Product Management

Product Management Books: Best books to read for a product manager

By Stratrix Staff Writer

Boston, MA | Updated 30 Mar, 2021

Here is a curated list of Top Product Management Books for the aspiring and as well as current product managers.

Unlike say an accountant, where a specific body of knowledge – the AICPA for CPAs, for example – exists and when you study, pass the exam, and get the certification, you can become an accountant, there is no such specific path for product managers.

What a product manager does is a combination of art, craft, science, and a lot of alchemy.  Similarly, product management is an evolving discipline and changing rapidly as markets and technologies shift, and as the proliferation of products/services continues.

Of course, there are some product management certificates and classes. Still, the reality is product managers come from many backgrounds – diverse educational accomplishments, different experiences, and diverse mindsets ranging from creative to analytical, visionary to in-the-weeds, and all stripes and colors in between.

Reading the best product management books is an effective way to keep learning new things, reinforce what you know, and unlearn the obsolete. And the accumulation of such knowledge is a vital factor in becoming a great product manager.

The books on product management listed here span from theory to the practical, from personal examples to methods, and will provide you with a well-rounded set of material to sharpen your brain and arm you with actionable knowledge.

Mind you, given the popularity of product management discipline and the “hot” status conferred on the role of a product manager, and there are a lot of new product management books coming into the marketplace.  So, please keep adding to your library of product management literature.

Please let us know if we missed any great books on product management in this list.  And please check back again to see new additions (and deletions) to this list of product management books.

As a product manager who does not read the product, books and stay current will become obsolete. In addition to books about product management, listening to podcasts, reading articles and interviews, and participating in active product management communities also will help you stay abreast and be in the know.

So why read the recommended set of Product Management Books?

That is what it will take to become a phenomenal product manager? You won’t learn everything you need to know in school. Great product managers are continually learning and growing. They’re always working on their weaknesses and improving their strengths. Regardless of where you’d like to start expanding your knowledge and skills, we’ve created the ultimate list of 50+ Product Management Books. And the books are curated and listed into essential categories for targeted growth as a product manager.

BTW, just as a matter of disclosure, the links here will take you to Amazon.com, and if you end up purchasing any books on product management, we will receive a small commission. Thanks in advance for your support.

Explore the most popular product management books in segments such as:

  • Branding a Winning Product
  • Growth hacking for Product Managers
  • Branding Premium Products
  • Branding on a Shoestring Budget
  • Competing in a Saturated Market
  • Product Management for Startups
  • Building a Better Mousetrap (Improving Product Ideation and Development)
  • Understanding Customer Behavior
  • Nailing Your Product Management Interview & Career Advancement

Top Product Management Books List

Branding a Winning Product

1. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

By Donald Miller

In this New York Times and WallStreet Journal Bestseller product management book, Donald shares his StoryBrand Process, an evidence-based solution to the challenges product managers face when communicating product benefits.

2. Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

By Debbie Millman

Debbie interviews top minds in Product Management and business strategies like Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and Virginia Postel and gather that wealth of knowledge into one game-changing and enlightening book.

3. Swipe to Unlock: The Primer on Technology and Business Strategy

By Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe, and Aditya Agashe

From three successful Product Managers at Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, learn how some of the world’s top innovators develop strategies to design and market what people want in a constantly-evolving tech environment.

4. Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands

By Marty Neumeier

Learn why zagging when every other brand is zigging helps you build a more reliable brand in the long-run and explore how to know which way to zag with product development.

5. Framework for Marketing Management

By Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller

This product marketing book takes a whole semester’s worth of product marketing learning from these trusted textbook authors and fits it into a comparably short work. Updated regularly, it discusses current best practices and case studies.

6. Your Ad Ignored Here: Cartoons from 15 Years of Marketing, Business, and Doodling in Meetings

By Tom Fishburne

This series of truths only product managers will fully understand it is revealed through comical drawings. It’s the perfect desktop conversation piece and the escape every workaholic product manager needs.

