What books have you found to be most useful for product leaders? Please do share them below.
Book mentions in this thread
The Mom Test
by Rob FitzpatrickThe Mom Test is a quick, practical guide that will save you time, money, and heartbreak. They say you shouldn't ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn't ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It's a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little . As a matter of fact, it's not their responsibility to tell you the truth. It's your responsibility to find it and it's worth doing right . Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. We all know we're supposed to do it, but nobody seems willing to admit that it's easy to screw up and hard to do right. This book is going to show you how customer conversations go wrong and how you can do better.
Are Your Lights On?
by Donald C. GauseA Practical Guide for Everyone Involved in Product and Systems Development The fledgling problem solver invariably rushes in with solutions before taking time to define the problem being solved. Even experienced solvers, when subjected to social pressure, yield to this demand for haste. When they do, many solutions are found, but not necessarily to the problem at hand. Whether you are a novice or a veteran, this powerful little book will make you a more effective problem solver. Anyone involved in product and systems development will appreciate this practical illustrated guide, which was first published in 1982 and has since become a cult classic. Offering such insights as "A problem is a difference between things as desired and things as perceived, " and "In spite of appearances, people seldom know what they want until you give them what they ask for, " authors Don Gause and Jerry Weinberg provide an entertaining look at ways to improve one's thinking power. The book playfully instructs the reader first to identify the problem, second to determine the problem's owner, third to identify where the problem came from, and fourth to determine whether or not to solve it. Delightfully illustrated with 55 line drawings, the book conveys a message that will change the way you think about projects and problems.
by Gabriel Weinberg"The world's greatest problem-solvers, forecasters, and decision-makers all rely on a set of frameworks and shortcuts that help them cut through complexity and separate good ideas from bad ones. They're called mental models, and you can find them in dense textbooks on psychology, physics, economics, and more. Or, you can just read Super Thinking, a fun, illustrated guide to every mental model you could possibly need"--
by Marty CaganGreat teams are comprised of ordinary people that are empowered and inspired. They are empowered to solve hard problems in ways their customers love yet work for their business. They are inspired with ideas and techniques for quickly evaluating those ideas to discover solutions that work: they are valuable, usable, feasible and viable. This book is about the idea and reality of "achieving extraordinary results from ordinary people". Empowered is the companion to Inspired. It addresses the other half of the problem of building tech productshow to get the absolute best work from your product teams. However, the books message applies much more broadly than just to product teams. Inspired was aimed at product managers. Empowered is aimed at all levels of technology-powered organizations: founders and CEO's, leaders of product, technology and design, and the countless product managers, product designers and engineers that comprise the teams. This book will not just inspire companies to empower their employees but will teach them how. This book will help readers achieve the benefits of truly empowered teams.
by Hamilton Helmer7 Powers details a strategy toolset that enables you to build an enduringly valuable company. It was developed by Hamilton Helmer drawing on his decades of experience as a strategy advisor, equity investor and Stanford University teacher. This is must reading for any business person and applies to all businesses, new or mature, large or small.
What Got You Here Won't Get You There
by Marshall GoldsmithYour hard work is paying off. You are doing well in your field. But there is something standing between you and the next level of achievement. That something may just be one of your own annoying habits.Perhaps one small flaw - a behaviour you barely even recognise - is the only thing that's keeping you from where you want to be. It may be that the very characteristic that you believe got you where you are - like the drive to win at all costs - is what's holding you back. As this book explains, people often do well in spite of certain habits rather than because of them-and need a "to stop" list rather than one listing what "to do".Marshall Goldsmith's expertise is in helping global leaders overcome their unconscious annoying habits and become more successful. His one-on-one coaching comes with a six-figure price tag - but in this book you get his great advice for much less. Recently named as one of the world's five most-respected executive coaches by Forbes, he has worked with over 100 major CEOs and their management teams at the world's top businesses. His clients include corporations such as Goldman Sachs, Glaxo SmithKline, Johnson and Johnson and GE.
The Score Takes Care of Itself
by Bill WalshThe last lecture on leadership by the NFL's greatest coach: Bill Walsh Bill Walsh is a towering figure in the history of the NFL. His advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst franchise in sports to a legendary dynasty. In the process, he changed the way football is played. Prior to his death, Walsh granted a series of exclusive interviews to bestselling author Steve Jamison. These became his ultimate lecture on leadership. Additional insights and perspective are provided by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and others. Bill Walsh taught that the requirements of successful leadership are the same whether you run an NFL franchise, a fortune 500 company, or a hardware store with 12 employees. These final words of 'wisdom by Walsh' will inspire, inform, and enlighten leaders in all professions.
Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies
by Tom DemarcoIn Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, the six principal consultants of The Atlantic Systems Guild present the patterns of behavior they most often observe at the dozens of IT firms they transform each year, around the world. The result is a quick-read guide to identifying nearly ninety typical scenarios, drawing on a combined one-hundred-and-fifty years of project management experience. Project by project, you'll improve the accuracy of your hunches and your ability to act on them. The patterns are presented in an easy-reference format, with names designed to ease communication with your teammates. In just a few words, you can describe what's happening on your project. Citing the patterns of behavior can help you quickly move those above and below you to the next step on your project. Not every pattern will be evident in your organization, and not every pattern is necessarily good or bad. However, you'll find many patterns that will apply to your current and future assignments, even in the most ambiguous circumstances. When you assess your situation and follow your next hunch, you'll have the collective wisdom of six world-class consultants at your side.
Motive Why So Many Leaders Abdicate
by Patrick M LencioniShay was still angry but shrugged nonchalantly as if to say, it’s not that big of a deal. “So, what am I wrong about?” “You’re not going to want to hear this, but I have to tell you anyway.” Liam paused before finishing. “You might be working hard, but you’re not doing it for the company.” “What the hell does that mean?” Shay wanted to know. Knowing that his adversary might punch him for what he was about to say, Liam responded. “You’re doing it for yourself.” New York Times best-selling author Patrick Lencioni has written a dozen books that focus on how leaders can build teams and lead organizations. In The Motive, he shifts his attention toward helping them understand the importance of why they’re leading in the first place. In what may be his edgiest page-turner to date, Lencioni thrusts his readers into a day-long conversation between rival CEOs. Shay Davis is the CEO of Golden Gate Alarm, who, after just a year in his role, is beginning to worry about his job and is desperate to figure out how to turn things around. With nowhere else to turn, Shay receives some hard-to-swallow advice from the most unlikely and unwanted source—Liam Alcott, CEO of a more successful security company and his most hated opponent. Lencioni uses unexpected plot twists and crisp dialogue to take us on a journey that culminates in a resolution that is as unexpected as it is enlightening. As he does in his other books, he then provides a straightforward summary of the lessons from the fable, combining a clear explanation of his theory with practical advice to help executives examine their true motivation for leading. In addition to provoking readers to honestly assess themselves, Lencioni presents action steps for changing their approach in five key areas. In doing so, he helps leaders avoid the pitfalls that stifle their organizations and even hurt the people they are meant to serve.
Escaping the Build Trap
by Melissa Perri"To stay competitive in today's market, organizations need to adopt a culture of customer-centric practices that focus on outcomes rather than outputs. In this book, Melissa Perri explains how laying the foundation for great product management can help companies solve real customer problems while achieving business goals. By understanding how to communicate and collaborate within a company structure, you can create a product culture that benefits both the business and the customer. You'll learn product management principles that can be applied to any organization, big or small"--Page 4 of cover.
The Principles of Product Development Flow
by Donald G. ReinertsenThis is the first book that comprehensively describes the underlying principles that create flow in product development processes. It covers 175 principles organized into eight major areas. It is of interest to managers and technical professionals responsible for product development processes.
Team of Teams
by General Stanley McChrystalWhat if you could combine the agility, adaptability, and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization? When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq in 2003, he quickly realized that conventional military tactics were failing. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment and training - but none of the enemy's speed and flexibility. McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom to create a 'team of teams' that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. Faster, flatter and more flexible, the task force beat back al-Qaeda. In this powerful book, McChrystal and his colleagues show how the challenges they faced in Iraq can be relevant to any leader. Through compelling examples, the authors demonstrate that the 'team of teams' strategy has worked everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to NASA and has the potential to transform organizations large and small. 'A bold argument that leaders can help teams become greater than the sum of their parts' Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit 'An indispensable guide to organizational change' Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
Testing Business Ideas
by David J. BlandA practical guide to effective business model testing 7 out of 10 new products fail to deliver on expectations. Testing Business Ideas aims to reverse that statistic. In the tradition of Alex Osterwalder’s global bestseller Business Model Generation, this practical guide contains a library of hands-on techniques for rapidly testing new business ideas. Testing Business Ideas explains how systematically testing business ideas dramatically reduces the risk and increases the likelihood of success for any new venture or business project. It builds on the internationally popular Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas by integrating Assumptions Mapping and other powerful lean startup-style experiments. Testing Business Ideas uses an engaging 4-color format to: Increase the success of any venture and decrease the risk of wasting time, money, and resources on bad ideas Close the knowledge gap between strategy and experimentation/validation Identify and test your key business assumptions with the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas A definitive field guide to business model testing, this book features practical tips for making major decisions that are not based on intuition and guesses. Testing Business Ideas shows leaders how to encourage an experimentation mindset within their organization and make experimentation a continuous, repeatable process.
