The Lean Startup

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The Lean Startup
AuthorEric Ries
CountryUnited States
GenreBusiness, fiction, Entrepreneurship
PublisherCrown Business (USA)
Publication date
2011 (USA)
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages336 p. (US hardcover edition)

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses is a book by Eric Ries describing his proposed lean startup strategy for startup companies.[1]

Eric Ries applies science to entrepreneurship. He tells businesses, and especially startups, how to start small and simple, then grow through learning, testing, measuring, and rapidly innovating. And he advocates “just-in-time scalability”: conducting product experiments without massive up-front investments in planning and design. The book shows the value of actionable metrics for decision-making, and the importance of pivoting (changing course) when necessary.[2]

Ries developed the idea for the lean startup from his experiences as a startup advisor, employee, and founder.[3][4] Ries attributes the failure of his first startup, Catalyst Recruiting, to not understanding the wants of their target customers and focusing too much time and energy on the initial product launch.[5][6][7]

After Catalyst, Ries was a senior software engineer with There, Inc., which had a failed expensive product launch.[5][6] Ries sees the error in both cases as "working forward from the technology instead of working backward from the business results you're trying to achieve."[1]

Instead, Ries argues that to build a great company, one must begin with the customers in the form of interviews and research discovery. Building an MVP (Minimum viable product) and then testing and iterating quickly, results in less waste and a better product market fit. Ries also recommends using a process called the Five Whys, a technique designed to reach the core of an issue.

Companies cited in the book as practicing Ries's ideas include Alphabet Energy of California. Later more organizations have adopted the processes, including Dropbox, Wealthfront,[8] and General Electric.[9]


According to the publisher, the book "has sold over one million copies and has been translated into more than thirty languages."[10] It was also on The New York Times Best Sellers list.[11]


  1. ^ a b Roush, Wade. Eric Ries, the Face of the Lean Startup Movement, on How a Once-Insane Idea Went Mainstream. Xconomy. July 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Patel, Mitul (April 16, 2020). "Book Review: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries". The Bookish Elf. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  3. ^ Lohr, Steve. The Rise of the Fleet-Footed Start-Up. The New York Times. April 24, 2010.
  4. ^ Solon, Olivia. Interview: Eric Ries, Author Of The Lean Startup. Wired. January 17, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Loizos, Connie. “Lean Startup” evangelist Eric Ries is just getting started. Reuters. May 26, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Venture Capital: Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup". YouTube. November 21, 2009.
  7. ^ [ Lean Startup: Adoptez l'innovation continue ]. Livres Startups. December 22, 2022.
  8. ^ "The Lean Startup | Case Studies". Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "General Electric Wants to Act Like a Startup". August 8, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Ries, Eric (October 17, 2017). The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth (Unabridged ed.). Random House Audio. ISBN 9780147523303.
  11. ^ "Hardcover Advice & Misc. Books – Best Sellers – October 2, 2011 – The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2018.