My 12 book recommendations for product managers

Latif Nanji
Jun 13, 2018 · 8 min read
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1. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

By Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright

Every company is a tribe — or a network of tribes depending on headcount. And the way that individuals operate as part of their tribe is really powerful.

2. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

By Oren Klaff

It’s not uncommon for there to be tension between a product manager and the sales team. But here’s the thing, a PM can learn a little something from a sales rep — specifically when it comes to crafting a message that persuades someone to do something.

3. Letters from a Stoic

By Seneca

Okay. This is a very, very old book but it really holds up. It was written by Seneca — born in 4 BC — one of the founders of Stoicism.

4. Ego is the Enemy

By Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday used to be American Apparel’s director of marketing. And, in this book, he explores how your big ego is getting in your own way.

5. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

By Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield is one of my heroes (and not just because we’re both Canadian). His whole life story is compelling. The man had a dream to become an astronaut and he faced a lot of adversity to make it happen. It’s inspiring.

6. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditations in Everyday Life

By Jon Kabat-Zinn

This is probably the book that I gift to others the most. It’s a little niche in that it will mostly resonate with people who want to practice mindfulness in the workplace.

7. The Hard Things About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

By Ben Horowitz

This is a bookshelf staple for founders. Before becoming a VC, Ben Horowitz was a product manager and then a founder. The book is a real and honest look at the challenges of building a business.

8. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

By Simon Sinek

According to Simon Sinek (and I agree with him), figuring out why your company exists is important but it’s just as vital to get your people on board. This book walks through how to inspire trust and commitment within your team.

9. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

By Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Peter Thiel is a weird guy, but I love this book. It changed the way I think about product in terms of market fit, finding a niche and creating a monopoly in an untapped category.

  1. Vertical progress: when you create something brand new — going from “0 to 1”.

10. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose

By Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh is someone I’ve always admired because of the importance he placed on team culture at Zappos. And there are many tactile lessons I took away from Delivering Happiness. This book is actually the reason why we introduced mandatory customer support training for all new employees at Roadmunk.

11. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

By Patrick Lencioni

I really love taking the time to mentor other startup founders and product managers. And, over the years, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of similarities in the challenges and responsibilities faced by founders and PMs — specifically when it comes to communicating strategy and vision with the rest of the team.

  • Fear of conflict
  • Lack of commitment
  • Avoidance of accountability
  • Inattention to results

12. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

By Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

I chose this book to close off this list because it’s an inspiring, feel-good story. It’s the tale of how Pixar came to dominate the world of animation. And, hey, you’ll be surprised at how similar managing a product is to making a movie.

Product to Product | Roadmunk

For product people, by product people.

Latif Nanji

Written by

Co-founder & CEO of Roadmunk. All things product & design. Climb rocks and improv. Ex-poker player. Bibliophile. Mindfulness practitioner. www.roadmunk.com

Product to Product | Roadmunk

For product people, by product people.

Latif Nanji

Written by

Co-founder & CEO of Roadmunk. All things product & design. Climb rocks and improv. Ex-poker player. Bibliophile. Mindfulness practitioner. www.roadmunk.com

Product to Product | Roadmunk

For product people, by product people.

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