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Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun Paperback – October 15, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Let me cut to the chase: Gabe Klein’s Start-Up City: Inspiring Private & Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun is a delightful book....Accessible, narrative driven,and with some keen insights for practice, Start-Up City is worth your time and your money."
(Journal of the American Planning Association)

"Cities are leading the change in America. Start-Up City gives a window into how to align all of the stars to make it happen. Gabe's playbook provides an inside look at how to integrate private-sector skills and processes while instituting strong, public-oriented management and governance. Start-Up City is a must read for anyone interested in making positive change in our cities."
(Ray LaHood former United States Secretary of Transportation)

"Gabe shows us the art of the possible. This book is not just another lofty call to build more livable cities. It is a practical guide on how to put people first in cities and how to move quickly from idea to execution."
(Carol Coletta Vice President of Community and National Initiatives, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation)

"Adaptation, innovation, and a commitment to getting sh*t done fast aren’t management strategies limited to the private-sector boardroom. Investment in our cities is mission critical for our future, and Start-Up City identifies a new urban entrepreneurialism in the public interest."
(Janette Sadik-Khan Bloomberg Associates; former NYC DOT Commissioner)

"Gabe's lessons in Start-Up City break down the barriers between the public and private sectors in pursuit of a greater city and citizenry. The elusive recipe for successfully innovating within the confines of government is in this book."
(Adrian Fenty former Mayor of Washington, D.C.)

"Start-Up City challenges cities to be more nimble and shows them how. Gabe outlines fixes for the disconnect between cities and the private sector. He mixes the simplicity of bike lanes and the wizardry of self-guiding cars with the sharing economy to paint a new picture of mobility. He brings an impish humor to the serious business of change. City-lovers everywhere should read this book."
(Martha Roskowski Vice President of Local Innovation, PeopleForBikes)

"Finally—the missing manual for the vanguard of can-do change agents who have discovered in their cities a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real, lasting impact on American government. What Gabe Klein has learned transforming transportation in DC and Chicago will be invaluable as future young leaders take on housing, health care, and other once-intractable urban challenges."
(Anthony Townsend author of Smart Cities)

"It is amazing that DC and Chicago gave entrepreneur outsider Gabe Klein the keys to the transportation bus. Now, in Start-Up City, he pulls lessons from the thrilling ride. Klein’s disruptive wisdom extracts management, communication, and finance advice from potholes, bike share, and a suite of innovative projects for change-makers inside and outside city hall. Klein muses on a future impacted by cars that drive themselves, but more importantly, advises how to steer that future toward the city we want to live in soon."
(Randy Neufeld Director, SRAM Cycling Fund)

"The collaboration between private and public sectors is vital for the future of downtown management, and in his new book Gabe speaks to how these partnerships can result in meaningful improvements for downtowns."
(Examiner.com)

"I loved Start-Up City for its witty writing, the lessons it taught and its amazing push of future technology at the end. Gabe Klein did an amazing job of distilling his practices, the elements that made him what he is and the cities he worked with, presenting them in a fun and interesting way…definitely worth of the short time it would take one to read it."
(Spacing)

Book Description

Part inspiration, part how to; learn how the public sector can get projects done quickly and have fun.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press (October 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610916905
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610916905
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Hamilton on October 14, 2015
Format: Paperback
Thank goodness this book is out.

Start-Up City – Inspiring Private & Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun is sorely needed right now. Cities are at the forefront of taking on addressing issues at the intersection of demographics, technology, transport, climate, housing, equity, and health, but are largely ill equipped to respond.

Entrepreneur, bureaucracy-shaker, futurist, and now author Gabe Klein shows us how to make rapid change that will transform cities for the better.

I met Klein back in 2004 when he led the then-fledgling Zipcar operation in Washington, D.C. He was different from others in the transportation space: he had a ponytail, he was passionate, he was unafraid. He didn’t take no for an answer. I loved that!

We struck a partnership between Arlington County, Virginia and his company to put carshare vehicles in the public right-of-way, as Klein writes about in Lesson #6: Bridge the Public-Private Divide. The easy way he teamed with his company’s rival, Flexcar, and coordinated with local government officials made me a fan.

As I watched his career move from Zipcar, to organic food in electric trucks, to leading the departments of transportation in both D.C. and Chicago, I always marveled at the seeming ease with which Gabe got s*** done (I’m using his term). He innovated and accomplished more in a few years at each place than his predecessors and successors combined could ever hope for. He inspired bureaucracy to action. I always wanted to know: how did he do this?

In his new book, he generously reveals the secrets to his success, much of which is rooted in his start-up private-sector upbringing.
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Format: Paperback
I recently attended the book presentation Start-Up City by Gabe Klein, former Director of Transportation of both D.C. and Chicago. The first thing I thought was: Wow this guy is pretty young – aren’t high ranking city officials supposed to be white haired? Second thought: That’s a pretty unusual book format – a small, square paperback featuring a colorful, fun graphic.

Probably everyone in the public realm, especially those working in transportation, have heard of Gabe Klein before. As I’m new to the space, I hadn’t. I was delighted to learn that Gabe was an entrepreneur before he joined the city official ranks , and that his experience of running a food truck business in D.C. formed his philosophy of how a city should interact with new concepts and ideas. He also was part of Zipcar and Bikexx, hence his love for new mobility concepts. Klein’s entrepreneurial life has greatly influenced his work as an administrator, and probably has saved him from being burnt out by bureaucracy.

In his book, Klein talks about how he applied startup thinking and working to running a (huge) city department. Chapters with titles like “Don’t be afraid to Screw Up and Learn” sound right out of the tech lit staple – the trick is that Klein tells entertaining stories of how he applied these principles in union-run cities and huge bureaucracies. Stressing the importance of marketing and communication for cities, Klein recalls some of his less glamorous city projects in the transportation department like filling potholes (after 10 years of living in New York, I’d love to see this project copied here!) He created a 3 month “Potholepalooza” campaign, in which he asked the public to take photos of potholes, posting them on the ‘See-click-fix’ website, with the promise to have them fixed within 48 hours.
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Format: Paperback
Entrepreneur, forward-thinker, and author Gabe Klein is dishing the dirt on how to get things done and create rapid, meaningful change in cities with a team of people. These changes will likely ultimately transform larger cities like Chicago, New York and Washington DC for the better.

It's a quick, compact and engaging book that takes you on a journey through some of Klein's most successful projects including: the Chicago Riverwalk, the Bloomingdale Trail and his many bike share programs. Klein also gives us a sneek peek into his success and provides a list of eight lessons and useful tips on how to get things done. There are lots of personal anecdotes from the author's personal experience in public and private sectors that I found to be inspiring and informative.

Overall, this book left me feeling hopeful about how wonderful the future can possibly be for my generation and the generation of my children. I think this book would be helpful for creative and innovative types of people who want to create better cities and change. Also, if you're interested in urban planning or public or private sectors you may also find this book to be useful to help you align your programs/projects to move things moving quickly while having fun. As Klein says, "If it's not fun, don't do it!"
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Format: Paperback
Great, easy to digest read. Gabe calls it like he sees it, and he has a special knack for identifying trends and opportunities. His approach to writing is non-pretentious, straightforward, and informative. This is the kind of book that is a good read for anybody interested in urbanism, planning, or technology, and is a must-read for anybody who works in government, elected or otherwise. In fact, I would send these to all of my City's councilmen if I knew they would read it. The book is easy to digest yet loaded with information that will have you thinking differently about the future if cities and what is possible. If you are still undecided whether to buy, just do it. You won't regret it.
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