Read your way to a successful product manager



Very often we have been asked about best suggestions for growing of your skills as a product manager….

Like in any job, especially the one where you are required to come up with new things (thus the product development title also), it is essential you actually enjoy reading and learning in general.

You need to know about a lot of things and over time it will pay with compounding interest, truly.


So enough with the intro and here is a little reading list with few of the titles I have enjoyed over the years with special focus on books that provide some practical advice that can be easily applied…


Best, Roger, Market-Based Management—Strategies for Growing Customer

Great book about marketing, understanding customers and competition and making the right, information based decisions in the business.


Haines, Stephen, The Product Manager’s Desk Reference,

Very good overview of key product management activities.


Porter, Michael E., Competitive Advantage

A classis must read on competitive forces and how to develop sustainable competitive advantage for your business.


Project Management Institute,  A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)  

Reference guide for project management also very useful for product managers who are running their own projects.


Chesbrough Henry, Open Services Innovation: Rethinking Your Business to Grow and Compete in a New Era

How to innovate and maintain relevance with your customers


Welch, Jack, Winning

A must read for manager of any type including staff leaders and product leaders.


Lafley, A. G, Playing to Win (How Strategy Really Works)

Fantastic book on practical steps to develop strategy, not theory only bur actual actionable steps.


Kim, Chan W. Blue Ocean Strategy

Interesting read about finding opportunities in places and markets where you may have not looked before


Cohen, Greg, Agile Excellence for Product Managers

Nice, short and concise introduction to Agile methodology for product managers, especially useful for software industry.


Gawande, Atul, The Checklist Manifesto

A gem full of great ideas. Once you read this you will never go back and work without checklists. Written by a surgeon but applicable to any profession.


Taleb, Nassim, The Black Swan

Great introduction to the probabilistic way of thinking and how to see and benefit from unexpected.


Covey, Stephen, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Great guide on personal management and 7 simple steps to increase your productivity.


Ries, Eric, The Lean Startup

Great book about running a startup business but very applicable and similar to running a new product.


Weinberg, Gabriel, Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers

Fantastic book on 19 very practical and actionable strategies to increase sales.


Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the Twenty-First Century

Masterpiece of economics. Great insight into some key macro issues facing us all in this century.


Thorndike, William, The Outsiders

Great stories about the 8 bests CEOs that American businesses have ever seen. A remarkable coincidence (or maybe not) a great proportion of them started their working careers as product managers.


Collins, Jim, Great by Choice

Great insight into why some companies thrive and some not – invaluable lessons for every product owner.


I hope this is enough to keep you going for couple of months… enjoy the reading…

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