Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  20,279 ratings  ·  265 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Jim Collins and Jerry Porras begin their groundbreaking analysis of "visionary companies" with the following bold statement: "We believe every CEO, manager, and entrepreneur should read this book." Although their language may sound slightly hubristic, the authors actually deliver the promised goods: Written in eloquent and accessible language,...more
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Published October 28th 1994 by HarperAudio (first published October 26th 1994)
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Lucas
Visionary companies are premier institutions - the crown jewels - in their industries, widely admired by their peers and having a long track record of making a significant impact on the world around them. The key point is that a visionary company is an organization - an institution. All individual leaders, no matter how charismatic or visionary, eventually die; and all visionary products and services - all "great ideas" - eventually become obsolete. Indeed, entire markets can become obsolete and...more
Tim
This is one of the few business books I read cover to cover. I found its idea of what makes companies great to be an inspiring one. It led me to formulate my own "Big Hairy Audacious Goal," which I've tried to use to guide my company ever since: Changing the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators.
TarasProkopyuk
Эта книга очень хорошо дополняет книгу "От хорошего к великому" того же автора. Она является её продолжением. В "Построенные навечно" хорошо обобщаются данные, детализируются принципы успеха, наводятся хорошие примеры и приведены отличные выводы.
Рекомендую её также как и книгу "От хорошего к великому" - обязательную к прочтению. Данные книги будут очень полезными для всех целеустремлённых людей, руководителей, начинающих и всех уровней предпринимателей не зависимо от их опыта, а также инвестора...more
J.R. Woodward
Both James Collins and Jerry Porras have worked for a couple of the visionary companies that they write about and both have taught at Stanford University Graduate School of Business (Porras still does). Collins specializes in management education while Porras specializes in organizational behavior and change. They write and speak extensively in these fields and work as consultants for many successful organizations.

The thesis of this book is that visionary enduring companies are not dependent upo...more
David E McClendon, Sr
So far in business there are three highly respected books written about research performed on businesses and what makes them successful. The first would be In Search of Excellence. The second would be Built to Last and, finally, Good to Great.
Built to last compares companies within the same industry to see what makes one “visionary” and the other not so visionary. It looks at several different industries this way. The book acknowledges that there may be some flaws with its research but, in the e...more
Stephanie
I'm reading this book for a company book club. My company views this work as guide for building and maintaining the company...making sure that it's 'built to last'. Reading Built to Last is also part of my indoctrination into the company culture, which I am told I am a good 'fit' for. It only follows that our book discussions are filled with comparisons of our company and the 'visionary' companies studied. We spend time relating what we read to what we see on a day-to-day basis at work, which ma...more
Joe
A precursor to the author's later book, Good to Great, Built to Last is a scientifically backed study of what separates Visionary Companies from Merely Good Companies.

There's a lot of good stuff here, but it is best summed up with their remark that "building a visionary company is a design problem" as opposed to a more mechanistic problem.

And that sounds exactly right. A cookie cutter approach simply doesn't work. Instead, companies need to take a really deep look at their unique drives and purp...more
Reagan Ramsey
i liked that they focused on companies that have made it long term in this book. it demonstrates that great companies aren't solely built on an idea or market timing; but on great systems, having a vision and mission that is higher than money (for real, not just something you put on a plaque somewhere), and creating a tight, consistent culture...so that it becomes apparent very quickly whether or not someone is a fit.
I actually took their advice and spent some time thinking about what my missio...more
Kevin O'Brien
Oddly enough, though this was the first of the big Jim Collins books, it was the last one I read. Since this was first published in 1994 you can note that one or two of those companies may not last much longer. Motorola, for instance, may be on the edge. But the core concept of this book is still relevant, that you need to stick to your core values but be willing to change everything else.

This book preceded Collins' smash hit "Good to Great", but in fact I would read all three of them together...more
Sigurd Magnusson
Great lessons based on detailed research, inspiring and challenging, enormous insights into how people created companies that have lasted decades and survived changes of CEOs, radical market and economic shifts, and how you can replicate that success.
Kurtbg
This book takes a look at successful companies over 50 years old that weathered change and executive leadership and changes in society and compared them against their competitors that didn't fare as well.

The goal: what makes a successful and lasting company.

The author provides in depth analysis and good research by reviewing company documents and CEO interviews and surveys (to determine which companies/CEO's most admired).

Each company was understood to have one goal, that is to make money.
That's...more
Chuck
Pretty good but dated, and some of the words of wisdom failed in some of the cases. Enjoyed the discussion of the visionary plan of Freddie Mac to change the mortgage industry to benefit more people starting in 1992. The noted that these changes might out live the secondary mortgage industry... probably happened not the way they planned.
Taylor Ellwood
Built to Last explores why great businesses last. What I like is how the authors explore the DNA of a great business and make it accessible to the readers with examples and suggestions on how the reader can implement the concepts in the book, in their own business. I wish they would've included exercises for readers, but even without exercises, this book will teach you what a great business is and how to build your own business to last. In particular, I'd suggest paying attention to the chapter...more
Clay Clark
In this book Jim Collins about what is means to be a visionary company. He goes into the steps and the details of how your company and products can outlive you. He talks about being the Best of the Best in you company's field. The book talks about why certain companies have been deemed as a visionary company. What steps did they take? How did they apply them? He goes over how to take your company to the next level and dominate in that field.

