My Startup Way Review is based on The Rubric.

I read The Startup Way by Eric Ries in November 2017.

Check out my Startup Way Notes for my thoughts, including my favorite quotations, associations, and takeaways.

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The Startup Way Review by The Rubric

SectionScore
Arguments67%
Practicality40%
Enjoyability35%
Readability70%
External ResourcesN/A
Rhetoric70%
In Total59%
The Startup Way Review

The Startup Way Review

Arguments

67%

I re-read The Lean Startup last month in anticipation of Eric Ries’s new volume, The Startup Way.

Eric is serious about the rigor of experimentation in startups, and I would expect that would make him serious about the rigor of his own argumentation in this book; unfortunately he fell short.

I didn’t find much wrong with his conclusions; just that their backing was a bit shy of sound, and quite shy of logical progression (see Readability below for more on the progression).

That said, I only graded the first two of three parts against the Rubric (the third section wasn’t relevant to business, and therefore not in the scope of an Entreprising review), and the second part scored much better than the first in the Arguments department at a 75% (as opposed to 60% for the first).

By The Rubric, The Startup Way scored “Decent” for arguments.

Practicality

40%

I’m considering writing a blog post as a warning to business book authors and publishers: Beware the promises you make on your flaps and in your introductions. You will be held accountable.

There was every promise made that this was going to be a practical book. Although, I suppose if I’d reflected a bit before reading this book, I would have realized that The Lean Startup promised to be practical and fell short of that as well.

I suppose the biggest disappointment was the second section, where in the introduction Ries makes a bold promise to show us exactly this and exactly that – but before closing the intro to the second he walks it all back.

The second section was more practical than the fist, however, scoring 50% instead of the mere 30% the first section scored.

And while not exactly a step-by-step guide, the ninth chapter alone is worth the price of the book. You can read more about that in the reading post.

By The Rubric, The Startup Way scored “Bad” for practicality.

Readability

70%

So part of the problem with the arguments presented in this book was their lack of organization.

Which also happens to be a huge problem for the readability of this text.

There was a loose organization at the section and chapter level, but within the chapters themselves it was easy to lose the author’s train of thought.

As I graded it in the rubric, “organization is too strong a word.”

By The Rubric, The Startup Way scored “Decent” for readability.

Enjoyability

35%

I am a gullible reader. If I enjoy reading a book, I will give it all kinds of credit it doesn’t deserve, including affording weight to the arguments it presents.

And that’s a major part of why I do what I do; grade books according to a comprehensive rubric so I can give credit where it is due and withhold it if it’s not.

In this case, it was the opposite.

It was actually painful for me to read most of this book, which would have made it truly difficult to award credit where it is due.

Which makes the rubric useful in another way.

That said, again, at 50%, the second section scored well above the first.

By The Rubric, The Startup Way scored “Bad” for enjoyability.

Rhetoric

70%

I use the rhetoric section to hold authors accountable for being transparent about that which they are trying to persuade the reader by writing the book in the first place.

That said, I took two issues with this text:

  • The book’s title is misleading.
  • The political undertones and timing of the book make me suspicious.

That said, I don’t think Eric wrote this book to sell you on his consulting – although, I think it’s a bit shady for him to have claimed not to run a consulting business in one sentence while almost all the rest are describing his consulting work for GE.

By The Rubric, The Startup Way scored “Decent” for rhetoric.

Total Score

59%

I did not see this one coming.

While I haven’t graded it on the rubric yet, I genuinely liked The Lean Startup, and was expecting to like The Startup Way as well.

Still, as I’ve mentioned now in two and now three places, I think the ninth chapter of this book is worth reading a couple of times. In fact, Eric, if you’re reading this, I request that you take some time and write a book called Innovation Accounting.

By The Rubric, The Startup Way scored “It’s a Start” in total.

Last updated: 6/15/2020