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Best Books for Product Managers — Summer Reading List

We love about working with the Product Management community for a lot of reasons—not least of which are their commitment to continuous professional development, and their generosity in sharing insights and resources with others in the field.

We recently asked a group of Product professionals to share their favourite books and resources for levelling up their skills. Whether you’re a seasoned Product veteran, or just getting started in your career, these books are the perfect addition to your summer reading list.

 

Books For Building Products Users Love:

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan

You will learn how to build a product management practice and mindset that is centred around continuously delivering value for your most important asset, your customer, and how to ask the right questions and build the right teams to create successful products. Very good info on the discovery process.

Recommended by Mehrad Karamlou, Product Manager at Viafoura, and by Alexander Schwertner, Product Management Consultant at Schwertner Consulting.

 

Hooked - How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

I would recommend every Product Manager read it, even if you've been a Product Manager for the past 30 years. As the title suggests, the book focuses on how you can turn your product into a habit for your clients. It doesn't mean making it addictive—there's a subtle but important difference—but it does mean turning it into something that has so much value to your clients that they don't think about using it, they just use it.

Recommended by Karim Rashwan, Director of Product Management at AdvisorStream.

 

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

I often recommend this title — it’s both a good starting place and recurring place to add perspectives to the “why” behind your product.

Recommended by Mike Leibovitz, Senior Director, Product Management at Extreme Networks.

 

Business Model Generation, and Value Proposition Design by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

These books are valuable resources to learn about business models and value generation.  

Recommended by Daniel Shapiro, Founder at Gigsy.



Books For Product Leaders

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

For PMs or really anyone leading or building a team, I would strongly recommend this book. You will want your team to be motivated and bring out their best ideas, and Drive will uncover what your team needs from you and your organization to get there.

Recommended by Alexander Schwertner, Product Management Consultant at Schwertner Consulting.

 

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

There is so much awesome thought leadership available for free, but if you are going to buy one book, this is the one I’d recommend.

Recommended by Brien Buckman, Product, Studio at TechStars.

 

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

If you're into leadership, mentoring and coaching this book is for you. It's really helped bring me a different perspective to the why and how of leading from behind.

 

If You're in a Dogfight, Become a Cat by Leonard Sherman

A great read on competitive differentiation and why so many companies both large and small succeeded in creating businesses in crowded spaces.

The 2 titles above were recommended by Andrew Chung, VP Product at Veriday Inc.

 

Other Resources to Follow Regularly:

Aaron Cheng, VP of Product at KOHO, offered these recommendations for shorter content: the Stratechery Newsletter is a great newsletter to help think through high-level tech strategy.  Reforge offers some great articles on growth and product strategy. And for podcast listeners, a16z, and thisisproductmanagement are great additions your commute.

 

For more bite sized content, Andrew Chung, VP Product at Veriday Inc. recommends following First Round Review for great content for entrepreneurs, Seth Godin’s blog for very short, thought-provoking snippets to start your morning, and Product Manager HQ, for lots of great content for Product Managers and Product leaders.

 

Last but not least, Dennis Chow, VP Product at TouchBistro, recommends joining the PMHQ Slack Group — it’s a lot, but if you are disciplined enough to sift through it once a week for an hour or so, you'll find a tremendous amount of valuable resources being shared within the broader product community.

* * * * * 

Summer is the perfect time of year to catch up on reading—to dream big and to think long term. Whether you’re just getting started or have a successful career in product, these resources can help you level up your skills, for this season and the next.

Huge thanks to everyone who submitted their recommendations! 

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