5 books that changed my perspective on Product Management

Back in 2018, I made a career decision to move from Marketing to Product Management. Now it was not that Product Management was an entirely new area for me at that moment. I started my career as a Business Analyst and had experienced the flavor of Product Management (even though for a short duration). With a vision to become a seasoned product manager in the next few years, I considered it will be good to grasp the theory first.

And like I always do when I stumble upon something new. I tried to read up as many books I could find on Product Management. I intended to learn what challenges other Product Managers face in their day to day work. After all, that’s what books are for (apart from learning the concepts) — To learn from other’s experiences!

After a few days of my quest in search for good books on PM, I realized the following:

Lack of new experience

You might come across many books on Product Management, but they essentially talk about the same concepts and experiences. Well, I don’t expect new concepts written in every book. As I mentioned, I was more interested to learn from other’s experiences which were also not well-drafted or missing in most of the books I came across.

Relevance in the B2B industry

When we talk about successful products and the journey made from the Concept stage to Market adoption, the products that would come to the top of our mind are consumer products like Amazon, Uber, etc. Now since my new role was in the B2B segment, I wanted to make my reading list relevant to the role. At least, I wanted to read about concepts or experiences that are relatable to product management in B2B industry. Again, I could find only a handful of books relevant to my needs.

My Top 5 Picks on Product Management Books

Since February 2018, I took up multiple online courses as well as had various books and blogs on Product Management in my reading list. From my experience, here are my top 5 picks which definitely should make to your shelf if you want to read more about Product Management.

Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age

In this book, Roman Pichler talks about the various steps in the journey of a product from Vision → Strategy → Roadmap → Backlog. Using practical examples from the real world, the author talks about the various concepts. Also, several frameworks can be leveraged in the day to day work as a Product Manager. If you are just starting your career in Product Management, this book provides you with some key weapons you will need in your arsenal as a PM.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Now this book mainly talks about consumer or B2C products. However, I was quite “hooked” by the concept mentioned in this book. Nil Eyal talks about human psychology and how habits are formed. As Product Managers, we are often on a mission to solve a problem such that users are habituated to using our product. This book talks about the 4 steps of building “habit-forming products”.

Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth

As Product Manager, our product or feature serves a particular goal. It might be solving the user’s problem or delighting the user through a UX improvement. One of the key roles of a PM is to gauge the success of a feature (and the product). Measure What Matters is a concept pioneered in Google and used across many organizations today. The author takes us through a wonderful journey of how OKRs have successfully transformed organizations.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

A Product Manager is a role without authority. A PM works with the development team, the UX designer, sales, marketing team (and probably folks from other teams depending on the product). As a result, having good influencing skills is something a PM uses day in and out. And the methodology varies depending on your audience. The approach a PM uses with the development team is entirely different when dealing with the person from sales. In this book, Robert B Cialdini (a professor of Psychology & Marketing himself) talks about the various factors to be considered when trying to influence others.

The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses

It was in late 2018 (after hearing the reviews about this book) that I wanted to get hold of this book. I purchased the kindle version of this one and within a day realized that someone had gifted me this book a year back. Unfortunately, this wonderful book has been collecting dust on my shelf for a year. Eric Ries, a serial entrepreneur himself talks about the strategies to be considered when building a product. He talks about MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in great detail and provides various examples of how MVP is formed.

Now, there is no secret pill in these books which if consumed you will transform immediately to a great Product Manager. These books talk about various concepts and experiences in other products. At the same time, a lot can be learned in the day to day job as a Product Manager.

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” — Jhumpa Lahiri

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Product Manager | Product Enthusiast | Nature Lover

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Product Manager | Product Enthusiast | Nature Lover