it guides its readers through the process of making difficult decisions, a skill that is essential for every product manager to master.
15. My Product Management Toolkit
My Product Manager Toolkit, by Marc Abraham, is the ultimate read for anybody interested in learning the ins and outs of product management.
This book focuses on breaking down the role of a product manager and describing all the elements that make up the job of a product manager. My Product Management Toolkit elaborates on understating your target customer base, learning stakeholder management, and figuring out product development.
Each component of a product manager’s job is also connected to the methods you can use to complete your task. My Product Management Toolkit is the book for you if you want solutions to all the problems you might face in product management.
For those aspiring to excel as a product manager, diving into some of the books on this list is a wise step. These curated selections, in tandem with contemporary online resources, are poised to guide you in mastering the nuances of adept product management.
These books cover a spectrum of insights. From the “lean product playbook” that focuses on developing tech products that resonate with customers to books that delve deep into understanding intricate customer behavior, every title offers a rich learning experience. Some take you through real-life examples of product management in action at leading tech companies, while others meticulously dissect case studies, showcasing what has led to business success in the ever-evolving tech landscape.
A deeper exploration into these reads will unveil the strategies and product management skills employed by industry leaders to create radically successful businesses. Furthermore, for those eager to truly grasp what the role of a product manager encompasses, especially in the tech realm, these books are an invaluable resource.
So, if you’re keen on deciphering how the most successful product managers have charted their paths and how you can tailor your approach to mirror their successes, immersing yourself in these titles is the way to go.