Tech-bound MBA students often ask me for my favorite books and articles, especially as they pertain to these frequently asked questions:
- INTRODUCTION TO ROLES (What are the differences between product management & product marketing?)
- CAREER EXCELLENCE: PRODUCT MANAGEMENT (What makes a great product manager? What is the typical product development process?)
- CAREER EXCELLENCE: TECH MARKETING (What are the most important marketing principles?)
- INTERVIEW PREP: PRODUCT MANAGEMENT (How to get ready for the product manager interview?)
- INTERVIEW PREP: TECH MARKETING (How to get ready for the tech marketing interview?)
- INTERVIEW PREP: OTHER ROLES (How to get ready for other tech interviews?)
- INTERVIEW PREP: CORPORATE CULTURE (What is Google’s culture like? What is Facebook’s culture like? What is Amazon’s culture like? What is Snapchat’s culture like? What is Tesla’s culture like? What is Twitter’s culture like? )
There are a lot of excellent books & articles, but you’ll find the ones I’ve found most essential below.
Wishing you the best in your tech career,
Lewis C. Lin
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PRODUCT MANAGEMENT & PRODUCT MARKETING?
Product Manager vs. Product Marketing Manager by Product Manager HQ (A simple, straightforward description of the two most popular roles. Includes an easy-to-scan infographic. )
WHAT MAKES A GREAT PRODUCT MANAGER?
TOP PICK: Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager by Ben Horowitz. Ben Horowitz is a legendary product manager that’s now one of the most recognizable VCs. Although it was written a few decades ago, this essay is still applicable today. It clearly explains what’s expected of top performing product managers, in an easy-to-read style.
TOP PICK: What Distinguishes The Top 1% Of Product Managers From The Top 10%? by Ian McAllister. Bullet point summary of what separates top product managers from everyone else.
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS?
TOP PICK: The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen. Olsen’s book covers the end-to-end product development process with clarity, starting from defining your target customer to building MVPs to analyzing product metrics.
Sprint by Jake Knapp. An elegant how-to guide on how to implement design thinking processes as a product leader.
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT MARKETING PRINCIPLES?
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Don’t let the dated examples fool you. At 143 pages, this quick-read marketing classic conveys the most important marketing principles ever. I can’t say it any better: violate them at your own risk!
HOW TO GET READY FOR THE PRODUCT MANAGER INTERVIEW?
Decode and Conquer by Lewis C. Lin. TOP PICK. Featuring the world-famous CIRCLES Method™, Decode and Conquer provides frameworks and examples on how to tackle tough PM case interview questions including product design, metrics, strategy, and technical. Endorsed by Google recruiters and praised by Business Insider.
The Product Manager Interview by Lewis C. Lin. TOP PICK: Decode and Conquer helps candidates get familiar with PM frameworks. The Product Manager Interview provides 164 practice problems, with sample answers, to help you master those frameworks.
HOW TO GET READY FOR THE TECH MARKETING INTERVIEW?
The Marketing Interview by Lewis C. Lin. TOP PICK: The Marketing Interview provides frameworks and examples on how to tackle tough marketing case interviews including marketing campaigns, pricing, launching new products, critiquing ads, dealing with PR disasters, and calculating ROI. This book is also ideal for non-tech marketing candidates, such as those targeting CPG and financial services. This second edition features new sections on digital marketing and marketing metrics.
HOW TO GET READY FOR OTHER TECH INTERVIEWS?
Case Interview Questions for Tech Companies by Lewis C. Lin. This book includes 155 practice questions for many tech industry roles popular with MBA’s including: Marketing, Operations, Finance, Strategy, Analytics, Business Development, Supplier or Vendor Management, …and Product Management.
Interview Math by Lewis C. Lin. For those who want more practice with market sizing, ROI, and other quant-oriented interview questions, this resource will make you feel confident about your quant skills after a single weekend. Also ideal for consulting candidates who are looking for more quant practice.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND GOOGLE’S CORPORATE CULTURE?
In the Plex by Steven Levy. I personally love Steven Levy’s writing and effort. As a former Googler, I felt he captured the true feel for the company culture. Also check out How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg for a different (but seemingly sanitized) perspective of Google. Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock provides another ex-Google executive’s take, this time from the people operations (human resources) perspective.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND FACEBOOK’S CORPORATE CULTURE?
Becoming Facebook by Mike Hoefflinger. A Facebook employee’s view on the company including their early growth hacking tactics. Do note that the book can get dry. For a more entertaining, salacious (yet still informative) view of Facebook, read Chaos Monkeys.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND AMAZON’S CORPORATE CULTURE?
The Everything Store by Brad Stone. Stone does an incredible job reporting on this secretive tech company, compiling several detailed insider accounts. The J-team, compensation details, and the early beginnings of Amazon Prime is revealed in this book. Stone’s book clearly touched a nerve. Its publication led Jeff Bezos’ wife to give this book a much publicized one-star review.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND SNAPCHAT’S CORPORATE CULTURE?
How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars by Billy Gallagher. This Business Insider reporter provides a detailed scoop on Snapchat’s corporate history, starting from the founding team’s Stanford years.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND TESLA’S CORPORATE CULTURE?
Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. Vance gives the reader an excellent perspective on Musk’s personality, explaining how Tesla and SpaceX became a juggernaut.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND TWITTER’S CORPORATE CULTURE?
Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton. Beautifully-written, Bilton describes the larger-than-life personalities that started this company. In the end, you can’t help by feel that Twitter became a success, in spite of the founders.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND UBER FROM A UBER DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE?
The Rideshare Guide by Harry Campbell. Harry Campbell (aka The Rideshare Guy) provides a detailed (and quick!) perspective of Uber’s business from the driver-side, filled with insider details on the product experience, economics, and other Uber ecosystem details that you haven’t heard as a typical Uber passenger.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
LEWIS C. LIN is a bestselling author. His books focus on product management, marketing and negotiation. Lewis received his bachelor’s from Stanford University and his M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Original post can be viewed at: https://www.lewis-lin.com/blog/2018/8/3/must-read-list-for-tech-bound-mbas