Book Review

Book Review: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Title: The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Genre: Business, Entrepreneurship

First Publication: 2011

Language: English


Book Summary: The Lean Startup by Eric RiesBook Review - The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.


Book Review: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries has acquired an iconic status among business books published in the last few years. 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 primarily with Internet-based businesses, but the concepts of rapid prototyping and quick pivots of business strategy are just as applicable for many traditional businesses too.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries 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. And 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.

“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”

From the Lean Startup perspective, the first goal of any startup is not growth, but learning. Most entrepreneurs work to extreme uncertainty – they are neither completely sure what their product is nor who they are going to sell it to. In this environment, learning should be the prime and not just any sort of learning, but a learning rooted in disciplined analysis and the scientific method.

Eric provides some really interested ideas in this book that are worth checking out for anyone interested in business and entrepreneurship. The two concepts that stand out the most for me were:

  • Vanity metrics/success theater which are a set of numbers that are used to prop up the view that the enterprise is achieving success.
  • This idea that we are ultimately operating off of assumptions and really don’t know until we do some testing to verify our ideas.

“A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is an essential book for all those who want to start their own startup or have an idea to develop it. Through examples of real startups, one of which is the author’s own, Eric teaches us to detect problems that we face in the development and growth of our startup, giving us tips, techniques and skills that will minimize the risk to develop our bright idea. Although it is a very specific book is highly recommended for all entrepreneurs and creatives.


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