On My Shelf with Mirela Mus — Founder of Product People (Berlin)
Mirela is a technical and creative product leader. She has built and scaled customer-centric products and teams. Founder of Product People a Product Management consultancy and community builder, on a mission to help companies discover and deliver great products faster.
On my shelf
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
Most management and Product books sugarcoat our work. This one is painful to read, and I could relate to the angst and pressure the author felt. The book has examples of taking incredibly complex strategic decisions with minimal information, managing culture, team morale, and your psychology in crazy stressful situations.
304 pages, Harper Business 2014
Competing Against Luck
The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice
by Clayton M. Christensen
The “father of disruptive theory” details the Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) approach. Customers don’t buy products or services; they “hire” them to do a job. Competitive advantage comes from processes and how organizations integrate across functions to perform the customer’s job. The book is a bit hard to read as the examples feature big corporations. The author also presents the concept very well in these two podcast episodes: “Disruption in Business and Life” and “Competing Against Luck”.
288 pages, Harper Business 2016
How to do Nothing
Resisting the Attention Economy
by Jenny Odell
The technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7 availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, taking away our ability to reflect and think deeply. Silicon Valley artist introduces the refuse/resist in place concept, an alternative to the digital detox. As a PM you are never “done”. But you must also preserve your sanity and recharge.
This book shifted my mindset from “how do I get more X on Y platform” or “how do I quit Z?” to “how do I subvert this platform if our interests are not aligned?”.
256 pages, Melville House 2019
The Big Short
Inside the Doomsday Machine
by Michael Lewis
This is not a Product book, but has a lot of product lessons. It tells the story of four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse, and got rich from it.
It shows there is no substitute for doing the hard work of gathering and analyzing data, but thinking for yourself regardless of others. The film adaptation by Adam McKay featuring Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling is also amazing. I use scenes from it when teaching our Product Management workshop.
288 pages, W. W. Norton & Company 2010
Our series “On my shelf” features product people from all over the world who are passionate about reading and sharing their best book recommendations with the community. If you want to join the movement and share your reading list with others send us a message. Let’s get better together 📚.