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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (6,948 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eric Ries Narrator: Eric Ries Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2011 ISBN: 9780307939845
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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 group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Ries shows us how to cut through the fog of uncertainty that surrounds startups. His approach is rigorous; his prescriptions are practical and proven in the field. The Lean Startup will change the way we think about entrepreneurship.  As startup success rates improve, it could do more to boost global economic growth than any management book written in years. Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
    “The Lean Startup is the book whose lessons I want every entrepreneur to absorb and apply.  I know of no better guide to improve the odds of a startup's success.
  • At Asana, we've been lucky to benefit from Eric's advice firsthand; this book will enable him to help many more entrepreneurs answer the tough questions about their business. Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook and Asana
  • Ries' splendid book is the essential template to understand the crucial leadership challenge of our time: initiating and managing growth! Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California and author of the recently published, Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.
  • The Lean Startup isn't just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business, it's about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to healthcare, and to solving the world's great problems.  It's ultimately an answer to the question 'How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn't?' Tim O'Reilly, CEO O'Reilly Media
  • Eric Ries unravels the mysteries of entrepreneurship and reveals that magic and genius are not the necessary ingredients for success but instead proposes a scientific process that can be learnt and replicated. Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or corporate entrepreneur there are important lessons here for you on your quest toward the new and unknown. Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
  • The roadmap for innovation for the 21st century. The ideas in The Lean Startup will help create the next industrial revolution. Steve Blank, lecturer, Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School
  • The key lesson of this book is that start-ups happen in the present—that messy place between the past and the future where nothing happens according to PowerPoint. Ries's ‘read and react’ approach to this sport, his relentless focus on validated learning, the never-ending anxiety of hovering between ‘persevere’ and ‘pivot’, all bear witness to his appreciation for the dynamics of entrepreneurship. Geoffrey Moore, Author, Crossing the Chasm
  • If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book.  If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book.  Starting Lean is today's best practice for innovators.  Do yourself a favor and read this book. Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo and author of the bestselling The Monk and the Riddle
  • How do you apply the 50 year old ideas of Lean to the fast-paced, high uncertainty world of Startups? This book provides a brilliant, well-documented, and practical answer. It is sure to become a management classic. Don Reinertsen, author of The Principles of Product Development Flow
  • “Every entrepreneur responsible for innovation within their organization should read this book. It entertainingly and meticulously develops a rigorous science for the innovation process through the methodology of “lean thinking”.  This methodology provides novel and powerful tools for companies to improve the speed and efficiency of their innovation processes through minimum viable products, validated learning, innovation accounting, and actionable metrics. These tools will help organizations large and small to sustain innovation by effectively leveraging the time, passion, and skill of their talent pools. Andrea Goldsmith, professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and cofounder of several startups
    “Business is too important to be left to luck.  Eric reveals the rigorous process that trumps luck in the invention of new products and new businesses.  We've made this a centerpiece of how teams work in my company . . . it works!  This book is the guided tour of the key innovative practices used inside Google, Toyota, and Facebook, that work in any business.
  • The Lean Startup is a foundational must-read for founders, enabling them to reduce product failures by bringing structure and science to what is usually informal and an art.  It provides actionable ways to avoid product-learning mistakes, rigorously evaluate early signals from the market through validated learning, and decide whether to persevere or to pivot, all challenges that heighten the chance of entrepreneurial failure. Professor Noam Wasserman, Harvard Business School
  • One of the best and most insightful new books on entrepreneurship and management I’ve ever read.  Should be required reading not only for the entrepreneurs that I work with, but for my friends and colleagues in various industries who have inevitably grappled with many of the challenges that The Lean Startup addresses. Eugene J. Huang, Partner, True North Venture Partners
  • What would happen if businesses were built from the ground up to learn what their customers really wanted? The Lean Startup is the foundation for reimagining almost everything about how work works. Don't let the word startup in the title confuse you. This is a cookbook for entrepreneurs in organizations of all sizes. Roy Bahat, President, IGN Entertainment
  • Every founding team should stop for 48 hours and read Lean Startup. Seriously stop and read this book now. Scott Case, CEO Startup America Partnership
  • In business, a ‘lean’ enterprise is sustainable efficiency in action. Eric Ries’ revolutionary Lean Startup method will help bring your new business idea to an end result that is successful and sustainable. You’ll find innovative steps and strategies for creating and managing your own startup while learning from the real-life successes and collapses of others. This book is a must read for entrepreneurs who are truly ready to start something great! Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The One Minute Entrepreneur
  • "The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic, and Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them. Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable. Expect to get it wrong, and stay flexible (and solvent) enough to try again and again until you get it right. It’s a message that rings true to grizzled startup vets who got burned in the Great Bubble and to young filmgoers who left The Social Network with visions of young Zuckerberg dancing in their heads. It resonates with Web entrepreneurs blessed with worldwide reach and open source code. It’s the perfect philosophy for an era of limited resources, when the noun optimism is necessarily preceded by the adjective cautious. Wired

  • I make all our managers read The Lean Startup. Jeffery Immelt, CEO, General Electric
  • Eric has created a science where previously there was only art.  A must read for every serious entrepreneur—and every manager interested in innovation. Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, Opsware Inc. and Netscape
  • This book should be mandatory reading for entrepreneurs, and the same goes for managers who want better entrepreneurial instincts. Ries’s book is loaded with fascinating stories—not to mention countless practical principles you’ll dearly wish you’d known five years ago. Dan Heath, co-author of Switch and Made to Stick

