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The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win Paperback – July 17, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 190 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

... a book that all technology entrepreneurs will actually want to read. Blank peppers his narrative with many concrete, realworld examples.; --TechComm The Technology Journal of Technology Commercialization Aug-Sept 2005

From the Inside Flap

The bestselling classic that launched 10,000 startups and new corporate ventures - The Four Steps to the Epiphany is one of the most influential and practical business books of all time.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany launched the Lean Startup approach to new ventures. It was the first book to offer that startups are not smaller versions of large companies and that new ventures are different than existing ones.

Startups search for business models while existing companies execute them. The book offers the practical and proven four-step Customer Development process for search and offers insight into what makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture.

Rather than blindly execute a plan, The Four Steps helps uncover flaws in product and business plans and correct them before they become costly. Rapid iteration, customer feedback, testing your assumptions are all explained in this book.

Packed with concrete examples of what to do, how to do it and when to do it, the book will leave you with new skills to organize sales, marketing and your business for success.

If your organization is starting a new venture, and you're thinking how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development you need The Four Steps to the Epiphany.

Essential reading for anyone starting something new. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Cafepress.com; 2nd edition (July 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976470705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976470700
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is required reading at our company - even for the engineers. Following its methodology, we were able to uncover flaws in our product and business plan and correct them before they became costly. Rapid iteration, customer feedback, testing our assumptions - these are all part of our company culture, thanks in no small part to this book. Essential reading for anyone starting something new.

---

Above is what I wrote about this book two years ago. Here's what I wrote on my blog, after having more time to think about it:

What is customer development?

When we build products, we use a methodology. For software, we have many - you can enjoy a nice long list on Wikipedia. But too often when it's time to think about customers, marketing, positioning, or PR, we delegate it to "marketroids" or "suits." Many of us are not accustomed to thinking about markets or customers in a disciplined way. We know some products succeed and others fail, but the reasons are complex and the unpredictable. We're easily convinced by the argument that all we need to do is "build it and they will come." And when they don't come, well, we just try, try, again.

What's wrong with this picture?

Steve Blank has devoted many years now to trying to answer that question, with a theory he calls Customer Development. This theory has become so influential that I have called it one of the three pillars of the lean startup - every bit as important as the changes in technology or the advent of agile development.

You can learn about customer development, and quite a bit more, in Steve's book The Four Steps to the Epiphany. I highly recommend this book for all entrepreneurs, in startups as well as in big companies. Here's the catch.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book. I have listened to the author speak, and while I disagreed with some of his hypotheses (such as startups don't need QA), he brings valuable experiences to his view on startups.

Since I am a direct target of the book (CEO of a startup), I was hoping that I would walk away with as many sparks as I did from reading the Innovator's Dilemma. Unfortunately, I found the book, for me at least, often struggled with getting the point across.

This book raises some very good points about the downfalls of waterfall process, and how the Agile processes for engineering apply equally or more so to marketing and sales. There are some excellent points throughout about how the CEO and other key execs need to validate the market and pivot in order to get to success.

But, there is certain snarkiness to the book that detracts, and I often felt that the material was extremely wordy. I didn't get to "aha" moments along the way. I often judge management books by how many pages I mark to follow up on, and whether I want my team to read the book. In this case, I marked two pages for follow up, but can't recommend it to my team.

There are some important pieces of information, but it is so much work to get to them.

The book is at its best when it is going through case studies, showing organizations that survived or failed, and missteps they made along the way. I wish the book had far more of such case studies in it, since for me at least, I found them much more valuable for showcasing the ideas.
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Format: Paperback
Every once in awhile you come across a book that changes how you live your life or in this case how you start and operate a company. For years people have talked about "Crossing the Chasm" as the book to read if you are building a company. What you didn't realize is that it takes a few years of hard work to get your company ready to cross the chasm. Well if you are looking for the book that provides the roadmap to the chasm, then this is the book.

What is amazing about this book is how it takes you step by step thru how to actually figure out the right product and market for you startup. It has actual steps to follow, something many books lack.

On the down side, the book needs a good edit as it seems to be a companion to the author's course at Berkeley.

All in all, if you got one idea that saves you making a mistake in the early days of your startup, this book is worth it.
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Format: Paperback
I really liked this book (a lot), and I debated whether to give it a 3 or a 4, but ultimately decided to go with 3 because it has some major problems.

First, the things I liked about the book are that it is based on tried-and-true methods from Steve Blank and many of the companies that he's coached, so the fundamentals seem solid. I really like the worksheets in the back of the book as well, so I don't have to go and reread entire chapters to remember what to include in my documents, or what I should be focusing on when talking to customers.

However; the problems with this book are numerous. I've ordered them from most to least important (IMHO):

- The book is heavily geared towards Enterprise and B2B products. There is some mention of consumer products, but it is inconsistent and insufficient coverage in my opinion. There should have been significantly more coverage on the differences of each step as it applies to a B2B vs. B2C product.

- The book largely assumes you have a team of people who already have a business plan written and have been funded. This is quite a bit to filter through if you're bootstrapping a web startup with two guys working out of a coffee shop part time.

- It is way too pricey for the quality (39.99 when I bought it)

- It was NOT PROOFREAD WELL. There are so many typos and grammatical errors in the beginning of the book, that I almost tossed it aside. It seems to get a bit better after the first few chapters.
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