Best book recommendations for Product Managers
It is believed by many that books are man’s best friend. The phrase is indeed true. Like a best friend, books understand us. They have the propensity to feel our emotions. Be it any genre, books have been a solution to many problems. They have been with us for centuries. Books have also helped us in finding solace, in the state of confusion, and most importantly in gaining knowledge and wisdom. In a world full of online learning resources, books have been a true helper. There have been one or two discussions regarding books in the community. One of them occurred recently. A product manager with almost one year of experience wanted book recommendations about product management or business strategy in general. Her asking for book recommendations brought up a discussion that led to the discovery of numerous product management books on the former topics and also told us more about the role of the product manager. Let’s see the best product management books that people of the community suggested.
One of the very first answers was “Escaping the build trap” by Melissa P. The user described the book as a fantastic overview of product role, practice, and structure. She also described it as an easy weekend read! I agree with her. “Escaping the Build Trap – How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value” describes the various concepts of product management and the significance of Outcomes over Outputs. Moreover, the book talks about building a better and more efficient product manager career.
Escaping the Build Trap – How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value
Another member of the community mentioned that most of the people, in their discussion, recommend “Inspired” and “First 90 Days”. He further mentioned that one of the best tactical books on Product management was probably “Continuous Discovery Habits”. “Continuous Discovery Habits” by Teresa Torres is one of the top books for product managers and is a good read. It talks about the role of the Product trio (Product, Manager, Designer and Developer) in the product discovery process. For all those product managers who are still confused about the product discovery process and how it works, this book is extremely beneficial. The book also focuses on the positives of a product manager career.
He further added that along with reading these books, one can couple it with something related to roadmaps like “Roadmaps Relaunched”. Another user seconded this book. Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty by C. Todd Lombardo, Bruce McCarthy, Evan Ryan, and Michael Connors is a book that is all about presenting the importance of a product roadmap and their relationship to product managers. It talks vastly about the product manager career. Lombardo et al. started the book with a saying,
“A good roadmap is not so much a project plan as a strategic communication tool, a statement of intent and direction.”
Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty
Additionally, to learn more about strategies you can check out “Good Strategy Bad Strategy”. Another book that was suggested was, “Product Management in Practice”. Both the books can be described as the best books for understanding the role of a product manager.
In this ongoing discussion, Natasha asked which of Ram Charan’s books people found the most useful.
Some Recommended Books By Ram Charan
Ram Charan is a world-renowned business consultant, author and speaker. Since 1998, Ram Charan has been an author of more than 30 books all of which have been bestsellers. He also has written for famous publications such as Harvard Business Review, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Time, Chief Executive and USA TODAY. A list of books by Ram Charan was recommended in the discussion. They were:
- What the CEO wants you to know
- The Leadership Pipeline
- Execution: the discipline of getting things done
- The Amazon Management System
- Profitable Growth Is Everyone’s Business: 10 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning
- Talent, Strategy, Risk: How Investors and Boards Are Redefining TSR
The user who recommended the books mentioned that there is no right order to read these books and believed that the best of the books among them were “What the CEO wants you to know”, “The Leadership Pipeline” and “Execution: the discipline of getting things done”. The Execution was one of his three books that were included in the Wall Street Journal Bestsellers. “Execution: the discipline of getting things done” is a book that delivers on what all it takes for companies to grow and succeed through strategies, leadership, processes and most importantly execution. It also talks on the various responsibilities and roles of the product manager.
Execution: the discipline of getting things done
Another community member recommended the following books that are a big help in building a product manager career:
- Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen
- A non-conventional recommendation that opened my eyes is “Working Backwards” –by Bill Carr and Colin Bryas
Simon Sinek’s books are good too. “Start with Why” and “The Infinite Game”.
After such recommendations, our community member recommended some product management specifics, which included:
- Working backwards
Additionally, he seconded the idea of giving Sinek’s leadership material a read as he believed that it was one of the best online learning resources for understanding product management.
Simon Oliver Sinek
Let’s talk about the materials provided by Sinek. Simon Oliver Sinek is an author and an inspirational speaker. He is the author of five books that are Start With Why, The Infinite Game, Leaders Eat Last, Together Is Better and Find Your Why. Leaders Appear Last has been on the bestseller lists of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
“Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” talks about failures and highlights the importance of leaders and how they need to step forward to make a positive difference in the company. It also discusses the ways by which an individual can become an impactful and true leader. The book highlights the leadership role of the product manager. Among the millions and millions of books that talk about the strategies and processes and what all should be done to improve your skills, this book is a breath of fresh air. It talks about improving yourself, becoming a better version and taking the lead in tough situations.
“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” is another bestseller from Sinek that includes multiple real-world examples of great leaders that helps us to understand how they communicate. This book helps us to inspire the mindset of such leaders and to inspire others as well. It is considered a top book among online learning resources.
From this discussion, you can get to know about the most useful and informative books among the millions of product management books that have been published all around the world. These books can be read in a paperback format or seen as one of many online learning resources. The given book recommendations are not only the best books for product managers but are also informative and provide you with insights on becoming a better product manager with proper strategies, time management and most essentially, proper use of skills. Never underestimate yourself and improve to become the better YOU.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the role of the product manager?
A product manager is someone who is responsible for delivering good quality products and services to the customers. They are responsible for creating ideas, crowdsourcing and developing valuable products.
- What are some other book recommendations for product management?
Some other books on product management are Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely and Work Rules! By Laszlo Bock.
- Who is Ram Charan?
Ram Charan is a business consultant of Indian-American origin who is also a speaker and a writer. He is known for his bestsellers “What the CEO wants you to know”, “The Leadership Pipeline” and “Execution: the discipline of getting things done”.
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