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Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters [Kindle Edition]

Jerry Porras , Stewart Emery , Mark Thompson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Chosen by BusinessWeek as one of the top 5 books of 2006 in careers.  Read the full story at


Imagine discovering what successful people have in common, distilling it into a set of simple practices, and using them to transform your life and work. Authored by three legends in leadership and self-help — including Built to Last co-author Jerry Porras — it challenges conventional wisdom at every step. Success Built to Last draws on face-to-face, unscripted conversations with hundreds of remarkable human beings from around the world. Meet billionaires, CEOs, presidents of nations, Nobel laureates and celebrities — the rich, the famous and the unknown. Meet unsung heroes who've achieved lasting impact without obvious power or charisma. Famous or not, most started out ordinary. Discover how successful people "harvest" their strengths and their weaknesses, their victories and their surprising failures. Discover how you can find meaning in your life and work just as they did and summon the courage to follow your passions. Above all, see how they've sustained success for decades and you can too.


Foreword by Senator John McCain



Introduction–From Built to Last to Success Built to Last

Chapter 1: From Great to Lasting–Redefining Success


Part I: Meaning–How Successful People Stay Successful

Chapter 2: Love it or Lose–Passions and the Quest for Meaning

Chapter 3: Portfolio of Passions–It’s Not About Balance

Chapter 4: Why Successful People Stay Successful–Integrity to Meaning


Part II: ThoughtStyles–Extreme Makeovers Start in Your Head

Chapter 5: The Silent Scream–Why It’s So Damn Hard to Do What Matters

Chapter 6: The Cause Has Charisma–You Don’t Have to Be Charismatic to Be Successful

Chapter 7: The Tripping Point–Always Make New Mistakes

Chapter 8: Wounds to Wisdom–Trusting Your Weaknesses and Using Your Core Incompetencies


Part III: ActionStyles–Turning Passion into Action

Chapter 9: Earning Your Luck–Preparing for Serendipity by Using Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Chapter 10: Naked Conversations–Harvesting Contention

Chapter 11: Creating Alignment–The Environment Always Wins

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out–A Look at the Research Behind Success Built to Last



Biographical Index


Editorial Reviews Review

A Note from Sir Richard Branson
Richard Branson is best known for his successful Virgin brand, encompassing everything from a record label, a chain of music retail stores, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and more. In September, 2006, Branson agreed to donate $3 billion to fight global warming.

"There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions—in a way that serves the world and you. In this book you will learn from unknown and famous people—inspiring leaders like Nelson Mandela and entrepreneur Michael Dell—along with schoolteachers, scientists, community workers, athletes, artists, Nobel laureates and the Presidents of nations.

"From Bono and Quincy Jones to Maya Angelou and The Dalai Lama, they all challenged themselves to do more, be more and give back more than even they thought possible. Everyone wants success, but you can do better than that. This is an extraordinary book that finally reveals a meaningful 'secret formula' for success based on the lives of remarkable people."

Lessons of Lasting Success
Watch video of co-author Mark Thompson as he interviews figures featured in Success Built to Last.

Sir Richard Branson Jimmy Carter Herb Kelleher John McCain
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group
President Jimmy Carter
Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines
Senator John McCain

From Publishers Weekly

Porras, who co-wrote the original Built to Last, teams with successful life coaching company co-founder Emery and top executive coach Thompson, to interview 300 successful people, tagged "builders," to uncover the secrets of their winning life journeys. Though there's a good deal of wisdom here (for example, when faced with failure, builders "let it go not because they're in denial, but because they must keep focused on what they're building"), the book does not skimp on the platitudes ("losers call it failure; winners call it learning"). The early portion of the book overdoes the authors' excitement about the range and depth of the interviews, setting the reader up for disappointment in the long, less-than-profound stretches. The high volume of contributions, however-from Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Maya Angelou, Jack Welch, Stephen Jobs and a host of other well-known and lesser-known achievers-makes this book better suited for picking and choosing than reading cover-to-cover. Segmented into presentations on meaning, "ThoughtStyles" and action, lessons depend largely on common sense, a willingness to accept responsibility, and the idea that "pain or passion will make you good enough; but pain plus passion will point you to greatness."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 696 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 013228751X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (September 12, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000P28WEY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,467 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
It is important to understand the two methodologies by which the authors obtained the material for this book. As they explain, first they completed more than 200 personal interviews from 1996 to 2006; after analyzing the responses, they identified 21 broad topic categories that emerged from the conversations. "The strongest of these made it into the book." Then, with their manuscript already drafted, they tested their assumptions by creating a unique independent survey to challenge their conclusions. What they call their "World Success Survey" was made available online (on April 18, 2006) to subscribers to Knowledge@Wharton. More than 365 people from around the globe responded within the first week.

"This independent sample of data provided a comparison set and validation for our interview findings, and showed significant differences in perceptions and mindsets between respondents categorized as `successful' or `unsuccessful' in their professional or personal lives."

It should also be noted that the authors "overlaid an unusual time limitation" on the "universe" of people interviewed: a 20-year minimum. With very few exceptions, they eliminated those who had achieved significant success in their careers for less than two decades. The group was largely over age 40 and the oldest individual interviewed was 95.

Others will have their own reasons for holding this book in high regard. Here are three of mine. First, the authors challenge conventional thinking about how successful people stay successful. Those interviewed as well as those who responded to the "World Success Survey" redefine success. For example, that everything in life should be kept in "balance.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
"Built to Last" came out a dozen years ago and had a big impact on the way people in business talked about what it was they were doing. When you boil all its concepts down, it was about making active choices. Don't be limited by the existing structure. Don't fall for the trap of not being able to do what you need to do because you think you have to do something else. Make sure that you know what your core foundation is and preserve that while you are fostering growth with Big Hairy Audacious Goals and trying lots of things, and making sure that your companies purposes and values are aligned.

This book takes those same principles, and a few others, and recasts them into three overlapping circles of meaning, thought, and action. Where those three overlap is the place where the title of book, "Success Built to Last", lies. Rather than researching companies as in the first book, Porras, Emery, and Thompson interviewed 200 "successful" people. Some famous, some rich, some not famous, some not rich. They were looking for common factors in what made their lives feel successful to them.

Not surprisingly, it boils down to being active about your choices. Don't play by rules made by others, don't enslave yourself to goals you think others want you to achieve, and don't measure your life by another's yardstick. Down that road is misery and lots and lots of psychotherapy (with or without drugs). This book is full of good advice, good anecdotes, and helpful sayings about how you go about setting up your own life and your own success.

I would also recommend "Small Giants" by Bo Burlingham for more stories about people who found success and meaning in successful companies without following the "normal" path to growth, riches, and misery.

This is a good book and I hope it sells a ton. But that is probably a safe bet. Recommended.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Does It Take to Make a Difference? September 12, 2006
Almost everyone wants to be more successful. As evidence of that, look at the rows of shelves in book stores filled with self-help and success-related titles. But no one wants to be successful for the proverbial 15 minutes and then sink into ineffectiveness and obscurity.

Jerry Porras (coauthor of Build to Last), Stewart Emery (an important figure in the Human Potential Movement) and Mark Thompson (an unstoppable interviewer and executive coach) have combined their diverse talents to provide powerful insights into what has worked best for those who have sustained personal success for over 20 years. The book is one part methodology, one part great stories and one part keen insight.

Here was the process that led to the book. Interviews were held during 1996-2006 with over 200 high profile people who had enjoyed lasting success (CEOs, community leaders, professionals, politicians and small business people). For the most part, they avoided the geniuses in favor of people who built extraordinary results from more ordinary abilities and resources.

In early 2006, surveys were done on a worldwide basis with subscribers to Knowledge@Wharton to test the findings from the interviews.

Regression analyses were used to sort out the key influences. The results were used to structure the book's key conclusions.

What did they learn?

The key concept is that continually successful people combine meaning, thought and actions in mutually consistent ways that provide sustained performance.

Let me describe each area a little. Meaning is important because it ignites passion in you and others. Success requires persistence. Without continuing passion, it's hard to be persistent enough to be a lasting success.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Prodcut!
Good Prodcut!
Published 1 month ago by PARAMESHWAR BANDARI
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This book has become my favorite. It was consistently refreshing to read that creating a life that matters is something that we have deep inside ourselves and that not always is... Read more
Published 8 months ago by vinicio
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
Another great book to look at yourself. If you are not growing your dying and this book helps you grow
Published 13 months ago by Triad
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This book should be on just about everybody's wishlist. This book is excellent, stresses the importance of doing something you ove, and gives lots of advice on how to be truly... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Douglas Pancoast
5.0 out of 5 stars Success Built to Last
I have always enjoyed listening to successful people speak. Their insights and vision has a way of motivating me and to see the success they all have is differently habit forming.
Published 23 months ago by David LeBel
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
I had to read this book for a leadership class with the honors program. It was really inspirational and was a feel-good read.
Published 24 months ago by Devon
1.0 out of 5 stars The Success of Others
This book brags so much about the success of others such as Maya Angelou, John McCain, Jimmy Carter, etc. but offered no practical way to apply to your own life. Read more
Published on September 11, 2012 by Khem Sieng, MBA.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
This is a great book. I really liked it because unlike most books of its kind it did not try to sell you on some ideas or a plan or anything. Read more
Published on October 1, 2011 by Jordan
5.0 out of 5 stars Choc full of great information and advice
Not only did I enjoy reading this book, I will keep it for reference/refresher work and I am going to buy more copies to share with my friends and family.
Published on July 10, 2011 by Joann Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars How do you define "success"
Many people are success for only a moment, but not many people can stay successful! There are some true essentials that the high achievers wouldn't tell you, which you really need... Read more
Published on April 13, 2011 by Qi Zhang
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