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Scott Belsky's New Book: The Messy Middle
Available Now

The Messy Middle

Finding your way through the hardest and most crucial part of any bold project or new venture
Scott Belsky - The Messy Middle Graphic

Essential insights for enduring the lows and optimizing the highs on the journey from start to finish. 

Having been through the ups and downs of the Messy Middle many times, it’s critical to understand the challenges ahead. This insightful book empowers you to approach them head-on. Belsky’s powerful toolkit, based on hard earned experiences, is an essential guide to building a compelling product, revolutionizing an organization or growing your leadership abilities.

Inventor of the iPod, co-inventor of the iPhone, founder and former CEO of Nest, Principal at Future Shape

Scott Belsky is a master of generous work worth doing. The Messy Middle will help you see that you have more control than you dare to admit, and the ability to make a difference if you care enough.


Author, Linchpin

Starting a new venture is like jumping off a cliff and sewing a parachute on the way down. This book is the parachute.


Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Airbnb

This is required reading for founders. Experienced entrepreneurs all know this period Scott refers to as “the messy middle" and a few of us have worked our way out of it, but this is the first time I've seen an expert—both as a founder and as an investor—break down in such detail just how to endure, optimize, and make it through.

Co-founder Initialized Capital & Reddit

Building a lasting business is 1% idea and 99% resilience. The Messy Middle details the unglamorous but essential lessons every founder needs to learn.


Co-Founder & CEO, Rent The Runway

Whether you’re in the throes of a big project, starting a company, or leading a turnaround, it’s easy to feel lost, anxious, and alone. Don’t fret, you’re simply in the Messy Middle, the crazy ups and downs that are an inevitable part of anything worth doing. Outfitted with the right tools and insights, you can mine the volatility of the Messy Middle to build great products, teams, and leaders.   

As founder of Behance and 99U, Chief Product Officer at Adobe, author of international bestseller Making Ideas Happen, and early product advisor and investor for such companies as Pinterest, Periscope, sweetgreen, and Uber, Scott Belsky developed an obsession with the highly volatile middle of bold projects and ventures.


The Messy Middle distills 5+ years of interviews with legendary founders, artists, and executives about their middle journeys, along with lessons from his own experiences. The result is over 100 essential insights for getting through the middle of new ventures and bold creative projects, like:

  • How to accept and manage the burden of processing uncertainty.

  • How to short-circuit your team’s reward system to power through.

  • Why you should value conviction more than consensus.

  • Why innovation happens at the edge of reason, and how this impacts who you hire.

  • Why a mock-up is worth a thousand meetings, and how to present ideas without promoting them.

  • How to tackle “organizational debt” before it tackles your team.


Navigating the middle of every bold venture or creative project can be divided into three parts:

Endure, Optimize, & The Final Mile.

The book chronicles over 100 insights, rich with analysis, anecdotes, and actionable take-aways.


Leading a start-up team or a bold journey within a big company?

Contact 800-CEO-READ for Bulk Purchases


Making Ideas Happen

Overcoming the obstacles between vision & reality
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