13 Best Product Management Books Of All Time [Must-Reads]

13 Best Product Management Books to Read in 2021 - Product Manager Must-Reads

What are the best product management books to add to your 2022 reading list? We’ve put together a list for you with a few staples from every product manager’s bookshelf and some new releases too. So read on for a quick summary of each book, who the author is, and key points, so you can pick a book for your next beach day.

TL;DR

  • Continuous Discovery Habits by Teresa Torres teaches you how to set up a continuous discovery system within your organization with actionable exercises.
  • Product-Led Onboarding by Ramli John and Wes Bush is a new book about how to implement user onboarding for the ultimate customer retention.
  • The Making of Product Managers by Lena Sesardic gives you eight actionable insights from 20 stories of real product managers who broke into product management from different fields.
  • Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Perri illustrates why measuring success based on features is a losing game and how to measure value delivered instead.
  • Product Mastery by Geoff Watts teaches you how to be a successful product owner within agile software development practices with the use of case studies.
  • Inspired by Marty Cagan contains a little about everything in product management and is based on how the most successful tech companies in the world build products.
  • The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick is the ultimate guide to talking to customers as a product manager and includes sample scripts and questions you can directly use in your customer interviews.
  • Build by OpenView is a collection of product-led founder stories, how-to guides, and case studies on how to successfully implement product-led growth.
  • Product-Led Growth by Wes Bush is the ultimate book on how to implement product-led growth and build winning products.
  • The Elements of User Onboarding by Samuel Hulick is a practical guide on how to build an effective user onboarding experience for users.
  • Hooked by Nir Eyal explains how to create habit-forming products using the Hook Model based on human psychology.
  • Indistractable by Nir Eyal is about the human psychology behind distraction and how to maintain focus in a world of distractions.
  • The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen is a practical guide on implementing the Lean Product methodology based on years of Olsen’s consulting work.

Best New Product Management Books💥

Product Management Books #1 – Continuous Discovery Habits [NEW! 💥]

Continuous discovery habits book cover

Author

Teresa Torres is an internationally acclaimed product discovery coach, speaker, and author. She coaches teams on how to collect meaningful customer input and use it to make product decisions on a daily basis. The teams she coaches are from both early-stage startups and multinational enterprises in different industries.

Torres has taught more than 7,000 product people how to effectively do customer discovery at the Product Talk Academy. You can read her writing on ProductTalk.org.

Teresa Torres - author of Product Management Books
Teresa Torres, Author of Continuous Discovery Habits

Plot summary

Continuous Discovery Habits is the culmination of Torres’ eight years of work coaching teams on product discovery. It’ll teach you how to set up continuous discovery with your product trio team of product managers, design leads, and tech leads.

The book is evidence-based (references to theories in footnotes) and contains exercises you can start using right away.

If you haven’t had the good fortune to be coached by a strong leader or product coach, this book can help fill that gap and set you on the path to success.”—Marty Cagan

Key learnings

  • Setting up a structured and sustainable approach to continuous discovery
  • Recruiting users for discovery interviews
  • Interviewing users and customers
  • Partnering up with adjacent teams to improve continuous discovery

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars

54 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy Continuous Discovery Habits on Amazon.

Next up on our list of product management books is another new release on the topic of user onboarding.

Product Management Books #2 – Product-Led Onboarding [NEW! 💥]

Product-led onboarding book cover

Authors

Ramli John and Wes Bush are the authors of Product-Led Onboarding and both work at ProductLed, an organization that teaches companies product-led growth. Bush is the founder and CEO while John is the managing director. They’ve helped some of the world’s fastest-growing companies improve their user onboarding and keep more customers for longer.

John and Bush both host the ProductLed podcast together. John also hosts another podcast called Growth Marketing Today where he’s interviewed product and marketing leaders like Sean Ellis, April Dunford, and Hiten Shah.

Ramli John, author of product management books
Ramli John, Author of Product-Led Onboarding

You can read their writing at productled.com.

Plot summary

Product-Led Onboarding will teach you a simple six-step strategy used by successful companies like Mixpanel to retain more customers. It’s based on capturing customers’ attention from the start, making it easy to quickly adopt the product and design a delightful customer experience.

The key is that even a small percentage increase in adoption rates can translate to a large amount of additional revenue.

Key learnings

  • Definition of user onboarding
  • Overview of Eureka framework for user onboarding
  • 6-step strategy for retaining more customers
  • How to build an onboarding team
  • How to treat new users
  • Analytics for user onboarding
  • How to incorporate sales into user onboarding

Reviews

5 out of 5

4 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy Product-Led Onboarding on Amazon.

