Recommended book lists for Product Managers are available online in the droves, and there are certainly some good ones out there. They are however typically focused on books written specifically for product people (be it startups, entrepreneurship, product development/management or otherwise) and whilst I, like many, have read and enjoyed the majority of the recommended books, I do feel there is also an alternative book list worth working through as well. Books that are not specifically written for product and entrepreneur communities (gosh horror!) but rather books that focus on the softer skills of how to best collaborate and lead teams. With this in mind, here is my alternative book list that I believe all PMs should read:
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Quite simply a famous “classic” that everyone should read, that details Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s investigations of “optimal experience” (which he calls flow).
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work
Recommended by a Senior PM in my team, Shop Class as Soulcraft is a NYT Philosophy Best Seller that questions whether the last 20 years of a growing economy of knowledge workers, are fulfilled in the same way (and to the same extent) of those trades that work with their hands.
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
Whilst this book is focused heavily on how to communicate effectively within a romantic relationship, the practice of non-violent communication extends its benefits far beyond improving communication with your loved ones. A must read in my mind for anyone working in teams and collaborating.
What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication
Turns out, what we say DOES matter. An excellent book that extends the practice of non-violent communication into a practical text. Again focused on romantic relationship communication but don’t let that put you off.
HBR’s On Emotional Intelligence
I am a huge fan of HBR’s 10 Must Reads series and this book in the series is my favorite. As the headline of the book says:
If you read nothing else on emotional intelligence, read these definitive articles from Harvard Business Review.
Enough said. Read the book and improve your EI.
The 5 Levels of Leadership
Another NYT best seller that is very popular within the leadership community. One of the few books that I have also actually completed every case study / assessment that the book suggests you do at the end of each chapter. If you are a leader wishing to improve, this is a great read.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Written by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow explores how and why we make the choices that we do. Human rationality exploration at its finest, a very good read.
Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior
Findings in neurological research are explored in depth in this book. Whilst some sections can be rather heavy going (well at least I felt so), the book is a great leap into the world of your unconscious mind and how it affects our behavior.
Moonfire: The Epic Journey of Apollo II
I bought this book at one of my favourite stores in Manhattan (Best Made) at a whim. As it turns out, this is an amazing story that details the journey of Apollo II. Beautifully photographed throughout, this is a coffee table style book that should be purchased, read and kept in the family for generations. Enjoy.
Amazon link: Enjoy the experience and buy this book from the Best Made store in NYC.