Stephanie's Reviews > Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Built to Last by James C. Collins
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Apr 29, 08

Read in April, 2008

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 makes this a more interesting experience than if I'd simply read Built to Last on my own. That being said, I don't really care for the writing or rhetorical style of this book, and I think the ideas are a bit outdated (maybe they've already been internalized by the global business community?) but I think it's an interesting glimpse into the commonalities and inner working of some very large, famous and mostly still successful companies. This week, we read about BHAGs and cult-like cultures, the former of which elicited a few YFZ ranch comments (Only in Texas...) but otherwise I think people were a bit reluctant to admit that our company endorses and embraces a cult-like culture. The myriad social groups, on-site cafeterias, free t-shirts, etc. do quite a good job of facilitating a cult-like culture, despite common grumblings I've heard among my co-workers. Anyway, I am glad I am reading this book if for no other reason than I get to witness my co-workers likening my company to a 'visionary' one. More to come...

++++++++++++

So, today is the last day of my corporate book club meeting discussing Built to Last. I was a bit perplexed by one of the last chapters, which basically said "Don't get comfortable." I mean, I get this and all, but is that really the final shining gem that I am to take with me when all is said and done. Meh. Anyway, this has been an interesting enough read, though I think I would recommend that you read a good summary or review of the book as opposed to subjecting yourself to the entire 250+ pages of diluted case studies and less-that-slick rhetoric. This give me an idea....since at least a few of the companies outlined have fallen on hard times, it'd be interesting to make a "Where are they now" short film.

My final words on this book: I'm glad it's over.
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William "though I think I would recommend that you read a good summary or review of the book as opposed to subjecting yourself to the entire 250+ pages of diluted case studies and less-that-slick rhetoric."

Totally!

It was just a bit lackluster.


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