INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

First of all, if you’re not familiar with Marty Cagan or the Silicon Valley Product Group, you gotta check out their blog.  Excellent advice from years of experience and across some of the best product companies on the planet.

Ok, I’ll admit, I absolutely despise the title of this book.  “INSPIRED” just reeks of a fluffy self-help book.

But after listening to the audiobook on my commute, I picked up hardcover for myself, and a second hardcover to put on the bookshelf at work. This book is absolute gospel.  It is painfully accurate when describing the development process at most software companies today, and outlines with exceptional clarity a better, product-focused approach.  I really can’t do the book justice.  To quote Sarah Bernard, VP Product @, “Read INSPIRED and then we can talk.”

Look it up on Amazon.


REWORK is less about Product Management, and more about time management… or maybe sanity management… or maybe it’s just a book about how to stop wasting 8 hours a day in nonsensical meetings that cover the SAME MINUTIA EVERY DAY LIKE SOME SORT OF CRAZY HAMSTER WHEEL SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!!!

Deep breath. 🙂

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson rip apart the corporate environment in this book.  If this book makes you uncomfortable, you’re probably spending too much time planning your next meeting, and too little time getting work done.  The common sense, straight-forward principles in this book stand up against anything else I’ve read.

Look it up on Amazon.

The Year Without Pants

Chronicling the early years of WordPress, The Year Without Pants covers a variety of topics, including team dynamics, the importance of hiring, and distributed teams.  One of my favorite parts of this book is the honest approach Scott Berkun takes.  He doesn’t pull any punches in covering his victories, challenges, and failures.  I often read books that focus on how everything should work, and what it should look like when things go right.  It is refreshing to hear that sometimes things go wrong, and hear how other professionals approach and adapt to those situations.

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

In SPRINTJake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz brilliantly outline the “Design Sprint”, taking product teams through a regimented process of defining a problem, ideating possible solutions, narrowing without debating, prototyping, and executing on user testing.  And as the title suggests, this happens over the course of a single work-week.

I loved this book.  Coupled with Design Sprint,