Unusual, but full of value reading list for aspiring or leveling up Product Managers!
Stay at the top of your game, there’s no way out
You are a Product Manager! You are happy with what you’ve become, you’re enjoying your job on a daily basis, everything is going as planned or maybe even better than expected after a few first months of working late hours because you were trying to “figure it out” and here you are, you finally made it.
But in order for you to stay at the top of your game, there are many things you can do, one of them, is the always technically sound and proven tool to acquire knowledge, books, and if they are recommended, even better.
One of my personal growth strategies is to read and learn from other people’s mistakes and books are certainly a great way. Now of course nothing beats practical knowledge. I’ll stop my rant because you get the point.
Here’s the top 10 list of books from 2020 to stay sharp. Once you become a Product Manager, you want to stay at the top of your game. Have a look at the top 10 books from 2020 you should have in your arsenal.
You can find me sharing more books and bits on product management here
Now let’s dive in.
#1 — Building For Everyone: Expand Your Market With Design Practices From Google’s Product Inclusion Team
If there are topics that have really resonated in organizations and will continue to do so at a fast pace and with an increasing effect are diversity and inclusion. Don’t miss the train on these two, as a Product Manager in today’s world, we ought to stay on top of almost if not all important topics affecting how users experience software products and services we cannot allow ourselves to stay away from these aspects. We need to have inclusion and diversity included as an intrinsic value of our products if we want to increase our product's chances to succeed.
Building for Everyone will help you to incorporate this notion into your thought process as a Product Manager. This interesting and innovative book will help you to find out what questions you should be asking in regards to diversity and inclusion when brainstorming with your teammates from development, marketing, UX/UI, legal, and so on.
You will also see real case studies on these topics and how coming up with a product’s vision that has diversity and inclusion from the get-go can result in huge qualitative and quantitative benefits for your product, your company and ultimately the customer, those that will acquire your product and even fall in love with it.
#2 — How to Lead in Product Management: Practices to Align Stakeholders, Guide Development Teams, and Create Value Together
This book may be oriented to a more Executive level of Product Managers, maybe Senior Product Managers, Product Managers Directors or simply very experienced Product Managers that were strategically assigned to features or products where the stakes are really high and there is a need for constant learning regarding leadership, facilitating alignments between all parties involved in a complex environment when sometimes agreements are not that easy to reach.
A few topics that are analyzed in this book:
● Selecting the right style for leading the product creation
● Empathy, trust, being able to influence others
● Making hard decisions
● Conflicts resolutions and disputes
#3 — Inside Your Customer’s Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions
I think this book may be one of a kind because although the idea of developing a product having your future customer involved in the process of creating some kind of partnership and co-creation of the product or service that we want to develop and release to the market sounds extreme to me at first, it suddenly makes me realize and hopefully, it will happen the same to you, our main focus to achieve our company business goal is the user, our focus is user-centric, so why don’t give it a try at least from a reading perspective, we take what we think it’s valuable for us, our products and clients and we can leave the rest aside for a while until we see an opportunity for applying extremely innovative processes.
The book is full of examples, illustrations, and pragmatic procedures, there is no crazy abstractions here, the book comes from a place in which the practices explained here are totally feasible for start-ups or companies, it will depend on each organization to decide whether to follow through with it or not.
#4 — The COMPLETE BOOK of Product Design, Development, Manufacturing, and Sales
Yes, yes, I know, just seeing that “COMPLETE BOOK” pair of words in the title may seem a little bit scary. This is a dense book, may seem heavy to read but is highly recommended for beginners. For those that are aiming for a position as a Product Manager or that are already on a path of growth towards that role, this can be of great help, making you aware of the things that you probably ignore that you don’t know about and that you need to incorporate as soon as possible to increase your chances of success.
Topics that we will find in this great work by Steven Selikoff:
- How to validate ideas for a product?
- What sales channels should we be considering for our product?
- Negotiation tools
#5 — Build What Matters: Delivering Key Outcomes with Vision-Led Product Management
Great book with a lot of value for Product Managers that while working in a fast-paced world that we live in today are in constant danger of losing sight of a customer-centric approach for each feature or improvement they add to the product or service they are in charge of.
This resource brings up a very pragmatic approach for strategizing our creation of a customer-centric product.
#6 — Product Management Essentials — Tools and Techniques for Becoming an Effective Technical Product Manager
This book was released in 2018, I’m convinced it comes in very handy for new Product Managers or aspiring professionals to a Product Manager position.
This one goes back to the fundamentals, the keyword here is “Technical” Product Manager, it is oriented to close the gap between Product Managers coming from a non-technical background and the development team. It pushes you to become a proactive Product Manager in technical aspects so that you can enrich your conversations with your development team and arrive to a higher level of sophisticated solutions with a better understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes.
#7 — Principles of Product Management: How to Land a PM Job and Launch Your Product Career
There is no way you pass on this one if you are looking for a job as a Product Manager. This book is a must read for people looking for a PM position.
From taking care of the basics, the fundamentals of Product Management, to practical guidance on how to achieve your goal of getting the job and keeping it plus a few examples that will be useful for each interview you are going to go through until you get the job.
#8 — Effective Product Management: The Concise Guide for the Confident Product Manager
Interesting book for those who were recently promoted to Product Management and may be going through some challenges, this book intends to make you realize that you need to embrace scenarios of ambiguity, lack of clear expectations from the company board of directors, misunderstandings with different areas or specialists, all these things, you need to overcome. As a Product Manager you will have your ups and downs, but that doesn’t mean your job is not still awesome and that you are in a privileged position to create amazing things.
#9 — Product Management Case Study Approach: New App Ideation & Launch
Whether you are a Product Manager for a company, a start-up or an entrepreneur this book will become a great asset to have at hand.
Coming with a very practical step by step approach you will learn fundamentals, basics of Product Management and then go through conclusions based on case studies with illustrations, expected deliverables at each stage of the process of building a product.
#10 — The Influential Product Manager: How to Lead and Launch Successful Technology Products
Oriented to Junior or Entry Level Product Managers starting their career, this book is a complete guide for the brand new Product Manager to understand each one of the steps in the way to create a product, explanations of each phase, based on first-hand experience from the author, you can be sure there will be no stone unturned when it comes to reviewing each aspect of a Product Manager career.
If you have read any of these books, I’d love to know your thoughts.
P.s Amazon links are not affiliated links. :)
You can find me sharing more books and bits on product management here