Book Review: Business Model Generation

A few days ago Martin forwarded me an email about the book ‘Business Model Generation’ by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. I checked out a preview of the book and quickly decided that it’s worth to give it a shot and to spend the 25 Euros. I haven’t regreted to do so.

What is the book about?

‘Business Model Generation’ gives a structured overview about the single parts of a substantiated business model. It’s centered around a key concept the authors call ‘Canvas’. The ‘Canvas’ is a simple grid that helps you to structure and link the key concepts of your business model in a simple and intuitive way. It’s centered around the following blocks:

Customer Segments
Value Proposition
Customer Relationships
Revenue Streams
Key Resources
Key Activities
Key Partnerships
Cost Structure

What’s great about this book?

Well, what’s really great about this book is the simplicity of the ‘Canvas’ concept. When you read the book you’ll start to scribble your own business model on a canvas (in my case a napkin) near you right away. Using this concept makes it possible to immediately find flaws and parts in your business model that still need some love/work. Additionally the book comes with a great pattern and examples section for all kinds of relevant business concepts.

The bottom line and who should read this book

‘Business Model Generation’ is a great book to give you a few very valuable tools to structure your concepts and thoughts in a straight forward way. While reading this book I’ve learned nothing new about business models at all. You might be wondering why I still really like and recommend the book. I’m a business student and have founded my first company when I was 18, so I guess I have already a deep understanding and quite a bit background knowledge of business and product concepts. Also aspiring entrepreneurs have access to really great and comprehensive resources about important topics around business development (e.g. finance, accounting, HR…) these days. And that’s exactly the point why I like this book: It helps you structure your concepts in a very efficient way.

‘Business Model Generation’ is completely centered around methods, not background knowledge. If you already have profund background knowledge, go ahead and buy this book to learn the methods how to use your knowledge in practice. If you just want to get a quick insight in business model development, I’d still recommend to get this book. Just don’t use it as primary source when you start developing a serious business, but I guess that’s obvious.