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 6/29/2017

    " As someone who has little management experience it's hard to know how effective the ideas from this book will be in practice. That said, I plan to use many of them in the future as they do seem useful. Unfortunately, the evidence for the effectiveness of the ideas is almost entirely anecdotal. This isn't addressed until the last chapter where Ries proposes experimentally testing the methodology. While this irks me a little, I think there is still great value in learning from Ries's experience. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Briana Myricks | 2/20/2014

    " Started off strong, got a bit repetitive and fizzled out toward the end. Saw a lot of the stories/examples as filler. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abram Sirignano | 2/13/2014

    " Rigorous entrepreneurialism requires facts, not faith. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brandon Carlson | 2/12/2014

    " Good book for startups and enterprises alike. Lots of useful quotes and stories, and I did not feel like it was a pitch for his consulting although others have gotten that impression. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 loafingcactus | 2/10/2014

    " Extraordinarily practical guide to applying management to product development issues which have historically been viewed as squishy and unmanageable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brentley Campbell | 1/27/2014

    " Fantastic. My first audible since the summer. A great book for any entrepreneur or businessman. Ries really helped to inspire me and to put me in the right direction in how to manage ventures. It will be great to see how the strategy works out. A MUST READ "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julian R. | 1/21/2014

    " Meh. While I appreciate the concept of "lean startup" it seems it's become an overused buzzword and marketing ploy to sell books, conference attendance, and waste countless hours trying to adapt to someone else's perfected methodology. From the most pessimistic point of view you could say these types of books are written by charlatans who speak in absolutes about their credo and create hype machines. So much time goes in to writing about lean startups, and blogging about lean startups I wonder how much time is left to run lean startups? Not all bad, as I did enjoy many of the ideas about lean launching and testing, but overall this type of shit is not my cup of tea. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michelle | 1/21/2014

    " There were some great ideas in this book, but I did not think the writing was done very well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A | 1/14/2014

    " From my personal experience, you should focus on the first half of the book. the rest is pretty much boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chad Kohalyk | 11/27/2013

    " Very provocative. I usually only give 5 stars to books that I know I will read again. This book is a conversation in philosophy. Each time you return to it, you mine new nuggets of understanding. I will pick it up again for another read in about 6 months. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn Stewart | 11/26/2013

    " This book was a great read - also a good reference and refresher. If you don't have imagination and can't dream about the possible - this book is not for you. Enjoy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick Austin | 11/1/2013

    " Fantastic approach to creating innovation in new companies or invigorating an existing company. Not a theoretical book, based upon real-world experiences and a ton of examples from innovative companies. A must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy Tischaefer | 10/16/2013

    " I really love the ideas. I am going to go apply some of them in my job now. I have some problems with the examples because I don't think they always do a great job of proving his points. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harsh | 8/8/2013

    " great books for those who are out there in the process of starting up thier venture. Hope to use this ideas and technique soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon C. | 7/21/2013

    " Excellent overview of the lean principles and how they have been applied in real life cases. I would have enjoyed more breakdown on how to track the projects and how the principles can be used for project planning as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ty | 3/8/2013

    " The ideas here are helpful, but sometimes it was difficult to sort out which things were principles that apply to all startups and which were tactics that have only specific application. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Grant | 1/12/2013

    " It's a must read for startup types and entrepreneurs alike. I'm sure there are other books that cover the same material that are more entertaining to read. Regardless, learn this stuff and use it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bruce | 10/6/2012

    " Very good book on business management. Describes scientific methods that can be used to make business decisions. Great real world examples of learning from failure, using agile/lean methods, and using data to make hard decisions that pay off. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Stern | 9/24/2012

    " Great book even just to get introduced to modern startup culture and best practices. Easy to understand and lots of actionable advice that can apply to just about any industry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben Linders | 8/16/2012

    " Great book with lots of ideas to really connect to your customers! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ray Martin | 5/17/2012

    " This is a synthesis of Eric Ries experiences on starting up companies and guiding them though change. Each chapter could be a book in itself. It's a chalenging read packed full of information but well worth the effort "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dennis | 4/6/2012

    " I give it 5 stars as a book of it's kind, since there are so few. Overall thought it had a few good nuggets of wisdom but got really repetitive. I recommend reading the cliffs notes to this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 StartUp FASHION | 2/12/2012

    " This book was great. It will become a desktop staple for its lessons on how to approach business in a smart and lean way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chad | 11/3/2011

    " If you are looking to start a company I'd recommend this book. If your looking to add additional tools to your agile toolkit, I'd recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Enrico | 10/28/2011

    " One of the best technology information books to date. Reading this can help avoid many pitfalls that technology startups face "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick | 10/12/2011

    " Fantastic approach to creating innovation in new companies or invigorating an existing company. Not a theoretical book, based upon real-world experiences and a ton of examples from innovative companies. A must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christoffer | 10/8/2011

    " An absolute read for anyone involved in developing a product "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tudor | 10/5/2011

    " Good principles, but a large number of poorly chosen stories or anecdotes to drive points in the book. Also, I think Ries is trying to hard to make this a general approach to all kinds of entrepreneurship. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 10/2/2011

    " About 100 pages too long, but has some great ideas otherwise "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 9/20/2011

    " i liked this, and fully agree with most of it, but thought it not quite as good as its predecessor - 'the four steps to the epiphany'.


  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harish | 9/19/2011

    " A solid crystallization of lean startup principles. Heavily dog-eared. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darrin | 9/18/2011

    " 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Not bad, not really my realm of expertise so it was a little slow at times. I thought it was a little too hyped also. "

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About the Author
Author Eric Ries

ERIC RIES is an entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned. He co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup,  and has had plenty of startup failures along the way. He is a frequent speaker at business events, has advised a number of startups, large companies, and venture capital firms on business and product strategy, and is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. His Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, the Huffington Post, and many blogs. He lives in San Francisco.