He goes over hundreds of examples about the framework o...more
Anurag Kesarwani
Interesting Ideas were conveyed in the book...but i feel that all these ideas cant be applied in the Indian business scenario.
biafra
This ranks up there with How to Win Friends and Influence People in terms of the clarity of the argument presented, the anecdotes, and the data to back up those assertions. Several insights into why core ideology triumphs a visionary leader are interesting as are the myriad of case studies into 3M, Disney, P&G, and other institutions/companies.

More examples of visionary companies straying from their core values/purpose and what they did or did not do to realign themselves would have been us...more
Hieu
The book offers me nothing new. However, it recalls my deeply-interred belief. It's awakening.
Joshua
I don't read many "Business" books but am glad I read this one as it was given to me by a friend. Have heard good things about Jim Collins (of the book Good to Great) but had never read his material. In speaking with business associates, it is fairly common knowledge that most business books are very dry and boring. This one was neither of those and held my attention throughout.

I loved the examples woven all through the book of the "visionary" companies vs. the "comparison" companies. I believe...more
The Knowledge Guy
Is there a formula to becoming a corporate performance juggernaut? Built to Last , the management classic written by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in 1994, takes a crack at answering just that question. The book is a summary of authors’ and their Stanford Graduate School of Business team's six year research project “to identify underlying characteristics that are common to highly visionary companies” and “to effectively communicate findings so they can influence management.”

Built to Last is...more
Omar Halabieh
This book is about visionary companies - ones that are built to last. These companies are defined by the authors as ""Visionary companies are premier institutions - the crown jewels - in their industries, widely admired by their peers and having a long track record of making a significant impact on the world around them. The key point is that a visionary company is an organization - an institution."

The objectives of this book are best summarized by the following excerpt: "In a nutshell, we had t...more
Anandkhisti
The biggest problem facing organizations today is not from a dearth of new management ideas (we’re inundated with them), but primarily from a lack understanding the basic fundamentals and, most problematic, a failure to consistently apply those fundamentals. Contrary to popular wisdom, the proper first response to a changing world is not to ask, “How should we change?” but rather to ask, “What do we stand for and why do we exist?” This should never change and then feel free to change everything...more
Amir
We sometimes wonder what makes a company great. We often look at its real and perceived competitive advantages, ideas like a strong brand, an extremely talented and visionary leader, cult followers, great idea or innovative product. We often tend to believe a company should posses these characteristics in order to be successful. I have even witnessed many people refusing to start a company before having the “aha” moment or the brilliant idea which will change the world.

Mr. Collins and Mr. Porras...more
Tasha
Sep 30, 2007 Tasha rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone in a position of leadership
Built to Last is about the qualities "visionary companies" possess. It compares exemplary companies that have withstood the test of time with their less successful, less resilient counterparts. From reading this book, I learned a lot about what it takes to build and maintain a "visionary company," from establishing core values, purpose, and BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) to constantly innovating to practicing consistently what is preached in mission and vision statements.

I had heard about t...more
JP
This is on the reading list I have of best all-time business books. It's thoughtful but not on par with "In Search of Excellence" or Collin's more recent "Good to Great." Their approach is valid for picking up a list of excellent performers and comparison firms that had the same opportunity. I'm not sure these firms will continue to last (Wal-Mart is already faltering), but the authors point out it's a matter of continuing the habits. Regarding the "genius of And" I've observed that certain lead...more
Peter Krol
This is a superb book from the business world about what makes enduring visionary companies so enduring and visionary. They're not just talking about anyone. They want to know how to make as deep an impact on culture as Disney, Sony, Walmart, Merck, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Boeing and other such companies.

The authors are coming from a secular, evolutionary set of assumptions, so I certainly don't agree with every point. But they're at their best when they simply observe what has had lasting i...more
David Meldrum
Sitting alongside Jim Collins' better known 'Good To Great', this is a book which demands to be read by anyone in a leadership position - be it business, church, NGO or the like. This was actually written before 'Good To Great', but Collins says he no prefers this to be seen as a sequel, not a prequel.

As with that book, 'Built To Last' is based on extensive, rigorous research. It seeks to identify the characteristic of companies which achieve lasting impact in their fields. Many of the findings...more
Shyamashree Rudra
A classic...
This is a groundbreaking book that tells us how to build landmark companies that stand the test of time. The subject of Collins' and Porras' study was 'What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the other companies?' By answering such questions, Collins and Porras go beyond the incessant barrage of management buzzwords and newfound fads to discover timeless qualities that have consistently distinguished outstanding companies. They also provide inspiration to entreprene...more
Joni
Built to Last is a groundbreaking work of research and analysis which tries to distill the basics of successfully running a visionary corporation. The authors base their results in thorough research on some of the world's best corporations as rated by America's CEOs.

The book expounds a theoretical thesis and than complements it with facts and real life stories from successful companies. Nordstrom, Disney, Walmart, HP, GE, IBM and tens of other great companies are used to argue for the thesis of...more
Mike
Provides some interesting insights on what successful companies might do. However, I felt that their points were weakened in that they described each of the ideas as not necessary or sufficient to have a visionary company. They also didn't consider the alternative - that companies had implemented their ideas and failed miserably. It would have been nice to see some counterpoints addressed.

I was also a little disappointed with the way they represented the comparison companies. Many of the compari...more
Julie Fregetto
Collins and Porras writes a pretty good book with their theory on what makes a company visionary. Written in the 1990s, many of the companies they select as visionary, remain successful and leaders in the corporate sector. We read this book for a Business Policy and Strategy class and gained many insights that helped facilitate constructive class discussions and debate various topics.
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“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” 4 likes
“Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one—and not necessarily the primary one.” 2 likes
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