Books on Product Management

These are the Cranky Product Manager’s favorite books on product management, listed in order of usefulness and quality.

Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore

This book was pivotal in the Cranky Product Manager’s transition from an engineering mindset to a product strategy mindset. It explains the concept of the product lifecycle, and the initial success of a new product does not necessarily translate into mass market success.

Inside the Tornado: Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets, by Geoffrey Moore.

This book expands on the product lifecycle ideas of "Crossing the Chasm." How to expand a product’s market footprint to adjacent market spaces.  HIGHLY recommended, for all the same reasons as "Crossing the Chasm."

The Product Manager’s Desk Reference, by Steven Haines

This 704 page tome is huge and not exactly a thrilling read. But nonetheless it is an excellent reference that has something for everyone, from the novice product manager to the VP of Products with 20 years of product experience.

It covers the entire spectrum of product management activities, and provides excellent ideas, approaches, and ways of thinking for each activity. Over a 3-month period, the CPM found herself reaching for this book often — more than any other book in her product management library. The Cranky Product Manager strongly recommends The Product Manager’s Desk Reference.

The Art of Product Management: Lessons from a Silicon Valley Innovator, by Rich Mironov

Good reads. Easy, breezy. Informative yet FUN essays about product management. Kind of like this blog. Except it is better written. And not cranky. And optimistic and hopeful. And more educational. And by someone who knows a lot more about Product Management than the embittered Cranky Product Manager.

(Crap. Why are you reading this pathetic blog? Maybe you should go check out Rich’s book instead.)

Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs, by Craig Stull, Phil Myers & David Meerman Scott

This book is not for product managers – it’s for your boss’s boss.  At a high level, it explains WHY you need to engage customers and prospects in order to build wicked awesome products — something you’d think is obvious but all too many executives either don’t know or forget. 

This book also suggests some pretty cool techniques for getting at real customer problems, and not just feature wish lists.

One negative: they use the word "GROK" as an official name for a step in their methodology.  *barf*

The Product Manager’s Handbook, by Linda Gorchels

This book covers a lot of the same topics as the Product Manager’s Desk Reference, but from a slightly different take.  It’s good to hear the same "nuts and bolts" of product management described from different perspectives.

Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan

A collection of essays about product management and product development, most of which center around software.  Very well written, and – true to its name – inspiring for product managers. 

Posted in