Another Product Manager’s Reading List (but enjoyable)
In no particular order:
- Meditations — Marcus Aurelius
For when you have the inevitable PM identity crisis. A great read for yourself as well.
- Nine Tomorrows— Isaac Asimov
A classic of Science Fiction. Just read ‘The Last Question’ if nothing else.
- Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology — Gayle Laakmann McDowell
Some best practices to become a product manager in the first place.
- Capital in the Twenty-First Century— Thomas Piketty
Understanding one (persuasive) perspective on the dramatic changes of globalisation and inequality will help find big problems to solve.
- Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams — Klaus Kemp
If you’ve wondered where many of Apple’s design nods are from, it’s Rams. A book, good even just for the coffee table, it’s a collectable and a timeless statement on how to design great hardware.
- Einstein: His Life and Universe — Walter Isaacson
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration — Ed Catmull
Some good Toy Story anecdotes to seem clever but quirky at networking events.
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products — Nir Eyal
A good framework to make products addictive.
- Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies — Nick Bostrom
A rational and extensive approach to the buzziness of AI. Moderately-hard read but necessary if you want to move beyond Wired articles.
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
A must-read on what many call ‘flow’ or for athletes ‘in the zone’. Great for motivating teams and yourself.
- A Technique for Producing Ideas — James Web Young
Super-quick (and obvious when you think about it) read that demonstrates that creativity can be tamed and unlocked.
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die — Cheap Heath
Supercharge your communication with colleagues and stakeholders with this.
- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information — Edward R. Tufte
As a PM you will make graphs. Properly designed infographics can make the difference between a yes and a no from stakeholders.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow — Daniel Kahneman
Another classic on many reading lists, a necessary read.
- Just My Type: A Book About Fonts — Simon Garfield
All PMs should understand typefaces. Firstly typefaces are integral to UX design but also because it establishes empathy with the intricacies of designing things and a designer’s process.
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ — Daniel Goleman
A seminal work on EQ that is refreshingly scientific. Necessary to understand you’re own makeup.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People— Dale Carnegie
A classic in most reading lists.
- The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be
On Mark Zuckerburg’s reading list, this is an excellent high-level book to help explaining the changing tide across the politic-economic spectrum, going some way to explain the times of Brexit and Trump.