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Listening about product management

Everyone has a list of books worth recommending to someone new to your profession. For instance, this collection I posted on Amazon last month.

But what about a recommended playlist? For product management.

Sounds unlikely, but I am thinking of podcasts not Top 40 hits. (Though You Can’t Always Get What You Want would make a great theme song.)

If you have even a passing familiarity with Public Radio or podcasts these are probably all familiar titles.

This American Life has been my favorite podcast for years. But how does it inform product development? Easy one. The show features fantastic storytelling and journalism, and after more than 500 episodes has plenty to say about projects and innovation. A few of my favorites on failure and innovations are below. Also note, the episodes require payment to download to your phone but can be streamed for free. Another interesting example for product managers.

RadioLab is in its 11th season, and should be required listening for product managers. The show focuses heavily on science, psychology, cognition and related topics. Go listen to Games right now – especially the second segment The Rules Can Set You Free.

Freakonomics is the radio version of the two books. And as the name implies it takes a non-traditional approach to economics. From the deadweight loss of gift giving to the negative externalities of home burgular alarms – it is a great show to help you think a bit differently.

99 Percent Invisible I saved for last because it is so good. The show, all about The Designed World, has been around for about 3 years and is just short of 90 episodes to date. I have only listened to the first 50 – 60 so far, so may be missing some good more recent examples. Topics hopscotch from toothbrush design, the implementation of sociotechnical principles in hospital operations to the use of smart technology to improve downtown parking. The episodes are short, so download a dozen and start listening.