Now let’s take a look at our last new release in our list of product management books: a book about breaking into product management.

Product Management Books #3 – The Making of Product Managers

The Making of Product Managers website

Author

Lena Sesardic is a product manager turned entrepreneur turned freelance writer for all things product management. She has 7+ years of experience in startups and startup-like teams and most recently led an innovation lab as a product manager in 2019. Since then Lena has worked on multiple entrepreneurial projects, consulted in product management, and self-published the book The Making of Product Managers.

You can read her writing at lenasesardic.com.

Lena Sesardic - author of product management books
Lena Sesardic, Author of The Making of Product Managers

Plot summary

The Making of Product Managers contains 20 stories from real product managers who broke into product management from many different fields (e.g. mechanical engineering, marketing, economics.) These 20 stories illustrate just how different every product manager’s transition story is. And the amount of doubt and failure involved on the way.

The final chapter, ‘Takeaways’, contains eight actionable insights based on the 20 stories. These insights are a blueprint for aspiring product managers to use to forge their own path to becoming a successful product manager.

Key learnings

  • Educational and professional backgrounds of product managers
  • Length of time it took different product managers to break into the field
  • Challenges of transitioning from software engineer to product manager
  • Challenges of transitioning from a non-technical background
  • How to spot, size, and pursue the best opportunities

Reviews

5 out of 5

4 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy The Making of Product Managers here.

Next, let’s take a look at some old hits in product management.

Old Hits – Greatest Hits of Product Management Books to Revisit in 2021 🏆

Product Management Books #1 – Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value

Escaping the Build Trap book cover

Author

Melissa Perri is a product management consultant, speaker, and teacher. She’s the CEO of Produx Labs, a product management training organization. She works with executives worldwide, advising them on product strategy and leadership.

Perri believes the secret to a successful product management organization is great product leaders. She runs training programs like The CPO Accelerator to grow product leaders using her scientific approach to product management.

In 2019, Harvard Business School appointed Perri to teach product management in their MBA program.

Melissa Perri, author of Escaping the Build Trap

Plot summary

Companies get stuck in The Build Trap when they start measuring their success with the number of features they’re building instead of the customer value they’re delivering. Escaping the Build Trap teaches companies how to build a product management practice that’s focused on creating value.

Perri shares her toolbox for dealing with the three main elements of a successful product organization: strategy, processes, and culture. She outlines how to lay a foundation for great product management that enhances communication and collaboration.

Key learnings

  • The reason organizations focus on features instead of the value those features represent
  • How to design a scalable product organization
  • How product strategy uses a company’s vision to feed the bottom line
  • An iterative product framework for identifying and pursuing the right opportunities for creating value

Reviews

4.7 out of 5

566 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy Escaping the Build Trap on Amazon.

Next up on our list of product management books is a classic on the topic of agile software development and the role of a product owner.

Product Management Books #2 – Product Mastery: From Good To Great Product Ownership

Product Mastery book cover

Author

Geoff Watts is the first Certified Scrum Trainer and Certified Agile Coach in the UK. He’s an experienced leadership and performance coach and a member of the following entities: the International Coaching Federation, the National Council of Psychotherapists, and the Association of Business Psychology.

Watts is also a TEDx speaker and author of several best-selling books including Scrum Mastery: From Good to Great Servant-Leadership.

Geoff Watts - author of product management books
Geoff Watts, Author of Product Mastery

Plot summary

Product Mastery is focused on the agile Scrum framework and explores how the best product owners are driven to be successful.

The book includes case studies on how to make decisions without complete information, empower project stakeholders and negotiate while pursuing your vision. All from a thought leader in the agile development space.

Key learnings

  • Decision-making with incomplete information
  • Ruthless maximization of value and minimization of risk
  • Staying informed about your product domain
  • Versatile leadership style
  • Empowering project stakeholders
  • Negotiating while pursuing your vision

Reviews

4.6 out of 5

39 reviews

Where to buy?

You can buy Product Mastery on Amazon.

Now let’s take a look at a timeless classic written by the iconic Marty Cagan.

Product Management Books #3 – Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

Inspired book cover

Author

Marty Cagan worked as an executive at companies like Hewlett-Packard, Netscape Communications, and eBay and built many successful products for them. He then founded Silicon Valley Product Group in 2002 to help others create successful products through his advising, coaching, speaking, and writing.

Cagan has managed many teams within a modern technology organization including those in product management, software development, product marketing, and user experience design. He’s an icon in the product management space.

Marty Cagan - author of product management books
Marty Cagan, Author of Inspired

Plot summary

This book is the bible of product management and contains a little bit of everything you need to know to be a product manager and product leader.

