PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

how to product completely


Get people to buy you stuff you actually want for Christmas :-)

5 touchstone books for product managers

a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


Even the most grinch-like among you will have to admit that Christmas (or as comedian Bill Bailey puts it, “the primary gifting period”) is approaching.

As product people, we’re always focused on figuring out what other people need (rather than pandering to what they say they want), so we’re obviously ace at buying presents for everyone else.

But when it comes to dropping hints to our nearest and dearest about what gifts we’d like to receive, they can often get lost in transmission, much like the message to the sales team that the product roadmap is a plan, not a promise.

So this week, I’m suggesting a few books I reckon every product manager needs on their bookshelf and, um, some less sensible presents to ask for this year.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Links to Amazon are affiliate links, so I would receive a small commission on any purchases you make.

I think of these five books as touchstones. Much of what constitutes modern product management derives from ideas these authors were spreading years before you and I became product managers.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank

by Steve Blank

You know that whole ‘get out of the building’ discovery thing? The crazy suggestion that it might be a good idea to check out your assumptions before building your product and failing hard? Steve Blank articulated it, if not first, then early enough for his approach to be considered heresy to traditional business practices.

Buy The Four Steps to the Epiphany on Amazon


The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

by Don Norman

Back in 1988, Don Norman made the case that a user’s failure to understand how something works is not their fault, but that of the product’s design (or lack thereof). A plea to anyone building anything to remember that users don’t need any more annoyance or frustration in their lives.

Buy The Design of Everyday Things on Amazon



Inspired by Marty Cagan

by Marty Cagan

The mark of this book’s success is that most modern product managers should now be able read through it for the first time and see that it broadly describes their role. When this book was originally published, that was far from being the case.

Buy Inspired on Amazon


Crossing the Chasm

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

by Geoffrey Moore

Required reading for anybody introducing a new product, maintaining a mature product, or retiring an old product. If you think the market dynamics described in this book don’t apply to what you’re doing, you’re almost certainly wrong.

Buy Crossing the Chasm on Amazon


The Innovator’s Dilemma

by Clayton Christensen

The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

If you’re in an established market with dominant market share, it’s all too easy to dismiss the startups biting at your ankles with their crazy ideas and unconventional products. They’re probably the ones who will end up stealing your lunch, customers and employees. The book that introduced the concept of disruptive innovation way before it was cool.

Buy The Innovator’s Dilemma on Amazon


Ugly Christmas jumpers

There is really only one question: are you Team Mario or Team Sonic?

Sonic The Hedgehog Christmas jumper
Super Mario Bros Christmas jumper

Buy a Super Mario jumper on Amazon

Buy a Sonic The Hedgehog jumper on Amazon


The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

by Jock Busuttil

If you’re new to product management and wondering what it’s all about, or if you’re a product manager shooting for professional success, this book will give you the inside track on starting, developing, and then selling a new product.

Buy The Practitioner’s Guide to Product Management on Amazon


“Thank you for writing a business book that doesn’t make me want to open a vein after the first 4 pages.”

Theo Wilson
Product Manager

recent posts

5 tips to ace your first impression at a new job

Because so much of product management is about working with people, it’s important to take time to reflect on the kind of first impression you make to those people. In this latest entry for my series of 100 things I’ve learned about product management, I share some coaching advice to help you make the best possible impression every time you start working somewhere new.

Best foot forward


Replatforming the cash cow

Recently people all seem to be encountering the same problem. Their engineering teams are choosing to work on projects that make them look busy, but which don’t actually move things forward. What they’re usually working on is a convoluted — and arguably doomed — attempt to replatform a legacy ‘cash cow’ product.

A strong signal to discover the replacement product


The unifying principles of product management

A recent tweet by John Cutler provoked some interesting reactions. It got me thinking about whether there are unifying principles of product management that apply in all contexts.

Become one with everything


can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

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Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from ugly Christmas jumpers

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a freelance head of product, product management coach and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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