Best PMP Book – Head First vs Rita Mulcahy vs Kim Heldman vs Andy Crowe

Best PMP Book – Review & Comparison of 4 Best Sellers

best pmp book

Best PMP book, by far, is the PMBOK Guide.

PMBOK Guide is the best PMP study guide – it would enhance your chances of attaining the certification. In my opinion, it is essential for PMP exam prep. You should definitely buy PMBOK Guide, if you are preparing for either PMP or CAPM exam.

Oops! You are not here to read about the PMBOK Guide. Rather, you are looking for the best PMP exam prep book, which can be used as a study guide for the certification. You want a reference book that can be used along with the PMBOK Guide. Don’t Worry! You are at the right place. In this article, you will find detailed review and comparison of 4 of the best selling PMP exam reference books. By the end of this article, you would know, which is the best PMP reference book for you.

Head First PMP vs Rita Mulcahy vs Kim Heldman vs Andy Crowe

head first pmp study guide rita mulcahy pmp prep book kim heldman pmp exam book Andy Crowe pmp certification book


How To Find The Best PMP Study Guide?

In order to find the best PMP study guide, I followed a 3 step process:

  1. I chose 4 best selling PMP reference books.
  2. I did a detailed review each book.
  3. I compared the books on various parameters as you will soon find out.

Before looking at reviews & comparison, let us look at a small quote.

Every student can learn. Just not on the same day, or the same way.

George Evans

We are all unique people. We have different backgrounds, different knowledge & skill-set and different learning styles. What is good for me (or your friend), may not be good for you. So, you should buy a book(s) that suits you and your learning style.

Let us do a small exercise. Go back in time and think about your school days. Now answer these questions.

  • Do you learn by reading a lot of prose?
  • Do you need practical examples & case studies to learn?
  • Do you learn by doing crosswords, puzzles & small exercises?
  • Do you gain confidence by solving sample exam questions?
  • Do you like very simple language?
  • Are you a visual learner who like diagrams, figures, charts and tables?
  • What books did you like in your school days and why?

The answers to these question would give you some some hint about your learning style. If you know your learning style, you are ready to find your own best PMP book.


Comparison Of PMP Exam Prep Best Selling Books

Head First vs Rita Mulcahy vs Kim Heldman vs Andy Crowe


Head First PMP Rita Mulcahy Kim Heldman Andy Crowe
Ease of Study (5 / 5) (4 / 5) (4 / 5) (4 / 5)
Coverage of Topics (3.5 / 5) (4.5 / 5) (4.5 / 5) (4 / 5)
Questions & Exercises (4 / 5) (4.5 / 5) (3.5 / 5) (4 / 5)
Conformance to PMBOK® Guide (3.5 / 5) (3.5 / 5) (4.5 / 5) (4.5 / 5)
Exam Focus (4 / 5) (5 / 5) (4 / 5) (4.5 / 5)
Price (4.5 / 5) (3.5 / 5) (4.5 / 5) (3.5 / 5)
Overall Rating (4.1 / 5) (4.2 / 5) (4.2 / 5) (4.1 / 5)
Detailed Review Read it here Read it here Read it here Read it here
This is the best PMP book for you if You are a visual learner.

You like to do crosswords & puzzles.

You want to have a quick understanding of the subject.

You just want to focus on the Exam.

You want to learn the tips & tricks for passing the Exam.

You want to do the best sample questions.

You want to study PG-wise.

You love reading a lot of prose.

You are a novice project manager.

You want to learn PM concepts before taking the Exam.

You want to read an easy to understand book.

You want to read a book that has a similar structure as the PMBOK Guide

You just want to focus on the Exam.

Buy at Amazon US
Buy at Amazon India


Note: I have read & reviewed all the books myself and rated them based on my own reviews.

Conclusion – Best PMP Study Guide

Before you make your final decision, answer this question.Would you buy a car X if 50% residents in your community has bought the car X? Or would you buy a car that suits your requirements?

My point is that, you should not buy something just because it is popular. You should analyze your learning style and understand what is best for you.


It is possible that my post has confused you a little bit as there is every book has its plus points. You may not be able to decide, which is the best PMP book for you.

Don’t worry! If required, you can always buy more than one book.

Now you must wondering, “why should I buy two or more books?”. It will not only increase the time required to study but also the cost.

You should buy more than one book, only if you believe it will increase the chance of passing the exam.

PMP exam and its preparation is a costly affair. However, you should save the costs wherever you can. You can still save some money, even if you decide to buy more than one book. You can save money by buying a used book from Amazon and/or sell it after you have passed the exam.

Secondly, you don’t have to study the books completely. You can study them selectively to save time. You should study only those portions of the book that enhance your knowledge and just ignore the rest. The final study should be done from the PMBOK® Guide. Here are a few example strategies.


Example I – Andy Crowe and Rita Mulcahy

If you want to read easy, simple & well-structured book, then you should use Andy Crowe’s book as your primary PMP study guide. It’s structure is similar to the PMBOK Guide. You can use Rita Mulcahy’s book as a secondary reference book – you can use it for exam orientation. Rita’s book will be useful for learning tips & tricks (Chapter 1) and practicing some very good sample questions.

Example II – Head First PMP and Andy Crowe

If you want to keep things really simple, then you should buy Head First PMP as your primary PMP study guide. You can learn the PMP concepts very quickly from the Head First book. You can then study Andy Crowe’s book for more formal & structured language and final exam preparation.

Example III – Kim Heldman and Rita Mulcahy

If you want to learn Project Management concepts along with the PMP preparation, then you should use Kim Heldman’s book as your primary PMP study guide. Kim’s book will help you in learning Project Management concepts through practical case studies. You can use Rita Mulcahy’s book as a secondary reference book – you can use it for exam orientation. Rita’s book will be useful for learning tips & tricks (Chapter 1) and practicing some very good sample questions.


Go ahead. Do not wait! Buy the car…er…your best PMP book.

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Note: A digital copy of the PMBOK Guide is available free of cost for the PMI members. If you already have the PMI membership or you intend to take it in near future, then you should not buy the Guide. You should just download the licensed copy of the Guide. If you want, you can print your downloaded copy. The Guide’s copy is licensed to you – you can neither share it nor distribute it.

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation (in cash or kind) from the Authors or the Publishers or anyone else associated with any of the books for writing this article. But this article contains affiliate links – it means that, if you click & buy from these links then, I will receive a small commission. This commission helps me in maintaining this blog for free. However, you don’t pay anything extra. I recommend only those products that I believe will definitely help the certification aspirants.