The 7 books every Product Manager needs to learn by heart

Originally posted on Veamly

Books are an important source of knowledge, even for jobs as hands-on as product management. Sometimes authors put the hardest of concepts in the simplest of words. Through examples, real-life situations, take-outs, and tips/hack, you can growth hack all of your practices. Or worst case scenario, you’ll start seeing the world of product management from a slightly different angle. Who knows, one sentence could lead to the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for for so long!

So here is our list of books assisting you throughout the process of product management:

Book #1: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

“Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn’t content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that’s never been cracked. Until now. Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, giving readers the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. Compared to tech’s other elite innovators — Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg — Bezos is a private man. But he stands out for his restless pursuit of new markets, leading Amazon into risky new ventures like the Kindle and cloud computing, and transforming retail in the same way Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing.”

Book #2: Beautiful Evidence

“Science and art have in common intense seeing, the wide-eyed observing that generates visual information. Beautiful Evidence is about how seeing turns into showing, how data and evidence turn into an explanation. The book identifies excellent and effective methods for showing nearly every kind of information, suggests many new designs (including sparklines), and provides analytical tools for assessing the credibility of evidence presentations (which are seen from both sides: how to produce and how to consume presentations). For alert consumers of presentations, there are chapters on diagnosing evidence corruption and PowerPoint pitches. Beautiful Evidence concludes with 2 chapters that leave the world of pixel and paper flatland representations — and move onto seeing and thinking in space land, the real-land of three-space and time.”

Book #3: Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love

“Why do some products make the leap to greatness while others do not?
Creating inspiring products begins with discovering a product that is valuable, usable, and feasible. If you can not do this, then it’s not worth building anything. How do you decide which product opportunities to pursue? How do you get evidence that the product you are going to ask your engineering team to build will be successful? How do you identify the minimal possible product that will be successful? How do you manage the often conflicting demands of company execs, customers, sales, marketing, engineering, design, and more? How can you adopt Agile methods for commercial production environments? Product management expert Marty Cagan answers these questions and hundreds more as he shares lessons learned techniques, and best practices from working for and with some of the most successful companies in the high-tech industry. You will find that there s a very big difference between how the very best companies create products and all the rest.”

Book #4: High Output Management

“The essential skill of creating and maintaining new businesses — the art of the entrepreneur — can be summed up in a single word: managing. Born of Grove’s experiences at one of America’s leading technology companies, High Output Management is equally appropriate for sales managers, accountants, consultants, and teachers, as well as CEOs and startup founders. Grove covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, demonstrating methods of motivation that lead to peak performance — throughout, High Output Management is a practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios and a powerful management manifesto with the ability to revolutionize the way we work.”

Book #5: Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data

“Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called “sexy.” From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you’ll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more. And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal―and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.”

Book #6: The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

“Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup — practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog. While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in. Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.”

Book #7: Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

“The humor and insights in the 2nd Edition of Managing Humans are drawn from Michael Lopp’s management experiences at Apple, Netscape, Symantec, and Borland, among others. This book is full of stories based on companies in the Silicon Valley where people have been known to yell at each other and occasionally throw chairs. It is a place full of dysfunctional bright people who are in an incredible hurry to find the next big thing so they can strike it rich and then do it all over again. Among these people are managers, a strange breed of people who, through a mystical organizational ritual, have been given power over the future and bank accounts of many others. Whether you’re an aspiring manager, a current manager, or just wondering what the heck a manager does all day, there is a story in this book that will speak to you — and help you survive and prosper amongst the general craziness.”

[BONUS]: Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology

“How many pizzas are delivered in Manhattan? How do you design an alarm clock for the blind? What is your favorite piece of software and why? How would you launch a video rental service in India? This book will teach you how to answer these questions and more. Cracking the PM Interview is a comprehensive book about landing a product management role in a startup or bigger tech company. Learn how the ambiguously-named “PM” (product manager / program manager) role varies across companies, what experience you need, how to make your existing experience translate, what a great PM resume and cover letter look like, and finally, how to master the PM interview questions (estimation questions, behavioral questions, case questions, product questions, technical questions, and the super important “pitch”).”