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Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,690 ratings  ·  93 reviews
How many pizzas are delivered in Manhattan? How do you design an alarm clock for the blind? What is your favorite piece of software and why? How would you launch a video rental service in India? This book will teach you how to answer these questions and more. Cracking the PM Interview is a comprehensive book about landing a product management role in a startup or bigger te ...more
Paperback, 1, 364 pages
Published December 2nd 2013 by CareerCup
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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,690 ratings  ·  93 reviews


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Adam Zabell
Nov 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
TL;DR - be a wicked smart generalist because the market is still defining the role

Having just added the title of "Product Manager" at my current employer, I needed to know what I didn't know. This book did a fine job of starting that process, but ultimately left me wanting.

The essential job function is to keep your product moving forward. Because the programming staff is the engine for the machine for any software company, the need to "speak programmer" is first among equals. But you also need
...more
Chris Leung
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for prepping for PM interviews. Delivers on what it promises. But it perhaps underemphasizes that there are many other good ways to skin the cat. In addition to this book, I recommend also reading "Decode and Conquer", which will give you more example answers and offer different solid approaches/ways to think about the interview questions asked.

Will these books alone make you a good PM? No. Gaining mastery over the concepts mentioned in the books and building good product sense
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Andrew Balyk
Jan 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ця невелика книга являє собою величезну кількість інформації для продакт менеджерів. Я рекомендую її прочитати, не залежно від того, чи плануєте ви проходити якусь співбесіду чи ні. З цієї книги можна “витягнути” велику кількість нових навичок та прийомів, які допоможуть вам не тільки покращити власну роботу але і почати насолоджуватися нею. Або нагадати собі про вже давно забуті речі. Книга класно структурує інформації і дає чудове підгрунтя для подальшого навачння.

Це дуже освіжає читати книгу,
...more
Pushkar Dongare
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is the complete package for those who are looking for a job in Product Management. It has information about the role, its challenges, how to apply at different firms based on your background, how to make your resume and cover letter, how each firm is different from other and it even has case preparations and coding questions as well. This book is a complete guide on how to get into product management and how to grow as one. Highly recommended to those who are planning to start their ca ...more
Halim
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great read to prepare for PM interviews but also to
- introspect on one's career
- understand one's motivations to apply to a PM role
- revisit the way one thinks about product
- up one's managements paradigms
Great read and highly recommended
Kunal Grover
very detailed research ! the book should have annual sequel !

Perfect product .
Addresses all areas and needs refresh cycle like all products do.
This is the first book I ever read on product management.
Luís Ferreira
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Great book for an extensive overview of how to market yourself, CVs and interview processes. Interesting to peak into the Top Tech (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc) culture and recruitment process - which is not representative of the tech industry.

Lenghty, and anedoctal, description of what is a PM (everything that is in between ~ that makes a product great)

My notes :

What is a Product Manager
*PM is responsible for making sure that a team ships a great product.

*Prioritize - A 1% PM knows how to seq
...more
Jig Young
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
the chapters on product and problem solving don't only improve your interviewing skills, it helps you think better and become a better product manager. moreover, this book helped me understand how to find a great pm when hiring. highly recommended for aspiring product managers, product managers, and hiring ceos.
Luis Fernando Mata Licón
If you're thinking about starting your career on product management this is a great book to start. It not only helps you to know what an interview would be like, it also helps you to understand the position better and to know if it's for you or not.
Sumit Gouthaman
This book is very similar to it's much more well-known cousin "Cracking the Coding Interview". But due to the nature of the Product Management role, it doesn't suffer from many of the former's issues.

As an engineer, I've not been paying much attention to the Product Management discipline. To add to that, I've found that this role is called by very different names and carries very different responsibilities in different companies.

Some of the things I've actually learnt from this book:
1. What real
...more
Luke
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good resource, covers the gamut of what is a PM, what makes a good PM, what experience to gain, how to interview, and how to transition from adjacent roles like development of design.
The format is quite choppy and goes from lists of companies to Q and A sections to example interviews. Though not the best for flow, it is mostly clear why a chosen style was selected, and it is generally with the most efficient way to present the information in mind. This style though off putting on a first read
...more
Allison
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Packed with useful information but not overwhelming, McDowell does it again with another MUST READ book for any individual in tech. The most useful components of the book were 1) the sample questions and 2) the example responses. As someone who learns best by seeing concrete examples, I felt that this book really helped solidify my confidence and knowledge about the PM role. For those who aren't the same kind of learner as me, McDowell accommodates through other methods of relaying the same skil ...more
Paulo
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
The main reason why I read this book was to learn more about data driven products from a product manager’s perspective; to have a different point of view in the way a products are conceived, implemented and launched in the context of tech companies.

This book is an eye opener as to the diverse and complex tasks that product managers take responsibility for. This book also gives you great insights on what the working culture is like at big technology companies, and what background these companies
...more
Niki Agrawal
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is bread and butter if you want a job in product management. Interviewers practically expect you to have read this (and many use this book to shape their interviews!), and it's the first book in product management that any PM would recommend to you.

