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

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  281,840 ratings  ·  3,965 reviews
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
Hardcover, 299 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Currency (first published January 1st 2011)
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Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
After reading Clayton Christensen, Geoffrey Moore and Steve Blank, I was expecting a lot from The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I was disappointed. It could be that I did not read it well or too fast, but I was expecting much more. But instead of saying what I did not like, let me begin with the good points. Just like the previous three authors, Ries shows that innovation may be totally counterintuitive: "My cofounders and I are determined to make new mistakes. We do everything wrong. We build a mi ...more
Andy Stager
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm currently starting a new church as well as helping my wife run a bow tie business. This book is about entrepreneurship, and its examples mostly come from the software development industry. Nevertheless, there was much food for thought here.


1. Put out a 'MVP'. As fast as possible, put out a 'minimum viable product' and see if anyone is willing to buy it. If you spend forever making the product the best it could possibly be, you may end up with a cool product that no one actually wa
Stephanie Sun
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
"The big question of our time is not Can it be built? but Should it be built?"

I wasn't too surprised to find that Eric Ries is a great writer: clear, intellectually honest, articulate, and good-humored.

As Ries readily admits in the Epilogue, the theories and frameworks promoted in this book have the danger of being used retroactively to justify what you did in the past, or what you've already decided that you want to do, no matter your industry. Its success no doubt has to do with its take cont
Adam Bradley
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
I think this book could have been effectively distilled into one of about a fifth the length -- and provided me with a much faster feedback loop on the ideas it contained. So consider that an example of the author not abiding by his own principles.

Another example of the book not abiding by its own counsel: in recounting case studies, he assures us that the case studies are "successful" by telling us about venture funding and acquisition offers, which seem to me to be examples of the ultimate "va
Aug 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: kobo, owned
As I read chapter after chapter I found myself thinking 'Great introduction to the topic, now let's hope the next one contains some real meat'. Unfortunately that feeling accompanied me until the end of the book.

Don't get me wrong, this book contains a lot of useful ideas if you are into entepreneurship: the build-measure-lean cycle driven by the knowledge you want to acquire, validated learning, treating everything as en experiment with its corresponding actionable metrics... but maybe I expect
Peter (on hiatus)
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Lean Startup is an important and highly acclaimed book for new startup ventures.
It is one of the core business books that revolutionised the business startup environment over this last decade. Eric Ries stripped everything down to the core basic principles of being lean and agile in response to customer feedback. This is not new but is collated and distilled in a dynamic yet clear structure. Of note is that the Lean Startup is heavily biased towards the software industry. While also
If I was reviewing the idea in this book, it would get 5 stars.

As a book, there are few problems. First, just stylistically, I feel like I'm being lectured by a precocious toddler about how to do things. The tone is professorial, to put it charitably.

Second, there is a bit of incongruity between a system explaining that you need to engage in scientific testing in almost Popperian fashion on the one hand and a series of case studies on the other. Case studies are, of course, the currency of busi
Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover
After initially giving this 3 stars I had to go back and give this 4 Stars. This book is amazing for those starting a company, those who already own a company and those thinking about making that move. Beware, this book is better in practice than in theory. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur and are willing to put the principles into practice, then it's worth reading. ...more
Brian Yahn
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's pretty rare for me, after finishing a book, to not be able to imagine my life not having read it. The Lean Startup is one of those books.

Maybe my understanding of business is unimpressive, but I am very interested in the subject and read a good bit about it. Still, I found this book to be enlightening. In business -- and in life -- we always have simple goals, like: I want to make more money.

It's easy to focus our motivation on making more money. After all, it is what we want. But what we r
Assigned reading from my job, last minute, in preparation for a meeting. I managed it, and while I thought it made a lot of sense in terms of concepts and ideas, and parts of it were very interesting, the writing sucked all of the joy out of it. The first third of the book repetitively repeated stuff by saying it many times, often mirroring previously said things but slightly differently, but... oddly without saying anything of actual information value at all.

The last two-thirds were better, mo
May 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
This is a massively important book that turned out to be much harder to read than I expected, and left me still pretty confused about how to implement much of the advice in the book. But I like what it did to my thinking, even though I was familiar with many of the concepts in the book already.

But boy, I sure do like Five Whys. I am so ready to have kids.

There are some really wonderful simple quotes too:

"management is human systems engineering."

"Our productive capacity greatly exceeds our abil
Nguyen Linh Chi
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Best book for start-ups. This book does not contain many fancy you-have-a-passion-just-do-it examples like other start-up books do. I appreciate the applicability of this book and recommend it to everyone.


1. Start-ups should focus on management, process, and discipline, which is counterintuitive to the conventional idea that start-ups should have a 'just-do-it' attitude.

2. Start-ups should develop Build-Measure-Feedback loop. Companies should develop a MVP to test market hypotheses. A
Christopher Johnson
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a nice book that talks as much about Silcon Valley style culture as anything else. A ton of my peers are in mid-career finance/law/govenrment jobs. The only way they stay for years is if there is some sort of inefficiency that keeps them there. The utility of the tasks they perform isn't much - at all.

I loved the ethos that Eric shares...When a new employee makes a mistake: "SHame on us for making it easy for you to fail." That type of accountability doesn't exist, we have a "punish th
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
While I'm giving this a 4 star, I really want it to be a 3 and a half.

4 because it's very motivating and there's a lot of valuable techniques in there, especially around metrics, different businesses' engines of growth, and running effective retrospective/5 whys meetings.