7. Book of Branding – a guide to creating brand identity for startups and beyond

By Radim Malinic

This book provides a fresh perspective and is jam-packed with actionable tips, tricks, and wit from the firsthand experience of an award-winning London-based creative director and designer.

8. The Product Book: How to Become a Great Product Manager

By Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia and Josh Anon

What do phenomenal product managers have in common? How do they fit into the big picture? This product management book explores the role of the modern product manager, along with expert tips, techniques, and strategies to be phenomenal.

9. The Product Manager’s Desk Reference 2E

By Steven Haines

In an ever-changing global marketplace, Steven shares actionable tips, tricks, and techniques to improve your product manager skills instantly.

Growthhacking for Product Managers

10. Explosive Growth: A Few Things I Learned While Growing To 100 Million Users – And Losing $78 Million

By Cliff Lerner

The title says it all. Cliff masterfully uses the art of storytelling to impart practical lessons, tips, and pitfalls he hopes you can avoid by reading his product management book.

11. Building Strong Brands

By David A. Aaker

This throwback branding book from 1995 is still relevant today and top seller on Amazon. It explores how some of the top brands of the ’80s and ’90s were built and why they were so successful.

12. LinkedIn Riches: How to Use LinkedIn for Business, Sales, and Marketing!

By John M Nemo

John takes you step-by-step through how to use Linkedin to build a business or personal brand. Linkedin is just one of many tools top brand managers are using today to identify customer needs and create demand for their products.

13. The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money

By James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine

As consumers shift from things to experiences, this product management book discusses how companies who make “things” are adapting and winning their customer’s time and money.

14. Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words into Big Business

By Alex Frankel

What’s in a name? Harness the power of creating memorable and impactful product names.

15. Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

By Reid Hoffman

Reid shares how to grow a successful brand so fast that you leave the competition in the dust.

Branding Premium Products

16. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

By Seth Godin

Do your products stand out? Or are they invisible in an oversaturated market? There’s no in-between, as this book explores while sharing how to generate “Purple Cow” ideas, products, and business persona.

17. The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands

By Jean-Noël Kapferer and Vincent Bastien

What turns a product into a luxury that people are willing to pay a premium?  Is mass luxury an oxymoron? This product management book answers these questions and helps you build a luxury strategy.

18. Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition

By Geoffrey A Moore

Everything you need to know to leap over that abyss into which so many failed products fall and navigate from idea to launch a product in high-value markets, using the Technology Adoption Life Cycle.

19. Ramping Your Brand: How to Ride the Killer CPG Growth Curve

By James F. Richardson PhD

James presents a four-part growth hacking approach to get customers to pay premium prices for your products.

20. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service Into a World-Class Brand

By Laura Ries and Al Ries

This quick and to the point classic product management book guides you step-by-step through the branding process.

21. Lovability: How to Build a Business That People Love and Be Happy Doing It

By Brian de Haaff

How do beloved brands create loyalty and devotion? Brian shares the secret and how you can do it too.

Branding on a Shoestring Budget

22. The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback

By Dan Olsen

Just like a lean startup, you can build, design, and launch a product people love on a shoestring budget. This product management book shows you how.

23. The Lean Marketplace: a Practical Guide to Building a Successful Online Marketplace Business

By Juho Makkonen, Cristóbal Gracia, et al

How do no-name, online companies with a revolutionary idea that the market may not be ready to gain traction with limited startup capital? This book explores how online startups like Fiverr, Etsy, and Airbnb created and grew their brands from nothing using sustainable, step-by-step strategies you can use to do the same in product management.

24. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

By Eric Ries

Eric shares how you can build a business around an idea quickly with the least startup costs by learning how to use modern technology to reach customers.

Competing in Saturated Markets

25. The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes

By Carol S. Pearson and Margaret Mark

Carol and Margaret explore how to build a brand that resonates and creates a competitive advantage using case studies and behavioral science.

