Critical Reading for Product Managers

There’s a lot floating around about what to read as a product manager. I feel like I’ve read it all. Yes, I’ve read nearly every book on the PDMA required NPDP reading list and it feels like every thing out there that shows up in an Amazon search on product management. I want to save you some time, so I’ve put these in the order in which I give these to new product managers.

  1. Good PM/ Bad PM by Ben Horowitz. This is the quintessential post on product management. It’s great to give a high level overview of what someone new to product management should be thinking about. One thing to note: I think Horowitz is missing the comment that good PMs put the customer/stakeholder at the center of all their decision making. This keeps them intellectually honest.

  2. User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton. I just wrote a whole blog post on this, so go read that.

  3. Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal. We just don’t think enough about behavioral psychology when we think about product adoption. No book has made me think more about first product experiences than this one. Just a stellar read.

  4. Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan. I go back to this all the time. Maybe because Marty Cagan is my hero or maybe because it puts product in such nice perspective in the organization. This is a bit of a 10k foot look at product, but still a great read.

  5. So Long MVP. Hello Minimum Lovable Product. How we think about the minimum we can build is changing- this is a good read for advanced product folks, but don’t start here.

These are some of my favorites- I find myself suggesting them over and over again.