Dear all,

we’re moving house and so it’s been a rather busy summer for us… For that reason I had to skip a few issues of Weekend Reading recently.

As there is one week of summer holidays left, I’ll still share three essential books that I consider worth reading or re-reading this summer:

Alexander Osterwalder (2014):

Value Proposition Design

It’s mind-boggling how many „product“ organizations we encounter in our line of work, who are not able to clearly spell out the value proposition of what they are trying to build and sell.

Alexander Osterwalder’s (of Business Model Canvas‘ fame) book provides a hands-on remedy for this problem. The very accessibly designed book is a great resource for Product Managers and Product Owners who want to clarify and test their product’s value proposition. The book is extremely practical and can be turned into productive workshops in a matter of hours. Osterwalder’s/Strategyzer’s associated online resources and canvases as well as the related 3rd party materials already available in Miro and Mural further make for almost instant productivity!

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, David Silverman, et al. (2015):

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

If there is one business book I would suggest to every manager in a large enterprise trying to deal with the increasing complexity of a digitalizing world, it would be this one.

Written around the experience of fighting a constantly shape-shifting enemy, it provides to my mind one of the best treatises on real-world complexity – and how to build a 7.000 people organization capable of dealing with it successfully. McChrystal’s hard-won insights into the benefits of team empowerment, open communication, and the changing role of leadership finally turn it indispensable.

Marty Cagan, Chris Jones (2021):

EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

Marty Cagan is in my opinion one of the two (the other one being Steve Blank) former Silicon Valley tech leaders, who have been striving hard over the past years to share their learnings from decades of successful innovation and product work with the rest of the world.

Much like the first edition of Marty’s „Inspired“ ten years ago conferred decades of product management experience upon every budding product manager, „Empowered“ now discusses the organizational and cultural issues that most traditional product organizations and their management grapple with. Enhanced by his „Silicon Valley Product Group’s“ work with real-world companies, it provides concise and concrete advice on how to deal with them. Sometimes rather opinionated, it’s definitively a thought-provoking must-read for everyone in charge of a product-related organization.

Enjoy the last days of this summer!