26. The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience Into Your Competitive Advantage

By Roland Smart

Learn how to leverage the online customer experience to differentiate your products from competitors and find out how to integrate current technologies to augment your ability to provide this experience.

27. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant

By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Challenge everything you think you know about product management and learn a strategy that helps you tap into new markets and skip the melee in congested waters.

28. Invisible Marketing: A Hidden Tool for Connecting with Consumers through Licensing

By Jeff Lotman

Jeff shares how licensing can help you tap into new markets and expand faster than you could otherwise. It gives a step-by-step guide for building the right kinds of licensing partnerships.

29. Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

By Al Ries and Jack Trout

Al and Jack created a one-of-a-kind product management book that explores how product managers can position themselves in a multimedia-saturated world to win the time and money of potential customers.

30. The Brand Called You: Make Your Business Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace

By Peter Montoya

This self-published book has sold over 65,000 copies and explores how to create branding that connects with customers on an emotional level to drive customer behavior.

31. Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders

By Adam Morgan

Want to know how to manage a new product in a competitor-dominated market? This book shows you how.

Product Management Books for Startups

32. Starting a Business QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Successful Small Business, Turning Your Vision into Reality, and Achieving Your Entrepreneurial Dream

By Ken Colwell Ph.D. MBA

Explore how to build a business around a product, service, or idea by focusing on adding tremendous value to the lives of your target customers.

33. Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

By Peter Sims

Peter encourages product managers to take little steps, test, and scale to reduce risk while maximizing reward using his proven system.

Building a Better Mousetrap (Product Development)

34. Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want

By Alexander Osterwalder

Stop the uphill battle of trying to create demand for things people don’t want and deliver things they actually do. Learn to use the “Value Proposition Canvas” to make more data-driven product decisions.

35. The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

By Marty Neumeier

Unite the creative and analytical minds in your business to create better products than either side could develop alone with this unified approach to product development.

36. The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development

By Donald G. Reinertsen

This product management book explores the wrench that’s stuck in the gears of most product development today, increasing cost and frustration. He then outlines and explains 175 neatly-packaged principles for streamlining product development flow.

37. Product Leadership: How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams

By Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson, and Nate Walkingshaw

For this product management book, the authors interview over 100 product managers to see how they manage the people and product roadmaps that generate great products.

38. The Brand Flip: Why Customers Now Run Companies and How to Profit from it

By Marty Neumeier

Best Selling Author Marty Neumeier does it again with the immersion into the new reality of consumer-driven branding over an outdated, company-centric approach product development and branding.

39. Beyond the Prototype: A roadmap for navigating the fuzzy area between ideas and outcomes

By Douglas Ferguson

This no-nonsense book demystifies the path from concept to a successful product using the power of real success stories from names you know.

40. Build Better Products: A Modern Approach to Building Successful User-Centered Products

By Laura Klein

We live in a consumer-driven marketplace. Find out how to combine analytics with empathy for the customer to create products people really want and are willing to pay.

41. What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services

By Anthony Ulwick

For over 20 years now, companies have touted their customer-driven approaches to product development and marketing. This book challenges the idea that we’ve executed well on our noble ideals and provides practical solutions to become truly customer-driven (a.k.a. outcome-driven).

42. Building Products for the Enterprise: Product Management in Enterprise Software

By Blair Reeves and Benjamin Gaines

Explore the unique challenges of product development, branding, and B2B marketing in enterprise software development. Find out why you need to get to know your customers, not just their pain points, and more.

43. Managing the Design Factory

By Donald G. Reinertsen

Donald shares how to streamline the product development process to save time and money while creating better products.

44. The Power of Product Platforms

By  Alvin P. Lehnerd and Marc H. Meyer

According to the authors, too many product managers release one product at a time when they should develop and release multiple products while thinking about compatibility, complementary, and collectability.

