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With Covid lockdown giving many the chance to increase their learning and desperately looking for time away from a screen we asked product people what were the best product management books they had read.

While there are many lists out there of the top 5 or top 10 product management books you must read we thought this could be an evergrowing list and resource so as we are recommended new product books from the community we will be sure to add them!

So make sure to let us know what product management books we have missed in the comments!

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action

4.4 out of 5 stars 4,995 ratings -

Why are some people and organizations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again? Because in business it doesn't matter what you do, it matters why you do it.

Steve Jobs, the Wright brothers and Martin Luther King have one thing in common: they STARTED WITH WHY. This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others, or to be inspired. Based on the most-watched TED Talk of all time.

I'm a big fan of Simon Sinek. That is the third time I read "Start With Why" and think more and more this book is one of those I should read at least three times a year. The way Simon explains the concept of the Golden Circle (efficient communication) is just spot on: the concept is simply explained and illustrated with clear examples. So not only be makes it clear to understand the concept but he also, thanks to those examples, shows us what it effective communication looks like. Great book to read.

Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

4.6 out of 5 stars - 376 ratings -

In INSPIRED, technology product management thought leader Marty Cagan provides readers with a master class in how to structure and staff a vibrant and successful product organization, and how to discover and deliver technology products that your customers will love--and that will work for your business.

With sections on assembling the right people and skillsets, discovering the right product, embracing an effective yet lightweight process, and creating a strong product culture, readers can take the information they learn and immediately leverage it within their own organizations--dramatically improving their own product efforts. Whether you're an early stage startup working to get to product/market fit, or a growth-stage company working to scale your product organization, or a large, long-established company trying to regain your ability to consistently deliver new value for your customers.

I've had Inspired for a number of years as a go to resource for tech start-ups I work with. It's a must read for any CEO, and Product Manager, and really your entire C-level team MUST read it. The core message on product/market fit is sooooo important. Faster doesn't make you better, first can sometimes be a thorn in your side. What's the point in being first if you end up tanking because nobody wants your app? Iteration after iteration, testing and testing, getting the product to 'fit'. LOVE this book.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

4.6 out of 5 stars - 1,506 ratings -

Why do some products capture our attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain things out of sheer habit? Is there an underlying pattern to how technologies hook us?

Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) with the Hook Model - a four-step process that, when embedded into products, subtly encourages customer behaviour. Through consecutive "hook cycles," these products bring people back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

Nir boils down many psychology principles into a simple and effective methodology to influence consumer behaviours. He never forgets that his readers are likely not academics, so keeps things practical and usable whilst citing known works and case studies. A must read for anyone interested in behaviour, gamification or leadership!

Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy

4.5 out of 5 stars 50 ratings -

How do you develop products that people will actually use and buy? This practical guide shows you how to validate product and company ideas through customer development research—before you waste months and millions on a product or service that no one needs or wants.

With a combination of open-ended interviewing and fast and flexible research techniques, you’ll learn how your prospective customers behave, the problems they need to solve, and what frustrates and delights them. These insights may shake your assumptions, but they’ll help you reach the "ah-ha!" moments that inspire truly great products.

I've read quite a lot about the lean methodology. Yet, this book was the most eye opener of all. That's interesting given the fact that the term "lean" was not in the original title and the author did not even intend to write a "lean" book. So what you'll read in this book is not some advice designed to fit within an established movement, but a more honest and unadulterated advice formed out of the author's years of practical experience.

The Lean Startup

4.6 out of 5 stars - 4,594 ratings -

Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want. It's about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late. Now is the time to think about Lean.

I really appreciated the book’s celebration that you don’t have all the answers and you shouldn’t if you’re a startup with an innovative solution. The major point, however, is that you shouldn’t pretend or act like you do but embrace the uncertainty and develop an experimental approach to delivering a Minimum Viable Product – build, measure, learn.

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

4.5 out of 5 stars 166 ratings -

Everyone knows that most new products fail and that building great products is hard. The Lean Product Playbook provides clear, step-by-step guidance to help you create successful products.

Lean Startup has contributed valuable ideas about product development and generated lots of excitement. But despite their enthusiasm and familiarity with the high-level concepts, many teams run into challenges trying to adopt Lean because they lack specific guidance on what to do and how to do it.

If you are interested in Lean Startup principles and want to apply them to create winning products, this book is for you. 

What frustrated me about the Lean Startup was the lack of practical examples, it was way too theoretical about its concepts. This book is what the Lean Startup should have been. Extremely practical and well-written.

Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty

4.4/ 5 - 91 customer ratings -

A good product roadmap is one of the most important and influential documents an organization can develop, publish, and continuously update. In fact, this one document can steer an entire organization when it comes to delivering on company strategy.

This practical guide teaches you how to create an effective product roadmap, and demonstrates how to use the roadmap to align stakeholders and prioritize ideas and requests. With it, you’ll learn to communicate how your products will make your customers and organization successful.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I found it both inspiring and practical. I have adopted many of the practices into my current roadmap process which has re-invigorated it. Thank you!

Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck

4.6 out of 5 stars - 1,119 ratings -

Why do disproved urban legends persist? How do you keep letting newspapers and clickbait sites lure you in with their headlines? And why do you remember complicated stories but not complicated facts? Over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have discovered how we latch on to information hooks. Packed full of case histories and incredible anecdotes.

Made to Stick will solve most of your communication problems. It clearly instructs the reader on how to properly convey their ideas. The read is simple and engaging. It's such a blast to read, considering that the topic is boring. After finishing this book, you're going to wish you had read this years ago.

Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

4.7 out of 5 stars - 453 ratings -

We live in an age of unparalleled opportunity for innovation. We’re building more products than ever before, but most of them fail—not because we can’t complete what we set out to build, but because we waste time, money, and effort building the wrong product. What we need is a systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising our odds of success. That’s the promise of Running Lean.

In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving a "product/market fit" for your fledgling venture, based on his own experience in building a wide array of products from high-tech to no-tech. Throughout, he builds on the ideas and concepts of several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, Customer Development, and bootstrapping.

I've read a lot in the area of tech startups, the lean startup and customer development in general and have to say that I'm a huge fan of this book, mostly because its extremely practical, and guides you through the whole process.

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

4.4 out of 5 stars - 614 ratings -

The authors of the international bestseller Business Model Generation explain how to create value propositions customers can't resist Value Proposition Design helps you tackle the core challenge of every business -- creating compelling products and services customers want to buy. This highly practical book, paired with its online companion, will teach you the processes and tools you need to create products that sell.

Using the same stunning visual format as the authors' global bestseller, Business Model Generation, this sequel explains how to use the "Value Proposition Canvas" to design, test, create, and manage products and services customers actually want. 

The book itself is short on words and big on ideas. As they say - a picture is worth 1000 words and a lot of the time you're reading something, with the visuals and the guides online new ideas pop into your head as you're reading. I'd encourage all purchasers to sit there with a big pad whilst reading as you're likely to get at least 40 new ideas for your company whilst going through it.

The User's Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love 

4.5 out of 5 stars - 31 ratings -

Like a good story, successful design is a series of engaging moments structured over time. The User's Journey will show you how, when, and why to use narrative structure, technique, and principles to ideate, craft, and test a cohesive vision for an engaging outcome. See how a story first approach can transform your product, feature, landing page, flow, campaign, content, or product strategy.

If you re working through customer journeys, experience mapping, and other ways to coalesce your team around your products story, The User's Journey offers a fun, interactive way to build that narrative collaboratively to get great results. 

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

4.9 out of 5 stars - 12 ratings -

It's easier than ever to build a new product. But developing a great product that people actually want to buy and use is another story. Build Better Products is a hands-on, step-by-step guide that helps teams incorporate strategy, empathy, design, and analytics into their development process. You'll learn to develop products and features that improve your business's bottom line while dramatically improving customer experience.

This is by far the best book I have read about building a product. It focuses on every aspect of product design outside of the visual design itself. It's a great tool for all aspiring and existing product designers. It includes comments from several industry-leaders, as well as numerous exercises you can use internally or with clients to build something great.

