Book Review Business Model Generation

By Zhenyu (Sherry) Xue – 2016 Mitacs Globalink intern at UBC

On my first day as a research assistant at UBC, I was given this book to start my internship. I’m an undergraduate from Wuhan University, majoring in Electronic Commerce. As a beginner in strategic design, I opened the book with excitement.


Business Model Generation is a practical and inspiring handbook for abandoning outmoded thinking and embracing new models of value creation.


The book is well-organized with five sections and an outlook. The first section introduces the Business Model Canvas with 9 building blocks for describing, analyzing and designing business models. The second section compares five business model patterns—unbundling business models, the long tail, multi-sided platforms, free models and open business models. Then comes the third section which illustrates six design techniques including customer insights, ideation, visual thinking, prototyping, storytelling and scenarios. The fourth section offers the strategy and the fifth section combines all the concepts, techniques and tools in the book into a generic process. And lastly, the outlook is about five business model topics for future exploration.


The whole book is based on the Business Model Canvas — a visualization that helps organize resources into a framework that can be shared, reviewed and refined. It is useful and clear for understanding and analyzing a business model or for comparing different models.


As a student with a business background, some theories and cases about business models in the book are familiar. But after reading the book, I come up with some new thoughts towards business model innovation. I realize that it is an unpredictable process that starts with ambiguity and uncertainty. Through the phases of mobilizing, understanding, designing, implementing and managing, it gradually focuses on a single point of clarity. The process is far more complicated than illustrated. Useful tools, techniques and approaches are needed during the process to have different perspectives and generate creativity for a new and innovative business model.


I like this book not only because of its contents but also the way that they are presented. The book contains rich pictures, diagrams, tables and colorful backgrounds, which make the contents vivid and easier to understand. The book is so interesting and attractive that I can hardly stop reading once I open it.


Link to the book:


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