In Inspired, Cagan illustrates how the most successful tech companies (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Testa) design, develop and deploy products that customers absolutely love. He shows how to structure and develop a product organization with a strong product culture and therefore better products.

Key learnings

  • How to structure a product organization and adjacent teams
  • Leveraging engineers for product ideas
  • The role of persistence in building great products
  • How to manage different types of risks
  • Focusing on outcomes over output

Reviews

4.6 out of 5

1,923 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy Inspired on Amazon.

Last on our list of product management books is a book that’s considered to be the bible for talking to customers.

Product Management Books #4 – The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

The Mom Test book cover

Author

Rob Fitzpatrick has been running businesses for 13 years and is the co-founder of Founder Centric, delivering educational curriculum for founders at startup accelerators and support programs.

The Mom Test was Fitzpatrick’s first book and turned him into a customer discovery expert, earning him countless speaking opportunities at both events and on podcasts. He reached financial independence at the age of 32 and now spends his time working on smaller-scale projects with friends and repairing sailboats.

Rob Fitzpatrick - author of product management books
Rob Fitzpatrick, author of The Mom Test

Plot summary

The Mom Test is the ultimate book for conducting customer interviews that lead to unbiased insights and help you save time and money. The book contains sample interview scripts that Fitzpatrick analyzes to show what works and what doesn’t. He even includes a list of questions you can use verbatim in your customer interviews.

The idea behind the book is that if you were to ask your mother what she thought of your product idea, she would say she loved it regardless of the idea’s value. That is simply because she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. Customers are the same: once you bring up your idea, they’ll fill your head with compliments instead of their honest opinion.

This book teaches you how to avoid that trap and get valuable feedback that will help you abandon ideas that aren’t worth your time and build products customers actually love.

Key learnings

  • Why bringing your product idea up doesn’t yield reliable results
  • Preparing questions for customer interviews
  • Conducting customer interviews (including sample scripts)
  • Salvaging a customer interview that’s gone bad
  • Taking notes during customer interviews
  • Techniques for getting reliable data during interviews

Reviews

4.7 out of 5

751 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy The Mom Test on Amazon.

Product Management Books #5 – BUILD – Product Led Growth: The End User Era

Build book by OpenView Partners

Author

OpenView is a venture firm for the expansion stage of a company and turns software companies into market leaders. Their Expansion Platform is designed to support a company through its expansion stage with tools, resources, and a network.

OpenView Partners logo

Plot summary

The purchasing power of software is moving away from companies and toward end-users. OpenView Partners called this The End User Era. This is because of the rise of product-led growth, which relies on the product itself being the driver of acquiring, converting, and retaining customers.

Build is a collection of product-led founder stories, how-to guides, and case studies on how to successfully implement product-led growth. The stories include those from companies like Calendly, Wistia, Hubspot, and Stripe.

Key learnings

  • Complementing traditional go-to-market tactics with product-led growth
  • Network effects and the viral coefficient for SaaS companies
  • How to build community on Product Hunt
  • Combining product-led growth with sales
  • Making freemium work by anchoring to value
  • How to implement product-assisted growth
  • Leveraging customer success to scale
  • Key growth strategies and tactics of the growth mindset

Where to buy?

You can get a digital copy of the book here.

Product Management Books #6 – Product-Led Growth

Product-Led Growth book cover

Author

Wes Bush is the founder and CEO of ProductLed, a global community in the SaaS space that produces training for building product-led businesses. He’s known for challenging the traditional sales playbook for SaaS with product-led growth. He believes a better way to build SaaS products is by building products that sell themselves.

Bush holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Business and Digital Arts from the University of Waterloo.

Wes Bush, author of product-led growth
Wes Bush, Author of Product-Led Growth

Plot summary

Product-Led Growth outlines Bush’s method for implementing product-led growth for a product within a company. It contains real-life examples from the biggest SaaS brands in the world and various email scripts to use for your SaaS.

Product-Led Growth is about helping your customers experience the ongoing value your product provides…and this book shows you how it’s done.”—Nir Eyal, Author of Hooked and Indistractible

Key learnings

  • Implementing a free trial in 24 hours to save 3-6 months of development and thousands of dollars
  • A simple framework for turning users into customers Bush has used to drive millions in revenue for various brands
  • The 4-letter decision framework for picking a go-to-market strategy and growth model for SaaS
  • The “Triple-A” sprint cycle and sustainable growth
  • The 3 apocalyptic “tidal waves” in SaaS and how to survive them
  • The biggest cause of a leaky funnel and how to fix it
  • The 7 people you need to run a successful product-led team

Reviews

4.6 out of 5

239 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy Product-Led Growth on Amazon.

