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My Handpicked List of the Best Product Manager Interview Books

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Product Manager Interview Books

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Over the years as an experienced Product Manager, I’ve done multiple Product Management interviews, both as an interviewer and an interviewee. As a result, I had to go through countless Product Manager Interview books to hone my skills. If you are interested in the best way to prepare for Product Manager interviews, then take a look at my post “How to Prepare for Product Manager (PM) Interviews“.

In this post, I want to share my curated list of the best  Product Manager interview books, with additional insights from my personal journey. I’ve personally dived deep into each of these best books and believe that they will give you both the knowledge and the confidence to ace every Product Manager interview. I hope that you will find real value as well.

Best Product Manager Interview Books: Decode and Conquer

Decode and Conquer by Lewis C. Lin

This is by far the best introductory Product Manager interview book. I am not using the term “introductory” in a way that means “simplistic” nor do I mean that you should ignore this book if you are an experienced Product Manager. What I mean is that this is definitely and by far the first book that you should read when you start doing Product Manager interviews. Also, if you feel that your interviews are lacking or that you have reached a plateau, then this is the book that will help put you on track.

When I read it for the first time, I was blown away by the structure and amount of information in the book. I had interviews for many Product Manager positions in the past and had quite a bit of success. Based on my experience, my MBA, and some workshops that I had attended, I thought that I had a good idea about the types of answers that I needed to provide. And by reading this book I understood exactly what I was lacking.

What I like about this book

  • Product Design/Sense questions: This book introduces the CIRCLES framework that tackles the most important Product Manager interview question category, i.e. the Product Design or Product Sense questions. It is not a complicated framework and is easy to remember. Some types of questions that are answered using this framework include:
    • How would you design <X>
    • How would you improve <X>
    • What is your favorite product from our company? How would you improve it?
    • What do you think about <X>?
  • Metrics questions: This book includes the AARM framework, which helps you answer questions like:
    • What metrics would you use to define the success of your new product/feature?
    • How will you know if the solution that you suggested was indeed effective?
    • How would you decide between feature A or feature B?
  • Estimation questions: The book shows a simple way to tackle really complicated estimation questions. It shows how to split the big problem into multiple simpler ones and how to tackle those. Also, it includes some basic foundational numbers that can help you start your estimation. It also includes both top-down and bottom-up estimation approaches.
  • Includes answers to all the questions in the book: What is great about this book is that it includes real-world answers to real-world Product Manager interview questions. This means that the answers are good, so you get an idea of what the interviewer expects, but they are not perfect, which might make the whole experience really daunting, especially for someone at the beginning of the process. Instead, Lewis points out the highlights and mistakes in each answer, which provides a glimpse into the interviewer’s mind.

What I don’t like about this book

  • No structure for other types of questions: As I wrote above, the book provides ways to tackle Product Design/Sense questions, Metrics questions, and Estimation questions. It also includes chapters for other types of questions, such as Strategy, pricing, etc. However, even though both questions and answers are good learnings, they might not be useful in answering other types of questions in the same category.
  • Many answers in the book do not follow the frameworks: I can argue both ways about whether this is a pro or con in the book, but even the answers in the Product Design/Sense category do not always follow the CIRCLES method. Indeed, during an actual interview, you want to avoid showing to the interviewer that you are just blindly following a framework. However, when you are learning how to interview, it is really helpful to start with answers that follow. Or maybe with a mix of answers that do and those that don’t, while also pointing out why they do so. Since I consider this as an introductory Product Manager interview book, I believe that more framework-following answers should be included.

Supplemental resources

  • Introduction to CIRCLES Method™ Product Design Framework (documentvideo) by Lewis Lin
  • Teng Lu’s answers in Quora: Teng Lu, who has co-written Product Manager interview books with Lewis Lin, has answered a variety of PM questions in Quora that follow Lewis’ approach. Search for the ones that include “design”, “redesign” or “improve”.
Best Product Manager Interview Books: The Product Manager Interview

The Product Manager Interview: 167 Actual Questions and Answers by Lewis C. Lin

This is the best follow-up to Lewis Lin’s book above, as well as the main Product Manager interview book that should be the foundation of your Product Manager interview preparation. It follows the same question-and-answer pattern as Decode and Conquer, but it goes into much more breadth and depth. After going through this book, you will be in great shape for your interviews.

