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Labs product managers share their favourite books

March 22, 2019

Labs product managers share their favourite books

Being able to discuss a book and its ideas with colleagues is a great way to see if everyone’s on the same page. Given that there are hundreds of books on product management (Amazon lists over 100,000), it’s difficult to know where to start. But getting a personal recommendation from a Labs Product Manager can help narrow the selection.

Lab’s Product Manager Suraj Rai recommends Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want It. Suraj found the case studies described in this book to be particularly memorable, along with the personal insights expressed by product managers, owners and directors.

“The principles offered are straightforward,” said Suraj, “And its core principles of user-centred thinking, with a focus on the idea of return and growth (magnetism), is something that’s influencing my thinking around products to date.”

Esin Over was quick to offer her top pick — Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. “One of the main reasons why I got into product management is the fascinating psychology behind it,” stated Esin. “I am interested in psychology and how the brain works. The more I learn about these subjects, the more I understand how we make decisions.

“Hooked covers the psychology behind our everyday habits and explains how customer habits are created. Habit forming products — like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — will always be more successful. So, it’s important for product managers to go out and talk to existing customers, learn their motivations, and address their needs.”

Nicolas Akavi shared The Design of Everyday Things as his book recommendation. Written by the legendary industrial designer Don Norman, this book conveys clear rules for good, useable design. Norman contends that excellent design is the most important factor in gaining a competitive edge and influencing consumer behavior.

Nicolas explains why he chose The Design of Everyday Things: “In addition to product management, I’m obsessed with microeconomics and design. This book forces you to consider the non-intuitive consequences of good (and bad) design in everyday life. It’s a bit of a dry read at times, and requires one to do some side-reading to complement the book’s concepts and examples, but well-worth sticking through it.”

Nima Al-Shakarchi went with a perennial classic in choosing his book recommendation: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Though not specifically geared toward product management, Nima argues that the advice given in Carnegie’s book is highly applicable to his work at Labs.

“Being a good product manager is all about creating and maintaining relationships with different kinds of people,” stated Nima, “It’s also about negotiating, influencing and getting people to buy into your product vision. This book has helped guide me to do all those things.”

Don’t keep it to yourself. If you’ve read a good book on product management recently, let others know about it. Tweet it. Slack it. Post it. Snap it. Or have a copy ordered to be made available on the Labs bookshelf for all to share.