Product Management Books #7 – The Elements of User Onboarding

The Elements of User Onboarding book cover

Author

Samuel Hulick has spent almost a decade focusing on user onboarding and shares all his learnings on his website Useronboard.com. He publishes detailed user onboarding teardowns of SaaS products on his website and sells training packages. Hulick is also provides consulting in user onboarding for companies like Atlassian, WordPress, Spotify, and SurveyMonkey.

Samuel Hulick, author of The Elements of User Onboarding
Samuel Hulick, Author of The Elements of User Onboarding

Plot summary

The Elements of User Onboarding was created to be the most enjoyable and comprehensive guide to user adoption. It’s based on Hulick’s experience consulting and contains real-life examples of how user onboarding can drastically increase the success of your SaaS.

Key learnings

  • Identifying your touchpoints before user sign-up
  • Focusing on how your SaaS transforms your users
  • Creating a personality for your SaaS to establish an emotional connection with users
  • Helping users rationalize their decisions
  • Removing obstructions to user onboarding and clearing the flow
  • Enabling quick wins for users to motivate them to continue using your products

Reviews

4.13 out of 5

91 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can get a digital copy of the book here.

Product Management Books #8 – Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Hooked book cover

Author

Nir Eyal is a best-selling author and writes at the intersection of psychology, technology, and business, which he calls “behavioral design.” He’s been a Lecturer in Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design and has sold two technology companies. The M.I.T. Technology Review has dubbed him “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.”

Eyal now manages a solo-VC fund, Engagement Partners, and has invested in companies like Eventbrite, Anchor.fm, Canva, and Product Hunt.

Nir Eyal, Author of Hooked

Plot summary

In Hooked, Eyal explains why users keep coming back to engage with certain products over and over again. The answer is the Hook Model, a four-step process based on human psychology that leads to habit formation around a product. The Hook Model is the result of years of Eyal’s research, consulting, and experience.

Hooked is written for product managers, startup founders, marketers, and designers.

“A must read for everyone who cares about driving customer engagement.”—Eric Ries, Author of The Lean Startup

Key learnings

  • The Hook Model’s four-step process
  • Human psychology behind the Hook Model
  • Practical insights to building habit-forming products
  • Practical examples of the Hook Model from products like Twitter and Pinterest

Reviews

4.6 out of 5

3,574 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy Hooked on Amazon.

Product Management Books #9 – Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Indistractable book cover

Author

The author of the book Indistractable is Nir Eyal, the same author of the book Hooked. To learn more about the author, refer to the author section for the book Hooked in this list of the best product management books.

Plot summary

In Indistractable, Eyal explains the hidden psychology behind human distraction. And provides a practical four-step research-backed framework for fighting distractions.

Indistractable provides a framework that will deliver the focus you need to get results.”—James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits

Key learnings

  • The impracticality of abstinence to fight distractions
  • Why dysfunctional company culture is behind distraction and how to fix it
  • Why being indistractable is important for relationships
  • Raising indistractable children in a world full of distractions

Reviews

4.6 out of 5

2,359 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy Indistractable on Amazon.

Product Management Books #10 – The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate With Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback

Lean product playbook book cover

Author

Dan Olsen is an entrepreneur and product management consultant who helps CEOs and product leaders build successful products and lead strong product teams. He often acts as an interim VP of Product for companies.

Olsen is also the founder of the Lean Product & Lean UX Meetup in Silicon Valley with over 10,000 members. He hosts product leaders monthly to share their ideas and insights about product management.

Dan Olsen, author of the Lean Product Playbook
Dan Olsen, Author of The Lean Product Playbook

Plot summary

The Lean Product Playbook is a practical guide on how to implement the Lean Startup methodology within a company and make the mindset shift to Lean thinking.

The book contains an easy-to-follow and repeatable methodology for building products that achieve product/market fit. It’s also based on Olsen’s years of consulting for companies like Facebook, Box, and Medallia.

Key learnings

  • Determining your target customers
  • Identifying underserved customer needs
  • Creating a winning product strategy
  • Deciding on your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Designing your MVP prototype
  • Testing your MVP with customers
  • Rapid iteration to achieve product/market fit

Reviews

4.7 out of 5

555 global ratings

Where to buy?

You can buy The Lean Product Playbook on Amazon.

Conclusion

This selection of classic and new release product management books is exactly what you need to hone your craft as a product manager.

The topics covered include customer interviews, product discovery, agile software practices, user onboarding, how to create value, and how to break into product management. It’s a great mix of topics with actionable insights that’ll give you the knowledge you need to establish yourself as an expert product manager.

Want to build product experiences code-free? Book a demo call with our team and get started!

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