The top 4 must-read books for Product Managers 📚

Bhavya Singh
6 min readSep 6, 2023

Ready for a fun PM quiz? Check your fundamentals with must-read books for Product Managers. Dive in and test your knowledge!

Hello beautiful fellas,
Welcome to the
Daily product management show! 📺 I’m your host, Bhavya, and I’ll be bringing you fresh insights & ramblings on product management every week! 👋

Before we dive into the quiz, lets digest quick summaries of these gems

Book Summaries 📓

1️⃣. Hooked 🎣

Nir Eyal’s “Hooked” is all about making addictive products. Nir Eyal breaks it down into four steps: Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, and Investment. You gotta grab people’s attention (Trigger), get them to do something (Action), give them unpredictable rewards (Variable Reward), and make them invest time or effort (Investment). It’s like a recipe for creating habit-forming products!

The Hook Model is a four-step process that products use to create habit-forming loops. The four steps are:

  • Trigger: Something that reminds the user of the product and makes them want to use it.
  • Action: The user takes a specific action, such as opening the app or clicking on a button.
  • Reward: The user receives a reward, such as a notification, a new message, or a sense of accomplishment.
  • Investment: The user makes an investment in the product, such as adding friends, creating a profile, or spending money.

Specific examples of how product managers can use the Hook Model:

  • Use notifications to trigger users to use the product. For example, a social media app might send a notification to a user when a friend posts a new message.
  • Make the action of using the product as easy as possible. For example, a shopping app might make it easy for users to add items to their cart with a single click.
  • Reward users for using the product. For example, a game might give users points or coins for completing levels.
  • Get users to invest in the product. For example, a dating app might encourage users to create a profile or buy a subscription.

2️⃣. Build Trap 🙅

In this book, Melissa Perri talks about escaping the vicious cycle of just building products without a clear plan. Don’t get stuck just making things. Focus on the ‘why’ before diving into the ‘how.’ In other words, don’t be a feature factory. Understand what your customers really want and need, then build it. It’s about learning, not just launching. Embrace experimentation, gather data, and iterate. Don’t be afraid to kill projects that don’t make sense. Avoid the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. Instead, build things they actually want, and you’ll escape the build trap and succeed in the long run.

Key takeaways from the book-

  • Focus on outcomes, not features. The goal of product development should be to solve customer problems and achieve business goals. This means focusing on the outcomes that the product will deliver, rather than the features that it will have.
  • Be customer-centric. Put the customer at the center of everything you do. Understand their needs and pain points, and build products that solve their problems.
  • Be data-driven. Make decisions based on data, not gut instinct. Use data to track the success of your products and make improvements.
  • Be iterative and agile. Don’t try to build the perfect product upfront. Instead, release early and often, and get feedback from customers.
  • Build a product culture. Create a culture in your organization that is focused on building great products. This means having a shared understanding of the goals of the product and how to achieve them.

TL;DR: Stop building blindly, start building smartly.

3️⃣. Product Roadmaps 🔆

  • Product roadmaps are a communication tool that helps product teams align on the vision, direction, and priorities for a product. They are not a plan, but rather a living document that should be updated regularly as the product evolves.
  • The best product roadmaps are customer-centric and focus on solving real problems for users. They should be based on data and insights, not gut instinct.
  • When creating a product roadmap, it is important to consider the following factors:

— The product vision and strategy
— The customer needs and pain points
— The competitive landscape
— The available resources
— The risks and uncertainties

  • There are many different ways to create and visualize a product roadmap. The best approach will vary depending on the product, the team, and the organization.
  • It is important to get feedback on the product roadmap from stakeholders throughout the organization. This will help ensure that the roadmap is aligned with the overall business goals and that it is feasible to implement.
  • Product roadmaps should be living documents that are updated regularly. This will help ensure that the roadmap remains relevant and that it reflects the latest changes in the product, the market, and the business.

Additional tips for creating an effective product roadmap:

  • Start with the customer. What are their needs and pain points? What are they trying to achieve?
  • Be clear about the product vision and strategy. What are you trying to achieve with the product? What are the key features and benefits?
  • Prioritize features and tasks. Not all features are created equal. Prioritize the features that will have the biggest impact on the customer.
  • Be realistic about the timeline and budget. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver.
  • Be flexible and adaptable. The market is constantly changing, so be prepared to adjust your roadmap as needed.

4️⃣. User Story Mapping 🗣

User story mapping is a visual technique for understanding and managing the work required to build a product. It helps product managers and development teams to:

  • Understand the user’s journey: User story mapping helps you to map out the steps that a user takes to achieve their goals with your product. This can help you to identify the most important features and functionality for your product.
  • Prioritize work: User story mapping can help you to prioritize the work that needs to be done to build your product. This can help you to ensure that you are building the right things, in the right order.
  • Communicate with stakeholders: User story mapping can be a powerful communication tool for stakeholders. It can help you to visualize the product vision and to get everyone on the same page about what needs to be built.

The book “User Story Mapping for Product Managers” is a comprehensive guide to this technique. It covers everything from the basics of user story mapping to advanced techniques for using it to build successful products.

Some of the key takeaways from the book:

  • User story mapping is a collaborative exercise. It is important to involve all of the stakeholders who will be affected by the product, including users, product managers, developers, and designers.
  • User story mapping should be iterative. It is important to revisit the map regularly as you learn more about the user and the product.
  • User story mapping is not a silver bullet. It is a tool that can help you to build better products, but it is not a guarantee of success.

If you are a product manager, I highly recommend reading “User Story Mapping for Product Managers.” It is a valuable resource that can help you to build better products that meet the needs of your users.

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Rock on, fellow & aspiring PMs! 🚀
I’m a product manager myself, and I know how hard it can be to find good resources on the topic. That’s why I started writing this blog.

I hope you found this article & quiz helpful.

See you in the next one 👀
Happy PM-ing! 🚀

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Bhavya Singh

Product Manager Generalist | B2B/B2C SaaS | ISB | Hyper focussed PM on Growth & UX. https://www.linkedin.com/in/bhavyasingh | Comment on any blog for a 1:1 call