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Book Review: The Secret Product Manager’s Handbook

This last week, I eagerly bought a copy of Nils Davis’ newly published book, “The Secret Product Manager Handbook”, and eagerly read it. While it isn’t strictly targeted at newbies, or folks who are interested in joining the ranks of Product Management, it is both a great introduction, and a guide that even very experiences members of the Product Management community can find value in, even if it is just to re-focus them on the basics.

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Book Review: The Phenomenal Product Manager

I bought a copy of “The Phenomenal Product Manager” in 2009 or so on a lark. I was changing jobs, and had some time to read/hone my skills, and see what I could be missing.

Written by Brian Lawley, the top man at the 280Group, a consultancy, and training organization with deep product management and product marketing skills and reputations, I was at first put off by how thin the book was. I had expected there to be more “meat” to the book, judging by how much material was available publicly at their website, I was just disappointed that something that could be expected to be read in a couple hours could be helpful.

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The Product Manager’s Survival Guide

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / kgtoh

The Product Manager's Survival GuideLast month, at the SVPMA‘s monthly meeting it was a treat to have Steven Haines, a luminary in the field of product management to conduct a cross functional product team meeting role play.

As part of the session, he gave away a copy of each of his books via a raffle. A cool touch indeed. One of his books was new to me, The Product Manager’s Survival Guide, geared to the new product manager, who finds themselves needing to come up to speed rapidly.

I was piqued, as I had been kicking around the idea to write an ebook on what to expect in your first product management role, as most people fall into it, and while there is a wide body of knowledge around the internet, it can be daunting for the truly uninitiated.

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The Marketing Imagination

A seminal, and “must read” for all in product management is the classic tome: “Marketing Imagination” by Theodore Levitt. While it was last published and updated in 1986, and thus misses the internet revolution, its themes and treatment remain as relevant today as when it was first published.

I first picked up a copy of this book after taking the excellent course on Technology Marketing, by Chris Halliwell who was working with the Industrial Relations Center at CalTech. Alas, the IRC is no more, and Chris’ work lives on through her Technology Marketing Center offerings (disclaimer: I still occasionally blog for the TMC).

Ted Levitt was a professor at the Harvard Business School, and more importantly a long time editor of the Harvard Business Review, so he had a deep exposure to the leading edge of management thinking and thought. Ted’s focus was on marketing and strategic marketing, and that comes through well in this book.