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The Lean Startup

How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
By: Eric Ries
Narrated by: Eric Ries
Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,028 ratings)

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Editor reviews

Learn the key to having a thriving startup in the crucial unabridged audiobook The Lean Startup, written and narrated by Eric Ries. Listen to Ries define the startup market and hear the reasons why so many startups never make it successfully. Ries points out important factors that are essential to get right in the first year of your startup. At the forefront of his advice is the fundamental ability for startup owners to be flexible in their business plans. The market is constantly changing and finding a niche isn’t always enough to creating a successful long-term business within it. Available now from Audible.

Summary

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.

©2011 Eric Ries (P)2011 Random House

Critic reviews

"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)
"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)
"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.)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Startups and product developers should take note

Humble and persuasive, the author highlights through his own struggles how he came to apply a lean manufacturing mindset to software development. What is particularly fascinating to me is how well this translates to all business startups not just to product development. Excellent stuff. @upfinder

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A mixed bag

An interesting listen. The content of the book is interesting, detailed and comprehensive. The case studies used in the piece are fantastic and in terms of gaining value from the book I have already been able to apply some of the techniques in my day job.



However, the only negative would be the delivery of the content. This audio is not something that you will look forward to listening to.. although you can see the benefit in listening to the book. It is similar to a child being force fed their greens. In the sense you know that their may be some benefit in listening to the audio but you would rather eat sweets or watch TV in my case.



It is worth a credit however, sample the audio before you purchase as the delivery may not suit.

14 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Not for me

Quite an interesting concept. However found the repartition of concepts, boring and tedious. The concept of iteration testing and batching is used in multiple titles especially in black box thinking which is a far easier and interesting read. The book is probably useful for technology start ups, but as an IT professional in the retail market, I struggled to relate. The only interesting concept I took away was the 5 why’s.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great ideas but...

Eric's vision is really revolutionary in terms of product development and marketing. The lean startup approach changes everything. Everything that was so drastically implemented and seamlessly integrated in the industrial era by blue collar workers and then, in modern (yet rooted in past) corporations by white collar workers.
However, Eric fails to explain his ideas in a way that very small businesses could understand, apply and integrate. Much of what he said was not (yet... ;) applicable to my situation as a small startup and hence felt boring/irrelevant to me.
Focusing too much on large, already established businesses or even corporations I had a feeling Eric with his great ideas has actually never left "the aristocracy" of Silicon Valley.
For that I have to search elsewhere.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

It has changed how I do business

This has completely changed the way I have recently launched two businesses. It is brilliant.

Be patient and the blocks will fall into place.

The text has inspired me to seek regular new business ideas to build and launch. I've started helping two friends already who have bought into the idea.

I'm not sure if it's a new idea, but it's the first time I've been exposed to the ethos.

A really good read.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Quite simply the best business book of the year

I've read a lot of business books (and also written one) and this is the best I've seen in a long time. It could just as easily have been titled "The Scientific Startup" but I guess that might have scared people off. It outlines a scientific method for planning and running a startup that prevents costly errors and ensures the entrepreneur(s) learn enough about their business and the market in which it operates to decide their next step. It's essentially about running sequential experiments testing the fundamental assumptions about the business (eg "will customers buy this?") in the quickest, cheapest and most effective way so the startup is a learning organisation (indeed that, rather than the pursuit of money is the point of a startup according to Ries).

This is the first book I've ever listened to, bought on Kindle and then bought the paperback so I can scribble. There's plenty of hyperbole around when it comes to business books but this is a radical, and much needed, shift to the way startups are run. First class.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

don't waste your money, poor quality book

difficult to listen to, terrible delivery, weak vocal. boring content, even for someone looking to understand more of this area. the content made me lose interest, even in an area I'm interested in.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ID
  • 23-11-16

Not that great.

Better for business owners who develop computers. Not so good for the physical product side of things.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Very Specific

What would have made The Lean Startup better?

This book is about a guy who made cash in silicon valley - its autobiographical to the point of being little use to anyone, unless they operate in the same field.

What didn’t you like about Eric Ries’s performance?

Very monotone voice

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Furiously made notes throughout!

I have recently been looking into starting a business based on an idea I have for a product. I've read a number of books on business, startups etc and this is by far my favourite on these topics. There is so much to learn here.

I thought I would need investment and software developers in order to make my idea a reality. I now realise that what I need is to forget those things for now and just get working on a minimum viable product. In my case, I can do some manual tasks and leg work with my basic premise in order to test my ideas and design approach.

If I do succeed in what I am developing, I will come back here in 2 years time and update with where I got to. If not, then I've still learned a lot from this book and the exercise of developing a product. The lean startup methodology means I don't need to necessarily up and quit my job or pour money into development before proving I have a viable business model.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason Comely
  • 19-02-13

Informative, mature but not original or essential

If you're coming out of high school and are scheming up your first (or maybe second) startup, then this is the book for you. You'll learn a lot.

On the other hand, if your a consultant, read business blogs and have launched a few products in your time, you probably won't learn much.

The narration is by the author, laid back but personable. He knows what he's talking about. He offers clarity and direction. The Lean Startup won't teach you everything, but if you are relatively new or confused, or perhaps discouraged by past failures, get this.

