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7 books to help you land your first product manager job

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What can you do if you’re a recent grad or looking to make a transition into product management? Prepare yourself for the job interview before it happens by reading these books on product management.

Product management is hard to break into. Why is that? Product managers set the direction for their teams, and often an entire company, to take. If they make the wrong call, it could be catastrophic. Because of the tremendous amount of risk associated with being a product manager, hiring managers usually prefer to hire people who have previous experience.

To increase your chances of becoming a product manager, read these books and build your confidence in a matter of days.

Inspired by Marty Cagan

Inspired by Marty Cagan is at the top of my list of books you should read. This book is a great guide to a number of discovery and design techniques. Marty also has a great blog at Silicon Valley Product Group.


The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman is one of the most highly regarded introductory texts to usability and interaction design. It’s also a great resource for helping you think of examples of everyday design problems that you may need to talk about in job interviews.



Sprint by Jake Knapp

Sprint by Jake Knapp is a great playbook for collaboratively brainstorming, problem-solving, designing, prototyping and validating concepts in 5 days. If you haven’t read this yet, you’ve gotta get it. It’s a fairly quick read, too, but it’s full of great information.


The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is similar to Sprint in that it’s a playbook to help you get a new product created and into the hands of customers as quickly as possible.


Lean Analytics is a book to read after you’ve read Sprint and Lean Startup. It provides further guidance on how to use data to build better products.


Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Perri is geared towards someone who has been doing product management already, but it provides some excellent cautionary tales of things to avoid which I think would be useful for anyone seeking a product management position.


Cracking the PM Interview is THE book to get to prepare for product manager interviews. Written by Jackie Bavaro and Gayle Laakmann McDowell, this book covers every type of question you should expect as well as what it’s like to interview at many of the biggest tech companies.

These are my favorite books for people interested in breaking into product management. What are some of your recommendations?

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