PMP books – best and must read resources

The best thing about the PMP exam is you don’t need to hunt for 10 different sources of textbooks for your preparation although there are several PMP books available in the market. The PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition is the bible for your exam prep. I have seen several folks in my experience who have never touched a single other source except for the PMBOK® Guide and passed the exam with confidence. So for those who have little time for what-so-ever reasons to clear the exam, need not worry and can just focus on this one book.

Although the PMBOK® Guide is sufficient to clear the exam, it should not stop you from taking a look at other sources too. The reason people study other books for the exam preparation apart from PMBOK® Guide is the depth at which certain topics covered in those books are way beyond what you can see in PMBOK® Guide. There are several examples where the PMBOK® Guide explains the concepts at a bare minimum level, leaving the readers to find more information through other sources to understand the concepts completely.

I have known folks who make their primary book for preparation to be Rita PMP Exam Prep or a Head first PMP textbook and just skim through the PMBOK® Guide at the end to make sure everything has been covered and revised. There need not be any doubt in this approach too, as the people who adopt this study approach are double confident in clearing the exam.

Each of the PMP exam resources has its own pros and cons based on different perspectives of the readers. One person might enjoy the style of head first series and another could not tolerate the same style. Below is a small comparison notes which might help you in choosing a book of your choice based on your preferences.


Book/CommentsPMBOK GuideRita's PMP exam PrepHead first PMP
Price & links to Buy
# of Pages589624890
Style of narrationPrecise and comprehensive. Covers close to 90% of the topics that appear in the exam.Might be a little dry, but covers the topics in depth and sometimes beyond what the certification demands. Fun, puzzles and unusual narrating style. Covers material in depth with good real world examples from different industries.
Good practice questions at the end of each chapter.
other perksvaluable Glossary and Appendix for reference.
Useful flow diagrams.
Practice exam question at end of each chapter and solutions with very clear explanations.
Provides good tips for exam preparation, and also suggests how to put the best use of the book. There are few innovative style of teaching concepts using games /puzzles/questionnaire as well.
Practice questions at the end of each chapter and also at the end of the book.
General reader complaintsThe content sounds like it is from an attorney's mouth. It takes less pain to make you understand certain concepts. As the title suggests it just acts like a guide, and lets the reader put some additional effort if he really wants to go an extra mile and grasp the theory completely . Also there are very little real world examples referenced in the book.Too wordy and dry in presentation. A lot of information that encourages you to see project management beyond just the certification. The diagrams in the book are generally dull.Very bulky(but at the same time you could skim through several pages quickly). Sometimes, the fun or sarcastic narrative style may not go well with few readers, as they prefer the book to be more serious.


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