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The 8 Books Every Product Manager Must Read to be Successful

Simon Robic
Head of Product & Marketing at Screeb

Books are one of the best way to learn. Even if we have access to millions of YouTube videos, podcasts or articles online, books are still on top of the list when we want to discover something new, get inspiration and improve our knowledge.

And it’s also true for Product Management, some books being nearly mandatory on a PM bookshelves. Here’s the list of our 10 favourite product management books here at Screeb:

Hooked – Nir Eyal

“How do successful companies create products people love to use?” That’s the question at the heart of Nir Eyal’s book turned Bible for a lot of PMs. With a lot of examples and an actionable framework to conceive products, Hooked is on top of the must-read books for Product people.

The Mom Test – Rob Fitzpatrick

Being able to ask the right questions and get useful, unbiased responses is at the heart of every PM job. But it’s often something really hard to do. This small book gives precise rules on how to do user (or future user) interviews to spot what they need and therefore what you should build.

The Cold Start Problem – Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen led Rider Growth at Uber. He’s now working for Andreessen Horowitz, a leading venture capital firm in the Silicon Valley. In this book, he writes about how to kickstart products based on communities, and how most of the successful products we’re using everyday managed to find their first users.

When Coffee and Kale Compete – Alan Klement

Who your product is really competing with? If the answer may seem obvious, most of the time it’s not. If you’re building a project management platform, your main competitor may not be another project management solution but Excel, for example. Alan Klement explains how to understand the true needs of our users, how to spot our real competitors and how to build differentiation.

Empowered – Marty Cagan

This sequel to Inspired, listed below, explains how to enable people in a product team to solve hard problems and, so, create product people will love and use. Marty Cagan shows that it’s not only about hiring the best talents and paying them more than other companies, but more about creating the right environment for them to be excellent.

The Innovator’s Dilemma – Clayton Christensen

This book is considered as one of the most important books when you work on a digital product and has been a huge bestseller, especially among those who are trying to disrupt their industry. Bloomberg even describes it has a “holy book”! Why? Because it shows how important it is to never accept the status quo and to always be able to reinvent our products and services.

Continuous Discovery Habits – Teresa Torres

User research is a key activity of any product team, and this book is a reference for anyone who wants to do good research. Teresa Torres explains why research is key, why it’s not the job of a person but the mission of the whole team or how to set the right goals in a team to be sure to work on the right issues.

Inspired – Marty Cagan

One of the book of this list covering a broader scope. From assembling the right people and skills, discovering the right product, embracing an effective yet lightweight process, scaling the product organization, and creating a strong product culture, readers can take the information they learn and immediately leverage it within their own organizations.

Those 8 books should be on every PM bookshelves, but sometimes inspiration can also come from non-product related books. A great novel, the life of a historical figure, photography… Whatever you read, the key is to read often!

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