What I like about this book

  • Covers all types of questions in depth: While Decode and Conquer is a great introductory book that shines in some question categories, this book provides sample answers to 167 practice questions, which go deep into a wide range of topics:
    • Product Design
    • Metrics
    • Estimations
    • Go-to-market strategy,
    • Technical.
  • Helps build your answers step-by-step: Instead of providing a framework for the category and going through the whole framework in each question, it has chapters that go through one step at a time, helping you understand each step in depth. For example, in the Product Design category, it has the following chapters:
    • Customer journey maps
    • Pain point
    • Brainstorm
    • Putting it together
  • 14-Day, 30-Day, and 36-Day Study Plans: Since it is not easy to know how much to study each day or when someone can start interviewing, this book has provided different-duration study plans. This way, you can structure your studying based on the amount of time that you have. Of course, if you have many months to prepare, then you can go through everything, but very often this is not the case.
  • Product Manager Interview evaluation sheets: This is an amazing and really neglected feature of the book. Lewis provides evaluating sheets for each type of question, similar to the ones that interviews at FAANG have. This way you can get a glimpse of how they are evaluating you. You can use these sheets both to evaluate yourself or to evaluate others in your mock interviews (see “Supplements resources” below).

Supplemental resources

Best Product Manager Interview Books: Swipe To Unlock

Swipe to Unlock: The Primer on Technology and Business Strategy by Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe, Parth Detroja

After reading the above books, you will be able to formulate structured answers and answer for Product Design/Sense, as well as Strategy questions. However, depending on your familiarization with the tech products in the market you might also find that you have difficulty in finding solutions that will amaze the interviewer.

This book is not a traditional Product Manager interview book, but it helps in the areas of Product Design and Strategy questions. More specifically, goes through a variety of existing tech products and explains why some of the key decisions were made. This will give you ideas on how to provide unique solutions during the Product Manager interview.

What I like about this book

  • Explains complicated technical concepts in a clear manner: Each use case in the book is a real-world technical problem. Companies had to face specific issues and come up with their own solutions. The authors of the book have managed to explain these decisions in such a way that is really easy to understand
  • Variety of tech companies and products: In this book, you will see examples from a variety of companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, etc.
  • Variety of topics: The book covers examples from multiple areas, e.g. cloud, Internet of Things, Security, etc

What I don’t like about this book

  • Only useful for Product Design/Sense and Strategy questions: Remember that this is not a traditional Product Manager Interview book. It is really good to give you ideas in these two types of questions, but it will not help you prepare for the whole set of question categories.
Best Product Manager Interview Books: Interview Math

Interview Math: Over 60 Problems and Solutions for Quant Case Interview Questions by Lewis C. Lin

I only recommend that you get this book if you have already finished the above Product Manager interview books and feel that you need to focus more on the Estimation questions, i.e. any type of question, where you need to do your own calculation and estimate something, This book is going in-depth into these types of questions, but does not cover any other category.

What I like about this book

  • Tackles a variety of Estimation questions: This is the most in-depth book in the market regarding Estimation questions. It will help you answer any questions that need calculations in the following areas:
    • Market Sizing
    • Revenue Estimates
    • Profitability
    • Breakeven
    • Pricing
    • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Good selection of questions: Each one of the questions in this book (or a very similar one) has a good chance of being asked in your interviews. Lewis has done a great job selecting these questions. After finishing the book, you should feel confident that you’ll be able to answer any relevant question that comes up during an interview.
  • Clear answers: Even though some problems might seem complicated at first, the book has a structured way of explaining each answer and making it understandable.

What I don’t like about this book

  • Only helps with Estimation questions: This book is not a generic Product Manager interview book but focuses on Estimation questions. So, you should only buy it if you have finished with the above books and you want to dive deeper into this set of questions.
Best Product Manager Interview Books: Lean Product PlaybookBest Product Manager Interview Books: Lean Startup

The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

I bundled these 2 books together because they are very similar. I first read the Lean Startup by Eric Ries and then immediately I read the Lean Playbook by Dan Olsen. Both of them cover the same concepts, but the Lean Startup is more of a theoretical foundation, whereas the Lean Product Playbook is a more practical and comprehensive guide. Both of them are worth reading, in order to get a better understanding of real-world examples of effective product management. The learnings from these books will definitely help both your Product Sense and your Product Metrics answers. However, if you only want to read one of the two, then I totally recommend the Lean Product Playbook, because I found that it is more applicable for the PM interview questions.

What I like about these books

  • Best practices and practical advice from the best product managers: Both product leaders have worked on their own startups, so they have real-world existing experience in product development. They built a Minimum Viable Product, found a target market, got early adopters, and achieved Product-Market fit. So, all the case studies that you read in these books are based on real-world experiences.
  • Great answers for Product Design questions, Product Metrics questions, and Product Strategy questions: The other books in this list provide great frameworks that will help you answer product questions. However, neither of the two is a Product Management Interview book. Instead, they are some of the best product management books. This means that they will help you think of ideas on how to add real-world substance to these frameworks. 
  • Very well-written: Both books are very easy to read. It didn’t take me a long time to finish them. And I enjoy reading them again. I find that I remember a big part of the content, which is nice for books of this caliber.

