Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't
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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  42,388 ratings  ·  1,962 reviews
The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring grea...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 16th 2001 by HarperBusiness
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How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale CarnegieThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyThink and Grow Rich by Napoleon HillEmotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis BradberryGood to Great by Jim Collins
Best Business Books
5th out of 324 books — 663 voters
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyHow to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale CarnegieEmotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis BradberryGood to Great by Jim CollinsGetting Things Done by David Allen
The 100 Best Business Books of All Time
4th out of 191 books — 240 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Riku Sayuj
Mar 26, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Nishant Singh
Recommended to Riku by: Prof. Neerja Pande
Shelves: mba-stuff, r-r-rs
First and foremost, Good to Great has no breakthrough concepts to offer. Collins is good at inventive metaphors and catch phrases to push concepts through but ultimately there is really nothing counter-intuitive or revolutionary about the results of this study.

That said, the concepts in the book might still be valuable for managers, CEOs and other professionals. Here is a brief summary of the book and a short tour on how to take your company from Good to Great:

Think of this as a time-line to be...more
Jamie
This book by Jim Collins is one of the most successful books to be found in the "Business" section of your local megabookstore, and given how it purports to tell you how to take a merely good company and make it great, it's not difficult to see why that might be so. Collins and his crack team of researchers say they swam through stacks of business literature in search of info on how to pull this feat off, and came up with a list of great companies that illustrate some concepts central to the puz...more
Chad Kettner
Here are Jim Collins' seven characteristics of companies that went "from good to great"

1. Level 5 Leadership: Leaders who are humble, but driven to do what's best for the company.

2. First Who, Then What: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go. Finding the right people and trying them out in different positions.

3. Confront the Brutal Facts: The Stockdale paradox - Confront the brutal truth of the situation, yet at the same time, never give up hope.

4. Hedgehog Concept: Three...more
Allen
Just (12/21/2011) re-read the book and love the concepts. But I knocked a star off of my rating since during this re-read I felt like the author puffed up the findings and, indirectly, himself. Sure, good-to-great principles seem to be true, insightful, and necessary for a transformation. I even found that re-reading this book helped me to realize I was being quite undisciplined in my use of time (trying to create momentum by doing, doing, doing instead of "unplugging extraneous junk.") But I do...more
Deli
Aug 25, 2007 Deli rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone without common sense
OK, so I'm making my way through this book... painfully, slowly, pyromaniacly.... and, I do have to say it is FANTASTIC if you find yourself surrounded by people without common sense. Of course, I don't have a business degree... oh, wait, I'm not supposed to have common sense.

Anyways, now that I've trailed off into ADD tangents, my boss gave me this book to read and I do like the principles. I have one thing to say: way better than the teaching books I used to have to read. GEESH!
Giuliana
Apr 24, 2008 Giuliana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Giuliana by: Alec
Shelves: reviews
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sergei Nemirovsky
This is yet another example of somebody trying to come up with a "how-to" looking into the proverbial rear-view mirror. All successes are infinitely unique. This book would be so-so as a "memoir" of particular companies, but in its attempt to extrapolate from that into some sort of a manual of how to run a business it becomes completely useless.

True, it has some common sense thoughts, but they are so obvious and, hmm... common sense that if you haven't thought of them before reading this book y...more
Chad Warner
Jun 07, 2009 Chad Warner rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chad by: Jeff Disher
Shelves: non-fiction, business
I was hoping this book would give me some guidelines to remember when I start my own business. There were a few good points, but nothing compelling. Reading this book wasn't a very good use of my time.

Tips from the book:

First Who, then What
First, get the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off it), then figure out where to drive. Having the right people in the company is more important than deciding what the company will do, because the right people will help make that decision anyway....more
Steve
I have no idea how much Jim Collins knows about business / management, but it is clear he’s mastered the art of writing a popular business / management book. The way I see it, the steps involved are:

* State up front what the themes are, but disguise at least a few of them with cryptic labels that portend greater meaning to those who venture further. Who wouldn’t read on when enticed by the promise of the lowly hedgehog’s secret for success or how Admiral Stockdale’s paradoxical key to survival a...more
Sandy
I hope I don't get fired for not thinking this was the greatest book ever. Honestly, business books are not exactly my cup of tea. This book started off really interesting. The author talks about habits that great companies use to keep their companies run smoothly. Many of the suggestions the author gives seem very logical -- don't have negative people work for your company, don't try to put your hand in every pot, don't stop doing things that work well and do stop doing things that aren't worki...more
Dan W
There is a valuable lesson in this book:

- Books are printed to make someone else money.

