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Showing 1-10 of 261 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 340 reviews
on October 14, 2011
In Collins' new book he relies on the method you've seen in previous books like Built to Last and Good to Great. What's different in this one is he selected companies not just on their status or explosive growth, but because they succeeded in an extreme and uncertain environment. However, there's a caveat here: his research stopped in 2002, meaning there's no thorough analysis of how companies performed in the last 10 years (aka one of the most uncertain and chaotic business climates in decades). Collins and Hansen believe the future will be unstable and environments will be extreme for the rest of "our lives" (remember, these guys aren't Spring Chickens). So, they try to analyze company performance/greatness within the context of difficulty.

I always wish Amazon would show an easy-to-find Table of Contents for books, so I've created one for you here, complete with a summary of each chapter/section.

Collins and Hansen explain what the method for their book (what I described above), including the definition of a 10Xer, which is a company that beat their industry by 10 fold. Just 7 companies were selected as a 10X case out of 20,400 companies. The seven are Amgen, Biomet, Intel, Microsoft, Progressive Insurance, Southwest Airlines, and Stryker. They don't include Apple because their research lens of Apple vs. Microsoft focused primarily on the 1980s and 1990s (remember they stopped collecting data in 2002), which makes no sense to me. The present environment (the one in which Apple has exploded) is a far more difficult climate than the 80s-90s.

2 - 10Xers
Example of a 10xer is Southwest airlines, whose growth since 1972 is greater than that of Walmart, despite this period being a particularly harsh one for the airline industry. Anecdotes describe historic examples of 10xers and explains they aren't more creative, more visionary, more charismatic, or more ambitious, more blessed by luck, more risk seeking, more heroic, or more bold. The glaring fact that Apple is missing goes against this model, as Jobs and company were many of these things.

Here they introduce discipline as the key that sets 10Xers apart (hence the 20 mile march). 10Xers are focused on data with GREAT discipline and stick to their plan, like a 20 Mile March.

10Xers were not more innovative than the control companies; indeed, they were considered less innovative in some comparisons. 10Xers scale innovation (firing bullets) and then the fire cannonballs once they know what's on target.

Explains "productive paranoia," the idea that you need to build cash reserves and buffers, bound your risk, and show flexibility in looking at macro and micro factors at play in your business and industry.

6 - SMaC
SMaC stands for Specific, Methodological, and Consistent. The more uncertain your environment, the more SMaC you need to be. A SMaC recipe is a set of durable operating principles and practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula.

10Xers weren't more lucky or unlucky than comparisons. They had better ROL because they took full advantage of good luck and minimized the effects of bad luck. If you think about it, that's the real key to luck. Knowing when you got lucky and how to take advantage of it, rather than blindly thinking you walk on water (like so many businesses do).

Like Jim's other books, the how to is what's missing. An outstanding book for that (increasing your leadership skill set) is Leadership 2.0
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on May 23, 2017
I was a bit surprised at how good this was frankly. I read Good to Great too. I was expecting something a bit dryer (and it did start dry) but it had wonderful anecdotes and lessons for success. Some of the examples and observations were a revelation in some ways. Strongly recommended (just get by the first bit which is more about methodology and is less intriguing).
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on May 2, 2015
Best of his book series by far. I have read Jim Collins' other books and Great by Choice is the best by far. I really enjoyed the meatiness of this book and the drilling down on what were making these businesses successful. The main points of the book are fascinating and thought provoking and should be of interest to any business owner or company executive. The author is a good writer and the book flows well.
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on September 13, 2016
This is a good addition to the Jim Collins series (Built to last, Good to Great, and now, Great by Choice). Sort of a trilogy. Collins' team does a good job of analyzing a lot of data from various industries to compare/contrast those that excelled in the turbulent economies of the late 1990s and early 2000s, from those that did not excel.

If I had one criticism, Collins insists on coining "cute" monikers for the groupings that his team's analyses identify. In good to great, there was the "Hedgehog" concept. Or "Who's on the Bus?" Or the "BHAG". In Great by Choice, he coins terms like "the 20 mile march", the "10xers", "SMaC", etc, I think the book would be more credible to an industry professional if the categories were less cute, and more self-explanatory.
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on April 14, 2015
When you are a young female entrepreneur and this book is suggested to you, you question whether or not this will be in your real interest. I can't explain how many simple but complex aspects of running a successful business were detailed in this book. The countless research notations and quoted phrases from CEOs and founders of the "Next Big Thing" reiterates Jim Collins points tenfold. I am so happy I read this book. The foundations laid out in this book can be applied to your life and your business. There is zero negative feedback I can leave here upon completion of Great By Choice. Truly motivating and inspirational.
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on June 13, 2015
Once I started reading this book, it was hard to put it down. The stories in this book will resonate with people who have the potential to create billion dollar businesses of the future. They will find themselves in this book. If there is one lesson I have taken from all Jim Collins books is that there is no secret to success. The recipe for success has ingredients and teams have to learn, put them in practice and live by them. It's not about "getting lucky", it's not about making big moves and taking big risks. It's about sweating the details and not just looking at the up and down results and reacting to those swings. It's about the bricks of detail, about the foundations of universal truths and it's about the pillars of preparation. That's what I got out of the book.
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on November 28, 2011
I am not going to provide a comprehensive review of this book, there are already a number of these and I essentially agree with the majority of them - it is a good and very readable book that could help people engaged in a business improve the viability and longevity of their organisation.

Something that has not been picked up on in the reviews so much is the application of the ideas developed in the book to individual people. The principles detailed by Collins and Hansen - such as the "20 mile march" can be applied as much to how an individual person goes about achieving a personal goal, as to how they helped a company become "great". In fact, many of the examples Collins and Hansen give, to support their arguments, are based on how individuals applied these principles to achieve their goals (such as making IMAX movies on Everest).

So, if you are interested in reading a book that may provide you with some different ways of thinking about how you proceed with your own life, as well as how you might approach developing a great business, then this book is for you.
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VINE VOICEon June 12, 2016
At 200 pages, you would think that it would be a great page turner, packed with incredible and useful information. Well, think again. I struggled to find a lot in the book that could be related to the average person's business. There were some interesting points and the triangle of suggestions was ok but as a business book.. there are much better ones out there.
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VINE VOICEon September 19, 2014
Great by Choice continues the fine tradition of work and business excellence that is described in Built to Last and Good to Great. If you are a business owner that wants to understand what makes a business great, as well as learn how to implement those standards this book will provide further insights and ideas on what you can do to make your business great. The authors draw on excellent case studies to show what works and what doesn't work as well as explain why. I've already gotten a lot of great ideas from this book and would highly recommend it to any business owner who is serious about growing and sustaining their business.
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on February 6, 2016
One if not the best management and leadership books on the face of the planet. Follow it and combine it with…
- Collins (Great by Choice, From good to great)
- Gallup (Strength Based Leadership, Entrepreneurial Strengthfinder, First Break all the rules)
- Jeff Thull (Exceptional Selling)
- Simon Sinek (Start with Why)
- Robert Cialdini (Influence)
…and you got a great framework to build a company based on a vision, a mission, leading principals (for example “first who then what”) common values, operationalized targets and an operational strategy!

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