Are you new to the world of product management and product marketing? Or maybe you just want to pick up a few new reads to expand your skills?
Instead of browsing the bookshelves at your favorite local bookshop and choosing one at random, take a look at our list of the best product management books and product marketing reads for tried-and-true recommendations from the PMM community.
Why read product management books?
Product management is an ever-evolving field. Whether you’re a complete newbie hoping to learn the ropes or an experienced product manager trying to keep up with changing trends, product management books have a lot to offer.
Here are five benefits you can gain from reading some of the best product management books:
- On the job training can teach you what to do, but books help you learn the ‘why’; They can teach you the theory and reasoning behind the practices, and research shows that we all perform better when we understand why things are a certain way.
- Product management involves a lot of jargon and unique technical terms. The top product management books can help you grasp the lingo, so you’re comfortable using it and understanding it at work.
- Reading is proven to help improve memory and focus. If you’re struggling to learn product management through other means, like podcasts or videos, then books may be a great way to take in and remember relevant information.
- Studies show that reading books also improves your communication skills. As a product manager or product marketer, a huge part of your job is communicating with team members, customers, and other stakeholders.
- Product managers must always be looking for new ways to improve their products and offer new innovations to the market. The must-read product management books on this list can help you discover new methods and better processes while also boosting your creativity.
We’ve broken down our top product management books into four main categories:
- The best product management books for beginners
- The top books focused on user experience (UX) and product development strategy
- Must-read books on web design and usability
- The best books for product managers wanting to perfect the product development process
Product management books for beginners
1. Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology
Authors: Gayle Laakmann McDowell & Jackie Bavaro
While Cracking the PM Interview isn’t exactly new (it’s from 2013), it has remained on Amazon.com’s list of bestsellers in technical project management for quite some time and is currently holding the #1 spot.
This book is more than a primer on which interview questions to prep for or how to write a killer product management resume (although this book covers both).
McDowell and Bavaro get to the core of what the position of a product manager really is. In it, you’ll get to examine the role from all sides to learn not only how to land a job, but master your daily responsibilities and advance your career as well.
2. Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value
Author: Melissa Perri
Released in 2018, Escaping the Build Trap covers essential product management principles that can be applied to any company, no matter the size. Perri, the author, is the CEO of a product management consultancy, and she brings a wealth of hands-on knowledge and actionable advice to her readers.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, this book offers value to beginners and experienced PMs alike. Containing only 200 pages, it’s a relatively quick read, packed full of product management wisdom.
3. The Product Manager's Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed as a Product Manager
Author: Steven Haines
Just released in 2019, the second edition of The Product Manager's Survival Guide maintains all the value of the first, but now with more actionable advice, techniques, and tools for success.
Follow this book's blueprint for graduating from novice to confident product manager. Start by understanding the keys to success, then learn how to become a product expert and customer advocate so that you can effectively manage your teams, increase productivity, and further your career.
4. Product Management for Dummies
Authors: Brian Lawley & Pamela Schure
Part of the “for Dummies” series, Product Management for Dummies is a useful and popular book for product management novices. Written by two product management experts, this easy-to-understand guide is full of essential and actionable info.
This comprehensive reference offers easy-to-understand explanations of the essentials of product management, from defining the product life cycle and creating a winning product strategy to gathering customer feedback. With a 4.5 star rating, this book is clearly an essential addition to your product management toolkit — whether you're a novice or intermediate product manager.
5. The Product Book: How to Become a Great Product Manager
Authors: Josh Anon & Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia.
Based on Product School’s curriculum, The Product Book introduces product management students and beginners to key PM concepts and practices. It’s a helpful resource for anyone considering taking on more formal product management education but unsure whether it’s the right career path.
Full of recent and relevant examples from huge well-known companies such as Facebook, Google, Airbnb, and more, this 294-page book will help bring product management to life.
Books about user experience & product development strategy
6. Inspired: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love
Author: Marty Cagan
The latest version of Inspired was released in 2017 and has 4.5 stars on Amazon.com. Like the initial version, it’s a ‘masterclass’ book on how to design and develop better products. But, this release embraces new techniques and practices to ensure it’s still fresh and useful to product managers today.
Unless your product is valuable, usable, and feasible, it’s not worth building. So says Marty Cagan, whose book takes you through how you should decide which products and designs to pursue, how to prove your proposed product will be successful, defining a minimum viable product, and juggling the conflicting needs of execs, customers, sales, engineering, and design.
