Running Lean Book Review

This [Lean Startup Movement] is probably the first methodology that’s been crowdsourced. Big idea. Unlike previous methodologies where there was an author, textbook and take-it-or-leave-it, this is an iterative process and I think we’re all collectively getting smarter at a very scary rate.

–Steve Blank


Written in the same actionable style as 37 Signals Getting Real, Ash Maurya has supplanted the former as THE guide for bootstrapping and launching a web-based startup. If you’re building a new product and haven’t read Running Lean, take a break from your startup and go get it.

His advice could change your life.

The Book

Running Lean presents a process of discovering a market demand based on Customer Development, Lean Startup, Bootstrapping and his own, in-the-trenches experiences. He addresses the unsexy, tough, practical, day-to-day challenges faced by TODAY’S entrepreneurs.

Forget the generic, one-size-fits-all advice (e.g. “focus on your market!”, “follow your passion!”) typically shoveled at us by people whose good intentions exceed their experience.

Just as the tagline of his blog promises – practice trumps theory – Ash delivers actionable advice and opinions on question such as:

How do you know if have a problem worth solving? Who do you ask and how do you structure the conversation? Should you record it? Take notes? What do you do afterward?

Should I “just build it”?

Should you quit your job? Raise money?

Finally – I get it

I’ve been closely following the Lean Startup Movement since 2008: read 4-Steps multiple times, follow Lean Startup Google Group, started a Lean Startup Meetup Group in DC, read Ash’s blog, attended Eric’s conference in San Francisco…you get my point:

I live this stuff.

Nonetheless, I’ve found myself struggling to unify the theoretical basis of the Lean Startup movement with the grab-bag of tactics advocated by companies at various stages of maturity.

I kept running into “what should I do now” questions.

Running Lean Works

I decided to restart my work on ClaimAway (even though I was getting traction) in 2011 by following Running Lean from page 1. I’ve made more progress in the past 7 weeks than I did in the previous 5 months.

In retrospect, I was doing many RIGHT things at the WRONG time.

Running Lean has brought clarity to the issues I need to address today.

Like me, you probably won’t follow his approach exactly and will develop your own hacks and competing ideas along the way.


  1. kevindewalt February 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    New Blog Post: @RunningLean book review and my #leanstartup hacks

  2. Giff February 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    That is quite the review Kevin. :) guess I should pick up a copy!

  3. Bill Seitz August 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Could you give examples of specific before-and-after changes?


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    […] out of the office” — talking to customers to get insights. They’ve read Ash Maury’s Running Lean, Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, Jeff Gothelf’s Lean UX, and watched Steve […]

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