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on June 20, 2017
This book has been on my list for quite a while and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long! Jim Collins and his team provide some fantastic insights that aren't just based upon a popular fad opinion, but are actually backed up by studies.

If you are a leader or desire to be one, this is a must read. He speaks to much more than just trends, but to actual character. As a fairly charismatic person, I found it interesting to see some of the downsides of charisma. I really appreciated his approach to discussing the power of clarity and consistency.

Now that I've read the book, I see it's themes running through so many other books like, "Start With Why". This is a classic and I can not recommend it highly enough.
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on May 15, 2017
Good to Great by Jim Collins is a compelling and informative book about how to be successful, and how to stay successful. The theme of success is shown through 11 companies who start out less or equal to share-market value, then sky rocket to a substantial increase becoming a “great” company, which in terms of Collins, at least three times the market over a consistent span of 15 years. By using a consistent level of market value increase as an indicator for success, the word “Great” used in this book has minimal bias and maximum meaning to the word itself; it’s not just someone’s opinion of just saying, ‘Oh yeah. My company is great!’ This book was written in 2001, so in between then and 2017, there are a few companies that decline from greatness after being written and proclaimed great in this book; I am very interested to see why some of Collins’ companies that were great, turn back into mediocre and bankrupt companies. Although there are some failed companies after being deemed great, the credibility and accuracy of the results found within Collins’ research remain true.
This book is very well laid out, divided into easy to follow chapters that flow one right into the other; I found myself reading over 20 pages at a time without noticing until I took a break! Collins establishes the framework of success through three stages known as: disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action. Within each of these stages comes two key concepts that build off of each other: Level 5 Leadership, First Who Then What, Confront the Brutal Facts, The Hedgehog Concept, Culture of Discipline, and Technology Accelerators.
Collins does not shy away from starting off strong in his book, saying “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice” (pg. 11). I found this quote profound because I believe that in order to make something more than just mediocre, one must be in an above-mediocre mindset. As an Industrial Engineer, I feel the need to have this mindset of greatness, in order to not only make a product, system, or company good, but GREAT. There are multiple layers found within this book where I could relate many of these proposed tools for a great company into using these tools to gauge for a great life. Even if you are not an Industrial Engineer, or any type of engineer for the matter, not an entrepreneur striving for success, not a CEO of a business trying to take a leap of faith into a huge growth of progress, I believe this book is still a GREAT read for any person! There are numerous lessons within this book that can be relatable to not only business, but everyday life. There is a whole chapter dedicated to figuring out who the right people should be going along with a company, then figuring out where to go with the company; First Who Then What. The First Who Then What shows why setting the correct priorities in any situation is important, and can be related to everyday life by knowing who to let into your life that will help you grow, and who to let go of; once you have the right “team” in your life, then you can figure out What you want to accomplish. Once the tools of greatness has been addressed, Collins completes his book by encouraging the reader to find greatness in all parts of one’s life; “As your work moves to greatness, so does your life,” (pg. 210).
For these reasons already stated, I would highly recommend others to adapt a culture of discipline (also a main idea from the book) to read and get acquainted with Good to Great and keep their passions and lives GREAT.
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on October 16, 2017
This is the first business book I've ever read, so I'm not very famillar with the genre, but I enjoyed this. I am not interested in being a CEO or anything like that, but I liked this book because many of the concepts talked about can be applied to my own life. I saw this as more of a general self improvement book that used businesses as examples of concepts, rather than a book solely about business.
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on November 26, 2012
This book was the main focus of a class I took. We take for granted the products and services that many companies provide and pay little attention when these companies fail. Most of all we don't pay attention to the very basic ideas that cause a company to fail. It is obvious that the authors put in a great deal of effort in picking and analyzing these companies. I thought it was a great read and has many ideas that companies should and could benefit from.

For our class we had to interview a top level executive of a local company. This was during the deepest part of the recession and many companies were going through very trying times. We were able to interview a second generation President of a very large steel company. The first thing he told us when we sat down was that he had read the book in graduate school and tries to apply these ideas every day. The scheduled one hour interview went on for 4 hours. He had an amazing amount of information on the real world application of the concept and ideas of the book and it really showed me that this book has some great ideas that many companies could benefit from. He really spelled out the foundation of his company and how it has benefited from the ideas provided in the book. Determining his niche, finding the right people and putting them in the right spot, the hedgehog concept, etc. were all contributed to his success and ability to ride out the recession. I highly recommend this book.
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on April 22, 2013
"I never stopped trying to become qualified for the job."

I first learned about Jim Collins at the annual Global Leadership Conference organized by the Willow Creek Association. Though he was promoting a different book, I heard only incredible things about his work Good to Great and at the conference I was fascinated with his understanding of how people and businesses thrive.

When I first picked up this book, I was expecting Collins to survey some of the best companies in the nation and tell me a few things these companies have in common. What I did not expect was a thoroughly academically researched investigation into the differences between a good company and a great company.

Collins (and his team) systematically walks us through six stages every great works through to move from good to great: Level 5 Leadership, First Who...Then What, Confront the Brutal Facts, The Hedgehog Concept, A Culture of Discipline, and Technology Accelerators. Each stage is so amazingly simple that you feel almost foolish for not knowing it yet each stage is also so profound you wonder how you could ever accomplish it.

I really think anyone trying to start a business, save a business, build a charity, or just organize something can benefit from this book. It takes all the complicated issues one can have managing an organization into simple practical words. This is a great book, I look forward to reading Jim Collins other works.