45. Take Charge Product Management: Time-tested tips, tactics, and tools for the new or improved product manager

By Greg Geracie

Greg shows you how to unleash your true product management potential, destroy mediocrity, and become the excellent product manager you were meant to be.

46. Engineering Documentation Control Handbook: Configuration Management and Product Lifecycle Management

By Frank B. Watts

Frank explains Product lifecycle Management and Product Configuration Management and how to cut costs by streamlining the development and production of new products from a product engineer’s perspective.

47. Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love

By Marty Cagan

Learn what makes customers fall in love with products and how you can leverage this to build lovable products. And for product managers in the tech industry, Marty also creates a tech product-specific guide.

48. Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

By Marty Cagan

Tech is unique. Often you can’t even touch it. It may take up no warehouse space. But people can still fall in love with it. Marty shares how to generate that kind of tech love with customers.

49. The Design of Everyday Things

By Don Norman

This book is intended specifically for designers. However, many product managers consider it a must-read to understand the whole picture of product management.

50. Start at the End: How to Build Products that Create Change

By Matt Wallaert

In the product development book, Matt encourages product managers to shift to outcome-based thinking by starting with the customers and working back rather than the other way around to create true innovation rather than more of the same.

52. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Five Days

By Jake Knapp

Streamline the whole product research and development side of product marketing.

53. Don’t Make Me Think

By Steve Krug

Steve explains how to create intuitive designs and enhance useability in functional products.

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

By Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

The co-founder of Pixar discusses what kills creativity in product development and how you can overcome it to produce an innovative design consistently.

Understanding Consumer Behavior

55. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

By Nir Eyal

What’s the behavioral science behind product hits versus flops? How do you get people to buy it automatically? The Hook Model is a subtle yet effective four-step process to align product management with consumer behavior.

56. Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges and Leaderboards

By Yu-kai Chou

How do “free with in-app purchases” gaming companies keep people spending real money on virtual stuff? Yu-Kai takes a look at the customer behavior behind online gaming and how product managers in any industry can leverage their understanding of these behaviors to become better product managers.

57. Decoding the Why: How Behavioral Science is Driving the Next Generation of Product Design

By Nate Andorsky

Up to 95% of customer behavior may be subconscious. Learn to hack your customer’s autopilot and influence their buying behavior in this newly released product management book.

58. The Power of Why: Breaking Out In a Competitive Marketplace

By C. Richard Weylman

Is your superior product getting drowned out by inferior competing products? This book shares how to break this frustrating cycle.

Nailing Your Product Management Interview and Career Advancement

59. Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology

By Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Land the product management job of your dreams with this practical guide to thinking-fast, generating demand, and creating product love. Already there, it’s the perfect manual to boost your PM creativity.

60. Decode and Conquer: Answers to Product Management Interviews

By Lewis C. Lin

Lewis shares how to nail a Product Manager interview with sample questions and tips on how to formulate answers on the spot. If you’re a hiring product manager, you’ll also find this book useful to root out overly scripted answers.

61. The Brand Called You: The Ultimate Personal Branding Handbook to Transform Anyone into an Indispensable Brand

By Peter Montoya and Tim Vandehey

Every product manager must first know how to brand themselves. This book helps you create your brand.

62. The Product Manager’s Survival Guide, Second Edition: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed as a Product Manager

By Steven Haines

Steven dives deep into understanding customer behavior and how to anticipate consumer trends.

63. Product Management in Practice: A Real-World Guide to the Key Connective Role of the 21st Century

By Matt LeMay

Matt cuts through the jargon and lofty ideals to take a look at what being a product manager in 2020 and beyond seems like in the real world and how we can continually enhance how our products and branding messages connect with customers.

64. Avoiding Critical Marketing Errors: How to Go from Dumb to Smart Marketing

By Richard D Czerniawski

In a world where social media can cancel you without notice, it’s essential to understand silly mistakes marketers make every day that destroy their products and brands and how you can avoid them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Product Management Books: