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 as a software developer for Microsoft, Apple and Google. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School. She currently lives in Palo Alto, CA.
If you flip to the back of the book, you can read our credentials: Google. Microsoft. Apple. Startups. Hiring committee. Oodles of interviews and coaching sessions.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
That’s all very well and good, but that won’t tell you who we really are and how we got here, writing a book on landing a product management job.
I (Gayle) come from a deep engineering background, but I’ve also spent a lot of time working with candidates: interviewing them for dev and PM roles, conducting mock interviews, coaching them on how to strengthen their answers, teaching them concepts that they don’t understand, and discovering what their goals and passions are.
I learned two things through this. First, I learned how much even good candidates could improve their interview performance, with a bit of help. Second, I learned how little information there was about getting a product management role. Lots of people talked about how to be a good product manager, but few people talked about how to actually break into that field. Except, of course, for my amazing coauthor, Jackie.
I stumbled across Jackie’s blog on Quora, the question and answer site.
Great book for an extensive overview of how to market yourself, resume, and interview processes. It is interesting to comprehend the culture of Top Tech (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) and the hiring process that is not representative of the tech industry.
A short and concise description of what PM is (everything in between ~ what makes a product great)
This little book is a huge amount of information for product managers. I recommend reading it, regardless of whether you plan to have an interview or not. From this book you can "learn" a lot of new skills and techniques that will help you not only improve your own work but also start to enjoy it. Or remind yourself of long-forgotten things. The book perfectly structures the information and provides an excellent basis for further learning.
It is very refreshing to read a book that says very specific and very necessary things based on the target audience. Honestly, this book is probably one of the best I've read lately.
The volume of the book could be half of this and get a score of five :) From me.
A good book about interviews in large companies, but I would accept the acquired knowledge for passing in all companies. Because of the examples of "big" aunts and uncles, the book seems a bit snobbish, you just have to accept it and read it to the end.
Required PM Interview Preparation Readings. Delivers what it promises. But perhaps this underestimates the fact that there are many other good ways to skin a cat. In addition to this book, I also recommend reading the book Decode and Win, which will give you more sample answers and suggest different solid approaches / ways to ponder the interview questions.
Could these books by themselves be a good personal assistant? No. It will take much longer to master the concepts mentioned in the books, develop a good product understanding and industry knowledge. Confidence, clear communication, and persuasiveness are the skills you need to successfully interview a manager (and a good PM). An extroverted personality and business savvy also go a long way.