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Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology Paperback – December 2, 2013


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Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology + Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I wish this book had existed when I first found my way into product management. Gayle and Jackie don't just help you land a PM job; they show you what it takes to be great once you've got one. Finally there's a game plan for charting your career as a product manager."

--Ken Norton, Partner at Google Ventures (former PM at Google)

"If you were looking for a comprehensive, well-researched book about how to get a job in product management, look no further than Cracking the PM Interview. Gayle and Jackie break down the entire process of landing your dream PM job, while bridging a wide range of perspectives that aspiring PMs may bring to the table. This is a no-brainer resource to leverage during your job search."

--Jason Shah, former Product Manager at Yammer/Microsoft & instructor of How to Get a Job in Product Management

"Impressed by Jackie and Gayle's thorough interview walkthrough, from defining your skills, to resumes and all the way to product questions. A definite handbook for hopeful product managers." 

--Ritu Jain, Organizer of PM Fast Track Community & CEO of LearningJar

About the Author

Gayle McDowell is the founder / CEO of CareerCup.com and the author of two books: Cracking the Coding Interview, Amazon.com's #1 best-selling interview book, and The Google Resume. She has worked for Google, Microsoft, and Apple and served on Google's hiring committee. She holds a BSE and MSE in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School.

Jackie Bavaro is a product manager at Asana, a leading startup that builds productivity software used by companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, Uber, Foursquare, and Pinterest. Previously, she worked as a Product Manager at Google, where she joined as part of the elite Associate Product Manager program, and as a Program Manager at Microsoft. She holds a BA in Computer Science and a BA in Economics from Cornell University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: CareerCup; 1st edition (December 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984782818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984782819
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Highly recommend this book for anyone looking to go into tech product management.
Andrei
Most helpful was that the book inspired me to really prepare for the critical on-site interviews that ultimately resulted in my being offered a job.
James Morehead
A lot of good information about specific companies, that isn't easily available, is distilled in this book.
Shailesh Tainwala

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By danalt on January 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never written an Amazon review. Like, literally never. That fact alone speaks volumes (book pun intended) as to my feelings about this book. If you are expecting to go on a PM interview, or even thinking about switching to a PM role, buy this book.

I currently work at, have worked at, or have immediate friends that work at, all of the large companies listed in the book, and I can say that their observations about the differences in corporate culture and desired skills are spot on. If you're interested in what Google/Amazon/Apple/Microsoft/etc. are looking for - this book is for you.

As far as the book's approach to interview prep, it is thorough, clear, and useful. Is there anything in this book that is utterly groundbreaking? The answer is no, you could probably get a lot of this information online. But why would you spend all that time finding, collecting, vetting, and analyzing a bunch of random internet opinions when you can have Jackie and Gayle do it for you? Spend your time prepping for the interview, not figuring out what you should prep!

Oh yeah, did I mention that 2 days after reading and applying the principles of this book I got an offer for an awesome PM job? Obviously I know that I haven't mentioned this because immediately above this paragraph is a written record of what I've said so far. Nonetheless, this book is great, I'm giving a copy to a friend that is in the process of interviewing for a PM role, and I would highly recommend it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jim on December 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the missing manual for understanding the PM role. It's the role that I had the most questions about when I first learned of it, and is the most difficult for me to describe to others. This book is a thorough and complete look at how this role works; from the resume all the way through what it takes to climb the corporate ranks.

Each section covers an exact question I had about the role or interviewing for the role.

The resume tips are useful for any role not just the PM role.

I was pleasantly surprised by the tips about transitioning from the development role to the PM role as this is the exact situation in which I find myself.

The only negative is that at times the book can come off a little elitist. For example, looking through the example resumes will make you wonder if you can become a PM if you didn't go to an ivy league school and work at 5 of the top startups of the last 10 years. I can't tell if this is simply the harsh reality of this role requiring you to be in the top 10%, or the selection bias of the people the author knows/people willing to contribute.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jaewoo Kim VINE VOICE on April 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered the book, which costs around 3x as much as the Kindle version. I don't see any advantages of getting the book version, so I recommend the Kindle version.

This book is worthwhile to the target audience who are trying to land a position as a product manager. It provides detailed insights on how to get a job as a product manager and what type of background different companies are looking for (it covers Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon among others) in a product manager.

The book also provides a list of most commonly asked questions for a product manager. It even has a chapter on programming (algorithm) questions.

Overall, I don't think this book is groundbreaking. In my view, no book will make an unqualified person more qualified for a product manager role. But if you already have the right background (engineering/science/programming+MBA), then this book can help you to elevate your chances to a little higher level.

Pros:
1)Good book for the target audience. Fairly useless for the rest.
2)Covers a good list of questions you would be asked. It even has a chapter on programming (algorithm) interviews.
3)Provides an overview of a role of a product manager.
4)Provides insights into each of the most popular companies that are hiring product managers.

Cons:
1)Not the deepest book. The coverage is somewhat cursory.
2)Useless if you aren't looking for a product manager job. Don't mistake this book is a general book on post-MBA interviews.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SSIAM on April 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The content of the book is mostly great except for those in the case study/problem solving section. I found them very American-centric in that the only way to solve those problems was to make assumptions that you would only be able to make if you have been raised in the US. There are no strategies suggested for how to cope when presented with a problem for which you have no point of reference with which to make assumptions. Here are a couple of examples -

There was a sample problem involving dog food sales in the US. If you've neither owned a pet in the US nor watched TV ads, you have no way of knowing that that there are 2 types of dog food (wet and dry), that they come in 20 lb bags typically, and that a fair assumption is 1 cup of dog food is consumed by a large dog per meal. All of these are key to solving the problem.

There was another example illustrating how many high schools there are in the US. Unless you went to school in this country, it's not possible to make a key assumption that was used to solve the problem - the total number of students in an average high school.

Ditto for the school bus problem where you're asked to estimate the weight. It was only upon reading the book I knew there are 15 rows of seats in a US school bus, and that's a key assumption in coming up with anything close to the answer.

I suppose one could ask the interviewer these questions, but is that the right strategy? It would have been helpful if the book had addressed this.

That said, the main reason I am taking off a star is for the formatting/editing on Kindle.
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