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

4.6 out of 5 stars - 724 ratings -

From three partners at Google Ventures, a unique five-day process for solving tough problems, proven at more than a hundred companies. A practical guide to answering critical business questions, Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It's for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.

This book tells you how to conduct and facilitate a design sprint in a very easy to understand way. It features some great examples of real world challenges that were overcome with a design sprint which really help to get your head around where this process will be useful.

Blue Ocean Strategy

4.6 out of 5 stars - 1,062 ratings -

A landmark work that upends traditional thinking about strategy, this bestselling book charts a bold new path to winning the future. Consider this your guide to creating uncontested market space--and making the competition irrelevant.

This is one of the most compelling books on business strategy I have read. The authors describe their ideas for building competitive (and hopefully sustainable competitive) advantage by making deliberate, informed decisions on what tasks you perform when delivering your product or service

Building Insanely Great Products: Some Products Fail, Many Succeed…

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 ratings -

Building Insanely Great Products covers the six keys to success, how to do market research, the importance of customer loyalty, innovation and design, using personas for development and not just marketing, determining the product’s value proposition, the correct way to prioritize product features, market sizing that works, market segmentation, product positioning, distribution strategy, product lifecycle framework and process, and the customer journey and digital transformation.

This is a broad and deep survey of the techniques behind the craft of product management, with lots of stories to illustrate what works, and what doesn't. I had the pleasure of meeting David at one of his product camp seminars, and enjoyed listening to him tap into his rich vein of experience at many of the early leaders in building great products. David is very good at synthesizing ideas from many sources. I was pleased to see that even some of my comments made their way into David's book.

How Design Makes the World

5.0 out of 5 stars 16 ratings -

In How Design Makes The World, bestselling author and designer Scott Berkun reveals how designers, from software engineers to city planners, have succeeded and failed us. From the airplane armrest to the Facebook “like” button, and everything in between, Berkun shows how design helps or hinders everyone, and offers a new way to think about the world around you.

Whether you spend time in a studio or a boardroom, an office or the outdoors, How Design Makes the World empowers you to ask better questions—and to understand the designs in everything that matters.

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture

4.3 out of 5 stars 74 ratings -

"Starting a new venture is like jumping off a cliff and sewing a parachute on the way down. This book is the parachute."  Joe Gebbia, cofounder and chief product officer, Airbnb

How do you make your start-up a genuine success in the long term? While most books and press focus on the more sensational moments of creation and conclusion, The Messy Middle argues that the real key to success is how you navigate the ups-and-downs after initial investment is secured. It will give you all the insights you need to build and optimize your team, improve your product and develop your own capacity to lead.

An unusual and heartening take on tricky middle years for startups, and full of useful stories and approaches to dealing with them. Definitely recommended.

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

4.5 out of 5 stars 288 ratings -

Reveals the underlying story form of all great presentations that will not only create impact, but will move people to action Presentations are meant to inform, inspire, and persuade audiences. So why then do so many audiences leave feeling like they've wasted their time? All too often, presentations don't resonate with the audience and move them to transformative action. 

This is a great book for people who have to persuade an audience with their presentations. I think it really scores for those who are experienced presenters and want to raise their game, because as the author points out “Creating an interesting presentation requires a more thoughtful process than throwing together the blather we’ve come to call a presentation today.”

THE RIGHT IT: How to Beat the Law of Market Failure

4.9 out of 5 stars - 31 ratings -

The Law of Market Failure: Most new products will fail in the market, even if competently executed.

Using his experience at Google, his remarkable success as an entrepreneur and consultant, and insights from his lectures at Stanford University and Google, Alberto Savoia’s The Right It offers an unparalleled approach to beating the beast that is market failure.

Why would someone be angry about a book well written? Probably because I wish I read this before I dived into a few failed or struggling ventures I have been involved with over the last 3 years. The beauty of this book isn’t about what to do but more of how the writer could share his humble stumbles to help the rest of us dodge things we could stub our toes against. And his sense of humor cracked me up a few times.

Building a StoryBrand

4.7 out of 5 stars - 1,107 ratings -

New York Times bestselling author Donald Miller uses the seven universal elements of powerful stories to teach readers how to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses. Donald Miller's StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services.

