And let’s be honest, it’s a demanding job. Most of the time, you don’t even know how to do it.
Some may resort to product management tools for efficiency. Others may brainstorm with their product team or turn to industry experts.
While product management is an efficient and hands-on job, there are quite a few books that can help you.
Yes, we know you can’t learn how to drive by reading a book on it. However, many product management books provide valuable insights into the industry, the job, and advice for new managers from the experts.
When you think of it that way, it’s most certainly worth it. After all, knowledge is always an asset.
In this post, let’s look at the top ten books for product managers.
We have carefully curated this list for you, and they come with their unique value proposition. PM pun intended?
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Why Should You Read Product Management Blogs?
First, let’s get an important question out of the way. Why should you read? You’re a product manager. You probably don’t have time for books, right?
Wrong. If you want to learn about product management, there are a few reasons why you should read product management books.
First, they can provide you with new and innovative ideas.
Second, they can help you better understand the product development process.
Third, they can give you insights into the challenges and obstacles you may face as a product manager.
Lastly, they can provide you with a framework for success.
And now, let’s acquaint you with some of the top books for product managers!
Top 10 Product Management Books
As a product manager, keeping up with the latest and greatest thinking in the field is essential.
Here are ten books that will help you do just that:
1. The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback
First on the list is a classic must-read.
The Lean Product Playbook is a book that every product manager should read. It’s a step-by-step guide on how to build successful products, and it’s packed with helpful tips and real-world examples.
If you want to improve your product management skills, this book is a great place to start.
In The Lean Product Playbook, author Dan Olsen lays out a framework for building successful products.
If you’re serious about product management, here’s where you should begin.
2. The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
If you’re a product manager with an entrepreneurial spirit, this one’s for you.
Perhaps you want to get out of the product manager title and build your own company after years of building products. Or you’re a product manager at an early-stage start-up.
If so, then you need to check out The Start-Up Owner’s Manual.
It’s packed with helpful information and tips on every aspect of starting a company, from coming up with a great business idea to raising capital and growing your business.
The Start-Up Owner’s Manual is written by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Steve Blank, who has started and sold several companies.
He knows what it takes to succeed in the start-up world and shares his knowledge in this comprehensive guide.
If you’re serious about starting your business, then you need to read The Start-Up Owner’s Manual. It’s the definitive guide to building a successful company from scratch.
3. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail
Ah, here’s a personal favorite. Most books talk about the significant visionary aspects of a product owner’s life. However, only a few successfully address the challenges.
In his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen discusses the problems companies face when trying to innovate.
He argues that most companies fail to innovate because they focus on the wrong things. They focus on what their customers want rather than on what they need.
Christensen provides a framework for companies to use when trying to innovate. He calls it the “jobs-to-be-done” framework.
This framework focuses on the problem that the customer is trying to solve, not on the product itself.
By understanding the problem that the customer is trying to solve, companies can create products that better meet their needs.
The Innovator’s Dilemma is a must-read for any company that wants to innovate. It provides a clear framework for creating new products that customers will love.
4. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers
If you’re in the business world, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the book Crossing the Chasm.
Written by marketing guru Geoffrey A. Moore, the book has become a bit of a legend in the business world.
In a nutshell, the book is about how to successfully market and sell products to early adopters and early majority customers.
According to Moore, there is a big difference between these two groups, and you must tailor marketing efforts accordingly.
Moore lays out several key strategies, including:
- Finding a “champion” or influential early adopter to promote your product
- Creating a “beachhead market” or niche market to start with
- Focusing on a single market segment at a time
- Communicating your value proposition in a clear and concise way
If you’re in the tech industry, “Crossing the Chasm” is a must-read.
It will give you a better understanding of the technology adoption life cycle and how to sell your product at each stage successfully.
5. The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets
The Lean Entrepreneur is a book that every aspiring product leader should read.
The book comes with great advice and insights on success in business.
The main message of The Lean Entrepreneur is that businesses should focus on creating value for their customers. This means building a product or service that solves a problem for customers.