With this singular lesson in mind you can now unlock the secrets of all business and marketing books: the lesson isn't printed on the page, it's between the lines. This book sought, as all 'business' books do, to titillate you with facts, get you revved about the possibilities in your life to acquire great and fabulous riches through the magic of 'excellence' and set you loose into the world with your hair on...more
Kristina
If you are looking for sweeping generalizations and a unifying theory of everything, well hey, this offer has all of that and a bridge in Brooklyn that he wants to offer you.

Although this book does have some interesting information, it is also full of relationships that are declared by the author as causal, but may indeed just be coincidental or correlative.
Len Vlahos
I finally got around to reading Good to Great. It more or less lived up to the hype as being both inspirational and instructional. I just have three quick comments:

1. Like many business books, this would be better as a long magazine article instead of a book. The author, while deft, belabors point after point. While it was less true here than in some other business books, it's still longer than it needs to be.

2. A few of the ideas put forth -- e.g., the hedgehog concept, the three circles -- ar...more
Kressel Housman
Good is the enemy of the great. That is the first sentence and thesis of this book. In other words, if you're performing adequately, your motivation to improve yourself can easily be stifled. After all, you're getting by. Why put in all that discipline to go from good to great? But if you want to go from good to great, this book promises you the secrets of doing it.

I guess I'm destined to be merely good because I'm returning this book to the library unfinished. I thought the advice was worth app...more
Charles
I was reluctant to buy in to a management/business book because mostly, I think they're just cash cows for publishers. But this book was different, smart in a way I didn't expect. I felt like I actually gained valuable insight into not only the organizations profiled in the book, but also into my own.

Collins matches an easy, flowing style with raw data and visuals that further clarify his points. Although I think some of his classifications of concepts are gimmicky (The Hedgehog Concept, the Doo...more
Kathleen Tallent
I read this in a leadership class and it was very appropriate. I will never be the CEO of a major company, but I will help run a household, participate in a church family, help lead a therapy team, and will have many more opportunities to lead. This book gave a lot of insight into why companies are able to climb in growth and industry, but that same insight can be applied in most of life circumstances where people are grouped together. I recommended this book to multiple people working in large...more
Keith
Finally read Good to Great, by Jim Collins (yes, I know that I'm a bit behind in my reading, but just never seemed to get around to this one). I thought it was good (not great) in that it didn't really tell me anything that wasn't pretty obvious. Furthermore, there is a lot of peril in identifying "great" companies that then go on to stumble (Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Pitney Bowes). I know that Collins would say that these companies stopped following those things that made them great, but that b...more
Jay
There are many great reviews of this book that summarize its message in a few sentences, and that's one of the strengths of the book -- its messages are few, have memorable names for the concepts, and make sense. But in general, they can be boiled down to platitudes, and they mostly make common sense. Worrying is that rigor is applied to determine the causes of becoming great, yet causality isn't proved but implied. This reminds me of another book I read in business school that did the same kind...more
Bonnie
Worth reading, because all your colleagues have read it or paid someone to give them the jist of it. :)

If you read this, don't bother with "Built to Last" since much of the content is the reiterated. Ok, so Built to Last is about companies that have lasted over many eras and are still going strong. That's nice - I still feel like that's luck and adaptability, but sometimes, pure diversifation that saved some companies from themselves over the years.

As for Good to Great, it's a bit more of a kic...more
Scribble Orca
Contrary to some of the negative reviews, I found Collin's methodology to be pretty consistent. He lines up a bunch of stock-market data over the long term (the quantitative), and then tries to find explanations for why some companies just keep getting better (the qualitative). He also tests which companies don't fit the hypothesis even though quantitatively fit.

