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The Lean Startup [Paperback]

Eric Ries
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action Now Nov. 30 2013
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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2 of 2 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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5.0 out of 5 stars The bible for lean Aug. 24 2014
By SBuckle
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A must-read for anyone interested in the lean thinking. It builds nicely on top of heavy-weight books about innovation like Innovators Dilemma and Crossing the Chasm, but it more of a manual then warning. As companies, big and small, try to be more nimble and start-up-like in order to stay ahead of the competition - read: ahead of disruption - the lean & agile approach helps orient planning and action. A lot of companies are on this path, now it is a matter of how successfully they can implement.

Ries' manual is an easily digestible read. I appreciate him assuming the reader has already bought in to the lean approach, which allows him spend more time on action than on convincing why lean works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Well written and very organized. Aug. 29 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book has lots of excellent information and case studies to back it up. Ries is an extremely organized and knowledgable individual. I'd never heard of him before but bought this book on a recommendation from a friend.

I would recommend this book to any manager or entrepreneur.
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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 9 months ago by Donald Keyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Converting established large batch focus to use Lean Startup...
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. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Eric Thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great Book! learn a lot :) love this book, all start up should read this book as well. Highly recommenced.
Published 13 months ago by djc
5.0 out of 5 stars mandatory for startups
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. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Oogie
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 15 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 16 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 21 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 21 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 on May 8 2012 by Michael Palmer
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