What I don’t like about these books

  • Lean Startup is a bit theoretical in my opinion: I remember that after reading the Lean Startup for the first time, I felt that I learned so many new things, but I wasn’t sure how I would apply them. The theory was great and eye-opening, though. After reading the Lean Product Playbook, I felt that everything clicked in my mind and I understood the concepts much better. That’s why I consider the Lean Product Playbook to be a more practical guide than the Lean Startup.
Best Product Manager Interview Books: Cracking the PM Interview

Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology by Gayle Laakmann McDowell and Jackie Bavaro

To be honest, I was not initially planning on including this book in the list of Product Manager interview books. I think that this was a great book when it was written in 2013, as there were no other books regarding this subject at the time. However, at this point, it is showing its age. The examples do not follow a particular structure and they do not cover all current question categories.

However, as I was going through the book, I realized that there are a couple of areas, where the book is still a good read. More specifically, if you have never worked in one of the big tech companies, but want to join them as a Product Manager, then the book has a good job of explaining the interview process (i.e. the steps of the process), as well as the culture in the top tech companies. So, it might be useful only for this particular topic. Other than that, I think that the books above are doing a better job in preparing you for the Product Manager interviews.

What I like about this book

  • Good introductory book to help you understand the Product Manager interview process: Good chapters explaining the role of a Product Manager, the importance of an MBA, how to structure your resume and cover letters, etc
  • Explains the culture in the top tech companies: For each of the top tech companies (Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, Twitter) and for startups, the book goes into detail about how the Product Manager role varies, as well as the unique details of their interview process.

What I don’t like about this book

  • Not a great resource to help you answer Product Manager interview questions: The book was written in 2013 and has not been updated since then. The questions need to be updated, in order to have much more variety and structure. Also, even though the answers are solid, it is not easy to understand how to understand a slightly similar question, as there is no framework in most cases.
Product Sense Unlocked: 150 Creative Answers For Product Sense Interview Questions
Product Sense Unlocked: 150 Creative Answers For Product Sense Interview Questions

Product Sense Unlocked: 150 Creative Answers For Product Sense Interview Questions by Engineer Seeking FIRE

Entering the competitive world of Product Management requires not just skill but also the ability to think on your feet during interviews. This is where my new book, “Product Sense Unlocked: 150 Creative Answers For Product Sense Questions,” comes into play. It’s not just a book; it’s a deep dive into the nuances of Product Sense questions, which are integral to acing PM interviews at top tech companies. Drawing from my extensive experience in the field, this guide is a treasure trove of insights and structured approaches to tackling complex interview scenarios.

“Product Sense Unlocked” stands out in the crowded space of interview preparation resources. The book offers a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, distilled through the lens of my professional journey in big tech firms like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. It’s more than just a set of answers; it’s a strategic tool that arms aspiring Product Managers with the right mindset and techniques to excel in interviews. With its comprehensive coverage and real-life examples, this book is designed to elevate your interview preparation to the next level.

My extensive experience in tech and business, including roles at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, lends this book an authentic and practical perspective. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced PM candidate, “Product Sense Unlocked” is an invaluable addition to your interview prep toolkit.

What I like about this book

  • FREE ebook: I offer the pdf of the book for free on my website, on the Product Sense Unlocked page. Since this is a large ebook (500+ pages) and it might not be cost-efficient to print it yourself, you also have the option to buy the printed version from Amazon.
  • CAPTIVATE Framework: Introduces the innovative CAPTIVATE framework, which stands for Clarify Question, Articulate Structure, Pinpoint Business Goal, Target User Personas, Identify Use Cases, Visit Pain Points, Analyze Solutions, Track Success Metrics, and Elaborate Summary. This framework offers a structured method to craft comprehensive and compelling answers for Product Sense interview questions.
  • Real-World Answers: Contains 150 creative and real-world answers, focusing on major tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, providing insights into the kind of responses that resonate in high-stakes environments.
  • Comprehensive Content: With 500 pages, the book covers a broad spectrum of Product Sense questions and answers, making it a thorough resource for extensive interview preparation.


Books have been both, my mentors and companions. Yet, my advice to other Product Managers is to blend this knowledge with real-world challenges. That said, keep that notepad ready, because every interview is a lesson and every challenge is an opportunity. Dive into these great books, embrace the journey, and let the world of Product Management shape you, just as it did me. In the end, you’ll definitely be a better Product Manager.

About Me

I am an engineer with 15+ years in the tech industry, including roles at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. I've been a Software Engineer, Product Manager, and Technical Program Manager. I also have an MBA from Kellogg School of Management with Majors in Finance and Marketing.

What drives me? A passion for empowering engineers to achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early (FIRE). I reached FIRE, when I turned 40 years old. Whether it's through personal finance strategies or career insights, I'm here to guide you on this path. Have questions or need advice? Feel free to reach out!

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