3 because it suffers from a lot of the "business bedside story" effect (see the halo effect for what that means) and there's a pretty nasty survivor bias, a lot of not quite scientific papers are quoted, and some of the "succes
Bülent Duagi
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Building block for entrepreneurs. Simple concepts with high applicability.
Ismail Elshareef
I started reading Eric Ries's blog, "Startup Lessons Learned," back in October 2008. I was quickly impressed by his technical acumen and the simplicity of his writing. I also enjoyed the breadth of topics covered and how engaging they were.

Needless to say, I was glad to hear that he was going to distill all his knowledge into a book, and now that I read the book, I'm glad to say that he didn't disappoint.

The book defines a startup as a 1) a human institution designed to 2) create a new product/s
Riku Sayuj
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jeevitha Pothini, Nishant Singh, Tarun Tripathy
Shelves: start-ups, strategy, agile
Ries is convinced that start-ups tend to be much higher-risk endeavors than they need to be. This due to all the myth-building that happens around successful founders. Entrepreneurs are bound to make mistakes, yet most startups try to operate in a way that avoids mistakes. Build a process that accommodates mistakes instead. Place your bets after the race more often.

He has a deceptively simple method to make this happen: Iteration. Don't go for the Grand Strategy - iterate your way to success. Th
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work
Much better book than I expected. Eric explains his mindset and his approach to product development and how to run a start-up, and he makes TOTAL sense. I thought I knew concepts like validated learning & continuous deployment, but reading through this book really solidifies these ideas in my head. These insights are really impressive and I'm hoping I can apply some of the ideas in my next startup. ...more
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
This book applies science to entrepreneurship. It tells businesses, and especially startups, how to start small and simple, then grow through learning, testing, measuring, and rapidly innovating. It advocates “just-in-time scalability”: conducting product experiments without massive up-front investments in planning and design. It shows the value of actionable metrics for decision-making, and the importance of pivoting (changing course) when necessary.

I found the book interesting, but not as eye-
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a software developer, I am familiar with the basic ideas on which Eric Ries bases his methodology for startups. They come from lean manufacturing and agile development methodologies, applied to the innovation cycle. The biggest issue startups face is validating if the idea fits with what customers want. He argues that applying the ideas of minimum viable product, split testing and small batch sizes will enable the company to quickly learn what the customers want, and how to change the product ...more
Connor England
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
*** Eric Ries in the this book is very concise and to the point about what he wants to say. He goes straight to the point with stories from his own and from others that he has interacted with. This book opens your eyes to things you may have not realized before. He points out what everybody is doing wrong and how you can easily correct it. Now some parts of this book aren't the easiest to understand if you have never tried to run a business. I figured out that the more you read the book the more ...more
George Wang
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I originally came across this title here: http://addicted2success.com/success-a...

After hearing about the Lean Startup methodology time after time in the startup world, I decided to give this book a try. Although I've heard of the basics concepts like the Minimal Viable Product and the benefits of quick iterations, reading about the methodology in detail provided a lot more context to these concepts and helped me gave me the tools that I can use to put these concepts to action.

The biggest epipha
Bill Harrison
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book has acquired an iconic status among business books published in the last few years. I was first given a copy at a technology conference in San Francisco last year and since then it seems that everyone in my business network has read and is discussing this book. For the most part this popularity is justified. The book dissects the current trend toward quick, low-cost start-ups that focus on action over research, and on making mistakes over extended analysis. Its applicability is primari ...more
Oct 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
It's a good book, and if everyone read and understood it I'm sure companies would be far more efficient at innovating.

I felt some of the messages could have been made clearer by improving the style of the book. There are a few too many terms like "Engines of Growth" that cloud some of the meaning. My biggest criticism would be many of the anecdotes didn't really do justice to the points Eric would later made.

Unlike many management books that hammer home their point page after page, The Lean Sta
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This was very readable for a business book. The main point is to use the scientific method and test hypotheses instead of making assumptions. I agree but that’s not a shocking new idea. The plus value is his exploration of the human factors that derail rational testing in business organizations. He offers detailed instructions for overcoming those obstacles. So this seems promising, but in the spirit of the author’s message, I won’t just assume that his advice leads to sustained positive change.
Tomasz Sabała
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In my opionion a must read for anyone working in any type of industry.
Parapharsing the author: "We leave in times when we can build anything we can think of, the question is what to build".
Gretchen Rubin
I've been meaning to read this book for years. Practical, informative, a great read. ...more
Fran Toolan
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Like most business books, the gems are embedded in the fluff. As someone who has run self (and under) funded startup companies for a very long time, it was good to see put into text what I've been doing all these years.

But, being under funded, and hence always seemingly on the verge of failure, we had no choice but to employ the tactics given here. We always had to generate some kind of income to keep going, so we couldn't afford to wait for perfect. We delivered the best we could, and innovated
Amir Kazemi
May 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was amongst the first batch of books about agile project management. The book first talks about how the author tried the traditional waterfall method and had done everything according to the standard protocol and still failed.

In the next chapters the book talks about the theory of agile , with an emphasis on developing minimal viable product(MVP) and first adopters. I personally gained a lot in the chapter about MVP.

If i were to summarize the main concept of the book it will be the f
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is one of the most popular books for startup for a reason. There are so many concepts to learn from throughout the entire book. In fact, there are way too many that I feel quite overwhelmed reading it. Coming from a technical background without any business experiences, I can't get all of those points straight away. There are pages that I have to read and re-read to understand it. While I feel so bad about myself and the way I approach my projects so far, it's also the reason why I lik ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Low resolution cover image 2 11 Jan 27, 2022 08:11AM  
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What are the best books on entrepreneurship in your opinion? 4 26 Dec 19, 2019 09:37PM  
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