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Good To Great [Hardcover]

Jim Collins
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
RRP: £21.99
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Book Description

4 Oct 2001

Can a good company become a great one and, if so, how?

After a five-year research project, Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organization to make the leap from good to great while other organizations remain only good. Rigorously supported by evidence, his findings are surprising - at times even shocking - to the modern mind.

Good to Great achieves a rare distinction: a management book full of vital ideas that reads as well as a fast-paced novel.

Frequently Bought Together

Good To Great + Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies + Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
Price For All Three: £47.25

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business; 1st edition (4 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712676090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712676090
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Five years ago Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last concludes that it is possible, but finds that there are no silver bullets to greatness. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Gillette, Walgreens and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not-so-great, Collins lays a well-reasoned roadmap to excellence that any organisation would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. --Harry C Edwards


"...the biggest selling and most influential management book of the new millennium." (Financial Times)

"...seminal..." (The Times)

"...a must-read..." (Management Today)

"Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not-so-great, Collins lays a well-reasoned roadmap to excellence that any organisation would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come." (Amazon.co.uk Review)

"in this category (management books) there is nothing to touch Jim Collins... It is essential reading." (Sunday Times Business Books of the Year)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting research and a 'How to' guide 5 Jan 2003
I know I'm enjoying a business book when it provokes a reaction in me along the lines of "I've always sort of known that - and now I've got the evidence to prove it." This book did that for me all the way through.
The evidence is Collins' research, conducted over five years and focusing on eleven companies that met his team's criteria for 'Good to Great' ie: they went from average performance to outperforming the market and sustaining it for 15 years.
The research, and the book, shows a model that these eleven companies adhered to (although they were unaware of it at the time) that should, in theory, be possible to replicate in any other organisation to achieve greatness.
That is the appeal: the possibility that following this model, validated by the research, WILL lead to great performance. It's an extremely attractive prospect and one that my organisation has already taken steps to achieve.
Very rarely does a business book spark such an immediate and enthusiastic reaction throughout the team I am part of, but this book did. So far, much of Collins' language has become part of our vocabulary:
"First Who...Then What": the need to 'get the right people on the bus' before deciding strategy.
"Confront the Brutal Facts": get really clear on the current state of the organisation, being authentic with each other and 'telling it like it is'.
"The Flywheel": recognising that constant, small actions will build momentum for the transformation from Good to Great.
It all sounds achievable, the challenge is maintaining another of Collins' key requirements: Disciplined Action. Can we keep it up?
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For All Managers 26 Oct 2004
I read an article by Sir Clive Woodward and he recommended this book, along with others, as one managers should read. I'm usually sceptical on recommendations, especially those with an American slant. However, its spot on. If only all managers would take a few leaf's out of this book and apply it in their daily routine/workplace, it would make working life much better.
The book is well structured, easy on the eye, provides excellent examples. Simple and effective concepts that can be easily applied to any size of company.
Any Manager/Executive should make this a number one priority in their reading list to help them improve themselves, their people and their company to be great!
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138 of 145 people found the following review helpful
In 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote one of the most successful management books of the last decade: Built to Last. Collins and Porras had studied 18 visionairy companies, many of which had existed for 60 years or more. These companies had a strong focus on values and people and great ability to to learn and exchange knowledge. They gave less priority to maximalizing shareholder value but paradoxically outperformed the market enormously. In a conversation with Jim Collins, McKinsey director Bill Meehan said he, too, loved the book, but added: "Unfortunately, it's useless". He explained why. The companies featured in Built to Last had always been great companies. But because most companies are just good (not great) they are not interested in a book which shows how to stay great (Built to Last) but in a book that shows how to become great. The matter inspired Collins. He built a research team of 15 people and started a 5 year study.
The team tried to identify companies that had jumped from good to great and had managed to continue their great growth for at least 15 years. They found 11 of these (Abbott, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gilette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Nucor, Philip Morris, Pitney Bowes, Walgreens, Wells Fargo). These good-to-great companies (GTG's) outperformed the market by a factor 6.9 in the 15 year period of the analysis! (General Electric outperformed the market 'only' by a factor 2.8 between 1985 and 2000).
The study focused on the question: what did the GTG's have in common that distinguished them from comparable companies in comparable circumstances?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is Good but not Great 6 April 2008
I was co-erced into reading this at work and as business books go its one of the better ones and I actually fully believe in the principles it sets out as a recipe for success.

The research and analysis has obviously been done well but at times, like a lot of academic work, the interpretation of data is subjective, leading to a few jumps in reasoning.

That said, you can't argue with much of it. Reading and understanding this book is easy, applying the theory to reality is much more difficult. Unless you are at the right level in an organisation with a team of committed colleagues who also subscribe to the same theory you will not reap the rewards but may end up frustrated.

Our organisation (FTSE 100) paid lip service to the principle within half of one business unit - but centres of excellence within an otherwise unfocused organisation can be unbalancing and rarely lift the whole company to excellence.

Some good lessons here for everyone and a great book to read if you're studying for your MBA but to be honest if you at the right level in an organisation to effect this scale of change this book will probably only serve to reinforce what you already know.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good read understanding a level 5 leader
Published 15 days ago by Tammy short
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy read with lots of useful bits
Some management books you read because you think "if I read this it will be useful, I must get through it". Read more
Published 1 month ago by C W.
5.0 out of 5 stars The keys to succeeding in business
This is a book that everyone should read before they start a business. It gives you timeless universal principles to breakthrough Your competition.
Published 1 month ago by Zack
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I ever read on business
As consultant in companies that want to significantly improve their performance I give this book (plus Liker: The Toyota Way) as required reading for the whole leadership team. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Peter Metlikovic
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the greatest business book ever written
Maybe the greatest business book ever written. Better than Collins' other book. I would suggest this for every one who's willing to find what separates great business from good... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tero Ojanperä
1.0 out of 5 stars Didnae help me one wee bit
This time last year I was doing a bonnie job for a small company, when a big company came knocking. I couldnae say noo. Read more
Published 3 months ago by TheChosenOne
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit long winded.
A simple message, get the right people in your organisation, and then get them doing the right jobs for their skill set.
Published 4 months ago by Sian Matthews
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor condition
Unfortunately the book condition was described as "good". Against previous standards it was far from this; pages were damaged; and the previous owner had pancil written on... Read more
Published 5 months ago by denis w mahony
3.0 out of 5 stars Research that gives a view
Interesting vie for CEOs based on research. Would be interesting to see the same in 2014. Worth reading for those who are in business
Published 6 months ago by T A HARTE
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearly written with excellent content, easy to understand.
Very easy to read, with key principles clearly described. This book will be of great help to leaders and those wanting to make the most out of their businesses.
Published 6 months ago by KatieMH
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