In essence, the book gives structure to the largely generalist role of PM and the daunting, multi-faceted interview process. It's a great book to reference for areas that YOU need, rather than memorize tactics from. The book is best used as
...more
Raja Ramesh
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a standard for a quality interview prep book. It's well organized to give the reader an idea of what the Product Manager role is in tech companies, tips to get an interview, and approaches to doing well in the interview (with copious practice questions). I especially enjoyed the clear, easily adaptable approach to answering product design questions. The business strategy section throws too much information at the reader without giving them a good way to incorporate it, but reading a ...more
Kavitha Nutakki
There is a reason why a product manager is called the "CEO" of his product. Product Management is not a "skill" you can acquire from reading books or reading blogs. A good product manager needs to have business acumen, evangelism, strategic thinking, communication, negotiation, persuasion, commitment, technical skills.....I can go on and on....

Having said that this is a good book for someone wanting to switch to software product management (non technical) with no prior experience in the industr
...more
Jessica
Things start getting interesting around the 50% mark, where the authors begin to cover the "meatier" PM questions like estimation & algorithm design (though the second isn't useful for many interviews.

The first half was pretty standard interview prep, which would be good for those who have never interviewed before, but is old hat for those who have. (Examples include: what are your strengths/weaknesses, tell me about a difficult problem you solved, where do you see yourself in 5 years, etc.)
...more
Cherok
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-2018
- This book has some good condensed nuggets in it. Some are specific to Product Managers, but most can be extended to technical roles.
- I really liked the CV examples and commentary. Specifics are great.
- It already baffled me in McDowell's more famous book, but there is no need in my opinion to name and specify concrete company names (big tech companies like Google, Amazon, etc.). The takeaways are general enough to be applied to any company really.
Jenny
This is an amazingly thorough analysis of the qualities of good product managers. I think any product manager looking for career growth should make it a project to work through as many of the chapters and sample questions as possible. And where you don't have great/easy answers, you know what to work on.

I would (and will) use this as an interviewer's guide as well, to find great future colleagues.
Jacky Liang
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I see this book as the introduction to those wanting to get into PM, but Decode and Conquer has better depth in terms of the types of questions asked. I also found this book's framework for Product Design and Improvement to be inferior to CIRCLES. That said, this book has more breadth in understanding what it's like to be a PM and what it takes.

Read this for an intro to getting a PM job, then grind questions on Decode and Conquer.
Nicolas
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cracking the Coding Interview is a book everyone in tech has heard about (if not already read), but I was surprised that Gayle wrote a PM one too!

Want to land a PM/TPM position at a top company? Read this book.

Great example questions and resume advice, and a detailed breakdown of the interview process for major tech companies (and I can attest to this book's accuracy on that front). This is a book I'll re-read anytime I'm looking for a new role or when I become an interviewer myself.
Courtney
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
There were a lot of spelling errors, many pages were cut during printing so you couldn't read the whole pages properly, and a lot of pages had faded ink. I thought I just had a badly printed book, but a friend of mine also owns the book and said it was the same. So the book was full of information, but poorly presented.
Murray Cumming
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: tech
This is rather insubstantial and unsatisfying though it did give me some clue of how PM hiring works. I would expect it to cover the knowledge and experience that you'd need to gain to actually get a PM job and perform it well. The discussion of interview questions doesn't seem like enough to prepare someone who isn't already prepared. Surely there must be much more to it.
Yifei Men
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I thought this was a great introduction to what PM is (and is not), the possible paths of career transitions and important frameworks to excel as a PM (or PM candidate during interview).

Clearly written like cracking the coding interview, in-depth industry research (although the valley moves real fast, so it's probably already a little dated), insightful takehome points and thought processes.
Phil Edry
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just the book I needed

At least as of 2017, this book seems spot on and had this book not been recommended to me, I would have assumed the content didn't exist. It's a must read for anyone getting ready for Product Manager or Microsoft Program Manager job search. Time to go update my resume.
Siyu
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very very good book for preparing the pm interviews. 5 star recommendation for anyone who is preparing the interview. It is more beneficial for larger companies such as google, facebook, amazon interviews, less useful for startup interviews where cares more about your working experience, your domain knowledge and your skills at data, project management & technology
Marcell Almeida
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
For those with a 3 or more years of experience as Product Manager this book may be just a review of a bunch of concepts and tips. However, for those who are starting as Product Manager or are PMs wannabes this book is a must read. But not because of the interview tips - IMHO this is the least important thing on this book - but because the concepts, tips and how to be a better PM.
Kaspars Purmalietis
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good material for both - PM candidates & recruiters trying to hire PMs.
If you are a Product Manager currently searching for a new job, then reading and applying tips found in this book should completely prepare you for an interview.
If you are a recruiter, then this is a good place where to look for interview questions as well for tips how to evaluate answers to those questions.
Pratik Sawal
I am not sure why I read this. It’s good for someone just coming out of college and explore what product management might be but not any good for anyone who has spent any time doing actual work. Too basic but wide variety of topics covered
Ralph
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
A great book into the world of product management, which until I read this book, remained an enigma to me. Allowed me to see more of what PMs do and what steps I can do to make the potential next transition in my career.
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Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the founder / CEO of CareerCup, and the author of Cracking the PM Interview, Cracking the Coding Interview, and Cracking the Tech Career.

Gayle has worked for Microsoft, Apple and Google as a software engineer. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Computer Science, and an MBA from the Wharton School. She currently resides in Pa
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“One reason product management is such an appealing career is you get to sit at the intersection of technology, business, and design.” 1 likes
“Clarify goals and gather satisfaction metrics. Determine the people and skills needed to complete a project. Set up project management tools, plans and processes. Run status meetings and gather status reports. Analyze data to identify opportunities. Identify & implement changes to improve efficiency. Manage changes that come in from the customer. Find ways to keep the project on track even when things go wrong.” 0 likes
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