7. User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live, Work, and Play
Authors: Cliff Kaung & Robert Fabricant
Voted Amazon Best Books of 2019 Pick and Fortune Writers and Editors’ Recommended Books of 2019 pick, User Friendly is a must-read for anyone interested in product design and development.
The authors map out how user experience (UX) has evolved and changed our world over time in a story-driven style that’s engaging to read. It’s an insightful piece that might make you look at UX and product development in a whole new way.
8. Beyond The Prototype: A roadmap for navigating the fuzzy area between ideas and outcomes
Author: Douglas Ferguson
Beyond The Prototype is all about what to do after you complete your first design sprint, and the optimistic enthusiasm starts to wear off. Author Douglas Ferguson tackles the struggles many teams face after getting to prototype and how to overcome them.
Using compelling stories from popular companies such as Adobe and Google, this guide walks you through six essential steps for successful product launches. If you want a usable framework to help take you from idea to product validation, you’ll find it here.
Web design & usability books for product managers
9. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
Author: Dr. Susan Weinschenk
The second edition of 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People was just released in June 2020. In it, Dr. Weinschenk uses her 30+ years as a behavioral psychologist to offer strategies for improving your site's user experience and boosting conversion.
Design isn't just pretty, it's purposeful. You want people to respond to your website in a certain way, or take a specific next action? Learn why people act the way they do. What grabs their attention? Is peripheral or central vision more important? What’s the best length for a line of text? What fuels people's actions? Read this book to find out.
10. Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web & Mobile Usability, 3rd Edition
Author: Steve Krug
While Don't Make Me Think, Revisited hasn’t been updated since 2013, it still remains Amazon.com’s #1 Best Seller in their User Experience & Web Usability category. First published in 2000, this bestseller is still an essential guide for web designers and developers.
The updated third edition includes fresh examples and a new section on mobile usability, plus tips to make navigation intuitive, user testing efficient (so you can do it more often), and your user experience seamless across all devices.
11. Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines
Author: Jeff Johnson
Just released in October 2020, the 3rd Edition of Designing with the Mind in Mind is a refreshed version of an essential guide on usability and user interface (UI) design. If you’re a product manager involved in digital design projects, looking for a crash course in UI principles, this is the book for you.
From this book, you’ll gain a basic understanding of why user-interface design has to follow certain rules and the perceptual and cognitive psychology behind the guidelines. You’ll also have a better grasp of why your design team makes some of the choices they do.
Books on perfecting the development process
12. The Toyota Product Development System: Integrating People, Process, and Technology
Authors: James Morgan & Jeffrey K. Liker
Just released in October 2020, The Toyota Product Development System takes a deep dive into what makes Toyota one of the most forward-thinking product development companies in the automotive industry.
This book compares and contrasts the world-class product development process of Toyota with an unnamed US competitor to help emphasize process best practices and how they can impact your business success.
13. Product Lifecycle Management (Volume 1): 21st Century Paradigm for Product Realisation
Author: John Stark
The 4th edition of Product Lifecycle Management, released in October 2020, offers an expanded version of this cornerstone text. It’s been updated to reflect important technological advances and how they’ve impacted the product life cycle.
This must-read guide covers everything you need to know about product life cycle management (PLM), from the main components of PLM initiatives to best practices and environmental considerations you need to keep in mind.
14. Building For Everyone: Expand Your Market With Design Practices From Google's Product Inclusion Team
Author: Annie Jean-Baptiste
Building For Everyone is about how you can build better products by focusing on promoting diversity and inclusion in your workforce. This practical guide will walk you through how to follow Google’s footsteps of building a Product Inclusion Team to improve your design process.
After reading this book, you’ll know essential strategies and processes for executing more inclusive product designs that will help increase your company’s profitability. Plus, it includes real-life recent case studies on what does and doesn’t work so you can avoid the mistakes of those who came before you.
15. Inside Your Customer's Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions
Author: Chip R. Bell
With 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com, Inside Your Customer's Imagination is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their product development processes. Author Chip Bell walks you through proven processes for designing and developing breakthrough products your customers don’t even know they want yet.
With the use of examples from big-name companies like McDonald’s, Lockheed Martin, and Marriott, Bell illustrates how partnering with your customers can help you discover a treasure trove of innovations and process improvements.
16. Build What Matters: Delivering Key Outcomes with Vision-Led Product Management
Authors: Ben Foster & Rajesh Nerlikar
In Build What Matters, authors Ben Foster and Rajesh Nerlikar walk you through their methodology for building products that will meet current and future customer needs. This guide emphasizes the importance of the customer in product development and introduces ways to always keep that fact top-of-mind.
