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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

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3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  34,757 Ratings  ·  376 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,
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Published October 4th 1994 by HarperAudio (first published September 16th 1994)
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Lucas
Aug 29, 2016 Lucas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 06, 2008 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
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.
J.R. Woodward
Mar 26, 2012 J.R. Woodward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Tõnu Vahtra
Apr 05, 2016 Tõnu Vahtra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The single most important point to take away from this book is the critical importance of creating tangible mechanisms aligned to preserve the core and stimulate progress. This is the essence of clock building.

5 specific methods to do preserve the core and stimulate progress:
*BHAGs: Commitment to challenging, audacious - and often risky - goals and projects toward which a visionary company channels its efforts (stimulates progress)
*Cult-like Cultures: Great places to work only for those who
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Reagan Ramsey
Feb 06, 2013 Reagan Ramsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-books
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
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Greg Z
May 20, 2016 Greg Z rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I read this years ago, and today it's the only "business book" that has stayed on my shelves here at home after I finished my 30 years in corporate America. There are some good articles about successful companies vs. failed companies, and if I ever start a company, there are some admirable ones here with which to study.
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
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Bui Ha
Jun 09, 2016 Bui Ha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, the authors document their 5-year-long research of a set of companies that they call visionary companies.

According to the book, visionary companies have strong core values and do all their best to preserve those values while stimulating business changes. They define "BHAGS" (Big hairy audacious goals) and focus on achieving them. Visionary companies tend to have cult-like culture (indoctrination, elitism, tightness of fit), which is not fit for everyone. They build promotion polic
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David 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
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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
Aug 19, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Kevin O'Brien
Mar 23, 2012 Kevin O'Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
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
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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.
Peter Aloysius
May 13, 2010 Peter Aloysius rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
jim collins cherry picked some companies that he thinks successfull and compare them to 'failed' rival company in the same industry to find out what characteristics that successful company has that the rival company doesn't

Sounds good, but the problem is, he didn't compare the opposite. What those characteristics of successful company which other failed company also has but they still failed.

For example, Big Hairy Audicious goal. I'm pretty sure that a lot of company around the world also has bu
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Michael Loveless
Sep 21, 2016 Michael Loveless rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Built to Last was the first book by Jim Collins, who also wrote Good to Great. Both books are easy to read and filled with many good ideas for creating a great organization. Collins calls them "visionary companies" in Built to Last. Collins and his co-author Jerry Porras surveyed hundreds of CEO's to identify the greatest companies in the world - ones that had a long track record of success beyond the tenure of one CEO and beyond the scope of one successful product. Some of the companies were IB ...more
Melody
Mar 16, 2016 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nilibrary
Fantastic.

I read this book because it is part of the reading list at the company I work for. And to be sure, it provided some great insights regarding my company.

However, this book is more than that. If you hope to build anything--ever--that will last past your life (or even prime), read this book. If want to leave a legacy, read this book. Of course, if it is a company you are building, this book is perfect for you. But if you are hoping to build a nonprofit, a ministry, a family, a classroom,
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Sujata Sahni
The Best of the Best : As I look back on my life's work, I'm probably most proud of having helped to create a company that by virtue of it's values, practices and success has had a tremendous impact on the way companies are managed around the world ~ William Hewlett. Clock Building, Not Time Telling : Above all there was the ability to build and build and build, never stopping, never looking back, never finishing. In the last analysis, Walt Disney's greatest creation was Walt Disney the Company ...more
Livio Dinaj
Jan 02, 2015 Livio Dinaj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The key message of the book is the powerful message that companies, and individuals, need to be driven by core principles that stay the same and build organizational structure before investing in finding great ideas or achieving results

There are 10 chapters I focused on. In the first one, Best of the Best, Collins outlines his thesis and what he calls "visionary companies" and what he calls "comparison companies". Visionary companies are trandescendal society changing, like Walt Disney, IBM. Com
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Rick
Dec 30, 2014 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Precursor to Good to Great, Built to Last is the product of a significant study of successful companies who have been successful across generations of leadership and market forces. Collins and Porras found matching companies that have also endured for decades but without the success of their rivals. The resulting research and analysis leads the authors to draw conclusions about what is importance to enduring success, to be not just competent business but visionary ones. Like the old California s ...more
Mario Tomic
Dec 23, 2014 Mario Tomic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most valuable books I've read on how to build a company that will change the world. The book is loaded with research, hard evidence to support the claims and with great stories. Collins really nailed it with this one, the content debunks a lot of the myths established by business schools, general public and media. I strongly urge you to read this book, even if you aren't planning to start a company. It will teach you many great lessons which will help you to achieve more success in li ...more
Kurtbg
Feb 22, 2014 Kurtbg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Yevgeniy Brikman
A well written, thoroughly researched, and actionable book on how to build great companies. A must read for any founder, CEO, or manager.

