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on 21 January 2018
This book investigates why some companies perform so well in today’s increasingly volatile and uncertain economic environment while their peers often fall by the wayside.

Backed up by rigorous analysis the book identifies a handful of successful companies and then sets out to explain, with empirical evidence, why these companies performed so well in these uncertain times.

The book is structured around 6 main concepts (see below)

I find the writing of Jim Collins very succinct with a perfect blend of anecdote, theory and empirical evidence to make his points.

Please see below for the points I took away from this book:

10Xers
• Great companies (10xers) accept uncertainty but refuse to accept that forces beyond their control will determine their destiny. Instead they work very hard at a clearly defined goal to build up a reservoir of strength (e.g. through cash on balance sheet or reputation in the market)
• 10xers consistently exhibit three core behaviours to build a reservoir of strength:
1. Fanatic discipline: Consistency of action around clearly defined strategy
2. Empirical creativity: decisions are made from a sound empirical base
3. Productive paranoia: constantly operating with a heightened state of awareness against potential threats

20 Mile March
• 10xers' growth trajectories often exhibit a steady trajectory much like the arctic explorer Anderson’s concept of marching 20 miles every day to the South Pole to be Cpt Scott , regardless of whether the weather was good or bad
• Adopting such a ‘20 Mile March’ will require pushing hard in adversity and reign it in during good times
• Such a philosophy will increase confidence because the organisation will be able to achieve results regardless of conditions
• Conversely, it is not about growing as quickly as possible all the time. Indeed, the study found that there is an inverse relationship between pursuit of maximum growth and 10x success. Growing too quickly can often lead to companies over extending themselves.

Fire Bullets, Then Cannonballs
• 10xers use low-risk empirical tests (‘firing bullets’) to validate what ideas work.
• Only once a company has successfully tested an idea with bullets should they fire the ‘cannonball’
• 10xers are therefore not visionary geniuses but empiricists.
• Acquisitions can qualify as bullets if they’re low-cost, low-risk and low-distraction

Leading above the Death Line
• 10xers effectively identify and manage risk
• When risks are identified these companies spend significant time and energy on understanding the likely impact through empirical analysis and then working very hard to execute their risk mitigation plan

SMaC
• 10xers have a Specific, Methodical and Consistent (“SMaC”) recipe that they adhered to
• SmaC recipes endured for the long term and were changed by an average of 15% over the era of analysis
• See South Western airline’s SMaC in the book as a good example

Return on Luck
• All companies have good and bad luck. 10xers had their fair share of both
• The rest of the concepts above must be enthusiastically executed well to get a good return on luck
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on 24 June 2016
It's a good reading, simple and full of examples. The method used in the analysis is explained, which is not often the case on this kind of books. The author claims that 4 key points have been found as the success factors in the companies analyzed: the 20 miles march (= stepwise progression), the bullets vs. cannonballs (= test small things before going big), building buffers (= keep a margin of safety, especially in finance), and the discipline (= follow the guidelines).
However, this recipe suffers the same problem as many others: the narrative fallacy (D. Kahnemann). It is quite easy to reconstruct the cases as to support the theory one wishes to promote. The points claimed by the author are surely important for success, but are not the only ones. This leads to the other two problems: the over-simplification and the role of randomness.
The parameters that may affect success (or failure) are just too many and inter-correlated in a complex cause-and-effect structure, as to support a simple 4-points theory. Indeed the author dedicates a chapter to the study of luck, but the role of randomness is not deeply analyzed and, to my opinion, generally underestimated.
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on 3 April 2017
Another hit by Jim Collins - although shorter than usual for his books.

As usual Jim condenses years of his teams research into something that our mortal minds can understand, using his unique mix of framework thinking and empirical research to build a case thats easy to follow and apply in your business (or see in other businesses).

Perhaps not as great as Built to Last or Good to Great (and perhaps a lot shorter - but in some ways that makes it a lot easier to get through!)
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on 18 September 2017
It is ok book, I wouldn't recommend it. Although it is based on years of research, still, it is not a practical book, too many buzz words.
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on 22 November 2013
The book and research offer valuable insight, which in my experience, is something not grasped or understood by most businesses I deal with. Having some sort of research behind the ideas helps to educate and reinforce these types of ideas which are missing our borrow hungry culture.
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on 11 December 2016
Helped me this k about how companies go from good to great, explained with science. Recommend to someone tying to understand the ingredients of what makes a company great.
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on 13 June 2017
Any excellent book and a great follow on from Good to Great. 5*
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on 20 June 2016
Excellent book! One thing however to be pointed out - nowadays everyone wants to sell he's company ASAP, nevermind the long-term sustainability and growth. Too bad...
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on 6 July 2015
Thank you
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on 8 April 2012
Tha is another excellent book by Jim Collins who has made understanding success in building and developing business easier. Personally I couldn't put it down. We now have all our managers and executives in our company reading this book. We are also shipping out over 1500 copies of this book to select CEOs of organisations we like to secure as our clients.
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