58 people found this helpful

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  • Razvan Rogoz
  • 29-12-12

8:30 Hours On Validated Learning & System Thinking

This is not a bad book by any standart. It presents a very good framework for building a start-up (especially useful for tech start-ups) and it delivers exactly what it promises - the lean methodology to build a business.

This methodology is based on adding a new critical metric to your business, validated learning or seeing what works and what doesn't. It's the opposite of "build it and they'll come". Instead it's "build the minimum product, see if they come and then improve it based on what gets results".

Most entrepreneurs employ wishful thinking - hoping or feeling like the market has a moral obligation to buy what they've built just because they've bought it. In the lean start-up methodology you don't take any chances and you use only real world data to see if your idea will float or sink.

The only downsize to this book is that after 8 hours, I've got about 3 good ideas from it. Yes, three good ideas that I've applied both in my personal and professional life but nothing more nonetheless. This means at least for me that the book could have been shorter, maybe 50% of it's current lenght. There are a lot of examples and after a time you are in a position of "yes, I've got it, move on".

As far as my experience with Audible, again, it was an amazing one. Chapters are a little strange in this audiobook (I'm listening it on a SanDisk Sanza) but overall, it's an amazing book for results oriented people. The methodology here can be used both in a business and in your personal life, so don't shy away from this book even if it's designed for entrepreneurs.

And as far as the lenght, do as I do, sometimes play it on fast speed. The narator speaks rather slowly and clearly so I can understand it even on high speed.

27 people found this helpful

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  • cfpb
  • 04-03-12

Some helpful tips, nothing mindblowing.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I don't think I would recommend this book to a friend. It's not bad, but its not groundbreaking or anything.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting aspect was the great tips Ries presents and even though they involve a tech company, they can be applied to any company. The least interesting part is the slow stories of his boring tech company.

Have you listened to any of Eric Ries’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not even heard of Eric Ries's before listening to his book. I have read

What did you take away from The Lean Startup that you can apply to your work?

Produce in small batches, test often using the right metrics, and make timely adjustments.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Taufiq
  • 17-02-12

A great read!

Every entrepreneur should read this. If you are in the product development field this is a must read for you. Eric Ries explains the best practices of how to discover customers for your ideas, how to plan/test/release your products to market and when to pivot. A must read for every startup organization.

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Zed
  • 11-02-12

Great book, fascinating ideas

What did you love best about The Lean Startup?

Really enjoyed the content of the book. Exciting stuff. Can't wait to put what I learned here to use. The author (and narrator) was very good as well. Very well read.I ended up having to buy the book as well. While listening was nice, it was the sort of content that I really needed to think about and ponder. While I thought and pondered (ok, maybe daydreamed...), the book played on. I found myself having to stop, back up, and play stuff again a number of times. For content like this, I find that reading the book is necessary for it to sink in. Your mileage may vary. :)

25 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-10-11

What really counts in startup product development

This book makes you think about what is the minimum viable product you need to get your product started.

We waste so much effort on so many features but what is the absolute minimum and how do you validate it against your assumptions.

Makes you think about all the things you did in the past, was it really necessary to build all that ... hmmm...

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jess
  • 23-01-12

Must read for any one contemplating a startup.

Would you listen to The Lean Startup again? Why?

So many minor but significant tips and tricks, it's hard to get it all in on the first listen.

What other book might you compare The Lean Startup to and why?

Listen to this after reading Getting Real by 37 Signals

Any additional comments?

The concepts outlined works best, if you operate in large markets where it take short amount of time to get a descent sample for your experiments.

9 people found this helpful

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  • None of your damn business
  • 23-03-12

Required reading for anyone who makes products

Would you consider the audio edition of The Lean Startup to be better than the print version?

I have a strong preference to Audiobooks, so I'm biased. They both have advantages, I'm sure. It helps that Ries performs his own words. Less gets lost in translation.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not that kind of book. My favorite Anecdote is in the beginning where the executive team is actually spending time prototyping the business in the field to test their thinking. So much time gets wasted in meetings and 'brainstorming' when you can just go and ask people/test your ideas.

Have you listened to any of Eric Ries’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really - this is the kind of book that you need to mull over. Listening to more than 30 minutes at a stretch makes it hard to digest all that's being said.

Any additional comments?

Its going to be a modern classic in terms of business books.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Maxime
  • 12-12-11

The simple and efficient way to get on the market!

What did you love best about The Lean Startup?

To me, the Lean Startup is about starting a business without having a complete product. I simply loved it even if for entrepreneurs like me, it's something hard to do. I always want it to be perfect but find out that I had problems in the past working too long on something that wasn't wanted.

Definitely cut corners and launch as soon as you can! Then, iterate often.

Have you listened to any of Eric Ries’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I listened to an interview on Mixergy and think it was also really interesting.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bruno
  • 10-12-11

Great book, listening to it again!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. The advice is practical and it is an engaging audiobook

Who was your favorite character and why?

N/A

Have you listened to any of Eric Ries’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

How to be successful as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur

9 people found this helpful