The odd thing is that if you look at stock market investment strategies, what this book actually recommends is a strategy that looks pr...more
Surya Winata
Jun 22, 2007 Surya Winata rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone who want to have a company
buku ini buku yang ditulis berdasarkan riset bertahun-tahun yang serius, dan banyak sekali pemahaman yang sangat bertolak belakang sama pendapat umum yang sering kedengeran di dunia usaha, sbg contoh adalah pengidolaan orang dari luar untuk membuat perubahan yang radikal dalam suatu perusahaan, yang ternyata hanyalah sebuah pengaruh yang sangat kecil di perusahaan yang telah berhasil beranjak dari good to great..
salah satu yang paling menggema bagi gw setelah baca buku ini adalah tentang konsep...more
Calin Biris
A statistical approach to leadership, good management and winning concepts. The book is full with examples from top companies listed in USA.
TarasProkopyuk
В мире есть и было много компаний. Многих людей интересует в чём секрет успеха одних и ошибки краха других. Эта книга без сомнения результат одного из наилучших исследований принципов подлинного успеха компаний. Книга для тех кто ищет формулу прочного фундамента уже существующего бизнеса, или того бизнеса, который только рождается в мыслях.
Рекомендую как обязательную к прочтению.
Troy Blackford
An excellent examination of companies chosen for meeting exacting criteria for success over a fifteen year study, contrasting them with their industry peers who failed to various degrees. I'm no executive nor do I run a company, but I still found a lot to think about in this interesting, insightful book.

Very well-written and more engaging than a book comprising 'the results of a fifteen year study of industry and an analysis of the findings' sounds like it would be. A lot of great anecdotes and...more
The Knowledge Guy
Good to Great is Jim Collins’s follow-up to Built to Last , the 1994 management classic, which he co-wrote with Jerry Porras. Like Built to Last , Good to Great is built on Collins’s research. In fact, Collins spent five years of research assisted by 20 business school students, who analyzed 1,435 public companies for this book. Their findings - just 11 companies from were able to sustainable their good to great efforts.

Many experts have problems with the way Collins and his team performed the...more
Austen
Read "The Halo Effect" by Phil Rosenzweig for an absolutely devastating debunking of "Good to Great". Rosenzweig systematically picks apart how Collins seems to have no understanding how to conduct proper research, and how many of Collins' theories don't hold up to scrutiny. Much of this book sounds maddeningly like the kind of "science" relied upon by climate change/global warming deniers. In fact, if you read Albert Einstein's "Ideas and Opinions," in numerous places he states that science can...more
Lorin
Excerpt from my book, Dynamic Markets Leadership, all rights reserved:

Collins notes correctly that some Level 5 leaders have had significant life experiences such as a bout with a terminal illness, a strong confrontation in war, a religious conversion, etc. Others seemingly led “normal” lives. I would hypothesize that the “normal” lives included some of the transformational factors:
• Experiences that highlight the benefits of helping and serving others
• Experiences with norms or philosophical i...more
Payam
This book does many things right: it lets the data define the theories rather than have data fit existing theories; it uses an appropriate data set rather than picking and choosing convenient data to prove their points; and it uses various case studies to make its point.

Without a doubt, if you are interested in understand what the secret sauce of great companies is, you must read this book. It is an instance classic in many ways, and the principles it teaches are fairly basic and fundamental. Ho...more
Rob
Good to Great looks at about a dozen companies that have beaten the stock market solidly (by something like 3%) consistently over a period of 15 years (not necessarily the 15 years preceding the writing of the book). There are shockingly few of them in America; indeed, the book looks at 100% of the companies that fit this criteria. These companies are defined to be the "Great" companies.

The point is to try to figure out what makes these companies great. The interesting thing is that, in all case...more
Ben
As far as business books go, Good to Great sets a high standard for methodology and seldom falls back on the palaver that's so representative of the genre. It's an enjoyable, easy read and Collins and his team pull some fine principles from their research.

That said, it still strikes me that the methodology employed in business research, as evidenced in Good to Great, has a long way to go. The conclusions are based on survivorship bias, very broad induction, and tiny sample sets. There's little a...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies — how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies. Having invested over a decade of research into the topic, Jim has authored or co-authored four books, i...more
More about Jim Collins...
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In Turning Goals Into Results Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

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“When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you’ve had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.” 48 likes
“The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline.” 33 likes
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