The Top 3 PMP Preparation Books

If you’re sitting for a PMP exam, let me get this right off the bat - you need more than the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) to pass.

The PMBOK merely tells you the “what” of project management. It also does not cover some topics in enough detail. Moreover, you also need more practice before taking the exam.

PMP preparation books are the answer. They help you go through drills, many of them have bonus CDs and are excellent companions to the PMBOK.

In my career, I’ve seen some really good PMP preparation books - and I’ll share my pick of the top 3 below.

Book 1: PMP Exam Prep, Seventh Edition: Rita's Course in a Book for Passing the PMP Exam

PMP Exam Prep is a worldwide best-seller and hands down one of the best PMP preparation books ever written.

The author, Rita Mulcahy, PMP, is an international expert in project management. She has helped write earlier versions of the PMP exam, and spent many years helping out in the PMI.

The problem with many PMP books is that they simply “re-present” information from the PMBOK Guide. Rita doesn’t do that. She boils down critical exam concepts and illustrates with real scenarios - and that makes a world of difference. Many folks keep the book on their bookshelves, years after passing the PMP.

Book 2: CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification All-in-One Exam Guide with CD-ROM, Second Edition

This PMP book is also very well accepted in the marketplace. The author, Joseph Phillips, writes in easy-to-digest style. I also love the videos in the CD - they help to illustrate concepts and clarify some of the topics in the PMBOK.

This volume helps you get up to speed with both Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and Project Management Professional (PMP) exam topics. You’ll get a ton of stuff - exam tips, practice questions, and in-depth explanations - all designed to help you pass the exams.

Book 3: The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, Fourth Edition

This book is written by Andy Crowe, a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and project management and certification training professional.

The word out there (believe it or not) - says that the average person preparing for the PMP exam spends about $1000 on materials and studies for 4 months. And only 51% pass on their first try.

I’ve checked online and many testimonials do indeed pass on their first try after using Andy’s book. And it costs only $50 and most study for less than four months.

And in case you’re thinking the book scrimps on content - that’s not true. The author does lay out the why, when, inputs, techniques and outputs in project management very well. You also get access to an online testing center - which is great for practice and learning.

Try this book out if you’re on a tight timeline to pass the PMP exam - most people I know really pass on their first try after reading it with the PMBOK.


The three books above are my favorite PMP books. If you want to buy just one of the above books, I’d recommend PMP Exam Prep. It’s must be one of the best out there because all my friends taking the PMP exam swear by it!

Another note - keep these PMP prep books with you after you pass the PMP exam. Much of the material in there can serve as a useful reference, or you may pass the book on to someone else taking the exam.

Until next time, good luck with your PMP exam!