The book also stresses the importance of continuously improving your product or service.
The author, Brant Cooper, is a successful entrepreneur who knows what he’s talking about.
One of the best pieces of advice in the book is to “think lean.” This means always thinking about ways to cut costs and increase efficiency in your business.
Such a mindset is critical if you want to be successful in business.
Another great tip from the book is to focus on your core competencies. This means identifying the things you’re good at and enjoy doing and then building your business around those things.
It will be much easier to succeed because you’ll be doing something you’re already good at and enjoy.
6. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur are the ingenious authors of the Business Model Generation.
It provides a framework for creating and evaluating business models. The book includes nine building blocks that you can use to initiate a business model.
The book also includes case studies of companies successfully using the Business Model Generation framework.
These case studies can provide you with great ideas for your business.
The Business Model Generation book is an excellent resource if you’re looking for a new business model.
You can also read more about the business model canvas method here.
7. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Another book with the work lean in its title? You bet!
But hold on, like we said, each comes with unique values.
The Lean Start-Up is a book about starting a business lean, efficient way.
Entrepreneur and investor Eric Ries writes the book, offering a step-by-step guide to starting a business, from developing a business model to launching and scaling a product.
Ries defines a lean start-up as “built around the vision of an entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on experimentation and iterative product development.”
He explains that the lean start-up approach is about “doing more with less.”
This means that start-ups should focus on creating a minimum viable product, or MVP.
The MVP is the bare-bones version of a product or service that is just enough to get the job done. It is not concerned with bells and whistles; it is only concerned with functionality.
The lean start-up approach is all about learning from failure. Ries explains that “failure is an essential part of the process” and that “the only way to avoid it is never to start anything new.”
He urges start-ups to embrace failure and use it as a learning opportunity.
The Lean Start-Up is an essential book for anyone interested in starting a business. It provides a roadmap for creating a successful start-up and is full of helpful advice for avoiding common pitfalls.
8. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: An Illustrated Leadership Fable
Ah, intriguing title, isn’t it?
Here’s a book that comes to your rescue.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is about creating and maintaining a successful team.
Lencioni’s book centers around five main themes, or “dysfunctions” that can sabotage even the best teams. They are:
- Absence of trust
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results
If any of these dysfunctions are present in a team, it will likely struggle to achieve its goals. However, if a team can overcome these issues, it will be well on its way to success.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to create a successful team, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is a great place to start.
9. First Things First: To-Do List for Living
Prioritization, prioritization, and prioritization. One of the essential responsibilities of a product manager.
Of course, you can use various prioritization frameworks or a product roadmap tool. But, what happens when you cannot differentiate between personal and professional priorities?
A very less-talked-about phenomenon is how product managers often fail to balance their lives and, as a result, affect the product’s success.
That’s where Stephen Covey’s book, First Things First, comes in.
Covey’s book is about prioritizing the things most important to you in life. He argues that we all have a “personal mission statement” that should guide our decisions. And if we’re not living by that mission, then we’re not living.
Covey’s book has helped millions of people get their lives back on track. If you feel stuck in a rut, it might be time to read First Things First.
10. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy
The Productivity Project book is about helping people achieve their goals and be productive.
It recalls the insights Chris Bailey gained over a year conducting several productivity experiments to assist you in getting more done in all aspects of your life.
The book splits into chapters, each focusing on a different area of productivity.
The chapters cover goal setting, time management, and procrastination topics.
Simply put, productivity is the result of effectively managing your:
All three parts are equally vital and should be emphasized explicitly, as time management often receives the most attention during productivity conversations.
The book also includes tips and tricks for being productive and case studies of people who have implemented the productivity project in their lives.
When a product manager grasps the importance of time management, you work more efficiently. Your product launches are always on time. You use best practices such as continuous deployment and ensure customer success.
Chisel, the #1 Agile product management software, was built keeping in mind a product manager’s time, focus, and efficiency.
And that’s the end of a beautifully curated list, just for you.
With these top ten product management books, you’re sure to make your way up the ladder.
If you’re looking for more such resources, check out our blogs.