In our series On My Shelf we ask product people around the globe to share their most favourite books. In the last collection of this year, we want to share those books that have been recommended the most. Also, we want to thank everyone for supporting us by sharing, writing and reading!
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
by Ben Horowitz
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. Filled with his trademark humour 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.
304 pages, HarperBusiness 2014
Outcomes Over Output
Why customer behavior is the key metric for business success
by Joshua Seiden
In the old days, when we made physical products, setting project goals wasn’t We often build features that create no value. Instead, we need to give teams an outcome to achieve. Using outcomes creates focus and alignment. It eliminates needless work. And it puts the customer at the center of everything you do. Setting goals as outcomes sounds simple, but it can be hard to do in practice. This book is a practical guide to using outcomes to guide the work of your team.
76 pages, Sense & Respond Press 2019
How to Build Habit-Forming Products
by Nir Eyal & Ryan Hoover
Do you wish your users couldn’t live without your product? Through a simple but powerful how-to guide, Nir Eyal shows how to convert users that engage with a product into users who’ll return to it again and again. If you want to get a glimpse into the mind of users you should read this book.
Also, check out our Book Sip with Josh:
Book Sips #1 — Hooked by Nir Eyal & Ryan Hoover
First thing you do in the morning? Checking your smartphone (and you do it more than 150 times a day). Last thing you…
256 pages, Portfolio 2014
Escaping the Build Trap
How effective product management creates value
by Melissa Perri.
Melissa Perri’s first book has the potential to become a real classic. In Escaping the Build Trap she focuses on the most common pitfalls Product Managers and companies fall into when releasing feature by feature instead of focusing on the customer’s needs.
In this book, Melissa — CEO of Product Labs and founder of the Product Institute — helps you to identify whether you are caught in the “build trap” and more importantly, gives you practical advice how to escape it. She brings together her year-long experience of building products and deep knowledge of how product-lead organisations work.
200 pages, O’Reilly Media 2018
Inspired (2nd edition)
How to create tech products customers love
by Marty Cagan
In 2018 Marty Cagan published the second edition of his Product Management classic Inspired. It provides you with a deep dive into how the most successful product-driven companies work today, how they staff and structure their organization and how they develop and ship products customers will love. This book is for everyone at every stage and skill-level of Product Management — if you’re starting off with Product then this is your “bible”. With his year-long experience, Marty gives you a bunch of personal stories as well as a glimpse into stories from other successful PMs.
368 pages, John Wiley & Sons 2018
The Design of Everyday Things
Revised and Expanded Edition
by Don Norman
The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.
The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how — and why — some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.
368 pages, Basic Book 2013
How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days
by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz
The companies that Google Ventures invest in face big questions every day: Where’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your ideas look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution to a problem? Business owners and investors want their companies and the people who lead them to be equipped to answer these questions — and quickly. And now there’s a surefire way to solve their problems and test solutions: the sprint.
Also check out our Book Sip with Josh:
Book Sips #3 — ‘Sprint’ by Jake Knapp
Do you feel your most innovative ideas get lost in the sauce? With this 5-days process you’ll get your proposals up and…
288 pages, Simon & Schuster 2016
Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
by Kim Scott
Kim Scott was a highly successful leader at Google before decamping to Apple, where she developed and taught a management class. Since the original publication of Radical Candor in 2017, Scott has earned international fame with her vital approach to effective leadership and co-founded the Radical Candor executive education company, which helps companies put the book’s philosophy into practice.
Radical Candor is about caring personally and challenging directly, about soliciting criticism to improve your leadership and also providing guidance that helps others grow. It focuses on praise but doesn’t shy away from criticism — to help you love your work and the people you work with.
272 pages, St. Martin’s Press 2017
The Lean Product Playbook
How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback
by Dan Olsen
The Lean Product Playbook is a practical guide to building products that customers love. Whether you work at a start-up or a large, established company, we all know that building great products is hard. Most new products fail. This book helps improve your chances of building successful products through clear, step-by-step guidance and advice.
336 pages, Wiley 2015
The Product Book
How to Become a Great Product Manager
by Product School (Josh Anon & Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia)
“No one asked you to show up.” Every experienced product manager has heard some version of those words at some point in their career. Think about the company. Engineers build the product. Designers make sure it has great user experience and looks good. Marketing makes sure customers know about the product. Sales get potential customers to open their wallets to buy the product. What more does a company need? What does a product manager do?
314 pages, Product School 2017