Full Review - Hacking Growth, Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown

Discover the secrets of super-fast growing startups in “Hacking Growth” by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, the pioneers of growth hacking

“Hacking Growth” is a comprehensive and practical guide to the art and science of growth hacking, the emerging discipline that has propelled the growth of startups like Facebook, Airbnb, and Dropbox.

Written by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, two of the most respected practitioners and thinkers in the field, this book is an invaluable resource for any business looking to accelerate growth:

  1. The growth hacking mentality : an obsessive approach to growth, using creativity, analytics, and technology to achieve rapid, sustainable growth.
  2. The growth hacking process : a rapid and iterative cycle of experimentation, measurement, and learning, designed to identify and exploit growth drivers.
  3. The cross-functional growth team : a small, dedicated and multidisciplinary team, combining marketing, product, engineering and data skills, and 100% focused on growth.
  4. Inspiring case studies of startups that used growth hacking to achieve incredible growth with minimal resources.

Ellis and Brown propose a systematic framework to implement growth hacking in any organization. This framework consists of four key steps: defining growth goals and metrics, generating ideas for experiences, prioritizing and testing these ideas, and analyzing and applying the learnings.

A key concept is that of Activation, the point in the user journey where customers first experience the value of the product. The authors show how optimizing this crucial moment can have a massive leverage effect on growth.

Critical analysis

“Hacking Growth” by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown is a practical and accessible guide that is essential for startups and scale-ups, turning their expertise into a manual for rapid growth.

Throughout the book, Ellis and Brown emphasize the importance of a data-driven approach and a culture of experimentation. They provide practical advice on setting up an analytics infrastructure, designing growth experiences, and interpreting results.

  • Anchoring in practice : The authors share concepts illustrated with concrete examples and detailed case studies.
  • Growth hacking framework : The process is broken down into clear steps, with practical advice, making the methodology accessible to everyone.
  • Focus on activation : The importance of user engagement and retention is emphasized, correcting the common mistake of focusing only on acquisition.

“Hacking Growth” is inspiring and practical, showing that exponential growth is about process and mindset, not luck. A must for any founder, marketer or product manager.

Things to remember

“Hacking Growth” is full of valuable insights and advice for any business looking to accelerate growth. :

  1. Growth hacking is a process, not a one-time event. It's a fast, iterative cycle of experimenting, measuring, and learning.
  2. Growth should be the obsession of the whole company, not just marketing. It requires a dedicated and aligned cross-functional team.
  3. Data and experimentation are at the heart of growth hacking. You have to constantly test ideas, measure results, and iterate based on learnings.
  4. Activation is a key growth driver. By optimizing when users first experience the value of the product, you can have a massive impact on growth.
  5. Growth is as much about retention and monetization as it is about acquisition. It's not enough to attract new users, you also need to engage them and turn them into paying customers.
  6. The best growth teams combine creativity, analytical rigor, and technological agility. They are constantly looking for new growth drivers.
  7. Growth hacking isn't just for Silicon Valley startups. Its principles can be applied to any business, regardless of size or industry.
  8. The key is to start small, test quickly, and iterate constantly.. It's better to do lots of small experiments than a few big bets.
  9. Growth is not about a single hack, but about the accumulation of small optimizations at each stage of the funnel.
  10. A growth culture is as important as growth tactics. A mindset that focuses on experimentation and learning must be instilled throughout the organization.

By integrating these lessons, any business can start applying the principles of growth hacking to unlock new levels of growth and impact.

Similar books

  • “Lean Analytics” by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz
  • “Traction” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Author Background

Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown are two of the most respected and influential figures in the world of growth hacking and technology marketing..

Sean Ellis is considered to be the father of growth hacking. He invented the term in 2010, when he was helping startups like Dropbox, Eventbrite, and LogMeIn accelerate their growth. Since then, he has advised numerous companies, from Silicon Valley to multinationals, and has disseminated his growth philosophy through his blog, conferences and books.

Ellis is the CEO and founder of Growthhackers.com, the leading online community dedicated to growth hacking, and is widely recognized as one of the most innovative and pragmatic thinkers in digital marketing.

Morgan Brown is a veteran of growth hacking and product management, having held leadership positions at Facebook, Shopify, and GrowthHackers. He is renowned for his ability to design and execute effective growth strategies in a variety of contexts, from start-ups to large groups.

Brown is a sought-after speaker and trainer, regularly sharing his insights on international stages and at top companies. He is also the author of numerous influential articles on growth hacking and product-market fit.

Together, Ellis and Brown are a complementary duo, combining unparalleled field expertise, innovative thinking, and a rare ability to transform complex concepts into actionable frameworks.

With “Hacking Growth”, they wanted to create the definitive manual of growth hacking, making this emerging discipline accessible to a wide audience. The book reflects their unique approach, combining analytical rigor, creativity, and an obsession with the user experience.

Beyond their expertise, Ellis and Brown are recognized for their generosity in sharing their knowledge and their passion for helping others succeed. “Hacking Growth” is a perfect example of this - a concentrate of hard-won wisdom, transformed into a practical and inspiring guide.

Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown are not only leading practitioners and thinkers, they are true pioneers who shaped growth hacking as we know it today.. With “Hacking Growth”, they are passing the torch to a new generation of entrepreneurs and marketers, arming them with the tools and mindset needed to propel the growth of their business in the digital age.


Do you have to be a technology company to apply the lessons of “Hacking Growth”?

No, although many examples are taken from tech, the principles of growth hacking (data-driven experimentation, user focus, agility...) are valid for any company seeking to grow rapidly.

Is the book suitable for growth hacking beginners?

Yes, Ellis and Brown made sure to make the concepts accessible even for those new to the subject. However, some familiarity with digital marketing and basic metrics is helpful.

How does this book compare to other books on growth hacking?

“Hacking Growth” is distinguished by its balance between strategy and tactics, its clarity, and its anchoring in the concrete experience of two of the greatest practitioners in the field. It is both a comprehensive introduction for novices and a valuable resource for experienced practitioners.


In conclusion, “Hacking Growth” by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown is an essential book for anyone looking to master the art and science of superfast growth.. With its unique blend of strategic insights, tactical advice, and inspiring case studies, it's much more than just a book - it's a real practical guide to navigating the challenges of growth in the digital age.

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned marketer, or a business leader, “Hacking Growth” will arm you with the tools, frameworks, and most importantly, the mindset needed to propel your growth to unprecedented levels.

An indispensable companion for anyone who is not content with change, but wants to lead it.