If you’re trying to break into Product Management start here:
Inspired by Marty Cagan
This book explains exactly what a product manager is responsible for, how they should engage other departments and sets you up for a more “by the book” approach to product management.
The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen
Dan touches on all the things you actually need to do the job efficiently and always with the customer in mind. He provides a step by step process with tactics for how to prioritize, innovate and solicit meaningful customer feedback.
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
This is possibly the single most effective stakeholder management guide book. This book is crucial for learning how to influence, build relationships and create trust and respect without actual authority. We as product managers don’t have any authority over anyone. Nobody reports to us, so it’s so crucial to be able to navigate these different relationships and build trust quickly.
Leveling Up Beyond Product Manager
Escaping The Build Trap by Melissa Perri
Melissa does an excellent job breaking down the product management career path; Assiociate, Mid, Senior and how to level up to each one. She provides excellent frameworks for product managers to use and take charge of their own careers.
Empowered by Marty Cagan
Marty provides an excellent argument for why almost all companies nowadays are tech companies even if they don’t see it themselves. This book lays out how to level up from product manager to product leader teaching the next product generation of product managers.
Product Led Organization by Todd Olsen
This book gives you great tactics for running experiments, putting the customer at the center of your feedback loop. And turning your organization from a HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) centered decision making process to a data driven decision making process.
Continuous Discovery Habits by Teresa Torres
To put it simply, if you’re struggling with any step in the discovery process, you need to read this book.
Effective Stakeholder Management & Leadership
Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg & Alan Eagle
A lot of the time as product people, we’re put in coaching/consulting positions. This book gives a lot of examples of encouraging and pulling all the strengths out of people.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
This book helped me so much with stakeholder management, feature negotiation and battling for resources at a highly bureaucratic organization. By being able to turn asks around and getting my stakeholders to actually empathize with me and my team it opened up the conversation/negotiation. As product managers we negotiate constantly, read this if you need help with any piece of negotiation.
Five Dysfunctions of A Team by Patrick Lencioni
Sometimes it’s difficult to put a name to toxic team behaviors. This not only helps to put a name to them, but gives you tools you squash those behaviors to create a highly functional team. Yes, the example here in the book is an executive team with the CEO making the changes, but utilizing the negotiation and influence tactics from Chris Voss and Dale Carnegie you can do exactly what this CEO does.
Fiction with Good Business/Leadership Lessons
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
This book provides an excellent reason for why we as product people need to think outside the box and not just within the confines of the organization or game we’re given to play. It’s an excellent example of leadership and innovation.
More to Come
I will update this list with new recommendations in the future, stay tuned! In the meantime, let’s keep the discussion going. Please share in the comments below what books you recommend for product managers and why!