The Top 10 Books for Product People

I’m often asked by founders and CEOs who are trying to understand the world of product – ‘What should I read?’.

So I’ve put together a list of the top 10 product books.. If you’re new to product, a founder who wants to understand what all those strategy sessions mean or even if you’ve read these ages ago, a refresh always leads to new learnings. Enjoy!

“The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman

This classic book explores the principles of good design, emphasising the importance of creating products that are intuitive and user-friendly. Don Norman introduces the concept of affordances and how design impacts user behaviour and satisfaction.

“Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days” by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz

“Sprint” is a practical guide that introduces the concept of a five-day design sprint. It provides a step-by-step framework for teams to tackle big challenges, develop solutions, and test prototypes quickly and efficiently. Read it and adapt your own method that works with your teams.

“Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” by Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal presents a model for building products that create habits in users. He explains the “Hook Model” and how to apply it to design products that keep users coming back for more, ultimately leading to increased engagement and retention.

“Inspired: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love” by Marty Cagan

Marty Cagan, a well-known product management expert, shares insights on creating successful and innovative tech products. This book covers product strategy, validation, and how to work effectively with cross-functional teams. Also check out Empowered.

“Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience” by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

This book adapts Lean principles to the field of user experience design. It focuses on iterative and collaborative approaches to product development, emphasising continuous learning and customer feedback.

“The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries

Eric Ries popularised the Lean Startup methodology, which advocates for a scientific approach to building startups and launching new products. The book outlines key principles such as the Build-Measure-Learn loop and Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Make sure you build an MLP (Minimum Loveable Product) though – MVP doesn’t mean getting something garbage out the door quickly!

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Although not directly focused on product design, this book delves into human psychology and the two systems that drive our thinking. Daniel Kahneman’s insights are invaluable for understanding user behaviour and decision-making.

“Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Krug

Steve Krug provides practical advice on web usability and user experience. The book advocates for intuitive and straightforward design that allows users to navigate products without confusion.

“Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want” by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda, and Alan Smith

This book introduces the Value Proposition Canvas, a powerful tool for designing and validating value propositions that meet customer needs and solve their problems effectively.

“Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters” by Richard P. Rumelt

Richard P. Rumelt challenges common misconceptions about strategy and provides clear guidance on how to develop effective, actionable, and coherent strategies that lead to successful product outcomes. This is a great book and helps understand the need for both strategy and action.

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