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The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions . . . and Created Plenty of Controversy

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  827 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
This is the remarkable behind-the-scenes story of the creation and growth of Airbnb, the online lodging platform that has become, in under a decade, the largest provider of accommodations in the world. At first just the wacky idea of cofounders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb has disrupted the $500 billion hotel industry, and its $30 billion valuat ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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I love stories about these plucky little start-ups that make it big - it's like a modern-day version of the Horatio Alger myth or the Cinderella fairy tale. In the age of information, everyone's out to create the next big website or app, trying to find that niche that everyone has miraculously ignored and yet desperately needs.



AirBnb is one of those businesses that started out in someone's apartment and ended up becoming a booming global en
...more
Terri
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: travelers
Having just stayed at a Airbnb and running a Airbnb home, I was very curious how the American business model got started. Interesting book mixed with some dry statistics. Obviously a lot of research went it to it! The three men who started it, Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky, have changed the travel and hotel business forever.
Mishlaev
Apr 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Nothing new. Absolutely insincere. IPO advertising book. Short version of book: AirBNB is friendly and disruptive, hotel lobby is eval, founders are genius, everybody loves Airbnb, nothing bad should happen.
I don't hate the company, no bad feelings about it. But the book has nothing intereating.
If you'd love to read really engaging story about tech in travel company, read "Truck full of money" about Kayak's founder Paul English
Aditya Hadi
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
PERFECT TRIANGLE AND CEREAL BOXES -- STORIES BEHIND THAT BEAUTIFUL BELO

The story started from a room where two design school graduates, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, lived. They pursue an idea to connect room and house owners to random travelers or ordinary people. The idea sounds weird and crazy, but nowadays the startup has a US$31 billion valuation.

However, it's not an easy way to crossed for Airbnb's founders. They have to asked their mate Nathan Blecharczyk to leave his fiancee and join them
...more
Val Robson
May 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
There's an incredible amount of research gone into this book with plenty of data, statistics, quotes, details of local laws, etc. Personally I found it all made for a dull story wtih too much minutia. I enjoyed the chapters about people's personal experience of renting out their homes but most were dramatically bad so it made me wonder why people do it.

There was a lot of detail about the company's conflict in big cities like New York where renting out your home, or part if it, seems to be in co
...more
Beth
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Fascinating story of how Airbnb began incidentally by two art majors and a computer person and grew so fast. The company was brought to my attention by a daughter several years ago and now in 2017, I will soon stay at one of these online booked BnBs. This perhaps repeats their corporate beliefs more often than I would like to hear them, but a corporate entity with beliefs seems unusual in today's crass commercial world.

What is fascinating is how each potential setback was dealt with to improve
...more
Martastanley
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
(English version below)

"The Airbnb Story" pretende contar a fascinante história de como uma ideia simples se tornou num enorme fenómeno mundial. Toda a gente sabe o que é o Airbnb e toda a gente já teve alguma experiência, directa ou indirecta, com a plataforma. E foi por isso que decidi ler este livro e saber mais sobre o seu passado.
A jornalista Leigh Gallagher mostrou ser uma excelente narradora, tentando mostrar tanto as falhas como os sucessos da plataforma e dos seus fundadores. Para além
...more
Josh Laird
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Super interesting when going through the Founders' struggles to get traction; classic case of startup hustling and insightful info that they had no money so had to eat cereal but couldn't afford milk #commitment

Struggled to hold my attention after that.
Sonya Choudhury
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Last year at this time , we were living in Nicholas's flat. A living room full of books, with Victor Hugo in French. Pencil sketches of cats and horses on the walls. A kitchen and dining room with a polished mahogany table. Even our hard- to- please three teenage daughters were totally charmed. And this sprawling apartment , next to the Jardin Trocadero, for much less than the price of two Parisian hotel rooms . Such is the power of the famous 6 letter word in today's holiday and hospitality wor ...more
Lucille Zimmerman
Many people have heard the story about Brian Chesky and those rented out air mattresses that lead to a company now worth 30 Billion dollars, but most people don't know how millennials changed the hotel industry.

My history with Airbnb went like this:

*My husband and I were trying to find a hotel in Munich. I had the filter set wrong so it was searching during Oktoberfest and prices were outrageous.

*I started searching on something called Airbnb because my grown kids had told me about it.

*I daydr
...more
Kathy
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting book about how Airbnb got started. The author also delves into the reasons the company is successful as well as a broad discussion of the evolving travel industry. Recommended reading!
Toyin A
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Leigh does a fantastic job of telling the story of the sheer innovation and resilience Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk had when airbnb was in seed form.

She doesn't tell this story as a fairytale with a happy ending. She goes the extra mile by fishing out details otherwise not known and expressing struggles that are either relatable or hard to fathom.

