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A Summary of

What Buddhism Taught Me About Product Management

by
Lenny Rachitsky
Lenny's Newsletter
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Buddha was obsessed with solving people’s problems, he summarized his ideas into handy lists, and he developed simple frameworks for achieving his vision. The practices below within Buddhism can be applied to the job of a product manager. 

There is suffering

  • We do not find lasting happiness or satisfaction in anything we experience, and thus we suffer.
  • When it comes to leading teams and building products for people, we think we can get to a place where all stakeholders are happy.
  • You and your team should find your fulfillment in solving problems, not in forever keeping problems from arising.

All things are impermanent

  • According to Buddhism, our unhappiness is rooted in believing that things last.
  • However, in the workplace, change is ever-present e.g., regular re-org, rotating team-members, etc., As a PM, recognize that change is part of business.
  • As a PM your job is to help accelerate the good ideas, and kill the bad ideas. The longer you keep a bad idea alive, even if you were tasked with making it work, the worse it’ll be for both you and the business.

There is no lasting self

  • According to the teaching, the sense that there’s an unchanging and lasting “me” inside our bodies from birth to death, is an illusion. Your identity and ego are constructs of your brain.
  • As a PM, you’re often the default choice to present your team’s work and the first to get credit when things go well.
  • The most effective leaders put their egos aside and place the team above themselves.  
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