- Paperback: 278 pages
- Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452288703
- ISBN-13: 978-0452288706
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters Paperback – August 28, 2007
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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 passionsin a way that serves the world and you. In this book you will learn from unknown and famous peopleinspiring leaders like Nelson Mandela and entrepreneur Michael Dellalong 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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
"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." Those whom the authors characterize as "Builders" agree that, as culturally defined, "balance is in fact bullshit - as a popular concept, it ranks right up there with the idea that that there is just one passion for your life, and when you know what it is, you'll be happy. It rarely works that way." What is the lesson to be learned? People need to concentrate primarily on finding a place only for everything that is of greatest importance to them. That's the "balance" they should be seeking. I recall an interview of Katherine Hepburn during which she was asked what was the secret to her success. "Elimination. I simply got rid of anyone and anything that really didn't matter one bit to me. You know, dead weight, excess baggage, that sort of thing."
I also appreciate the fact that, throughout their book, the authors allow those interviewed as well as those surveyed to speak frankly about their successes but, more importantly, about their failures. Builders think of both success and failure as feedback. They don't judge either as a complete win or loss. Moreover, they view each "failure" (however defined) as an especially valuable learning opportunity. Technology pundit Esther Dyson asserts that anything worth doing "will keep you in a constant state of trial and error, so take good notes as you stumble along. When you make mistakes, just be sure to make new ones."
Retired Stanford business professor James G. March asserts that short-term "reality is an insult to the vision. You have to be self-delusional to create change - it's a useful craziness guided and founded on your clear identity and knowing what you must do." What lessons in leadership can be learned from Don Quixote? According to March, "We live in a world that emphasizes realistic expectations and clear successes. Quixote had neither. But through failure after failure, he persists in his vision and his commitment. He persists because he knows who he is." Builders are not only willing but indeed determined to put up with the grief that results from pursuing their dreams.
My third reason for holding this volume in such high regard is that, throughout their narrative, the authors insert dozens of apt quotations from an extraordinarily diverse range of sources; they also suggest (in their own words) what they consider to be key points. Here are two representative quotations:
"Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller
Now here are three representative examples of insights which the authors share:
"No one can tell you what risks you should take. We are insisting that you must choose a path that you love, for better or worse."
"Enduringly successful people have found that the answer to their life's purpose is buried not in passionate pain or love alone, but in the struggle over both together, working in strange harmony."
"This is one of the best lessons from human history: You may or may not be to blame for what happens to you, but either way you are responsible for doing something about it."
In Built to Last which Porras co-authored with Jim Collins, the authors share what their research revealed about enduringly successful companies. There were (and are) important lessons to be learned from the exemplary companies, even if several no longer meet the deliberately strict criteria by which they were selected. My guess (only a guess) is that many of the those who helped to build and then sustain those exemplary companies created for themselves "a life that matters," one which included but was by no means limited to their business career. In this volume, Porras, Emery, and Thompson duly acknowledge that it takes tremendous commitment, discipline, and sometimes great courage to continuously engage in the practice of aligning career and personal life.
"The only thing that provides lasting success (and happiness, if that's part of your personal definition of success) is the day-to-day practice and struggle to move the three circles - Meaning, Thought, and Action - toward alignment in your life and work. It is an adventure that you are better off embracing with all of your heart and soul because it is a challenge that never ends as long as you are here."
To build success which lasts, therefore, create a life that matters. It is as easy and as difficult as that.
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.