Through the years of working in Product Management and digital service design I’ve been lucky enough to learn at the feet of many masters, through many excellent books. This list shares the books that stay on my shelf through many Marie Kondo inspired de-cluttering sessions. Note that this is in no particular order.
Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just seven days.
The team from Google Ventures describes how to run a week long sprint to test ideas with real users. Great for everyone building products from new innovation to ongoing tweaks and optimisations.
The Design of Everyday Things – Donald A Norman.
The classic introductory text on usability. You’ll be going around using the word ‘affordance’ like a pro in no time. Note this is called the Psychology of Everyday Things in the US
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
Ever wondered why you hear the phrase ‘minimum viable product’ (MVP) so much now? This book is why. A masterclass in identifying the fulcrum in a business where you can apply the least effort to make the most impact with your startup, and the processes to apply. A must read.
Lean Analytics – Croll & Yoskovitz
The perfect complement to the Lean Startup book, it teaches you to understand and love the metrics that tell you how your product is doing and which vanity metrics you need to dump as quickly as you can before they drive your business off a cliff. A must read.
Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love – Marty Cagan
Although a lot of this book can be read at Marty’s excellent SVPG site, if you’re a fan of dead trees (or Kindle power usage) this is a solid introduction to all his insights into product management, from process to teams.
Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky
Although in places a bit dated, the core descriptions of how groups come together to interact and create change is still relevant.
101 Things I Learnt at Architecture School – Matthew Frederick
Other subject areas and disciplines are often great sources of inspiration, both for product creation and process. Architecture has always been an interest of mine, and this book has some great little nuggets to help you think differently.
Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon
An easily digestible book full of great tips on the creative process.
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be – Paul Arden
Focussed somewhat on the field of advertising, this is a great book to dip into and feel more inspired about taking ownership and creating new ideas.
Founders at Work – Jessica Livingstone
It’s fascinating how quickly digital services become ancient history in our business. Reading these stories of founders from many different ages of the first dot com boom it’s striking how the lessons learnt are still relevant, especially where they relate to teams and passion.