"What works makes you feel compelled to try to create greatness?"
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on July 27, 2015
As someone who is finishing his undergraduate career, I found this monologue not only to be inspiring, but also helpful as I prepare to enter the workforce. I am interested in becoming involved in or starting a nonprofit, and I don’t think I could’ve gotten the concepts offered in this book anywhere else. In short, I felt empowered. In the monograph, Collins wrote that over the years he recognized that many business leaders entered into the social sector only to encounter failure. Seeking to solve this, he researched and compared successful businesses and social sector institutions to see what common elements made them survive—and where they fell. He outlines the steps these institutions took to separate them from the good and made them truly great. This research birthed Good to Great, and the monologue stands as a piece addressed to the hopeful social sector leaders amongst its readers. Its overall message seems to read, “Greatness isn’t what you might think it is, and here is how to achieve it.”

Jim Collin’s writing is at once entertaining and clear. Even a junior high schooler could pick up his this piece and follow his logical and fluid wiring. His natural language and purposeful strut drew me in from the first page. Even though this was an accompanying monologue to Good to Great, he quickly ‘caught me up’ to the concepts presented in the book, relating them directly to the plight of the social sector. I was stunned by the clear comparisons in thinking that he drew between successful social sector institutions and businesses. In five very clear sections, Collins addresses separate issues that social sector leaders must address to form a successful social sector institution. They are as follows:

1. “Defining “Great,”—Calibrating Success Without Business Metrics,”

2. “Level 5 Leadership—Getting Things Done within a Diffuse Power Structure”

3. “First Who—Getting The Right People On The Bus, Within Social Sector Constraints.”

4. “The Hedgehog Concept—Rethinking the Economic Engine without a Profit Motive”

5. “Turning the Flywheel—Building Momentum by Building the Brand”

Each section’s issue addresses very important questions. For the social sectors, the first answers how greatness can be defined and pursued, the second helps show what extremely adept and effective leaders look like, the third helps show how to hire the right people, the fourth focuses on both on sustaining longevity and consistency, and the fifth talks about how to build momentum and create a bigger impact within the communities touched by a ‘social sector.’ In each issue, Collins uses real-world examples of great leaders and the decisions they made to steer their organizations towards greatness. From Tom Morris of the Cleveland Orchestra to William Bratton of the NYPD, a variety of examples edify Collins’ concepts. Combined with graphs and empirical data, his narrative walks the reader through the various hurtles faced by social sectors and businesses alike, and shows how a social sector responds to prevail and achieve greatness, from day one. Readers of this book will learn how to lead (and when not to,) how to measure success, how to recruit, how to find corporate purpose, how to rethink resources, and how to overcome crises.

I think that calling this book ‘a manual solely for social sector leaders’ would not do its utility or its masterful breadth of coverage justice, even for its 31 page length. Collins eloquently nails ideas usually learned over years of trial-and-error. The monograph is testament to the genius of Collins and Good to Great, and the practical wisdom provided inside is more than worth its time. Jim Collins has provided the missing link for many who seek to venture into nonprofit careers or business. I would recommend this book to students and professionals alike, for the skills presented in this monologue. This book, in short, teaches you how to lead a team of people towards making an impact in a way that ethically utilizes resources and personnel, and sustain performance towards a state of accomplishment aforementioned as ‘great.’ I would highly recommend this book to you if you plan to run or organize a nonprofit.
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on December 16, 2015
There are some helpful ideas in the book, but some of the examples are a bit dated. Fannie Mac, for example, is heralded as an exemplary case for the very activities that helped precipitate the housing collapse. There is a lack of nuance to certain considertions and Collins attributes success heavily to a single person, and it is really a re-hash of transformational and charismatic leadership models. Still, a very readable book with helpful chapter summaries, and the juxtaposition of positive attributes from the 11 "Good to Great" businesses with those of the comparison companies are straightforward and provide some practical implications.
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on January 17, 2015
Great book-just the companies used are questionable as to them and their leadership being "Great" and even at the time of the research into these companies, information was already being provided to show-the companies used were not only far from great, the leadership in those companies were not worthy of mentioning, much less being considered as the templates of leading or the milestone setters in leadership or correct business operations, performance or for that matter, ethics.

Mr. Collins, has some great ideas and his compiling of his books are really well articulated, but he leaves lots to be desired in the areas of characteristics of sound judgement on leadership capabilities, ethics, holding one's self and his followers responsible as well as accountable for their actions and behavior.
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on August 29, 2017
I had to go back on almost every page and re-read at least one paragraph. The concepts are great and if you are a business person by all means read it. For personal use, there are a few things to highlight and move on, but not enough. I am glad I finished it, but would only recommend to certain people.
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VINE VOICEon October 3, 2013
This is a must read book that will change more tan just how you run your business. It will change your life, because it will ask you a tough question: What can you be great at? In this book the author explores what makes some businesses "good" and makes other businesses great. What he reveals is that businesses who know what they are great at and focus on that to the exclusion of everything else are the businesses that become great because they understand their core value and culture. They make themselves great because they are so focused on what they can be great at, that they make it the entire purpose of their work and lives. They define their core values and let those values inform everything they do. This is a book that will help you understand how to be great at your business or your life for that matter. The case studies and principles they explore show how some businesses become great and why they stay great. Buy this book and read it because it will change your perspective on business and life.
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