The Startup Way review: Eric Ries's second book just misses the mark as his strong ideas get lost in management speak

Francesca Washtell
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Startup culture can be applied to big corporates and institutions too (Source: Getty)
The Startup Way

After writing the modern entrepreneur’s bible, The Lean Startup, it was natural big businesses would take notice of Eric Ries.

His time spent since passing on his “lean” insights to larger companies and institutions has come to bear in The Startup Way. The core argument that firms need to embrace entrepreneurial ways of working, by methods such as devoting resources to internal startups and even some “innovation accounting”, is something that firms need to hear.

Organisations bogged down in bureaucracy will benefit from his advice to allow experimentation, and even failure, if they are to stay ahead. None of Ries’ startups has become household names themselves (he is no Zuckerberg or Kalanick), but his skill is being the primary translator for Silicon Valley’s working practices, absorbing the methods of its success and bringing them to the rest of the world.

Added to this, the success of his first book and continued work in applying startup culture gives his suggestions almost unrivalled credibility.

Ultimately, though, the style of the book, which too often reads like a bloated blog post, weighs it down. His arguments are sound but too often presented in typical management jargon, diluting his wider points.

I’m also not entirely convinced he will go beyond preaching to the converted – many firms will think they have too much lose.

The Startup Way: How Entrepreneurial Management Transforms Culture and Drives Growth by Eric Ries | Published by Portfolio Penguin | £20.00

Read more: Q&A with Eric Ries about his new book The Startup Way

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