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The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses [Hardcover]

Eric Ries
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 13 2011

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable.  The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively.  Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs - in companies of all sizes - a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.


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The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses + Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers + The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
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Review

"The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic, and Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them. Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable. Expect to get it wrong, and stay flexible (and solvent) enough to try again and again until you get it right. It’s a message that rings true to grizzled startup vets who got burned in the Great Bubble and to young filmgoers who left The Social Network with visions of young Zuckerberg dancing in their heads. It resonates with Web entrepreneurs blessed with worldwide reach and open source code. It’s the perfect philosophy for an era of limited resources, when the noun optimism is necessarily preceded by the adjective cautious." Wired

“I make all our managers read The Lean Startup.” —Jeffery Immelt, CEO, General Electric

"Eric has created a science where previously there was only art.  A must read for every serious entrepreneur—and every manager interested in innovation."
—Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, Opsware Inc. and Netscape

“This book should be mandatory reading for entrepreneurs, and the same goes for managers who want better entrepreneurial instincts. Ries’s book is loaded with fascinating stories—not to mention countless practical principles you’ll dearly wish you’d known five years ago.” —Dan Heath, co-author of Switch and Made to Stick

“Ries shows us how to cut through the fog of uncertainty that surrounds startups. His approach is rigorous; his prescriptions are practical and proven in the field. The Lean Startup will change the way we think about entrepreneurship.  As startup success rates improve, it could do more to boost global economic growth than any management book written in years.” —Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
 
“The Lean Startup is the book whose lessons I want every entrepreneur to absorb and apply.  I know of no better guide to improve the odds of a startup's success."
—Mitchell Kapor, Founder, Lotus Development Corp.
 
"At Asana, we've been lucky to benefit from Eric's advice firsthand; this book will enable him to help many more entrepreneurs answer the tough questions about their business."
—Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook and Asana
 
“Ries' splendid book is the essential template to understand the crucial leadership challenge of our time: initiating and managing growth!” —Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California and author of the recently published, Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.
 
"The Lean Startup isn't just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business, it's about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to healthcare, and to solving the world's great problems.  It's ultimately an answer to the question 'How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn't?'"
— Tim O'Reilly, CEO O'Reilly Media
 
“Eric Ries unravels the mysteries of entrepreneurship and reveals that magic and genius are not the necessary ingredients for success but instead proposes a scientific process that can be learnt and replicated. Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or corporate entrepreneur there are important lessons here for you on your quest toward the new and unknown.”  —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
 
“The roadmap for innovation for the 21st century. The ideas in The Lean Startup will help create the next industrial revolution.” —Steve Blank, lecturer, Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School
 
"The key lesson of this book is that start-ups happen in the present—that messy place between the past and the future where nothing happens according to PowerPoint. Ries's ‘read and react’ approach to this sport, his relentless focus on validated learning, the never-ending anxiety of hovering between ‘persevere’ and ‘pivot’, all bear witness to his appreciation for the dynamics of entrepreneurship."  —Geoffrey Moore, Author, Crossing the Chasm
 
"If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book.  If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book.  Starting Lean is today's best practice for innovators.  Do yourself a favor and read this book." —Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo and author of the bestselling The Monk and the Riddle
 
“How do you apply the 50 year old ideas of Lean to the fast-paced, high uncertainty world of Startups? This book provides a brilliant, well-documented, and practical answer. It is sure to become a management classic.” —Don Reinertsen, author of The Principles of Product Development Flow
 
The Lean Startup is a foundational must-read for founders, enabling them to reduce product failures by bringing structure and science to what is usually informal and an art.  It provides actionable ways to avoid product-learning mistakes, rigorously evaluate early signals from the market through validated learning, and decide whether to persevere or to pivot, all challenges that heighten the chance of entrepreneurial failure.” —Professor Noam Wasserman, Harvard Business School
 
“One of the best and most insightful new books on entrepreneurship and management I’ve ever read.  Should be required reading not only for the entrepreneurs that I work with, but for my friends and colleagues in various industries who have inevitably grappled with many of the challenges that The Lean Startup addresses.”  —Eugene J. Huang, Partner, True North Venture Partners
 
"What would happen if businesses were built from the ground up to learn what their customers really wanted? The Lean Startup is the foundation for reimagining almost everything about how work works. Don't let the word startup in the title confuse you. This is a cookbook for entrepreneurs in organizations of all sizes." —Roy Bahat, President, IGN Entertainment
 
“Every founding team should stop for 48 hours and read Lean Startup. Seriously stop and read this book now.” —Scott Case, CEO Startup America Partnership
 
“In business, a ‘lean’ enterprise is sustainable efficiency in action. Eric Ries’ revolutionary Lean Startup method will help bring your new business idea to an end result that is successful and sustainable. You’ll find innovative steps and strategies for creating and managing your own startup while learning from the real-life successes and collapses of others. This book is a must read for entrepreneurs who are truly ready to start something great!” —Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The One Minute Entrepreneur

“Every entrepreneur responsible for innovation within their organization should read this book. It entertainingly and meticulously develops a rigorous science for the innovation process through the methodology of “lean thinking”.  This methodology provides novel and powerful tools for companies to improve the speed and efficiency of their innovation processes through minimum viable products, validated learning, innovation accounting, and actionable metrics. These tools will help organizations large and small to sustain innovation by effectively leveraging the time, passion, and skill of their talent pools.” Andrea Goldsmith, professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and cofounder of several startups
 
“Business is too important to be left to luck.  Eric reveals the rigorous process that trumps luck in the invention of new products and new businesses.  We've made this a centerpiece of how teams work in my company . . . it works!  This book is the guided tour of the key innovative practices used inside Google, Toyota, and Facebook, that work in any business.” Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit

About the Author

ERIC RIES is an entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned. He co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup,  and has had plenty of startup failures along the way. He is a frequent speaker at business events, has advised a number of startups, large companies, and venture capital firms on business and product strategy, and is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. His Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, the Huffington Post, and many blogs. He lives in San Francisco.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I selected this observation by Drucker (1963) because it continues to suggest caution when deciding what to do, how and when to do it, etc. Michael Porter also offers a helpful reminder: "The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do." This is especially true of those who are either planning to launch a start-up or have only recently done so. Given the number of Four and Five Star reviews of this book featured by Amazon as of this moment (136 of a total of 153), Eric Ries has clearly attracted and rewarded the attention of those who share his determination to "improve the success rate of new innovative products worldwide." He offers a method by which to achieve that objective, based on five separate but interdependent principles best revealed within the book's narrative, in context.

Ries suggests two primary reasons for the failure of most startups. One is trusting indicators of likely success that are either inappropriate or unreliable such as a good business plan, a solid strategy, and thorough market research. A startup is by nature and unknown quantity, Ries points out, as are its prospects. Also, many entrepreneurs and their investors become impatient, then frustrated, and abandon traditional management practices. I agree with him that all startups must be managed and only those that are managed well have a chance to survive. It is also important to keep in mind that, at one time, each of the "Fortune 500" was a startup, launched by one or more entrepreneurs who would not be denied.

Credit Ries with pursuing what Jim Collins and Jerry Porras characterize in Built to Last as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG: To provide "a new discipline for entrepreneurial management" that takes into full account "the chaos and uncertainty that startups must face...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
In David Fincher's 1999 cult classic, Fight Club, there's a scene where Tyler Durden and the Narrator are cruising down the highway talking about the future of their boxing club (first fight's free, then you franchise out, etc). They're arguing about who's in charge, what's the goal of the group, how to deal with growth: they're entrepreneurs and they've both come up with something great, that seems to be catching on. And what does Tyler Durden do? He takes his hands off the wheel, and lets the car go where it wants. The car steers itself, and Tyler hits the gas.

This would be a great opening for my Lean Startup review, had Tyler and the Narrator not gone off the road. The car was destroyed, but the leaders survived, and got a little wiser. Was that a Pivot?

This book is not just about small tech startups, though if you've heard anything about it (the buzz has been building around the interwebs for about 2 years now, mostly on tech sites), you'd be forgiven for the assumption. Frankly, if this book was just about starting tech companies in Silicon Valley, it'd be pretty boring, aimed at a very very niche audience. It's neither.

The brilliance of this book is that it's ideas (admittedly borrowed somewhat from Lean Manufacturing) can be applied to almost any project, service, or company. It will make your venture faster, smarter, and cheaper. In fact, you can even use the principles in here if you want to keep your job (you're not an Entrepreneur, you're an Intrapreneur' I like that).

So why is Entrepreneurship (for example) so scary? Because we always hear about how 90% of small business fail within a year. No one doubts the numbers, or bothers to look them up. We just decide not to take the gamble.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas worth trying. March 9 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This book teaches the best way I've heard so far to manage risk in innovative enterprises. If you're on the fence about starting a business because you're risk-averse, read this.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very interesting read that challenges most of what I was taught to believe about bigger batches being better; the more you make the more money you make. The theoretical Batch of One would be doable for many products if you follow the approaches in the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Action Now Nov. 30 2013
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Starting a business is an uncertain outing and this is where Ries’ book nails it. Entrepreneurs have always possessed a higher risk tolerance than most and we need these folks more than ever to drive employment. However, anyone in business can benefit from thinking like a startup by innovating within their own jobs and given it is a mindset it can also be applied to non-profits, NGOs, public sector, and volunteer organizations. Ries advocates not getting bogged down in excessive planning instead focusing on adjusting as one goes – ‘action now’ is its rallying cry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sept. 27 2013
By djc
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great Book! learn a lot :) love this book, all start up should read this book as well. Highly recommenced.
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5.0 out of 5 stars mandatory for startups Sept. 23 2013
By Oogie
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Awesome book I plowed through in a few days. Eric Ries is a master of the digital landscape and focuses on how to align business goals and strategies with customer needs. He includes tons of case studies of top companies and analyses of past failures. Very clear and rather easy to follow. Although it is not a step-by-step guide for startups, you will learn the Learn Build Measure principle and other guidelines for quickly ramping up.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
I like books written by authors who not just talk the talk but have walked the walk. Good Book by a doer.
Donald Keyes
Published 3 months ago by Donald Keyes
4.0 out of 5 stars Lean with a purpose
I started reading this book with no preconceptions. I hadn't heard of it before and on a whim, thought it looked interesting, picked it up. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tim
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
I honestly was tepid about reading this book. I thought it would be filled with dry material. Maybe because I have associated "lean", with "bean counters / accounting". Read more
Published 10 months ago by David Valentine
5.0 out of 5 stars "Leaning is the essential unit of progress for startups."
The companies who learn the fastest will adapt the fastest and will win in the end. The build, measure, learn feedback loop is essential in any startup, or at least the underlying... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jeph Maystruck
5.0 out of 5 stars Entrepreneurs must read !
I love this book , opens your horizons , makes you think outside the box and you can even implement the suggestions in your life !!
Published 15 months ago by sanaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Key learnings for people inside the corporate box.
I enjoyed this book for the back story of Eric Ries starting up IMVU but more importantly the reminder to foster a culture of learning. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Michael Palmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Accelerate Learning Rather Than Just Executing the Original Business...
"Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the LORD." - Numbers 33:2 (NKJV)

Having taught entrepreneurs for many years and studied... Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2011 by Donald Mitchell
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