One key lesson that stood out for me was that a broad vision does not come in one sitting. Iterations are required to capture and br
...more
Briana
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very well-told account of the Airbnb story. It's more personal than what's discussed in Upstarts. There's a portion in the middle related to the regulation that's a bit dry (but necessary, I suppose, given all of Airbnb's controversy there).
Gabriella Hoffman
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on creative disruption from start-up giant Airbnb. Well worth the read!
Franziska Nitzsche
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
it is very repetitive and not the keast a journalist's work but rather a long fan letter
Sameer khan
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Does a disruption has more chance of becoming more successful if it is accidental rather than strategic”
This book narrates the story of a company born out of a small inconvenience, founded by people who had little knowledge of running the company and with only one out of the three founders having technical expertise to make and run a website. It takes you on a rollercoster ride which is funny, inspiring and unconventional. It is the story of two “design” who take on the hotel industry in the mo
...more
Maxim Abramchuck
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
4/5: I think that nine years is still a relatively small amount of time to be put into a book. The book does have plenty of exciting details, but I felt that about half of it is more about "hotels vs. home-sharing" discussion than about the Airbnb as a company itself. I mean, the book is cool, but I feel that it will be much more to the story in 5-10 years. Worth reading though.
Benton Freeseman
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Leigh Gallagher tells the sweat-driven story of the founders of the billion dollar company, Airbnb. Themes taken away from the novel are: never giving up, always refining, and always be the hardest working man in the room. Gallagher uses Pathos to appeal to the emotions of the reader throughout the novel. The Airbnb story is truly inspiring, as we learn of the founders struggle to succeed. Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk show that no matter how significant the odds against them ...more
Evan Clark
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very inspiring and well researched account of Airbnb's creation and growth. Books notes (at back of the book) include links to some very interesting articles for those interested in delving deeper.
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Success stories are always appealing. What we now know as Airbnb started in 2004 with Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, two broke industrial and graphic design school graduates. Later their befriended programmer Nathan Blecharczyk joined. The three worked out an idea to rent out air beds and breakfast to make some money. This was the conception of what became Airbnb, now valued at $30 billion and on the eve of entering China.

The boys had the luck of a perfect timing to meet investors. The unique sell
...more
Darren
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is not so long ago that a couple of friends sowed the seeds for what would become a major disruptive element and force within the global accommodations industry – Airbnb. Less than one decade later this start-up has won a lot of friends and plaudits, whilst attracting a fair-few enemies and detractors too.

This is a fascinating look at a company that has, like it or not, changed travel for a large section of the travelling public. Even if Airbnb was no more, it is unlikely that the genie could
...more
Alex Devero
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Very well-written story of three guys who started one of the biggest companies in the world today. The Airbnb Story offers unique look into the history of one of the biggest and most successful companies today. Leigh Gallagher covers a wide range of topics from business to politics with personal comments from Airbnb founders and people involved in history of the company. It is important to point out that the whole story is well-researched. Leigh Gallagher did great job as a journalist and provid ...more
Sana Vasli
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great story, but such a young company so there is so little to tell. This would be a groundbreaking book in another 5-10 years.

The author clearly loves Airbnb and probably cringed at the idea of saying anything critical about them.

You learn about how they hustled to take off with clever PR strategies, risky market entry and desperate fund raising. If you are a fan of Airbnb, you'll enjoy the read as I did.
Jackie Brady
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is more or less propaganda, but I've been drinking the Kool-Aid for a while now, so I found it interesting. Airbnb sent us a copy of the book for being superhosts. I learned a few things I didn't know about the early days of the startup, but most of the info was expected.

I love Airbnb. It has been great for me as a traveler and a host. It has its challenges, but I hope the platform continues to grow and do well.
Mary Ellen
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly interesting narrative outline of the stand-up of Airbnb and as important the leadership maturation of its funding and business. Of particular value to the reader is the Airbnb vision that shapes the company direction and rationale in legal challenges. I found the "What's next chapter" (chapter 8) and City Host venture fascinating. In a way, I felt that the author bought in a little too much to the Airbnb vision to probe deeper into its appeal as a disruptive innovation.
Hannah
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cannot-finish
started off interesting but then really started to drag. I put this down a few times. I also didn't find it told me anything new, it's more of a collection of other peoples interviews and findings, which is great if you want to digest all this collated info, not so great if you've already read some of it.
Pks
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Smith
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The AirBnB story is fascinating in many respects. First, along with Uber, it is probably the best example of the sharing economy in action and successful, and many other companies are trying to replicate their approaches. However, this is where the similarity ends. Perhaps at first blush AirBnB might seem like a simpler type of business, but read the book and you'll see why many investors see it as one of the most complex and game changing endeavours ever attempted. AirBnB is fundamentally a goo ...more
Colin Marks
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read business books and blogs, so was keen to read this one - to see what hurdles the three Airbnb founders encountered, how their product revolutionised the travel industry, and what impact their product has had on individuals and communities. Leigh Gallagher's The Airbnb Story does address bits of the first two but it's very much a company manual, even the criticism is framed positively. The three founders are impressive individuals and have taken huge steps to learn the necessary skills to ...more
Gavin Felgate
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Airbnb is a service that I was sceptical about until a friend and I used it in January when we went to Barcelona. I was keen to read Leigh Gallagher's account of how it was started and what barriers it faced.

Some of the things I read in this comprehensive biograhy did not surprise me too much, particularly stories of Airbnb hosts finding their homes trashed, but I really enjoyed reading about all the controversy that Airbnb has caused, particularly the fact that New York's laws have prohbited an
...more
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Leigh Gallagher is an assistant managing editor at Fortune and cochair of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. She is a frequent guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe and public radio's Marketplace; appears frequently on CNN, CNBC, and other outlets; and speaks regularly on business and economic issues. The End of the Suburbs is her first book.

(Biographical blurb from the back of The End of the Suburbs.
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