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Showing 1-10 of 28 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on November 13, 2011
If you haven't been reading any books or following blogs on entrepreneurship then you may find this to be a valuable read. If you already know about market testing, agile development methodologies, split testing, analytics and such things, then you really won't find anything new here that hasn't already been discussed for the past 5 to 10 years. In fact, I had to double-check the publication date of Sep 2011, since the book read more like a 2006-era book.

The two-star rating reflects my own personal dissatisfaction with the book since nothing new was introduced to me other than a label "The Lean Startup" which is somewhat of a misnomer. Much of the contents applies to fairly large groups either within existing organizations or as stand-alone organizations. Though some of the content applies to "2 guys in their basement", much of the content has a "larger" scope.
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on March 19, 2012
I was anxious to read this book to gain some insight into applying the techniques of lean into my startup business. With a greenbelt and a couple LSS projects in my background I've been excited to take the techniques I learned when I was an employee and apply them to my own business. Disappointingly, this book was not very helpful in doing what I wanted. The author never gets down to the essential facts, or if he does, they are so wrapped in excess words that I couldn't distill them. My first read through the book turned into a skimming because I couldn't bear reading case study after case study with so much extra stuff that wasn't giving me insight into what to do. I decided to give it a second go and read it again, taking notes along the way, to try and pull out the important facts. The author seems to have devised his own set of terms, which I was fine with, until it dawned on me that the "minimum viable product" the author describes sounded a lot like a LSS pilot project. That got me wondering about what other Lean Startup concepts were simply LSS terms repackaged. The whole concept of "innovation accounting" never became clear to me, in fact while I was taking notes it started to seem like a circular argument was being made concerning the what and why of innovation accounting. I again started to quickly pass through the remainder of the book since I didn't see how I was going apply any rigorous, systematic processes since nothing was ever clearly laid out.

The author's mentioning of the idea of getting started and learning quickly along the way was helpful for allowing me to see what I am doing with my business and accept that it is an ok way to operate. Unfortunately, after two readings I don't have much to take away and apply to my business.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I picked up this book as an entrepreneur with 2 Lean Start Ups of my own. The book title and its introduction spoke to my aspirations while the content did nothing for my situation. The author Eric Ries comes from the fast moving corporate world of technology upgrades and dot com bubbles where a business can fizzle in an instant or expand with viral ferocity. The Lean Start up concept is so common sense that the general public has had an awareness of it for the past hundred years but what Eric does is apply a language to managing those early waters. While I applaud his efforts and personal successes, he wasn't really speaking to the guy in his garage trying to make a better widget. His book comes off as more of a 273 page advertisement for huge corporations who want continue to innovate without risking their bottom line. I have no doubt that he has created a useful managerial engine for transforming a company who has gotten stuck in the mud but flowery language doesn't help the guy who just started a website, has a decent audience but can't figure out how to bring in capital.

This is book was written by person who long ago passed the start up phase and his teachings are for others who have also done the same. I think the title and introduction was a marketing attempt to capture a larger audience than the content can provide for.
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on December 12, 2012
I should begin by sharing my general disdain for business books - all of which tend to run off into something we've all heard/read before - or something that us practitioners recognize from a good/bad day at the office but nothing that will change the temperature.
I had higher hopes for Mr. Ries's The Lean Startup. Unfortunately, the outcome is yet another in a long list of forgettable "must-read" "game-changing" books about one entrepreneur's pathway to authordom.
I suppose all the books in Amazon cannot neither guarantee success nor provide a yellow-brick road to prosperity, but if you are marketing a book titled "The Lean Startup" you probably should begin by trimming the unnecessary and non-productive anecdotal re-tellings of one man's experience. Of course if Mr. Ries had done that we would have a pamphlet, not a book.
Nonetheless, we did come away with a page of notes and adages that we can use for our next presentation if not for a blueprint on actually starting a venture - and most of that was in the introduction.
If there was any scientific applications detailed in this book, I must have missed them as I nodded off during the fourth or fifth go-round about Mr. Ries venture (which btw, I never heard of).
Lean startups are taking place all over these days as aspiring entrepreneurs who have the determination to succeed find a way. There are actually many different pathways towards this goal, but if "innovation accounting", "validated learning", or "build, measure, learn" make you feel smarter, than go for it! Besides, these phrases will make great new boxes on your Business Buzzword Bingo chart. Mr. Ries opines that "everything is a experiment"; that would indicate that it's back to the word processor for providing any meaningful insights into The Lean Startup.
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on September 15, 2011
Having studied the lean start-up methodology in business school, I was eagerly awaiting this book to see what insights Ries would have for its readers. Instead, I found myself quite disappointed. The concepts that he writes about in his book (when to pivot, iterate quickly, testing) are readily available throughout many other blogs and sites. You certainly don't need to buy this book to get the concepts.