Some fun quotes:

Visionary companies distinguish their timeless core values and enduring purpose (which should never change) from their operating practices and business strategies (which should be changing constantly in response to a changing world).

Gone forever—at least in our eyes—is the debilitating perspective that the trajectory of a company depends on whet
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Raj Makaram
Aug 14, 2016 Raj Makaram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the by-product of the article titled "Building your company's vision" by the same authors in Harvard Business Review. This article is defined by HBR as one of the 15 business-concept classics. The main issue addressed in this book is – why few companies stand the test of time, change in technology & business while others wither away?

This book should interest any one involved in building an ever lasting organization, as the apt tile suggests. Individual interested in understand
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Jen
Sep 03, 2010 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Corporate blah blah blah blah.

I struggled to get through it, but it wasn't the most painful business book ever. I just can't stand the earnestness. Business books that read like they just found the map to the holy grail irk me. Cop to having a great deal of luck and admit your outlook may be totally wrong, but it's the best you could schlep together with what you know, and I'll get on board. If you fully buy into your own BS, I'm not going to enjoy your work.
Rhonda Sue
Sep 21, 2015 Rhonda Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on what it takes to be a "visionary" company. I've been hearing about BHAGs for some time and finally got down to business. The authors did 6 years of extensive research on the traits of what makes a visionary company, not just a successful company. Leaders should build the clock that can tell time forever. You don't need a great idea. Charismatic leaders are not required. It's more than profits, a company needs a core ideology - core values and a sense of purpose. You must preser ...more
Eric Burleson
Jan 06, 2014 Eric Burleson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The research behind this book identifies a few key characteristics that "visionary" organizations have. Interestingly, the definition of "visionary" is incredibly robust, and the author's team went to great lengths to identify those things that made these companies great. I strongly recommend this book for anybody working in organizational development, or anyone that wants to make their organization better.
Darshan Pala
Jun 22, 2016 Darshan Pala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Built to last is an attempt to understand what makes a company visionary. It supports an optimist's view of running a business. The authors did their best in analyzing about 36 companies and tried to bring out the things that "worked" for a visionary company. I like the fact that they made an effort to not only pull out the qualities of the successful companies, but also compared them to their not-so-visionary counterparts. Although, the attributes which the authors came up with were kind of tri ...more
Chuck
Sep 09, 2012 Chuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Craig Adamson
Feb 14, 2016 Craig Adamson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank God for non-fiction! I took a break from back-to-back Sinclair Lewis books that were big letdowns. So my review of this book may be jaded in the fact I was happy to read anything else.

This is one of those "great business books" that everyone should read but it sits on their shelf like it did mine. Since I saw another speech based on "Good to Great" I figured I should read this one first and then dive into Good to Great. Had i known this would have been such a quick read i would have done s
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Suraj Patil
Aug 05, 2016 Suraj Patil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Growing up in the post Facebook era where we fantasize about college kids who code up the next big thing in one night, I found this book quite refreshing and touching more to reality, albeit a tad bit less than what other books like The hard things about the hard things or lean startup touches on.

This book is quite amazing in a way that it makes us realize that whatever crap that we believe from the press is quite not right. Not all amazing companies are built by college grads with a laptop. A v
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Goodreads Librari...: Publisher's description missing 2 14 Oct 07, 2014 09:17AM  
  • In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies
  • The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: The Four Disciplines at the Heart of Making Any Organization World Class
  • Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance
  • The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership
  • The One Thing You Need to Know: ... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success
  • The Essential Drucker
  • The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business
  • Leading Change
  • Jack: Straight from the Gut
  • Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow
  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
  • On Becoming a Leader
  • Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant
  • True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership
  • Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
  • The Leadership Challenge
  • Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence
2826
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
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More about James C. Collins...

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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.” 8 likes
“Visionary companies are so clear about what they stand for and what they’re trying to achieve that they simply don’t have room for those unwilling or unable to fit their exacting standards.” 6 likes
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