Fantastic advice, easy to read & remember. Offers valuable steps throughout the book to keep you on track. I especially appreciate the free My Story worksheet. Incredibly enlightening. This book is worth the purchase price & the time it takes to read - and implement it.

Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love

4.3 out of 5 stars - 24 ratings -

Innovators today are told to run loose and think lean in order to fail fast and succeed sooner. But in a world obsessed with the new, where cool added features often trump actual customer needs, it’s the consumer who suffers. In our quest to be more agile, we end up creating products that underwhelm.

So how does a company like Nest, creator of the mundane thermostat, earn accolades like “beautiful” and “revolutionary” and a $3.2 billion Google buyout? What did Nest do differently to create a household product that people speak of with love? Nest, and companies like it, understand that emotional connection is critical to product development. And they use a clear, repeatable design process that focuses squarely on consumer engagement rather than piling on features for features’ sake.

How to focus on people, celebrate emotional value, and drive optimism through lateral and divergent thinking

Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success 

4.6 out of 5 stars - 179 ratings -

The definitive playbook by the pioneers of Growth Hacking, one of the hottest business methodologies in Silicon Valley and beyond. An accessible and practical toolkit that teams and companies in all industries can use to increase their customer base and market share, this book walks readers through the process of creating and executing their own custom-made growth hacking strategy. It is a must read for any marketer, entrepreneur, innovator or manger looking to replace wasteful big bets and "spaghetti-on-the-wall" approaches with more consistent, replicable, cost-effective, and data-driven results.

I've been reading a lot during the past two years. Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown is right at the top of my favourites - list at the moment. Idea is simple build team, use data and be creative. If you seek data-driven growth for your company pick up this book, take a weekend for yourself, stock up your tea supply and enjoy the ride.

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter)

4.5 out of 5 stars 787 ratings -

Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.

Now Steve returns with fresh perspective to reexamine the principles that made Don’t Make Me Think a classic–with updated examples and a new chapter on mobile usability. And it’s still short, profusely illustrated…and best of all–fun to read.

I bought this as a bit of a refresher on user experience basics. It's a very accessible and easy read, perhaps a lot of it is common sense, but covers the fundamentals well and helps me to organise my thoughts a little. Easy to see why it's recommended on most UX reading lists. Definitely get it if you're just starting out!

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

4.8 out of 5 stars5,190 ratings -

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year.

Today, Nike's annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of start-ups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all start-ups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognisable symbols in the world today. A memoir rich with insight, humour and hard-won wisdom, this book is also studded with lessons - about building something from scratch, overcoming adversity, and ultimately leaving your mark on the world.

Brilliant is the word. It’s not just a book but a man’s whole life; of passion, of fears, of wars, of perseverance, of truth. I loved every word of the book. The memoir takes you through a journey of a 20 something who is willing to give his dreams a try to his dream becoming his life. 

ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever

4.4 out of 5 stars - 1,847 ratings -

From the founders of the trailblazing software company 37signals, here is a different kind of business book - one that explores a new reality. Today, anyone can be in business. Tools that used to be out of reach are now easily accessible. Technology that cost thousands is now just a few pounds or even free. Stuff that was impossible just a few years ago is now simple.

Although there is no 'system' to Rethink, there is a method and a style. The method is to take no sacred cow or status quo for granted but to put all to a thoroughly pragmatic test. The style is to whittle each point down to a bare minimum and then rush on to the next. Rework is about bite rather than depth, practice rather than theory.

The Sociological Imagination

4.5 out of 5 stars - 118 ratings -

Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives.

The sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues. Leading sociologist Amitai Etzioni brings this fortieth anniversary edition up to date with a lucid introduction in which he considers the ways social analysis has progressed since Mills first published his study in 1959. A classic in the field, this book still provides rich food for our imagination.

So, a bit of a left-field suggestion: "The Sociological Imagination" by C. Wright Mills. It's a foundational text in Sociological literature that discusses how we think about the relationship between society, social structures, and individuals. For me, this is fundamental to my product management practice - not thinking about users in isolation but as part of larger social mechanisms.
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