This book will introduce you to 10 dysfunctions common to product development processes and then walk you through tactical ways to avoid these traps. Whether you’re a start-up founder, a product leader, or a high-level executive, you’ll find actionable advice in this book that can help improve your business processes.
Top books for product marketers
We’ve divided our top product marketer books into two main categories:
- The best books for helping you fuel customer adoption
- Must-read books about product marketing strategy and best practices
Books on fueling customer adoption
17. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Authors: Nir Eyal & Ryan Hoover
Hooked is a guide for product marketers, managers, and designers about building products that people want to use. It includes insights into creating user habits and understanding behavioral techniques. Plus, you’ll walk away with actionable advice on how to build and market products that people will love.
In this book, you’ll learn a four-step model for building customer habits so that users willingly come back for more, over and over. This guide brings technology, psychology, and business together in a way that will improve your product marketing outcomes and boost your customer adoption and retention rates.
18. The Four Steps to the Epiphany
Author: Steve Blank
The Four Steps to the Epiphany is commonly thought to be one of the most influential business books of all time. In this updated version, released March 2020, author Steve Blank brings even more insights and relevant examples to the table.
Too often, development teams build a product, and when customers don’t bite, they scrap it and try again. Instead, Steve Blank focuses on Customer Development — a concept that’s since become one of the three pillars of the Lean startup. Learn how to pinpoint the right product for your specific market, using techniques that have helped launch over 10,000 startups and corporate ventures.
19. The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to Go from $0 to $100 Million
Author: Mark Roberge
The author of The Sales Acceleration Formula, Mark Roberge, is an MIT alum with an engineering background that he has applied to sales and marketing. In this book, Roberge promotes the replacement of conventional sales methods with a more metric-driven, process-oriented approach.
From this book, you'll learn the techniques Roberge used as SVP of Worldwide Sales and Services at HubSpot to help the company grow from a small, three-person startup to a giant success with a billion-dollar valuation and over 15,000 customers.
20. The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data
Author: Gene Kim
The Unicorn Project, a highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling title The Phoenix Project, is written as an engaging novel, but that doesn’t make its messaging any less true or relevant to real-world product marketers, developers, and managers.
Gene Kim is a multi-award winning CTO and the founder of Tripwire. In this novel, he introduces five ideals required for product success and discusses internal structures every technology company needs.
Books about product marketing strategy & best practices
21. Product Marketing, Simplified: A Customer-Centric Approach to Take a Product to Market
Author: Srini Sekaran
Product Marketing, Simplified is a comprehensive guide on the world of product marketing. Whether you want to learn more about improving product launches or delivering greater value to the right customers, this book is packed full of valuable info.
This guide walks you through the entire product marketing process, including how to understand the customer journey, build a go-to-market strategy, determine pricing and packaging, and influence the product roadmap.
22. Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations (3rd Edition)
Authors: Stanley J. Slater, Jakki J. Mohr, & Sanjit Sengupta
Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of tech marketing. This book explains all the variables you'll need to consider when launching a product, as well as the logistics for managing the process.
From migration paths and types of innovations to managing customer relationships, you'll find a good balance of theory and real-world examples to get the knowledge you need in the world of tech marketing.
23. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
Author: Donald Miller
Building a StoryBrand will introduce you to seven essential elements of powerful stories. By using these elements in your product marketing, you’ll be able to improve customer engagement and boost your success rates.
This guide breaks down seven story points that resonate with every human, the reasoning behind why customers make the buying decisions they do, and how to create the most effective branding and marketing messages for your product and business.
24. Swipe to Unlock: The Primer on Technology and Business Strategy
Authors: Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe & Parth Detroja
Swipe to Unlock was written by three product managers at Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, and it’s one of Amazon.com’s #1 Best Sellers. This is a must-read book for any product marketer, product manager, or consultant in the tech industry.
The latest edition was released in 2019 and includes over 40 pages of new content. It includes a wealth of case studies on huge companies and covers essential product marketing topics such as current and future trends, emerging markets, and more.
25. To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Author: Daniel Pink
Whether you’re pitching a colleague on a new idea, convincing your manager to support a passion project, or trying to sway a customer to switch from freemium to paid, we all spend our days trying to move others to act.
In To Sell is Human, bestselling author Daniel Pink teaches you how to truly understand another person’s perspective and craft clear, persuasive marketing messages.
Are you interested in learning more about product management and product marketing? Maybe you’re looking for a special niche topic you didn’t see mentioned in any of these books?
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