In the ever-evolving field of product management, continuous learning is key to staying ahead of the curve. Whether you’re a veteran product manager or just starting out in your career, there’s always something new to learn.
To help you navigate the vast sea of product management knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of the top 11 books for product management in 2023. These books are filled with insights from industry experts and successful product managers, providing you with the knowledge and tools you need to excel in your role.
The best books for product managers in 2023
1. The Product Book
“The Product Book” by Josh Anon and Carlos Gonzalez De Villaumbrosia is a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to delve into the world of product management. The book is a masterclass in understanding the role of a product manager and how to excel in it. It covers a wide range of topics, including the responsibilities that come with the job, how to create effective product teams, and how to build better products.
The authors have done an excellent job of breaking down complex concepts into digestible content, making it an ideal read for both beginners and seasoned professionals. The book also provides valuable insights into acing PM job interviews and creating groundbreaking new products. It is highly recommended by readers for its practical approach and real-world examples.
2. The Lean Product Playbook
“The Lean Product Playbook” by Dan Olsen is a practical guide that teaches you how to build products that customers love. The book emphasizes the concept of ‘product-market fit’ and explains why most products fail to resonate with end-users due to a lack of it.
Olsen provides a detailed roadmap on how to achieve product-market fit from both the customer (target market) and product (user experience, features, product design) perspectives. He also discusses the importance of addressing customer needs that often go underserved due to poor design and execution. Readers praise the book for its actionable insights and real-world examples.
3. Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love
“Inspired” by Marty Cagan is a must-read for anyone working in a tech company. The book provides a deep dive into product strategy for technology companies, using case studies from Tesla, Netflix, and Google to illustrate how successful tech companies develop winning products.
Cagan offers valuable insights into how to create products that not only solve customer problems but also deliver delightful experiences. The book is highly recommended for its practical advice and in-depth exploration of the challenges and opportunities in tech product management.
4. Crossing The Chasm
“Crossing The Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore is a classic in the field of product management. The book provides an in-depth analysis of how some products manage to disrupt their target markets significantly, while others fail to make any mark.
Moore expands on the concept of disruptive products and explains how the companies behind them manage to consistently (and even progressively) disrupt the market with each new iteration. The book is highly recommended for its insightful analysis and practical advice on market disruption.
5. The Lean Startup
“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries is a modern guide to planning, building, sustaining, and scaling a startup with effective product management at its core. The book provides valuable insights into how some of the most successful modern entrepreneurs got their businesses up and running.
It offers a new approach to business that’s being adopted around the world, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Readers appreciate the book for its practical advice and real-world examples.
6. Shape Up
“Shape Up” by Ryan Singer presents a set of technical roadmaps and workflows developed from the author’s experience at BaseCamp. The book argues that managers need to ‘shape’ the product and ‘bet’ that it can be completed within a 6-week period by a small product team.
This approach challenges conventional team structures and project timelines, offering a fresh perspective on product development. Readers appreciate the book for its innovative ideas and practical advice.
7. Escaping the Build Trap
“Escaping the Build Trap” by Melissa Perri is a course on planning based on outcomes instead of output intentions, all wrapped up in a single book.
Perri focuses on what she calls the ‘Build Trap’, which is an area that companies relying too much on outputs tend to get stuck in. The book is highly recommended for its insightful analysis and practical advice on outcome-based planning.
8. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz is a collection of essential, effective advice on how to build and run a product-based startup.
Written by one of the most experienced and respected entrepreneurs ever to come out of Silicon Valley, the book is full of practical wisdom on subjects that managers rarely learn in business school. Readers appreciate the book for its honest advice and real-world examples.
9. The Making of a Manager
“The Making of a Manager” by Julie Zhuo is a comprehensive guide on how product managers can achieve greater product goals and repeat and even expand their success with each iteration.
In her book, Zhou expresses the concern that managers often lean too far towards the product side, while the actual management side takes a back seat. The book is highly recommended for its insightful analysis and practical advice on balancing product and management responsibilities.
10. The Influential Product Manager
“The Influential Product Manager” by Ken Sandy is a comprehensive guide to becoming the best version of a product management professional for your company and product. The book is one of the foremost texts on practical product management, and how current as well as potential managers can master the role.
What sets this book apart is its practical nature and the use of real-world examples. Readers appreciate the book for its insightful analysis and practical advice on becoming an influential product manager.
11. Product Management’s Sacred Seven
“Product Management’s Sacred Seven” by Neel Mehta, Parth Detroja, and Aditya Agashe is a high-level resource on how to become a top-performing PM and how to acquire the skills necessary to influence others along the same lines.
The book is considered one of the top guides for both new and experienced product managers. It consists of interviews from 67 product leaders at companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the skills required to succeed in product management. The writing is concise and easy to comprehend, making it an excellent read for people just entering the world of product management as well as for those with more experience.
You can’t go wrong with the best product management books on the market
While all the books on this list are of tremendous value to PMs today, they each deliver a unique take on how product management can be done better. Some present case studies and explain how those companies managed to bridge the gap between product and customer, while others answer the question of what it means to be a product manager in 2023.
Nevertheless, any up and coming product manager should have a go at one or more of these books to really learn how the experts have defined the field, and how they can take the path of so many successful examples before them