Despite going through a lot of books as part of our commitment to product management training, we realized that what we lacked was actual feedback from readers who were product managers and product marketers themselves.
So we reached out to ask you which books made the most impact on your work and these are your suggestions:
5 Reader Recommended Books on Product Management
1. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky
Designer/author Jake Knapp created the five-day Sprint process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. In this book he shares the easy-to-replicate formula that can be used in any team in any industry.
Rachel Honoway, Partner at Rust Built Ventures says: "Sprint provided a practical blueprint for identifying an issue or opportunity, and taught us to work together as a cross-functional team to develop a solution. The authors share how to complete a group project without getting stuck in endless brainstorming sessions. Our team used the process multiple times, and I now help other companies use the framework to improve their SaaS products."
Below is a 14-minute video interview with author Jake Knapp about Google's 5-step process for testing new ideas:
2. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
We've listed this book before and even interviewed the author Nir Eyal himself. Basically, the book teaches product managers to build "viral loops" into their work so that users instinctively reach for the product. It enhances customer engagement and becomes habitual.
Rachel Honoway, Partner at Rust Built Ventures says: "Hooked offered an interesting approach to UI and product-based communications. The premise centers around designing products that end users become addicted to. The examples were great, and I saw the key elements in many of the tools I find myself drawn to. I really appreciated the details on how placement of information and functions within an application can alter, improve, or even ruin a user's experience with your product."
Below is our 22-minute video interview with author Nir Eyal on the 4 keys to building habit-forming products:
3. Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love
Cagan, a partner at Silicon Valley Product Group, tackles not just the basic principles of product management (especially for software applications), he also goes into how he organizes product and engineering teams for the best possible collaboration. Inspired has become required reading for many product teams.
Lance Ellisor, Chief Growth Officer at Journyx, Inc., says: " It's probably the best product manager's handbook for modern software product management. I've made it required reading for my product managers."
James Pollard, a marketing consultant who works with financial advisors at The AdvisorCoach.com says: "This book answers so many questions about creating a successful product. More specifically, it helped me decide which opportunities to pursue. I could've created a product about cold calling or referrals. By asking the marketplace and doing research, I found that financial advisors would value a product about cold calling more than a product on referrals. Without this book, I would've dumped tons of time and money into a product that most likely would've flopped."
Below is a two-minute video of Marty Cagan talking about the Two Week Rule in product development:
4. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
As one of the co-inventors of the Scrum software development process, Jeff Sutherland has a ton of stories about software project failure. He shares them here and how he used Scrum in many of these situations to salvage work that was several years behind deadline and millions of dollars over budget. As such, the book is less a Scrum tutorial and more an inspirational piece on how efficient work can be when done via Scrum.
Alec Sears, Digital Communications Specialist at Frontier Communications says: "Reading the book started to plant some ideas in my head, then began to change the way we worked as a team. Since then we have started doing weekly sprints and meeting together in daily standups in front of our Kanban boards. This change took time but it has allowed us to be more flexible and plan out complex projects with more accuracy. We’re able to identify roadblocks quickly and eliminate them. Since then, reading Scrum has become mandatory for other managers, and it’s starting to become adopted by other teams. Every team is different, but every team is still finding a way to use the book to boost team cohesion and productivity in remarkable ways."
Below is Sutherland's 15-minute TEDx Talk on doing twice as much in half the time:
Author Eric Ries shows how you can leverage Lean principles (cut out waste, build a Minimum Viable Product, etc.) in order to shorten development cycles, measure actual progress, and create a team that can adapt to changes and opportunities instantly.
Lance Ellisor, Chief Growth Officer at Journyx, Inc., says: "Although experimentation, MVP, and fail fast are so common as to be nearly passé these days, this is the book that really started it all. It's a great lesson/refresher on the methods and benefits of applying basic scientific techniques in a unified framework for product strategy and execution."
Below is a two-minute video of author Eric Ries talking about the Lean Startup methodology:
Looking for More Recommended Reads?
We compiled a list of 25 Must-Read Books for Product Managers and Product Marketers. Go take a look.