Book review: The Airbnb Story, by Leigh Gallagher

By Susan March 26, 2018 13:05

Book review: The Airbnb Story, by Leigh Gallagher

Can you believe that last week-end, I slept in an AirBnB for the very first time? Yes, in 2018! That’s because today, I’m reviewing The Airbnb Story by Leigh Gallagher, and so I had to see for myself. I’ve been following Airbnb since the very beginning with immense interest, though: what Brian Chesky and his co-founders have achieved is no mean feat and it’s an inspiration to entrepreneurs all over the world.

Find it in Easons or Dubray Books.

Watch the book review below.

My book review of “The AirBnB Story” by Leigh Gallagher

Posted by Susan Hayes "The Positive Economist" on Sunday, March 25, 2018


The Airbnb Story: How to Disrupt an Industry, Make Billions of Dollars … and Plenty of Enemies, Leigh Gallagher, Virgin Books, 2018.

Last year, I wrote a dissertation on the sharing economy for my Masters’ degree. Airbnb was of course at the forefront of my mind the whole time, as it’s one of the two best-known companies in this sector. Observers have been fascinated to see how a business went from goofy idea (complete with air mattresses) to startup to a company that has the potential to list on the stock market to the tune of billions of dollars – and the controversies that have arisen around the company are also a testament to how powerful the concept is.

The Airbnb Story is a wonderful close-up and a very revealing look into one of the most famous startups in the world.

What I particularly liked about the book is that Leigh Gallagher focuses on the people: the founders themselves, but also the hosts and guests – all the human beings who make Airbnb what it is. She spoke to many people and as a result the book is not done from a distance, as a dry history, but comes alive with the insights and stories of the Airbnb stakeholders.

And not only is the book riveting, it’s also an extremely useful business manual, too. It takes a very honest look at what mistakes were made, and how they were overcome. It brought to mind something I heard Carmel McKinney say: “Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo”. Carmel is the Chair of NIFRS (Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service).

The Airbnb Story also offers a salutary reminder that growth and scale come with their own challenges. Entrepreneurs and business owners, myself included, love growth, want to see it happen, want it to happen faster – but the book shows you all the challenges that come with that, how greater success brings its own greater risk exposures and how everybody soon begins to take note of what you’re doing and how it affects them.

I kept having lightbulb moments as the book is a treasure trove of very practical business insights.

It’s truly a business masterclass for those who want to build community, who want to scale and blaze a trail.

Watch the video on my Facebook page.

Interested in productivity, business growth, innovation? Watch more book reviews here.

Positive Economist

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By Susan March 26, 2018 13:05