In fact, when evaluated against other entrepreneurial start-up/go-to-market/strategy books such as Christensen's Innovator's Solution or Steve Blank's Four Steps to the Epiphany - this book is actually very basic. For tech entrepreneurs - Guy Kawasaki's book: The Art of the Start is leaps and bounds better than this one.

Pros: If you are starting your company for the first time (specifically a tech company) and have no idea what you're doing, you can use this book for some basic (and repetitive) concepts.

Cons: Too much self promotion. Too much repetition of basic concepts. And boring, unengaged stories about companies that we read about all the time.

I'd suggest saving the money, doing a quick google search on "lean start-up", and reading some of the books I mentioned above.
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on August 2, 2015
This book has excellent concepts though they are hardly original or limited to startups. The key insight really is staying close to your customer and iterate quickly and systematically to their wants. In startups, you have to do that more aggressively not having a self-sustaining, established business. You have no product, limited resources, negative cash flows and only so much time left. Got it.

If you have limited experience with startups, this book will gives a few interesting insights. I was surprised how disappointed I was in the book given that it was so highly recommended to me by two people. The negatives:
(1) Verbose and sometimes scatterbrain
(2) Gimmicky
(3) Core concepts sometimes poorly organized, unclear, and superficially treated
(4) Lack of depth. Ideas not well explored and exposed
(5) No templates or useful tools (one exception) demonstrated

Loved the core iterative learning concepts, so vital and useful, but I felt this book was excessively superficial and self promoting.
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on September 21, 2014
I had two primary issues with the book. First, the books is written by a software guy for software guys and start-ups. I can only recall one reference in all the pages to a hardware product. So this books in not for anyone that is looking to create physical and tangible products. In fact, hardware is hard and my research hasn't found anything remotely useful in applying lean start-up principles to hardware.

Second, the focus of the book is on "what" a lean start-up is and doesn't provide actionable information. Diarrhea of the word processor resulted in a 365 page definition of a lean start-up, where it could have been boiled down to less than 100 pages (minus 1-star for waste...Distill it down to an A3 using Lean Thinking). So let me save you some time.

1. An entrepreneur is a person who creates a business around a product or service under conditions of "extreme uncertainty", and should ascend the vision-strategy-product pyramid. (Google: Start with Why TEDx - Ries redefines that concept)
2. A start-up is a phase of the entrepreneur's organization, tasked with the goal of reducing the condition of "extreme uncertainty", and finding a sustainable business model (Google: Lean Business Model Canvas).
3. Use customer discovery (class) and validated learning (method) to find a sustainable business model around your product or service idea. The validated learning method of Build-Measure-Learn is synonymous with Plan-Do (Build), Check (Measure), and Act (Learn) cycle, which as most people know is derived from the scientific method.
a. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
b. Measure using Actionable Metrics instead of Vanity Metrics.
c. Learn from your MVP and Actionable metrics and Pivot to improve problem/solution and product/market fit or Persevere.
4. Finally, use lean principles (i.e. small batch sizes, 5 whys root cause analysis, chief engineer, blah, blah, blah) to stream-line your operation once you've found a viable business model and are ready to leave the start-up phase and enter the growth phase. (Minus 1-star: As a hardware guy and having extensive experience in lean it's blatantly obvious Ries is just starting his lean journey and his last section (Accelerate) is superficial, survey, regurgitation of some of the lean tools and ideas).

Reference More Actionable Books:
Running Lean - Ash Maurya
Art of the Start (Ch.1) - Guy Kawasaki

Reference Free Material:
Steve Blank's Website & Blog
Simon Sinek - Start with Why
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on February 24, 2012
I became interested in this book when it was referenced in an article I read on a new start up. After reading the book I feel it's lacking on substance and is mostly filler. It does reference quite a few concepts that are not new but very useful. The end of the book gives a useful reference to several other books (not by this author). I would recommend checking it out from your local library.
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on June 18, 2014
Lots of obvious (duh) thoughts, no real or earth-shattering IDEAS, and lots of "filler" prattle in between. If you already know anything about business, you won't gain much from this book at all.
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on March 16, 2015
Also, he talks as if he is the originator of these concepts, yet he is far from it. Basically what he did was try to repackage Steve Blank's "Four Steps to Epiphany" with a new name that consists of the mashing together of two popular buzzwords ("Lean" and "Startup"). Nothing really wrong with that, it's great great banding and marketing for himself, but it doesn't do anything for you. Someone should rewrite this in about 10% of the pages. Someone probably has, as a blog post or two. Find that and you just saved yourself the price of the book and extra hours of reading.
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