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on May 17, 2016
Jim Collins uses a systematic approach to look in depth into these companies and see what really makes them great. With that said, there are a couple companies that should either be reevaluated or may have not “keep up with the times”. Case in point, Circuit City & Fannie Mae. Though business is volatile and anything can happen but with as much analysis as his team should have done, there should have been some sort of “take away” from this. The book has many one liners that make remembering key points easier. Using his criteria for the “good to great selection process” makes his data and analysis much more substantial then someone just spouting what they “feel” makes a great company.

This is still, form my point of view, a great book to read as there are many things that are very useful. Jim references the UCLA bruins winning a NCAA championship and remarking that even though their coach John Wooden was a legend he had coached the team for 15 years before their first championship. Greatness takes time to mold and create and doesn’t happen over night. What I took as some of the best advice, “…every good-to-great transformation followed the same basic pattern – accumulating momentum, turn by turn of the flywheel – until buildup transformed into breakthrough.” The book is filled with many motivational and good forms of advice to follow which can in fact help drive a good company to greatness.
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on May 15, 2017
As Collins says early in this monograph, "When you compare great companies with good ones, many widely practiced business norms turn out to correlate with mediocrity, not greatness. So, then, why would we want to import the practices of mediocrity into the social sectors?"

Collins spends the 40 pages of this monograph (yes, it's only 40 pages) on how you calibrate success without standard business measures, getting things done within a diffuse power structure, getting the right people on the bus, rethinking the economics of the organization without a profit motive, and how to build the brand.

Note that this little booklet is available for free on the web if you do a little digging.
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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 October 23, 2014
This was recommended to me. WOW! After listening to it once I knew I had to play it again to get the details down pat. There is so much information to digest, even in this abridged version. I have played it about four times now, and when i head out I grab a CD for the car and plat a random chapter. I suggest listening in order the first time or two you listen to it. After all, we spend so much time in cars we may as well make the best of the time.

The material covers many point of many companies and brings out what enabled the best to become the best. After finishing the CDs I wondered why I was not told about this in college when going for my Business degree. Some of the material is dated, like when they tell you how awesome Circuit City is. However you can use the same material and understand why CC is no longer around.

If you are motivated to do great things inside your company this will give you ideas to determine the others around you who feel the same way, and how to identify the points in your company that will make you great and those that will delay growth.
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on February 16, 2018
Cons

1) Very outdated. Some of the companies that are praised in this book are already bankrupt or just around the corner from bankruptcy/ government bailout . This book was published in 2001, no word of Apple,Google,Amazon,Facebook etc. so take it for what it’s worth.
2) Main problem of this book, its going backwards from results to reasons. It’s take a “successful” company and try to explain its success came from some master plan that was well crafted. Nonsense, other companies did the exact same to a different amount of business success.
3) Nothing in this book relates to the global economy, millennial generation and the mobile retail revolution. This book was published in 2001, this is also its relevance expiration date.

Pros

1) I liked the chapter about level 5 management, nothing new here but refreshing ideas about humility and open minded leaders.
2) I liked the hedgehog chapter about focusing your business on what you love and what you good at to maximize profits.
3) Positive lessons about running a healthy company that work as a team.

Bottom line
Fun read, but nothing new here. You can’t apply any lessons from this book to today economics. If you have a few hours to kill, go for it.
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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 February 7, 2018
Should be titled: Good to Great, How to Overuse Analogies. The use of analogies to help someone understand something they can not relate to is one thing, but the use of analogies over and over again is the sign of a weak mind; I stopped reading when he started using analogies to explain analogies. The data and topic were not very deep, probably grade school level, pretty easy read if you can handle the analogies.
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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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on October 31, 2017
Wow. My husband was reading this for professional development, and we started reading it together. I am a nurse and have no experience in business, but this book was so relevant to every aspect of life. Very interesting concepts, and a good read. Even if you're not in the business sector I strongly suggest this book for a really interesting perspective on how to approach all aspects of life (as these findings apple to everything)!.
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on September 5, 2012
It has been ten years since I first picked it up Good to Great and, as expected, it is as valuable today as it was then. If you read it a while back and liked it, perhaps it is time to re-read it with fresh eyes and a decade of experience on your resume. There's so many fascinating discoveries in this book that anyone will find a few golden nuggets.

Jim spoke again this year at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, framing most of the presentation around the 1911 South Pole explorations by Roald Amundson and his rival, Robert Scott. Responsibility, leadership performance, and luck were the major themes. Collin's presentation got me thinking about the book again, and I decided to go back and re-read it. There's a ton of things I missed or forgot over the years, so I am thrilled to have the new learning.

Good to Great is the second in the series by the author, though it's really the starting point to the project (think Star Wars series?). Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies logically follows this one, and then concludes with How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. Last year he released Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All, which I have heard is excellent, also.

Early in the book we get a taste of what's coming: "Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice." The companies who made the leap made the choice to be great, and, through rigorous research, interviewing, and vetting, Jim and his team figured out how they did it and anyone else can. This saves us a lifetime of work trying to figure it out - just read the book and apply the learning. The book is very much a roadmap to success, if you have the courage to follow the path. Given that only 11 of 1,435 companies made the final cut, it's easy to see that this is not the path of least resistance, nor is it one for people who choose to argue with the findings. The data speaks for itself: either you choose to use this as a leadership development tool or you choose not to. Either way, you choose.

If you have the desire to be excellent and the will to do the work, along with a healthy dose of humility, this is the book series for you. Take a year to read all four, earnestly apply them in your life, and by this time next year you will be a vastly different person - for the better. Remember, Good to Great is not about doing more and burning yourself out, it's about doing what works and stop doing what doesn't. As the author states on page 208 "If it's no harder, the results better, and the process so much more fun - well, why wouldn't you go for greatness?" Well said, Jim.
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