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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  145,883 ratings  ·  4,809 reviews
To find the keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. The findings will surprise many readers and, quite frankly, upset others.

The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published October 16th 2001 by Harper Business
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 ·  145,883 ratings  ·  4,809 reviews

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Riku Sayuj
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 31, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, James C. Collins

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't is a management book by Jim C. Collins that describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition.

The book was published on October 16, 2001.

Greatness is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period.

Chad Kettner
Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
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
R.K. Gold
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Why Indie Authors Should Read Business Books

I am finally pursuing my lifelong passion of becoming an author, and writing is a business, so I needed to invest in myself. I figured "the bible" of the business world would have some interesting things to say. After all, a business of one is still a business and who wouldn't enjoy the leap from mediocrity to longevity? The book made it clear that building a great business isn't just about a great leader who exits the company, only to have it fall apa
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Okay, let's get this out of the way first: this book is DATED. It studies eleven companies that beat the stock market over a period of fifteen years, irrespective of industry (other comparison companies in the same industries did not produce the same results). Unfortunately, these eleven companies include Fannie Mae, Circuit City, Wells Fargo, and Philip Morris (??!?). The findings are ultimately interesting and I think the writers would argue that the recent performance of the companies don't a ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
"People often ask, "what motivates you to undertake these huge research projects?"
It's a good question. The answer is "curiosity."
There is nothing I find more exciting than picking a question that I don't know the answer to and embarking on a quest for answers. It's deeply satisfying to climb into the boat, like Lewis and Clark, and head west, saying," We don't know what we will find when we get there, but we'll be sure to let you know when we get back."

This undaunted curiosity is the stimulus o
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics, psychology
I’ve been reading quite a few books about leadership lately – I can't really say that I’ve been terribly impressed with them. They read too much like that terribly American genre of books – the self-help book. Invariably, they seem to have appeared fully formed out of the research of the people behind the book itself. This is particularly amusing here, since people have been concerned with the nature of leadership pretty much forever. The other thing that I find a little odd about these books is ...more
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
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
Chad Warner
Apr 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
Nov 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Nov 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
A five year research study dedicated to analyzing the results of its own sampling bias without realizing it and puffed up with so much unnecessary fluff that the essence of the book could have been distilled on the front cover in a few bullet points under the title and it would have probably still been considered a waste of time to read.
Shane Parrish
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this short lesson from Jim Collin's Good to Great:

"Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems."
Dan W
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 25, 2007 rated it liked it
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!
Yevgeniy Brikman
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it
The good: interesting research, useful advice, great writing.
The not so good: the findings are not nearly as scientific, timeless, or widely applicable as the book claims.

The idea behind this book is that Collins and his team researched a large number of public companies, came up with a list of 11 that made a jump from "good performance" to "great performance" (i.e., significantly out-performed the market) over a sustained period of time, compared those 11 companies with 17 similar companies tha
Laura Noggle
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Someone who has never read a business book.
Shelves: business, 2018, nonfiction
2 ⭐️'s: Read the chapter list, that may be all you need.

General run-of-the-mill business book full of generic platitudes, and slightly annoying catch phrases (hello Hedgehog, Flywheel, and BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)). Vague themes seem intended for mass appeal, as opposed to providing any practical advice.

To save you time, here are the chapters:

1) Good is the Enemy of Great
2) Level 5 Leadership
3) First Who, Then What
4) Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith)
5) The Hedgehog Concept
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
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great nuggets of wisdom with statistical backing
Q.T. Pi
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well I read Good to Great and ya know what? I liked it. It had a lot to say on how to build a business from scratch and turn it into a thriving success. It was an easily digestible piece full of useful tidbits I hope to apply to my every day life as an author. I need to surround myself with the right team, focus on my goal, remain disciplined/not chase fads, and manage my expectations. Sounds easy enough right?
Giovanni Romano
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Too much chart and graph to be reader friendly, but overall great book for anyone who wants to become a good leader within an organization
Isaac You
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just being good is not enough! Pursue greatness!!

Jim Collins, an expert in the field of leadership, introduced a story from Aesop’s Fables called “The Fox and the Hedgehog” in his own book “Good to Great.”

A fox is a cunning and beautiful creature. It is also fast, lean, and a proficient hunter. In contrast, a hedgehog is small, slow, and plump. Therefore, a hedgehog only concerns itself with finding food and caretaking its home. Every day, a fox thinks of strategies to hunt the hedgehog and bid
Kathleen Tallent
Feb 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Bianca A.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2021, speed-read
James C. Collins has an interesting and legit background, with 4 published books in total.
In my eyes, Good to Great had a few good ideas, but everything is too generalist. Each company is unique and the book is too abstract, avoiding to put the dot on any i. Felt more like a longer essay of why X company made it big in the past or like a research paper that tried to cover too many things at once with the goal of somehow transporting it into the reader's business. I'm not entirely sure how come i
Len Vlahos
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Morgan Blackledge
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh my god!

This book makes me FREAK OUT!!!

It’s so DAMN GOOD.




There you go folks...


But seriously...

There are some really useful ideas in this book.


Three Circles:
1. What are you passionate about?
2. What can you be best in the world at?
3. What is your hedgehog concept?

It sounds dumb when it’s bulleted like this.

But it’s not.

You just have to read it.


Just read it.

Another key concept is:

The flywheel.

Yass qween yass.

Push that FUCKI
Sergey Shishkin
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
I wish more authors of business best sellers would employ such rigorous research to substantiate their writing as Jim Collins did in Good to Great. The more rigorous research however, the less surprising the findings. What did distinguish companies at the stage of transition from good to great was:
* having the right people including ego-less leadership;
* seeing undistorted reality for what it is;
* focus on one mission in the intersection of their abilities, passion and financial viability.

Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
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
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: human-dev, psychology
In "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't" Collins tried to explain how a company can reach greatness. for this, his model which he choose after tough benchmarking research process consisted of 11 companies that were able to make the leap.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

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, including the classic BUILT TO LAST, wh

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Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
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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.” 127 likes
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” 105 likes
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