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What books helped me become a better product manager?
Or, in other words, what books should you read if you want to be a PM (or grow as one)?
- “Escaping the build trap” by Melissa Perri - perfect to learn the basics of being a PM.
- “Inspired” by Marty Cagan - a solid overview of PM dynamics and every scenario you’ll encounter from startups to large corps
- “Continuous Discovery Habits” by Teresa Torres - the fundamentals to understand how to know what to build. Also a great choice for PM basics.
- “The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick - learn how to interview and get the answers you need. Coupling this with Teresa’s book will make you a solid researcher.
- “Nudge” by Richard Thaler - learn psychology and the art of influencing your users through thoughtful design.
- “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman - a deep dive into psychology, learn about the cognitive biases that influence how your users think.
- “Never split the difference” by Christopher Voss - Negotiation is a daily task of PMs. With stakeholders, competitors, users. Perfect to give you an edge in high-stake situations.
- “Who gets what - and why” by Alvin E. Roth - Understand market dynamics and power laws. Knowing why market variables move, will make or break the success of your product.
- “Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz - If you work [with/directly for] founders, your PM life is probably tough. This is a perfect book to become more empathic about their struggle.
- “Hooked" by Nir Eyal - Learn how product-led growth works, and what takes to make a product that sticks. The only growth/marketing book you’ll need imho.
- “Empowered” by Marty Cagan - the foundations to grow as a product leader. Recommended if you’re stepping up to Senior/Lead/Head PM.
To be a really strong PM, aim to be at a top reading percentile. 10 books a year will get you close. At 250 pages each, that means 7 pages a day. Even if you’re slow reading, that’s 15 minutes. Pretty simple.
As Naval Ravikant says, the best investment you can make is to be an optimist. I think the second best is reading voraciously.
PS: Thinking Fast and Slow, Hard Things, and Hooked are missing because I lent them. Be a person who lends books to others. Reduce the friction for anyone to read. Many don’t have the possibility of buying dozens of books. Be a person who lends books (and ask them back so you can re-read them).
PPS: I tagged some of the authors so you can follow them, and check their podcasts and content. Don't stop learning after you close their book.