Social Media: A Wisdom of the (Professional) Masses Example

8 10 2009

Crowdsourcing Blog

First, some personal news: I have accepted a position as an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco and will be teaching an MBA-level class in Product Management next semester. This will be in the evenings, in addition to my other professional work. I can’t tell you how excited and honored I am by this opportunity. They say that you don’t really know a subject until you teach it, and I totally believe that to be true!

My Problem

I started looking for books on Product Management to use in my class and did not like what I was finding. Believe it or not, the first two text books on Product Management stopped at “Product Launch.” Wow!!! When I was a Product Manager, the hard work started there!

Anyhow, I wanted to find some good books to supplement the basic course textbook and to convey why Product Management is a fun profession.


So, I went on LinkedIn and used their “Answers” functionality to send out my question to a number of my professional friends who have worked in or closely with Product Management. The results came immediately (within 24 hours) and most of the suggestions are excellent. Several were books I had never heard of before—exactly what I had in mind when I asked the question.

The resulting book list is so totally awesome, that I am going to share it with you here. (In no particular order)

  • Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan
  • The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christenson (multiple votes)
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christenson
  • Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model by Mullins and Komisar
  • The Three Tensions: Winning the Struggle to Perform Without Compromise by Dodd and Favaro
  • Crossing the Chasm by Moore (multiple votes)
  • Inside the Tornado by Moore
  • Dealing With Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution by Moore
  • Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout
  • Web 2.0 – A Strategy Guide by Amy Shuen
  • The Product Manager’s Handbook by Linda Gorchels (mixed reviews)
  • Mastering the Requirements Process by Suzanne Robertson and James Robertson
  • The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun (Microsoft)
  • Winning at New Products by Robert Cooper (multiple votes)
  • The Opposable Mind: Winning through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin
  • The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley with Jonathan Littman.
  • Tuned In:Uncover the Extraordinary Oppportunities that Lead to Business Breakthroughs by Craig Stull
  • Myths of Innovation by Berkun
  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge
  • The Elements of Influence by Alan Kelly
  • Groundswell by Charlene Li
  • Dreaming in Code by Scott Rosenberg (Open Source)
  • The Soul of the New Machine by Tracy Kidder
  • The Macintosh Way by Guy Kawasaki
  • Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Jerry Kaplan
  • Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems by Barry Johnson

A Product Management Site: Pragmatic Marketing (multiple recommendations from around the world!)


Crowdsourcing, or Wisdom of the (Professional) Masses really does work! A huge “thank you” to all who sent in suggestions. Now, I will have to pick one or two of these excellent books!

Also, several people thanked me for asking them the question. Lesson Learned: Sometimes the greatest compliment you can pay a person is to ask their professional opinion.




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