Top Book Reads for Aspiring Product Managers

Grab a pumpkin spice latte and cozy up with any of our recommended books to help you make sense of your journey to product management

Tiwatayo Kunle
October 26, 2022

The Lean Product Playbook – Eric Ries

In this house (Co.Lab) we build lean! That’s why this playbook which offers tactical advice and techniques for putting lean methodologies into practice is a yes from us.  

This book carefully balances formulas, concepts and use cases into a 6-step process to help aspiring product managers take on the iterative process of product building.

This combination of innovative tips and tricks together with familiar principles is your hack to combatting the critical early phases of the product life cycle.


Cracking the PM interview - Gayle Laakman McDowell & Jackie Bavaro

In the spirit of ✨manifesting✨here’s the holy grail of preparing for PM interviews and leaving with the job! One reader said “it’s the best 20 bucks you’ll ever spend” and we agree! 

Cracking the PM Interview is a tried and trusted book on landing a PM role at a tech company. It tells what experiences you need, what your resume should look like, how to answer interview questions and more. 

Plus, it’s authors have experience on both sides of the Product Management interview table so you’re in excellent hands. 


How To Product

How to Product – Sefunmi Osinaike

There is no linear path to Product Management and what better way to truly understand this than to hear from Product Managers working in many different capacities from startups to multinational companies.

This book simulates the experience of sitting with a seasoned Product Manager and learning about the crucial steps they took that led to their roles. 

So for those who’d like to learn the pillars of Product Management, Product Manager skill sets as well as tips for job hunting, How To Product is the book for you. 


Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love

Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love – Marty Cagan

All the aspiring Product Managers on TikTok are reading this because it’s just. that. good! But even before TikTok, Inspired has inspired Product Managers to create products that customers love.

Marty Cagan condenses his years of expertise into this ‘must-read’ that teaches about the building blocks of PM like product roadmaps and strategies, and outlines how the best tech companies create products that remain relevant to their customers. 

Everyone loves it because it’s motivational, practical and not only does it ask questions, it provides answers too.  

Join an Upcoming Cohort!

Get real-world experience to land your dream role in tech. Join us as a Product Manager, Designer or Developer, and put your skills into practice by shipping a real MVP! 🚀

The Making of a Manager

The Making of a Manager – Julie Zhuo 

“A manager's job is to help her team get better results” and with clear, actionable steps and personal examples, Julio Zhuo helps you do just that whether you’re a Product Manager or any other kind of manager.

The author analyzes the role of a manager so well that you are able to see yourself in the role and benefit greatly from her vulnerability and instructions. 

It’s not vague in the way that most leadership books are and if you’re new to Product Management, you’ll find this an invaluable resource.


The Innovator’s Dilemma - Clayton M. Christensen

Is this the PM bible or is this the PM bible? Rated as the most important business and product management book of the past 50 years, this book just has to be on your list.

First published in 1997, this is definitely an oldie but a goodie. Reading this is kind of like looking into the early years of tech and the origin of terms commonly used today.

With its enlightening comparison of disruptive technology v. sustaining technologies, this is one of those books you read to give you material for initiating stimulating tech conversations with others.


Shape Up - Ryan Singer

This book comes highly recommended by not one, but two of our Co.Lab mentors and a host of other Product Managers.

The crux of the book is that you “shape” a project then “bet” that it can be finished in six weeks by a small, independent team. Then it outlines the steps for executing this project.

This makes it the ideal read for Product Managers interested in the Agile process especially those who prefer to work/have to work in smaller teams. It breaks down concepts and the tasks until they’re achievable and that’s what makes it perfect for aspiring PMs. 

For an opportunity to practice all that you’ve learnt from reading these books, check out the Co.Lab Product Management program.

Stay up to date with Co.Lab

We'll be sure to keep you in the loop