Book Review: Decode and Conquer by Lewis C. Lin

Frankly speaking, i am not a stickler for biographies or books that promises to teach you or train you new tricks to help make you a better person, a better reader or an interviewee.

Boy! was i surprised. Lewis has done a wonderful job of laying out different topics that are usually stock bread-and-butter for technology product managers. He has also laid out his own methods and methodologies for addressing commonly asked interview questions in this space.

There are chapters on suggested ways to design products, features, experiences applications or webpages, on critiquing existing designs of popular services, apps or pages.

There is also a chapter on how to think about technical areas and approaching technical interview questions.

There is a chapter on market sizing (or analytical ways) to estimate questions related to potential revenues of restaurants or queries per second on popular search engines/email services, or even guessing the amount of data (photos, videos or files) on popular services that host such categories.

The chapter on pricing and approaching metrics questions is especially interesting.

I loved the strategizing chapters on trade-offs, new market entry, ceo-level issues and creating vision. Ideas here can spawn a portfolio of questions that you can articulate to ask during interviews. Many times that is an important area that is seldom addressed in interview tips or books – learning to ask the right questions to the right people and at the right-level. These chapters can definitely help you become better at this.

Note that all these are Lewis’ suggested ways to prepare. You don’t have to follow the exact models or methods at all. What is more useful is that this book at least makes a good attempt to catalog the suite of contemporary questions that seems to punctuate today’s sought-after product manager interviews at technology / startup firms. For that reason, this is definitely a great read or a good buy.

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