pmp certification books

So you decided to get PMP Certification credentials, and now in search to find the best books for PMP Certification Exam preparation.

Although, there are a plethora of books available to help you prepare for PMP Exam.
But, I choose some of my favorite books and a few from the feedback of the community.
These books has been super helpful in helping majority of PMP Exam aspirants pass the tedious exam on their first try.

These books are not only recommended for aspirants seeking PMP credential but are good reference guides for project manager’s or someone interested in Project Management.

They could be a nice handy collection for your library or desk.


PMP Certification Books:


The first two books mentioned below are my favorite and I highly recommend them to aspirants. Rita’s book is more about the tips, tricks, and techniques of PMP Exam and Project Management while Head First is more about explaining the topics thoroughly and visually.
All these PMP books are aligned with the latest and updated 2018 version, PMBOK6, 2018.



1: PMP Exam Prep: Accelerated Learning to Pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam 9th Edition:

Rita Mulcahy 9th editionRita’s book is very well organized and give you an insight of how real project management is done and what PMI expect from you.

When you start reading the book, you will feel as if Rita is talking to you.

Besides lots of text, the book has pretty charts, graphs and is no short of images.

Although I don’t agree its alignment with PMBOK wise chapter explanation.
But, they have done a fabulous job by not only explaining PMBOK but helping you achieve success in pmp exam.
Rita’s book is undoubtedly the best book for PMP Exam preparation.

Get a copy from Amazon:



2: Head First PMP: A Learner’s Companion to Passing the Project Management Professional Exam 4th Edition:

head first pmp 2018
This book is by all means different from other pmp books, and the brain friendly title definitely resonate with the book content.
The book has less words and more visuals.

The book is full of visually rich images and pictures that definitely will help you stick the concepts in mind.

Unfortunately, the updated version of Head First PMP 2018 book is not yet available, while writing this post.

Update: The wait is over and the book is available. Seems you have to wait for some time but the wait is worth it.

Pre-Order from Amazon:



3: PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide 9th Edition:

kim heldman study guide 2018Kim Heldman book is another best selling book and highly recommended for PMP Exam Preparation.

Some of the key feature in this book are its focus on important topics.

In each chapter, guidance is provided on what need to done before you appear the exam.

The project case study at the end of each chapter is extremely helpful.

Get it from Amazon:



pmp study guide joseph philips 2018This book is helpful for both PMP Exam.

It’s well organized and PMBOK has been explained in easy to read and understandable language.

The book has lots and lots of questions, which will give you confidence and boost your morale as you proceed with your preparation.

A companion CD is provided, which contain addition material for the exam, including questions and video lecture from the author

Get it from Amazon:



5: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–Sixth Edition:

Last but not the least.pmbok6 updated 2018

PMBOK is dull, dry and hard to consume but one cannot live without it.

You will have to read PMBOK in order to understand Project Management concepts, definitions and terms.

PMBOK is not written to help you pass the exam but it’s a definite read for the exam.


Get it from Amazon:



All the PMP Books mentioned above follow PMBOK’s way of explaining the concepts via Knowledge Area’s.

I, however prefer and recommend studying Process Group.

The reason is – On the real PMP Exam, the test is based on Process Group and not Knowledge Area.

Also in real life, we perform projects via the Process Group method.

It’s a bit confusing and frustrating but that’s how PMBOK teaches us.
Go grab, any book mentioned above and ace pmp exam.

Over to you:
What book or books have helped you ace the exam?
What books would you recommend to PMP aspirants?



  1. Hi, Amir, first I would like to say that I admire your work and effort you put into this site… Your patience in answers on some really odd questions is admirable :). I have been reading the PMBOK and Rita and some other materials, but as you said they are all knowledge areas based (I suppose it is the best way to organize a lot of materials). In this post you said Process Group based approach is a real life approach and I agree… I just wanted to ask you (aha, here you will get some odd question from me :)) how can someone use that approach in studying for PMP exam? I always compare guides from PMBOK with real life projects, but I fail in organizing my knowledge in that way… That is why this process approach you mentioned triggered my comment. Maybe you have more tips about it? Thanks!

    • Hello Sanya,

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂
      The whole idea of PMBOK is to compare or recall your project that you have done or currently been doing.

      e.g: If you start with Knowledge Areas and try to implement it on your real project, what happens is: You are in the Project Integration Phase, You Initiate a Project and then you close the project in the same phase (It makes no sense to me at least) 🙂
      On the other hand,
      When you start studying via the Process Group, you start with the Initiation Phase, then planning and finally Closing process Group.

      But your real project may not have all the 47 processes, and that’s perfectly fine. 47 processes should not all be a necessary part of a project.
      All you have to know and understand, what’s done in Initiation, Planning , Execution, M&C and closing ..

      Hope it answer your query, if not, shoot a reply 🙂

      • Yes, definitely it makes more sense – for example, for the Initiation phase I need to consider only Project charter and Identifying stakeholders 🙂 (according to the PMBOK). The most of the work is in the Planning phase where is very important what comes when in the planning process… Anyway, thanks for the explanation and keep the good work :)!

  2. Rita’s PMP and headFirst PMP are quite popular.
    But I will definitely add another top book in the list:

    Brainy People’s Guide To PMP® Credential.

    Combination of any of the two books mentioned above would work.
    Especially any book with Brainy People’s guide as it summarises everything.
    I read PMBOK® Guide (5th edition) and Brainy People’s guide, it even covers some topic which are not clearly mentioned in PMBOK® Guide, but essential for exam.

    Rita’s PMP is excellent, but it fails to clarify ITTO sometimes, HeadFirst PMP is good, but to focus on the drawings and simplicity, it skips many important points. On the other hand, Brainy People’s Guide summarises everything in 255 points, amazingly simple.

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