Trillion Dollar Coach
by Eric SchmidtThe team behind How Google Works returns with management lessons from legendary coach and business executive, Bill Campbell, whose mentoring of some of our most successful modern entrepreneurs has helped create well over a trillion dollars in market value. Bill Campbell played an instrumental role in the growth of several prominent companies, such as Google, Apple, and Intuit, fostering deep relationships with Silicon Valley visionaries, including Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt. In addition, this business genius mentored dozens of other important leaders on both coasts, from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists to educators to football players, leaving behind a legacy of growing companies, successful people, respect, friendship, and love after his death in 2016. Leaders at Google for over a decade, Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, and Alan Eagle experienced firsthand how the man fondly known as Coach Bill built trusting relationships, fostered personal growth—even in those at the pinnacle of their careers—inspired courage, and identified and resolved simmering tensions that inevitably arise in fast-moving environments. To honor their mentor and inspire and teach future generations, they have codified his wisdom in this essential guide. Based on interviews with over eighty people who knew and loved Bill Campbell, Trillion Dollar Coach explains the Coach’s principles and illustrates them with stories from the many great people and companies with which he worked. The result is a blueprint for forward-thinking business leaders and managers that will help them create higher performing and faster moving cultures, teams, and companies.
by Ken Kocienda* WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER * An insider's account of Apple's creative process during the golden years of Steve Jobs. Hundreds of millions of people use Apple products every day; several thousand work on Apple's campus in Cupertino, California; but only a handful sit at the drawing board. Creative Selection recounts the life of one of the few who worked behind the scenes, a highly-respected software engineer who worked in the final years of the Steve Jobs era—the Golden Age of Apple. Ken Kocienda offers an inside look at Apple’s creative process. For fifteen years, he was on the ground floor of the company as a specialist, directly responsible for experimenting with novel user interface concepts and writing powerful, easy-to-use software for products including the iPhone, the iPad, and the Safari web browser. His stories explain the symbiotic relationship between software and product development for those who have never dreamed of programming a computer, and reveal what it was like to work on the cutting edge of technology at one of the world's most admired companies. Kocienda shares moments of struggle and success, crisis and collaboration, illuminating each with lessons learned over his Apple career. He introduces the essential elements of innovation—inspiration, collaboration, craft, diligence, decisiveness, taste, and empathy—and uses these as a lens through which to understand productive work culture. An insider's tale of creativity and innovation at Apple, Creative Selection shows readers how a small group of people developed an evolutionary design model, and how they used this methodology to make groundbreaking and intuitive software which countless millions use every day.
Measure What Matters
by John DoerrMeasure What Matters is a revolutionary approach to business that has been adopted by some of Silicon Valley's most successful startups. It is a movement that is behind the explosive growth of Intel, Google, Amazon and Uber and many more. Measure What Mattersis about using Objectives and Key Results (or OKRs) to make tough choices on business priorities. It's about communicating these objectives throughout the company from entry level to CEO and it's about collecting timely, relevant data to track progress - to measure what matters. When Google first started out, its founders had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy and sky-high ambition but no business plan. John Doerr taught them a proven approach to operating excellence that has helped them achieve greatness. He has since shared OKRs with more than fifty companies with outstanding success. In this book, Larry Page, Bill Gates, Bono, Sheryl Sandberg and many more explain how OKRs have helped them exceed all expectations and run their organisations with focus and agility.
Never Split the Difference
by VOSS/RAZ'A master of persuasion.' Forbes'This book blew my mind.' Adam Grant, bestselling author of OriginalsA former FBI hostage negotiator offers a new, field-tested approach to negotiating - effective in any situation. After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a kidnapping negotiator brought him face-to-face with bank robbers, gang leaders and terrorists. Never Split the Differencetakes you inside his world of high-stakes negotiations, revealing the nine key principles that helped Voss and his colleagues succeed when it mattered the most - when people?s lives were at stake. Rooted in the real-life experiences of an intelligence professional at the top of his game, Never Split the Differencewill give you the competitive edge in any discussion.'Filled with insights that apply to everyday negotiations.' Business Insider'A stupendous book.' The Week'It's rare that a book is so gripping and entertaining while still being actionable and applicable.' Inc.
The Culture Code
by Daniel Coyle"A toolkit for building a cohesive, innovative and successful group culture, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code. Daniel Coyle spent three years researching the question of what makes a successful group tick, visiting some of the world's most productive groups--including Pixar, Navy SEALs, Zappos, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs. Coyle discovered that high-performing groups relentlessly generate three key messages that enable them to excel: 1) Safety - we are connected. 2) Shared Risk - we are vulnerable together. 3) Purpose - we are part of the same story. Filled with first-hand reporting, fascinating science, compelling real-world stories, and leadership tools that can apply to businesses, schools, sports, families, and any kind of group, The Culture Code will revolutionize how you think about creating and sustaining successful groups"--
The Design of Everyday Things
by Don NormanThe ultimate guide to human-centered design Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious -- even liberating -- book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization. The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how -- and why -- some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.